And so, friends, we are now on the threshold of “Mad Men's” fifth season finale, “The Phantom.” Here's the through line -- "opportunity is in the air for everyone, and Pete meets a stranger on the train.” The promo is posted below.
What can we say about this final episode of the season, sight unseen? Next to nothing, I'm afraid. A certain degree of obfuscation is expected with any “Mad Men” episode -- doubly so with the finale. What to read in the title? Possibly everything. Possibly nothing. For example, the fourth's capper, “Tomorrowland,” referred to a trip Don was planning with the kids to Disneyland, and, probably, to the future, insofar as Don had proposed to Megan. What is “The Phantom?” Well, in popular culture the most obvious tie is the old Lee Falk comic.
There's also a temptation to assume that this finale might link back to the second season finale, “Meditations in an Emergency,” because to a certain extent the fifth has been resolving or elaborating upon themes from the second. There might even be a temptation to tie this in with the first season capper, “The Wheel,” because that season, after all, saw the suicide of Don's brother Adam, in the penultimate episode, just as we saw the suicide of Lane last week (in both instances, Don had a direct link).
So, just to keep playing this game, if “The Phantom” does in some way tie back to the first and second season closers, would that mean a pregnancy, most likely Megan's (can't rule out Betts)? Reason is, the first season closed with the birth of Peggy's child, while Betts told Don she was pregnant at the end of “Meditations.”
Megs pregnant -- that ol' circle of life thing? Who knows, but doubtful. Seems just too obvious but who knows? Of course, the episode will have to deal with Lane's death in some profound way.
And also remember this: Predicting or anticipating a “Mad Men” plot point is a fool's errand, so that may well make me a fool.
Here's the promo, as promised, which does appear to indicate some sort of rupture between Don and Megs.