Mad Men season 5 recap: America Hurrah!

Mad Men, Season 5

A Night at the Theater With Don and Megan

Mad Men, Season 5

A Night at the Theater With Don and Megan
Arts has moved! You can find new stories here.
Talking television.
May 22 2012 10:13 AM

Mad Men, Season 5


A night at the theater with Don and Megan.


Jordin Althaus/AMC

The boa explained! Fair enough, Rich. I will stop speculating about Harry Crane’s sexuality. Thanks again for joining the TV Club this week; it was terrific having you aboard. If Crane ever runs afoul of SCDP brass, get in touch! You can come write for Slate any time.

A few bones left to pick in this episode: First, did you gents buy that Lane would compromise his upright morals with lying, stealing, manipulation, and forgery? I get that he is a proud man—and that revealing his troubles to his colleagues might raise tricky questions about his pecuniary prowess, supposedly his area of expertise. But really? He would steal from the firm before asking for help? Lane is about the only character on the show Roger hasn’t lent money to—or bought an apartment for—this season. Don’s swiftness with that $6,000 check was breathtaking. Lane must know his peers would be good for the dosh. Why wouldn’t he just ask?

Second, what on earth was Mother Lakshmi’s gambit? She was worried that an important cult member was forging ties with an outsider. Her foolproof plan: Seduce that outsider so that he’ll leave his friend alone in the cult’s clutches. How was that supposed to work? Was she planning to blackmail Harry, perhaps by revealing their tryst to his wife? Or was the seduction an enticement? If so, as Harry points out, she didn’t handle the negotiation right, giving up the “sense enjoyment” before securing any promises from Crane. (One reader in the comments pointed out a delightful grace note in that scene—the daffy way Crane removes his glasses and throws them aside in his haste to bend Lakshmi to, er, his needs. Nicely done, Rich.)


Finally, what did you guys make of America Hurrah, the anti-materialist play Don and Megan took in?* It was a real show that opened to apparently stunning reviews, “The finest product of the American theater since West Side Story,” per the London Times. I enjoyed the directness with which Megan called Don on his post-play sulk. And his double-edged barb in response—“No one’s made a stronger stand against advertising than you,”—a reference to her quitting the firm, and to the lavish, ad-supported “throne on 73rd” that she still enjoys.

We witnessed the third big fight between Don and Megan this week. The first, in the season premiere, ended in kinky sex. The second, at the HoJo, ended with a desperate cuddle. This one resolved with the thud of a cold plate of pasta slapped on the dinner table. John, do you still think their marriage is headed for a higher plane? I believe that Don’s flirtation with Joan is over—it was a consolation and confidence booster, offering the intrigue of an affair without the injury or the consequences—and that those flowers from “Ali Khan” were just a nice recognition of the moment that passed. Am I right? What’s your assessment of the Drapers’ matrimonial state?

Surprise! It’s an airplane,


Correction, May 29, 2012: This post initially misstated the name of the play Megan and Don took in. (Return to the corrected sentence.)