Mad Men: Season 5, Episode 8 – ‘Lady Lazarus’ Review and Synopsis

We join Pete on the Long Island Railroad along with Howard the insurance salesman who informs Pete that he is keeping an apartment in Manhattan and having an affair with a younger woman. Since we remember Pete’s issues with virility and dominance, it is not surprising that an older man is keeping a pride while he is still nothing more than a baby lion. This point is emphasized when Pete tells him he will finally hear out his life insurance sales pitch only to told that he is too young to be a prospective client for life insurance.

The theme of youth and its impact on advertising is explored again. When coming to get Megan’s advice on some particular point, she is nowhere to be found – likely because she surreptitiously snuck into a phone booth to place a call.

‘Let me ask you, when did music become so important?’

Pete, Peggy, and Megan each stay late at work, Megan turning down Don’s offer to join him for dinner. Clearly something is going on with her but she’s always been a little off.

Mad Men: Season Four [Blu-ray]

Pete encounters Howard’s wife Ms. Dawes in the parking lot at the station. She has locked herself out of her car and she asks him for a ride. She basically reveals during the course of the car ride that she knows Howard is cheating on her.

‘I could never live in the city. All the hobos and the panhandlers.’

Don calls Peggy and finds out that Megan lied to her about where she was going. Pete and Howard the insurance salesman’s wife begin to hookup back at her house after she begins to act hysterical. The conversation he had with Howard on the train earlier, about SCDP making money off of Pete’s life insurance in the event of his unlikely death, could have a portent of foreshadowing since he is screwing the man’s wife on the floor of his house – but, alas, it is not to be.

Megan has been auditioning for an off-broadway production. She’s afraid to break this to Don and Peggy tells her that she has talent when it comes to copy-writing. Peggy tells her she has to come clean with Don and Megan is intimidated by this. The declaration that many people would ‘kill’ to have Megan’s position is a little ridiculous given it was clearly established Megan got the copy-writer position because  she is Don’s wife. That she has a talent for the trade is an added bonus, and something discovered after the fact.

Peggy’s attempt to resume her role as Don’s work wife begins immediately after this revelation. Her open hostility to the Cool Whip presentation is out-of-place to those around her.

‘Enjoy the memory. Leave it alone.’

Leaving advertising behind is not hard emotionally for Megan. Don makes a good faith effort to keep her motivated for it but she does not want to do it. Her heart is on the stage and in a play. With little or no fuss, Megan is released from her time at SCDP. Thus far she has proven somewhat indispensable in Don’s work life. She fills a role there that Peggy once fulfilled and now one that Peggy will struggle to return to because Peggy has advanced in her career.

Mad Men: Season Four [Blu-ray]

That kind of chemistry helped make Don the success he was for the first three seasons.

Don’s struggle with Megan’s quitting is endearing because he is truly lost without her. This degree of vulnerability was only rarely shown before and now it is increasingly present in Don’s life.

Megan’s announcement to Peggy, Stan and Ginsberg is overlaid with thunder in the background, typically a sound associated with a portentous event.

Don presses the button for an elevator and the door opens to an empty elevator shaft. If he had stepped through without paying attention completely he would have fallen to his death. This interrupted his attempt to intercept Megan from leaving the building, but is also terrifying in how close he came to dying.

Somehow Pete weasels his way into Howard’s house under the pretense of Howard trying to sell him a life insurance policy. Not only is this a creepy move to get in front of Beth’s face, but it’s also slightly crazy.

Of course, Beth is thrilled to see Pete (not at all). Pete even brazenly kisses her in their own home.

Mad Men: Season Four [Blu-ray]

‘Don I love you. You’re everything I’d hoped you would be.’

Peggy fills in for Megan at the Cool Whip taste testing. The presentation falls painfully flat.

‘You didn’t want her there. You were threatened by her.’

Howard’s wife declines Pete’s invitation to met him in a hotel for a dalliance. Yet again, Pete’s ambitions at Don Draper-hood are thwarted.

The episode closes to The Beatles’ ‘Tomorrow Never Knows.’


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