Mad Men: Season 5, Episode 9 – ‘Dark Shadows’ Review and Synopsis

This episode opens with a shot of Betty weighing out her cheese to accompany her morning toast to the soundtrack of a thunderstorm. This is likely as a part of a new diet regimen and Betty’s absence from the past few episodes makes her return a remarkable thing. Back at SCDP, Don reviews the work of his staff and we can’t help but notice that most everything has been done by people other than Don himself.

Bert Cooper wants Roger to cozy up to Manischewitz to win their account. When he asks Roger to bring Jane along with him to win brownie points, Roger tells Bert that he and Jane are getting a divorce. Mr. Cooper’s mocking glance down at his wristwatch betrays his opinion of the whole affair between Roger and Jane.

Don sits down and begins to sift through Ginsberg’s work, likely to take some of his inspirations since Don has been running low on them of late. Betty and Henry take a trip into the city to get Sally, Bobby, and Gene.

Betty and Megan’s encounter in Don’s apartment is probably one of the best scenes ever in the show. It was a silent standoff and, oddly, Megan seemed intimidated by Betty. Back at the office, Don is struggling to come up with inspiration for the campaign that he was snooping on. His train of thought dealing with sins and snowballs being the thing that leads to hell is somewhat openly mocked by Ginsberg. It is a hokey idea at best and schlock at worst.

So, Betty is a member of weight watchers. I don’t think her weight is that bad, and she seems thinner than before, but likely this whole plot line had to be inserted because of the actress, January Jones’, concurrent pregnancy.

Megan and one of her thespian friends are tense during her friend’s practice session in Megan’s apartment. Apparently, Megan’s newfound wealth and comfort have bred resentment among her former peers. Roger convinces Ginsberg to work on helping him get the Manischewitz account to which he agrees.

Henry worries his job might be a dead end and that he ‘bet on the wrong horse.’

‘It’s so easy to blame our problems on others but we’re in charge of ourselves.’

Howard’s wife, the housewife with whom Pete had an affair, is apparently a freak who doesn’t wear anything underneath her fur coat in Pete’s fantasies. He probably should get over her, the sooner the better.

In a somewhat spiteful move after viewing one of Don’s loving notes to Megan haphazardly written on the back of one of Bobby’s drawings for school, Betty tells Sally about Don’s first wife, Anna. This makes Sally angry towards Megan because she feels like Megan has betrayed her.

The account men decide to lead with Ginsberg’s work instead of Don’s.

So Sally gives Megan hell, which seems to be a running theme of this episode, and, really, the unraveling of Don’s lies has been coming for a while now. This might just be the canary in the mine shaft. Don is upset, of course, but he is tempered by Megan’s insistence that this is Betty’s attempt to poison their marriage from afar.

The advertising section did not even feature SCDP in any major way, which upsets Pete and Don blames it on him. Don confronts Sally about how she spoke to Megan and he apologizes for putting her in the middle of adult matters. Back at SCDP, Peggy tells Roger she’s upset he gave the Manischewitz account to Ginsberg instead of herself.

‘Were we married? Because you are thinking about yourself too. That’s the way it is. It’s every man for himself.’

Don switches the order of ads to be put forward in the meeting with the clients, placing his in front of Ginsberg’s and leaving Ginsberg’s behind in the cab on purpose. Roger’s meeting with Manischewitz goes well, especially since he might have found a suitor for Jane. Ginsberg finds out about Don leaving his work behind in the cab from Harry and he’s furious about it.

Roger and Jane reconnect back at her new apartment after he likely felt challenged by the young heir from Manischewitz eyeing Jane during the dinner.

Ginsberg confronts Don in the elevator.

‘I’ve got a million of them. … Well, I guess it’s a good thing you work for me.’

‘I feel bad for you. … I don’t think about you at all.’

Don’s taking Ginsberg for granted, on top of his shelving Ginberg’s work in favor of his own, will come back to haunt him. The falling man in the opening sequence, shown every season thus far, cannot help but be an indicator of where Donald Draper may ultimately end up – totally fallen.


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