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‘Mad Men’ Season Five’s Most Depressing Moments

We run down the season’s lowest – but no less intriguing – points

'Mad Men,' Season Five: The Most Depressing Moments

Michael Yarish/AMC; Frank Ockenfels/AMC; Michael Yarish/AMC

Mad Men hasn't really been known for making its audiences feel warm and fuzzy inside, but this season has been especially dark – its peppy, "Zou Bisou Bisou"-soundtracked opening episode notwithstanding – with suicide, weight gain, tawdry business transactions, electro-shock therapy and the threat of physical violence punctuating the story lines. As the SCDP crew plunges deeper into despair at work and at home, here's a look at some of the more soul-crushing moments of Season Five.

By Sarene Leeds

peggy quits

Jordin Althaus/AMC

Peggy quits SCDP – Episode 11, ‘The Other Woman’

There's only so much lack of appreciation a person can take, and even Peggy Olson has a breaking point. After being overlooked yet again in favor of talented new kid Michael Ginsberg, the SCDP copywriter gives herself an upgrade – in the form of a copy chief position at rival firm CGC. Don takes her decision as a personal affront, and tells her not to bother giving two weeks' notice. But when she extends her hand to say good-bye, fighting back tears, Don realizes he's lost his best collaborator. He presses his lips to her knuckles and lingers there for several seconds, unwilling to let her go.

layne pryce

Jordin Althaus/AMC

Lane Pryce commits suicide – Episode 12, ‘Commissions and Fees’

The British financial officer had been showing signs of money trouble as early as the season premiere, but it wasn't until later episodes that we learned how dire his situation had become. When Don finds out that Lane had embezzled funds from SCDP to pay back taxes (and forged Don's signature on the check), he has no choice but to demand his resignation. Personally and professionally humiliated, Lane takes his own life by hanging himself on the door to his office – following a botched attempt to asphyxiate himself in his brand-new Jaguar – leaving his colleagues to discover his dead body.

mad men

Michael Yarish/AMC

Beth Dawes Gets Electro-Shock Therapy – Episode 13, ‘The Phantom’

We’ve watched Pete do some despicable things this season, not the least of which was to spearhead Joan’s effective prostitution to land the Jaguar account. But he still managed to arouse our sympathy when his doomed infatuation with Beth Dawes came to a heart-wrenching conclusion. Beth has been battling depression, and her choice of treatment is electro-shock therapy. Following her most recent round of EST, Pete visits her in the hospital, only to find she no longer recognizes him (or does she?). Still he pours out his soul to Beth, revealing that his love for her made him realize that his life with his family was a "temporary bandage on a permanent wound."

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