Mad Men 5.13 "The Phantom" Review

After two devastating back-to-back episodes it seemed like season 5 of Mad Men could end on a soul crushing note and even though there is a sea of melancholy in this hour, there is also an element of hope. Strong thematic concepts have been prevalent all season and "The Phantom" is probably the most overt example of this with characters spelling out reasons for their unhappiness, though this doesn't overly diminish the quality of the episode nor of this excellent season as a whole.

Lane's (Jared Harris) suicide last week was a truly shocking moment, not because a character death was unexpected but in the method and lingering shot of his body hanging on the back of the door. It is not surprising that Don (Jon Hamm) is seeing his half-brother Adam (Jay Paulson) around the office and while he is having dental work done and this spectre is one of the many phantoms that are being chased throughout this finale. Don claims he doesn't want to be alone and that he needs Adam to stay with him, but is it Adam that he fears will leave him or is he a substitute for Megan (Jessica Paré)? Don's tooth problems could be a manifestation of all the stress/guilt from Lane's death and he is relived both physically and mentally when the tooth (or root of the problem- boom, boom) is extracted. This is one of the more obvious and anvilicious points of the episode but it leads to the ambiguous scene of Don watching Megan's show reel. Read More...


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