5G (Mad Men)

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"5G"
Mad Men episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 5
Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter
Written by Matthew Weiner
Original air date August 16, 2007
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Mad Men (season 1)
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"5G" is the fifth episode of the first season of the American television drama series Mad Men. It was written by series creator Matthew Weiner and directed by Lesli Linka Glatter. The episode originally aired on the AMC channel in the United States on August 16, 2007. It is the first episode to deal with the series' long-running story arc of Don's dual identities.

Plot

Don wins an award for his work, and his picture appears in Advertising Age. This attracts the attention of a man named Adam Whitman, who shows up at the Sterling Cooper offices claiming that he is Don's half brother, and that Don's real name is Dick Whitman. Don tries to deny this, but agrees to meet Adam at a nearby coffee shop around lunch. There, Adam tells Don that he always knew he was still alive, despite being told that he had died in the Korean War. Don admits that his real name is Dick, but he refuses to share any information about himself or his life with Adam. When Don asks about the rest of the family, Adam reveals their mother Abigail has died due to cancer, to which Don coldly remarks "Good," revealing that she was not his real mother. Adam also says their "Uncle Mack" died shortly after Abigail died. Don leaves without eating after telling Adam that he has no place for him in his life. While Don is gone, he nearly misses an appointment to have his portrait taken with Betty and the kids, forcing a desperate Peggy, thinking he is seeing his mistress, to cover for his absence. She reveals the existence of the mistress to Joan, who advises her how to handle the situation, but tells her never reveal such information to anyone.

Meanwhile, Ken Cosgrove announces that he has recently gotten a short story published in Atlantic Monthly. This news causes a great deal of jealousy among Ken's co-workers, particularly Pete and Paul. Paul's own attempts to undermine Ken's achievements turn out poorly. Pete pressures his wife Trudy to visit her ex-boyfriend Charlie Fiddich, who now works in publishing, in the hopes of seeing if he will publish a story that Pete has written. Their meeting goes awkwardly, but Trudy resists the advances of Fiddich and manages to get Pete's story published in Boys' Life. Upon hearing the news, Pete is outraged, saying that his story was good enough for The New Yorker and that Trudy should have done whatever it took to get him published there. In response, Trudy calls Pete out for putting her in a difficult position.

Don receives a letter from Adam containing a hotel room number and a photo of the two of them when Adam was a child and Don a soldier. Don burns the photograph, but he calls Adam and agrees to meet with him. Don goes to Adam's room but ignores his attempts to connect with him. Instead, he offers him $5,000 to leave New York, start his own life, and never contact him again. Adam is heartbroken, but Don gently explains that he has too much to lose by revealing his past and embraces him, before returning home, having severed all ties to his earlier life. He tells Betty that they will have to wait until they are financially able to afford a summer home.

Cultural references

Midge calls Don at work under the guise of jazz musician Bix Beiderbecke.

Reception

The episode was received positively by critics. Alan Sepinwall, writing for New Jersey's The Star-Ledger, was a fan of the episode, praising the mystery of Don's identity and writing that the subplot involving Ken's short story left him "delighted."[1] Andrew Johnston, writing for Slant Magazine, also praised the deepening of Don's backstory, and wrote that the series was finding its voice as "a comedy of manners."[2] Todd VanDerWerff, writing for The A.V. Club in 2013, praised the emotional core of the story, but called the episode "over-obvious and [lacking] the subtext that really makes this show sing when it’s working"[3]

References

  1. Sepinwall, Alan (August 17, 2007). "Mad Men: I don't want to be a Dick". The Star Ledger. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
  2. Johnston, Andrew (August 17, 2007). "Mad Men Fridays: Season 1, Episode 5 "5G"". The Star Ledger. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
  3. VanDerWerff, Todd (December 11, 2013). "Mad Men: "5G"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 

External links