This is ... yes, I'm fairly sure this is a Mad Men season five recap

Ali Gray

10th April 2013

Season five of Mad Men was ages ago. With season six starting up tonight, it's fair to say my priorities have shifted a little in the intervening time, and I'll be stone plum buggered if I can remember what went on. And yet it says 'recap' at the top. How did I ...


Still getting reaccustomed to high-flying life in Manhattan after spending six months in an Afghan prison, Don was just starting to get back into the swing of things. With three of his five evil twins murdered by his hand and buried in the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce basement, Draper ended the fifth season hunting down the other two, who have taken to working for a rival firm.

Things came to a head at an industry awards ceremony when Don accidentally had sex with Twiggy, but he invented the basketball hoop wastepaper basket attachment the same night and saved the company. The last we saw of Don, he was answering police questions after kicking a hippy out a fifth floor window "to test his new loafers worked".

The self-appointed "Grand Puba of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce" had a rollercoaster of a character arc last season; a champion wrestler in his spare time, Campbell's grappling career hit the skids when he suffered a bout of explosive diarrhoea in the ring – luckily for him, the excrement was sprayed on the canvas in such a way, it inspired him to put together a killer campaign for Nestlé.

Nonetheless, shamed by his bottom antics, Campbell vented his frustration by fighting crime outside of work, concealing his identity while saving Joan from a lusty mugger. Pete is currently in hospital with a shattered pelvis after losing a bet with Ginsberg that he could fly.

Roger took extended leave from Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce to follow Tom Jones on tour in season four, but when Jones was assassinated by a furious Shirley Bassey in a bold alternate history timeline in season five, Sterling was left a broken man.

Don's attempts to cheer Roger up by buying him a lightsaber only made things worse, after he slaughtered three girls from the typing pool in a whiskey-fuelled Sith rampage. Alienated from SCDP, Roger instead retreated into the seedy underground world of illegal backgammon, where he earned the nickname 'El Silve Tigre'.

After season four's explosive reveal that she was actually a female midget standing on a male midget's shoulders, Betty struggled to come to terms with existing at only half her normal height. Season five was basically one big shopping montage in which she had to buy new clothes, not counting the bizarre bottle episode where Betty and her daughter Sally were trapped in teenage supervillain neighbour Glen's evil freeze ray.

Betty's season five arc ended when she realised she'd left son Bobby in a department store somewhere around the middle of season two, only to decide that it was all the way across town and he was probably fine.

Desperate to prove that female ad executives were just as talented as male ones, Peggy made the mistake of goading Don into punching her in the stomach, which collapsed her pancreas. Furious at the weakness of her own internal organs, Peggy became an alcoholic to teach them a lesson in feminism but lost the ability to dance and was unable to save her local rec centre from closure. Rehab saved her, and she ended the season by pitching a winning campaign to Kellogg's, all the while keeping up the pretence that she liked cereal, when in actual fact, she was more of a tea and toast girl.

Joan's slow, gradual slide into dowdiness formed the majority of her arc in season five, as the board members of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce staged an intervention to stop her from coming to work wearing sleeved garments.

Haunted by the ghost of a CG-animated Lane Pryce, who insisted on correcting her grammar in the middle of meetings, Joan hit a new low when she found a pube in her lunch and accused Ginsberg of the crime because it looked "all Jewy, like it jumped right off of your Jew balls". Sacked, she emptied the SCDP safe but blew all the company profits on nightgowns and dildos.

Harry killed himself in the opening episode of season five, but when he realised no one even cared, he decided to come back to life and continue existing to save himself the hassle of the afterlife.

Having killed and eaten the office copy boy in a drug-induced rage, Harry was caught by Don when his paperwork began to mount up, raising suspicion. A brief romance with Peggy's shadow was abandoned for reasons of silliness, but it was hinted that Harry is harbouring homosexual desires for Ken Cosgrove after he was spotted hiding in Ken's garden in the nude, wearing a look of extreme arousal.

Season five saw Bert fulfil a lifelong dream to belch the national anthem for the President, but he was disgraced after he accidentally puked up his entire guts. Infuriated at his own social shortcomings, he fired every single staff member at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce but made the mistake of starting with himself, rendering the subsequent firings null and void.

After realising his faux pas, Bert tried to make amends by slinging one up Joan as way of recompense but missed, slapping Stan full in the face. Threatened with a lawsuit, Bert moved his office up on the building's roof and began a tender friendship with two pigeons, one of which he liked a bit more than the other.
You're up to speed! Feel free to share your theories about season six with co-workers, perhaps near a watercooler like you're in America.

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