Mad Men Season 5
Mad Men has always operated under the idea that each season has 12 separate and stand-alone episodes, but season 5 felt the most disconnected. Watching one episode lead to few ideas about what might come next, and the finale was no different. I think I’ve found a theme: trying desperately to wash over your old self in an attempt to start over.
Megan Draper (or Calvet to the acting world) fought herself throughout, knowing what she was asking Don to do was a weak copout and a cheap way to get what she wants. But she wanted it more, so she allowed herself to change, to become the girl who would use her husband to get her in. Don knows she’s changed, and that’s why the walk from the commercial stage was so long. That’s why he’s immediately deposited at a bar, immediately surrounded by the fresh and unknown. All Don has to do to start over is order an old fashioned.
Roger wants more LSD, because it ‘woke him up’ or something like that before. Last episode, he mentioned that it had wore off. He’d like to be reinvented somehow. I found it hilarious that the “partial nudity” warning at the beginning of the episode paid off with him and not a woman. Well done.
With Beth (Alexis Bledel), the theme resonates strongest, because we’ll likely never see her again. She consciously (though with heavy resignation) allows herself to be literally wiped clean, to start fresh without all the memories that apparently made her “blue.”
Conversely, Pete wants to reinvent himself (“Let’s go to Los Angeles. It’s full of sunshine!”) because nothing he gets makes him happy, and he thinks by just dumping it all and running off with Beth, he’s got a shot. But of course he doesn’t, and he even realizes it. His monologue about his family being a “temporary bandage on a permanent wound” echoes the realization that nothing he does is going to actually make him happy. Maybe next season he’s going to figure out why (or at least shoot someone with that frickin rifle already?).