After almost 18 months of being off the air, Mad Men returned with a bang, and it was definitely one of the most polarizing seasons of the show yet. Some fans absolutely hated it and called it one of the show’s worst, and some (like me) became even more addicted to it after this season. Wherever you stand, you must admit Weiner and the writers took a lot of risks this season and that’s why it had a few of the most memorable moments of the series so far.
Here are some (in chronological order):
Zou Bisou Bisou, ‘A Little Kiss,’
I wasn’t a fan of Megan at all this season. Somehow she transformed from being a wordless receptionist to the lead on this show. She got more screen time than all the other ladies combined — which is really really sad because her character isn’t as half as amazing as the rest.
That said, I will be lying to myself and to everyone if I said that her singing “Zou Bisou Bisou” wasn’t one of the season’s BIGGEST moments. The song, recorded by Pare herself, peaked on the World Billboard Chart. It trended for days on Twitter, as well. And it made Jessica Pare a household name. (Ugh.)
Fat Betty, Various Episodes
We barely saw January Jones/Betty in this season of Mad Men, and no one is to blame here – except that guy that knocked her up, probably. But when we finally got to see her in episode 3, she was…FAT! Because of her pregnancy, Weiner decided to dress Jones in a fat suit and transform her from the once irresistible Betty to the now FAT Betty.
It was an interesting twist because we got to see a side of Betty we had NEVER seen before. Her scenes while eating were the BEST because they were a massive comic relief from the otherwise very serious season. Who would have thought January Jones could be funny? I didn’t! It’s like she was telling the world, “HEY BITCHES! I’m no ice queen anymore!” And she certainly wasn’t. I still LOL whenever I see her gifs of her eating.
Look at how happy food makes her:
Fat Betty became probably even more popular than the original Betty. I’m sure that will make January Jones very happy. She has said SO many times that parents on the streets hide their kids when they see her. Hopefully, that has changed after this season. (I don’t get the hate, by the way.)
And her own (hilarious) Twitter account has more than 5k followers: @FatBettyFrancis
However, it’s a bit of a disappointment that her story-line this season was uneventful. Other than her cancer scare, there was nothing about Betty that mattered! But at least we got to see her in a few episodes, so yay.
Joan Kicking Her Husband to the Curb, ‘Mystery Date’
How long had we been waiting for that specific scene? To be honest, I never expected it to actually happen. The characters on this show have often settled, and I expected Joan to settle as well – because, let’s face it, she ALWAYS does. But I’m so happy that she didn’t this time. This man raped her, was awful and condescending to her ALL the time, and made a life-changing decision about the rest of their lives without even talking to her first. I’m so glad he’s gone and I’m so proud of Joan for finally kicking him out. He had it coming all along!
Greg: “If I walk out that door, that’s it.”
Joan: “That’s it.”
Roger’s LSD Experience, ‘Far Away Places’ (& ‘The Phantom’)
John Slattery has a gift of making you laugh yet making you feel how sad his character is. And I think that’s when that portrayal of Roger was at is best. When Jane dragged Roger to her friends’ dinner party, Roger was convinced to try LSD. According to him, it was a “life-changing experience.” We got to see, just for a few minutes, why Roger is so unhappy — how he’s feeling like the world is fleeting away and that he’s not getting any younger. It was an AWESOME storyline because John Slattery pulled it off so beautifully. (All the awards to him!!)
My favorite scene through that “experience” was the scene(s) between Roger and Jane. It was the first time since they’d been together that they had an actual conversation — a real, brutally honest conversation. I’m not Jane’s biggest fan, but in those few minutes, I actually liked her for once.
Roger: “So what was wrong again?”
Jane: “You don’t like me”
Roger: “I did. I really did.”
In the finale, when Roger begged Megan’s mom, Marie, to do LSD with him, it was SO heartbreaking. This man is lonely and is trying every single day to run away to a different world.
“There’s an airplane here to see you!”, ‘Christmas Waltz’
The receptionist at the SCDP lobby hired after Joan’s maternity leave is, at best, annoying. When Joan came back to the office, she looked at her with sort of condescension that I just wanted to slap her. And after she was served with the divorce papers Greg sent, she was even more agitating when Joan asked her why’d she let the man in. The receptionist started making all kinds of stupid excuses and then simply went, “he said it was a surprise.”
