Mad Men: Season Five [Blu-Ray]

Mad Men: Season Five [Blu-Ray]
9
The fifth season of absurdly successful AMC series Mad Men starts more traditionally than previous instalments, following time in a forward trajectory from the fourth season without trickery, as Don (Jon Hamm) balances his home and work life with new wife, and much younger ex-secretary, Megan (Jessica Paré). Ex-wife Betty (January Jones) has experienced dramatic weight gain, growing complacent and indifferent in her new marriage, substituting ambition and satisfaction with emotional eating. But she's not the only one struggling with notions of happiness, success (or lack thereof) and inertia. Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) has made partner with Don, Roger (John Slattery) Bertram (Richard Morse) and Lane (Jared Harris), fulfilling the relentless ambition that consumed him in the first four seasons. At home, he has a beautiful wife (Alison Brie) and newborn baby, but still, he wants more ― more women, more validation and more success. While Don spends most of this season mostly satisfied, taking a back seat at work, copywriter Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) similarly grows indolent, tossing out mediocre ad campaigns while becoming less obsequious overall. Even strong-willed Joan (Christina Hendricks) is questioning her goals, seeing the other side of her ambitions, having married a doctor and had a baby, only to discover the inherent limitations in living the (supposed) dream. This existential void is tackled from all angles in true Mad Men fashion, even exploring the gender divide with a mid-season Jaguar campaign that posits the inefficient luxury car as an ersatz replacement for the male cultural ownership of women. Within this construct, the price of human ownership ― noting that, traditionally, male success is defined as much by title and bankroll as by the woman on the arm ― falls on Joan's head, when she's offered an indecent proposal from Pete to sleep with a Jaguar exec to guarantee their business. Oddly enough, Don, who initiates and proposes this campaign, is ironically blinded by that same concept when his idyllic nascent marriage is rocked by Megan's inability to accept her role as obedient wife, wanting desperately to fulfill her ambitions as an actress. Even though everyone learns that success just leaves you wanting more, they still look forward, desperately trying to obtain the happiness that their glossy, hyper-realized advertisements promise. Included with the Blu-Ray is the usual litany of commentary tracks with actors and writers on each episode, breaking down thematic and superficial material with the expected scrutiny. Also included are an abundance of supplements about 1966, whether it's Truman Capote's Black & White Masquerade Ball, the artist Giorgio de Chirico (whose art inspired the Blu-Ray cover) or the history of daylight savings time. Smartly, it provides historical context for the series, deepening the already complex material. (Alliance)