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Mad Men Recap: “Mystery Date” Turmoil and Murder

7 years ago by Reg Seeton

In this week’s episode of Mad Men called “Mystery Date,” Don Draper’s philandering past came back to haunt him while America dealt with the psychological effects of a serial killer on the loose.

The third Season 5 episode of Mad Men got underway with 1966 serial killer Richard Speck on the loose in Chicago. As we learned, the murder of several nursing students in Chicago had Americans on the edge of their seats during the summer of 1966. And like many episodes of Mad Men, what was taking place in society at the time spoke volumes about the fears, turmoil and insecurities of the characters in and out of the advertising agency.

So, how did the AMC drama of Mad Men “Mystery Date” shake down on Sunday?

Don and Megan

It was only a matter of time before Don’s sexual exploits caught up with him and Megan in public. When an old flame made a move on Don inside an elevator with Megan standing next to him, Megan soon found herself confronting the type of man she married. As a result, Megan spent the remainder of the episode trying to establish her position as the only woman in Don’s life.

Don, on the other hand, suffered from a fever and hallucinated that he killed the woman he once slept with after sleeping with her again. It was a Mad Men moment that had you guessing, “OMG, did he really kill her? Did he really just stuff her body under his bed?” Interestingly, we never did see under Don’s bed, but we were made to believe that he hallucinated the murder. It was another moment that gave fans more insight into the mind of Don Draper and how he can’t control his sexual urges.

Betty and Henry

Poor Betty Francis! She was like a prisoner in her own home. This week Mad Men fans saw a heavier Betty Francis mask her increasing depression through food. Like her former husband when they were together, Betty’s life has been spiraling out of control ever since her marriage to Henry. For Henry, Betty was the trophy wife he never had. For Betty, Henry was the stability Don couldn’t give her. Now, however, Betty is caught between the imperfect life she once had and the reality of an imperfect life with Henry. Gaining weight by the day, Betty is also a prisoner of her time.

When Henry’s mother implied she should lose weight to make her husband happy, a trip to the doctor exposed potential thyroid cancer through a lump on her gland. And when Henry wasn’t around to ease her fears of cancer, Don became the first point of contact. After receiving a call from the doctor, Betty revealed to Henry that her thyroid lump was benign and that all was okay. But all wasn’t okay with Henry when he learned that Betty told Don about her ordeal. Is Betty really free of cancer? We’re not quite sure.

Joan and Greg

Here’s how it all played out:

Greg returned from Vietnam to loving wife Joan. Greg picked up Roger’s baby. Joan’s mother left with Roger’s baby. Joan and Greg had sex. Joan, Greg and in-laws went out for dinner. The truth revealed that Greg voluntarily extended his stay in Vietnam for a year and only had 10 days at home before leaving again. Joan blew a gasket. Joan blew another gasket. Joan kicked Greg out of her life for good. Good for Joan!


After being bribed by Roger to work over the weekend, Peggy stayed late to ready the Mohawk Airlines account. Amid fears of the Chicago killer, Peggy heard a noise in Don’s office, got up to check it out, and discovered Don’s new African America secretary, Dawn, sleeping on his couch. Peggy invited Dawn to stay the night at her place where the two shared drinks and stories about Don. In two awkward moments, Peggy revealed to Dawn that she’s not sure she wants to continue making strides in a male dominated world before thinking twice about leaving her purse with a black woman. It was a sign of the times and an even bigger clue into who Peggy is as a woman.

Pete and Roger

After landing Mohawk Airlines, Pete rubbed it Roger’s face and didn’t let anyone forget that it was he who landed another big fish. Roger, on the other hand, drowned himself in more booze over the fact that he’s being put out to advertising pasture by another person who he discovered. As Roger put it, he’s sick of having young guys step on his knuckles while he’s dangling from a ledge.


In perhaps the most interesting story of the “Mystery Date” episode of Mad Men, Sally Draper spent time with her step-grandmother, Pauline, who gave the young girl a dose of 60s style discipline. After forcing Sally to eat the sandwich she asked for, Pauline educated the young girl on what was happening with the murders in Chicago. Later that night, Sally was too scared to sleep and sought Pauline for comfort.

However, Pauline, with knife by her side from the same fear herself, proved to scare Sally even more by elaborating on how murderer Richard Speck likely killed the nurses because he hated his mother before having sex with them. Unable to sleep, Pauline shared a sleeping pill with Sally. When Henry and Betty arrived home from a trip, Pauline was asleep in her chair but Sally could be seen asleep but hiding underneath the couch.

What did you guys think of the “Mystery Date” episode of Mad Men?

What do you think?

Reg Seeton created The Deadbolt in 2005 after working for the pioneering movie news website, Coming Attractions. Reg has over 15 years experience as a top online entertainment journalist and interviewer, has worked with several award winning actors, musicians and writers, and has managed entertainment networks in New York and Los Angeles. And he's done it all with one eye!
  • Carlos

    Roger did not bribe Peggy to hire Ginsberg.  He was already hired.  Roger screwed up and didn’t get any content ready for the monday morning presentation and Ginsberg had already left for home.  He bribed Peggy to do the work and pretend he ordered it done earlier in the week so he wouldn’t look like he screwed up.  That’s the “lie” that Peggy was charging him for.

  • Carlos

    And couch not coach.

  • Whoa, “Mystery Date,” brought the intensity level to a fever
    pitch. Reports are that there are a few more seasons planned for the future,
    but at the rate Matt Weiner is going, Mad Men may cross the line from drama to
    thriller. After that episode, I could use a drink. I’ve been archiving
    original, early-60s party recipes from the Mad Men-era on my blog and love the flare
    of the swinging vintage hors d’oeuvres and cocktail recipes and I’m happy to
    share my guide to throwing the perfect 60s vintage cocktail party:

  • Kathleen

    Um, the Betty cancer scare happened in the episode last week. Betty didn’t even appear in this episode until the final minute when we see Sally sleeping under the couch.

  • Kathleen

    Also, the Pete/Roger storyline was from last week’s episode too.