And for the first time ever we got to see the OTHER side of Joan. She’d never lost her cool before, but anyone would have gone crazy on that bitch.
“Surprise?! Well! Here’s a surprise! Surprise! There’s an airplane here to see you!”
Just like a lot of lines from the show, this one has become a classic.
Don & Joan’s Day Out, “Christmas Waltz”
Remember when I asked for a Joan/Don friendship in my recent season 2 review of Mad Men? Well, I like to think that Weiner read that (Ha!) because he sure delivered!
After seeing Joan losing it at the receptionist, Don decided to take Joan with him to the Jaguar dealership to test one of their cars. They pretended they were married at the dealership, and when the dealer asked if they were married, Joan replied, “four, all together,” which is technically true. They later went on a ride in the “most beautiful car ever made,” a ride that cost Don $6,000. But the actual moments that made us lose our shit in the episode were their scenes in the bar. I DIED. I think I stopped breathing for a couple of seconds.
Joan told him why she’s so upset — Doctor Greg Harris served her with divorce papers. But Don was sure to let Joan know that it was his loss. And then we finally learned why Don never made a pass at her. (Remember in season 1 when Joan told Peggy that Don has always ignored her?) And it turns out she terrified the shit out of him and he was told to stay away from her.
And then Don asked Joan to dance with him, she declined, “I don’t think we should,” she answered.
Joan: “You and me in Midtown? You with that look in your face?”
Don: “What look, baby?”
Joan: “God! You’re irresistible!”
And I’m squealing again.
If either of them had been just a bit weaker, I think they would done the deed. But they respected each other too much, and they admired each other too much to let a hookup come between their relationship — a relationship, I think, is one of the healthiest on the show.
By the way, would you guys kill me if I said Don and Joan > Don and Peggy?
Joan, the partner & pro, ‘The Other Woman’
I wrote about it all here: Mad Men: The aftermath of Joan’s moral setback
Peggy Leaving SCDP, ‘The Other Woman’
The Peggy/Don dynamic is one of the reasons people are in love with this show. “The Suitcase” became everyone’s favorite hour of drama because of that. So when Peggy decided to leave SCDP, as happy as we were that she finally decided to stand up for herself, our hearts broke a little. And then came that last scene when she told Don how thankful she was that he was her mentor and she his protege. I teared up — just like everyone else — especially when she put her hand out to say goodbye and he kissed it with hopes that this kiss would bring her back. But I’m sorry Don, after literally throwing money in her face, I don’t think a kiss is enough.
This scene was so precious for a lot of reasons but mainly because of one thing: the hand holding between Don and Peggy has been a symbol of their evolving relationship over the years. In the pilot, Peggy attempted to hold Don’s hand when she was first hired as a secretary, and Don pulled away telling her he’s not her boyfriend. In “The Suitcase,” arguably the show’s best episode, Don grabbed her hand tight after the hell of a night they went through together. And then there they were: she was saying goodbye, he didn’t want to let go, so he kissed her hand with plead. Sigh.
The Demise of Lane Pryce, ‘Commissions & Fees’
OH MY GOD.
It’s been what? Two weeks since that episode? I still cannot get over the fact that Lane’s dead. We didn’t get to know much about Lane in the 3 seasons he was in — he was not a happy man, he was an embezzler, he cheated on his wife…and that’s about it. The show never really dug into his personality much. But it was still awful seeing him hanged like that. Props to the makeup department; Jarred Harris really looked dead.
A lot of people saw it coming (I think I did, too, I just didn’t want to believe it), but when it actually happened, we were all shocked for a long, long time. And seeing the partners torn apart after Lane’s death — Don and Joan especially, who felt guilty about Lane’s suicide — broke our hearts even harder.
But the episode was pretty clever for one reason: he tried to kill himself in the Jaguar his wife bought him, but the car wouldn’t start. How ironic was that? The car the company just got — the car that was known for its vanity and its beauty not its practicality — failed him as he tried to kill himself. Amazing writing. Amazing show.
Out of all these moments (and the ones I skipped like the return of Paul Kinsey), which were your favorites? Sound off in the comments!
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