Mad Men, "5G": just go back to thinking that [Key Series Moments]

As we wait for the arrival of Season Five, currently scheduled to premiere in early 2012, stay tuned to TV Geek Army all summer long to get your Mad Men fix. Here we take a look at a key series moment from Season One, Episode Five: “5G.”

5g

Mad Men’s tag line is “where the truth lies.” After four episodes of being gradually and even luxuriously introduced to the world of Don and Betty Draper and the advertising industry in New York City circa 1960, “5G” jolts us with a deep dive into Don’s back story while examining issues of identity and what people do to maintain a version of themselves that they want themselves and others to see. 

We’ve had a few hints up until this point in the series that the character we’ve come to know as Donald Draper – Korean war veteran and husband and father and Creative Director at the Sterling Cooper advertising agency – is not precisely who he says he is, most notably coming in the form of an old war buddy recognizing him as Dick Whitman on a train in “Marriage of Figaro.”

Because the hints heretofore have been somewhat subtle amidst lots of other stuff going on, it comes as a dramatic wallop when Don’s (or Dick’s, as we soon come to learn) brother, Adam Whitman (Jay Paulson, a terrific character actor who stole many a scene in October Road as Physical Phil), shows up at Sterling Cooper.

“Dick, I thought you were dead and you’re right here!” the so-earnest-it-hurts Adam tells a stone faced Don/Dick at a diner several blocks away from the office. Adam has found a picture of his very alive brother in the newspaper while working as a janitor in midtown Manhattan (in the episode’s opening scene, we see a dressed-to-the-nines Don and Betty return from an awards dinner, where his picture was taken by a reporter).  

The key moment comes late in the episode when Don visits Adam at his apartment, the letter and number of which form the episode’s title. We’re not sure exactly why Don chose to call Adam at night for an impromptu visit as after all Don had tried mightily to sever the relationship completely, such as it is at that point in time, while at the diner: “I’m not buying your lunch because this never happened.”

Inside of 5G, Don says, “Adam, listen to me. I have a life, and it only goes in one direction: forward.”

Then comes a moment that has never happened before or since over the course of four Mad Men seasons: the whiff of a possibility that Don Draper/Dick Whitman is capable of murder. After all, if Adam simply disappears, it removes a major threat to Don Draper’s cover and true identity.

It gets downright creepy and sinister for just a beat as Don asks, “So no Abigail, no Uncle Mac, nobody?” He’s ensuring that everyone else associated with Dick Whitman’s past is now dead (we find out later about Anna Draper, of course, but that doesn’t factor for these purposes) and that Adam is a final living liability on Don’s hands.

Adam continues to make conversation, desperate to reconnect with his brother who has miraculously come back to life.

“Of course Uncle Mac thought you were soft. But you’re not, are you?” Adam says.

“No, I’m not,” Don replies, and then reaches into his briefcase.

Instead of a gun, $5,000 in cash comes out instead. “I don’t want to see or hear from you ever again,” Don says, attempting to buy Adam and the danger he poses out of his life.

“That’s not what I wanted. That’s not right,” Adam says.

“You thought I was dead. Just go back to thinking that.”  

This kind of exhilarating and unsettling storytelling is a perfect retort to the silly argument that “not enough happens” during Mad Men’s early seasons.

By Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader"

About the author

Eric is the publisher and revered leader of TV Geek Army… at least in his own mind. TV Geek Army is a place for serious TV reviews and news for serious fans of great television. Contact: eric-[at]-tvgeekarmy.com 

More From Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader"

Salvage Dog’s “Parkville Farmhouse” airs on October 22nd, 2017 at 9/8c on DIY.
Read More
Superstition's series premiere, entitled "Taking Care of Business," is on Friday, October 20th, 2017 at 10/9c on SYFY.
Read More
The Eleven series premiere, “Paradise Lost,” airs on October 19th, 2017 at 9/8c on A&E. Additionally, the second episode, “Russian Roulette,” airs right after at 10/9c.
Read More
0 Comments
Name:

Email (Will not be used):

Comment:

characters left
 

Featured Articles

Popular Today

 
 

Recent Comments

"Mysterion Rises" with The Cute Lord Cthulhu - South Park review
Actually, the birthing of Kenny in "Cartman Joins NAMBLA" doesn't necessarily conflict with the circumstances of Kenny's reincarnation...
Alien Encounters, "The Message": a hard to find little show that's worth the search
Mind Reading Technologies and Tongues Governments from around the world have been using mind reading technologies that can read...
Dog The Bounty Hunter, "And Baby Makes Three": revisiting an old favorite
i do like your show i wish can be your fan club i want all of your show on dvd please
Boardwalk Empire, "Two Boats and a Lifeguard": daddy issues
Are you looking for a partner for the relationship or for fun? Then you came to the right place. We are providing you the best dating...
The Boonies: National Geographic's off the grid reality exploit
I can verify Bear Claw. Good man. I cant vouch for the other participants. It is to bad society does suck so bad that this type...
The Boonies: National Geographic's off the grid reality exploit
Lake Michigan is not an ocean. Has anyone seen my white dog? Lost him while hiking in Arkansas
The Boonies: National Geographic's off the grid reality exploit
I too also as well live on the island, I can attest that Dan lives in the ocean as he has for hundreds of decades. We locals call...
Parks and Recreation: why is everyone so mean to Jerry?
It's funny because its so not funny.
The Boonies: National Geographic's off the grid reality exploit
I too live on the island and ISLANDER does not know what they are talking about. Dan lives out in the middle of the island with...
The Boonies: National Geographic's off the grid reality exploit
this is not real i know that goat and it is not "doc's" its my neighbors goat. and by the way i live on the very top of that mountain...