‘Mad Men’ ‘The Phantom’ Recap: Toothache and Heartache

Mad Men season 5 ends with episode 13, “The Phantom.” Don’s having tooth trouble, but he insists he doesn’t need a dentist. Meanwhile, Megan’s acting career isn’t going the way she hoped. Pete runs into Howard and Beth on the train, but she made an excuse to leave quickly. When Harry runs into Joan on the elevator and notes that she pressed a different floor number, she claims it was just a mistake.

Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/AMCMichael and Stan present to Topaz, but the client doesn’t like using the word cheap in the ad, even though it’s stating it’s not. Don agrees it should be fine, but the client’s not happy. Beth calls Pete at work and tells him to meet her. It could be his last chance. Oh, and if you’ve been wondering about Peggy, she’s still around and busy at her new job. In the partners’ meeting, Joan says it’s their best quarter ever and tells them she couldn’t go upstairs because of Harry. Pete bows out early and goes to meet Beth. She’s going in for electroshock therapy for her depression and has done it before and lost months. She could forget him. He kisses her.

Megan’s been getting calls with heavy breathing all day. Emily from her class brings up that her agent mentioned a Butler shoes commercial that she wants. Since Don’s her husband, she wants Megan to get her an audition. Pete doesn’t want to let Beth leaves and points out she has to feel better with him. He suggests going to Los Angeles, but she says she can’t because of how dark it gets.

When Don gets home, Megan brings up the commercial—but for herself. She just wants an audition and says the commercial would be good for exposure. However, it would be him asking for an audition for his wife. He thinks she should be someone’s discovery, not someone’s wife. When the phone rings, Megan tells Don about the hang-ups. It turns out to be Roger, who pretends to be Marie’s husband. Once he gets her on the phone, he tells her he wants to see her for some conversation. Meanwhile, Megan brings Don his drink and then cries in the bathroom.

Joan’s waiting to see Don when he gets to work to reopen the conversation about more space. She got the death benefit from the company insurance policy that morning—$175,000. She wants to know why Lane did what he did, and Don tells her she couldn’t have done anything. He wants to pay back the collateral and tells her to cut a check to Rebecca. She too notices that his tooth’s bothering him.

Marie find Megan down and points out everything she has, but adds that she won’t give Don a family. Megan protests that Marie’s not exactly supportive, and Marie says, “Because you are chasing a phantom.”

Don brings the check to Rebecca, along with condolences, and she wants to know about the photo she found in Lane’s wallet. She tells him not to leave thinking he did anything for anyone but himself. When Pete gets home, Trudy shows him plans for a pool, and he says it’s permanent. She’s sick of his “doom and gloom.” Meanwhile, Marie does go to see Roger, but they’re not going to be having much conversation. Instead, they fall into bed together and she rejects his suggestion of doing LSD together.

Don gets home to find Megan very drunk, and she tries to start something when he helps her into bed. She says it’s the only thing she’s good for and it’s what he wants—for her to be waiting for him. That’s why he won’t give her a chance. He leaves her to sleep it off and confronts Marie for leaving her like that. She tells him it’s his job. His tooth is still bothering him, and he finally goes to see a dentist, who says he should’ve had it extracted days ago. Once on drugs, he sees Adam, whom he’d been seeing all episode, and he says his tooth’s not what’s rotten.

Pete goes to see Beth in the hospital, but she doesn’t remember him after the electroshock. Instead, he plays that he was visiting a “friend” (him) and spills his problems to her about his affair and why he did it (he needed to feel adventurous). He was heartbroken when it went away and realized his life with his family was just a “temporary bandage on a permanent wound.” Don runs into Peggy at the movies, and she’s in a good mood since she’s going on a business trip (Virginia may not be Paris, but its something). He’s proud of her.

When Howard joins Pete on the train, Pete confronts him about what he did to Beth, and Howard realizes what’s been going on. They throw punches, and the conductor breaks it up, sending Howard off. However, the conductor wants Pete to apologize, and Pete’s response—full of insults—leads to the conductor punching Pete and throwing him off the train. When he gets home, he tells Trudy he fell asleep and ran into a ditch. She tells him she can’t live wondering about what condition he’ll come home in and says they’ll find him an apartment in the city.

Joan takes the partners upstairs. Don watches Megan’s screen test, and she ends up getting the commercial. Peggy’s happy on her business trip, while Roger’s enjoying standing naked in front of the window (oh, Roger and LSD). Don heads to a bar, where a woman joins him and says her friend wanted to know if he’s alone. Does it begin again?

What did you think of the Mad Men season 5 finale “The Phantom”?

Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/AMC

© Meredith Jacobs 2012

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College graduate, television fanatic, writer.

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