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Dark Shadows

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Dark Shadows
Season Five Episode 9
Air date 13 May 2012
Written by Erin Levy
Directed by Scott Hornbacher

Lady Lazarus
Christmas Waltz
"Dark Shadows" is the ninth episode of the Season Five of Mad Men.

Don becomes competitive and Roger seeks new business. Sally faces a challenge.

Joan dark shadows
Joan helping Don with his portfolio, in Dark Shadows.
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The episode opens with Betty watching what she eats, mirroring her struggle to lose the weight she has put on during the gap between Season Four and Season Five.

We then cut to the office where Don is sorting out his advertising portfolio with the help of Joan. Most of the ad's are collaborative of Ginsberg's and Stan's. Joan reminds Don, that he has done a good job, nurturing all of SCDP's creative talent and that he should include his Why I'm Quitting Tobacco letter. Don reminds Joan business is still suffering because of it.

Roger is then seen with Burt, who has a prospective Jewish client lined up for Roger, who requires Roger's finesse and has the idea to bring Jane to serve as a token. Roger then has to remind Burt that he and Jane have separated.

Megan is spending time with Don's children, teaching Sally how to cry, while Don prepares to head into the office.

Betty then arrives to pick up her children. Upon arriving at Don and Megan's apartment she looks around with a curious eye, accidentally observing Megan partially undressed she is enraged with jealousy over Megan's physique, one she is struggling to regain.

We then see Don in the office, agitated, smoking and pacing. He stumbles across a file of Ginsberg's entitled "Shit, I Gotta Do". He snoops around seeing slumberous adds, chuckling as he flicks through. We then see him recording himself coming up with possible pitches for "Snoball", finding himself rusty after going so long without writing.

Don dark shadows
Don snooping through Ginsberg's "Shit I Gotta Do" file, in Dark Shadows.
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The next morning we see the creative team, throwing their best ideas around. Here they decide to put Ginsberg's well received idea forward, upon witnessing this Don jumps to attention, with his pitch idea involving the devil consuming the product, an idea that sits cynically with the group - they put Don's idea forward regardless. Betty is seen at WeightWatchers where she shares her experience with Megan with the group, and how she restrained herself from stress-eating, a fact shes proud of. The same day, Megan is helping her friend Julia run lines for Julia's upcoming audition for "Dark Shadows" the soap opera. Here, Julia reminds Megan that while she sits around and waits for acting jobs, she works - unlike Megan who sits on her "throne at 73rd and Park", a comment Megan takes great offense to.

Roger then call's Ginsberg into his office to run a corporate image campaign for the prospective client Burt ran up for him, only he bribes Ginsberg into passing the campaign off as his own - to which Ginsberg accepts the cash.

That evening Henry wakes Betty who catches him making a steak, he apologies saying he "can't eat fish, five times a week." At the dinner table he shares his work problems with Betty who in turn reminds him, she will always be there to support him, and that its so easy to blame their choices on someone else when really they are in charge of their own decisions.

Betty tells Sally about Anna, dark shadows
Betty telling Sally about Anna, in Dark Shadows.
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The next morning Roger calls Jane to arrange a dinner, with the Jewish clients. Jane bargains with Roger, for her presence at the dinner, he in exchange has to buy her a new apartment, because the one she is currently in is filled with painful memories of them as a couple, an offer Roger accepts.

Pete on his couch mid-morning fantasies about Beth Dawes.

Megan telling don, dark shadows
Megan advising Don against reacting to Betty's passive-aggressiveness, in Dark Shadows.
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Sorting out Bobby's school work. she sees a love letter written from Don to Megan, filled with jealousy she passive-aggressively takes it out on Sally who is working on a family tree for a school project, Betty tell Sally to include Don's late "first" wife Anna, Sally in turn is taken aback by this information, she asks Betty "who is she" a question Betty answers, "ask Megan, I don't know why she didn't tell you."

During a short meeting with creative, Account Manager's Pete and Ken decide that Ginsberg's ad for Snoball really captivates the juvenile quality the client is after, but as a safety they should present both ideas to the client.

As a result of Betty's carelessness Sally takes out her unacknowledged evidence of Anna on Megan, who accuses her of lying to her about Anna. Megan responds to Sally's outburst as it simply wasn't her place to say who Anna was and she should have talked to her father about it.

That night Megan, tells on about Sally's outburst which in turn makes Don furious at Betty, Megan advises Don to allow this to go over their heads, because Don's reaction is exactly what Betty wants. Sally overhears this. On the same night Ginsberg tells Peggy about the work Roger has bribed him to do, a fact Peggy takes great offense to after she had also done secret work for Roger.

Don and sally, dark shadows
Don telling Sally about his relationship with Anna, in Dark Shadows.
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The morning after, Sally overhears Don once again scolding Pete, to which Don notices he demand Sally talk to him and not Megan about Anna. Struggling at first tells Sally that his relationship with Anna was strictly platonic and that Betty only told Sally to hurt Don. The same morning Peggy runs into Roger in the elevator demanding to know why Ginsberg was chosen and not her, she reminds Roger that he is selfish after he tells her he picked Ginsberg and she in turn was being selfish, and that in the real world its "every man for himself".

Don, Harry and Ken are arriving to pitch for Snoball and in a moment of insecurity Don leaves Ginsberg's idea in the cab, leaving Don to only pitch his own idea. After Harry comes back from the meeting he reveals to Ginsberg that Don had left Ginsberg's idea in the cab, news Ginsberg doesn't take very well.

Don and ginsberg, dark shadows
Ginsberg confronts Don, in Dark Shadows.
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Betty asks Sally if she had asked Megan about Anna, and in order to get back at her mother for acting so petulantly, Sally reacts as if the revelation of Anna was know big deal and Megan and Don were more than open when talking about her. As a result this annoys Betty.

After dinner with Jane, Roger asks Jane to allow him to see her new apartment. After inspecting it, claiming it has potential, in the heat of the moment Jane and Roger have sex on the floor. The next morning Jane appears regretful telling Roger he has ruined the apartment for her, and its just as ridden with bad memories now, as the last one.

Ginsberg catches up with Don the elevator where he confronts Don on not pitching his idea, after rallying back and fourth Ginsberg tells Don that he feels sorry for him, in which Don replies he doesn't even think about Ginsberg.

The episode ends on Thanks Giving Day, at the Francis household Betty is seen with a limited amount on her plate.

Dark Shadows
The toxic smog in Dark Shadows, is a metaphoric reference to the Betty subplot, in trying to come in between Don and Megan's relationship.
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Guest Starring



  • This episode takes place in November of 1966, concluding with Henry, Betty, Sally, and Bobby having Thanksgiving Dinner.
  • The episode title is a nod to the television show Dark Shadows, a daytime supernatural soap opera which aired on ABC from 1966-1971. In the episode, Megan reads part of an episode script with her friend Julia, who is preparing to audition for a role in the show. Coincidently, the Dark Shadows feature film starring Johnny Depp was released the same weekend the episode originally aired.[1]


  1. Was the ‘Dark Shadows’ Mention on ‘Mad Men’ a Coincidence?
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