Few shows are as addictive as Mad Men was. Though not filled with the same mysteries and battle sequences as other popular shows, something about the world of advertising in the 1960s was so engrossing. It also helped that the show was packed with fantastic actors and top-tier writing.
Years after being off the air, the show is still a lot of fun to return to. Not every episode was a winner, but some of them rank among the best television has to offer. It’s difficult to name the best of best, so we’ll see what the viewers have to say. Here are the best episodes of Mad Men according to IMDB.
10 "Far Away Places"(9.1)
The show excels at connecting subplots from various characters through themes. Season 5's "Far Away Places" explored that idea even further with an anthology episode, which focuses on three of its main characters in their own standalone tales.
Peggy hits a wall when pitching an idea for a beans ad, Roger and his wife try to reconnect through LSD, and Don takes Megan on a road trip. It's interesting seeing how different characters' perceptions of the same event can differ. Also, spending unbroken time with each character feels intimate.
9 "The Milk and Honey Route" (9.1)
As the series drew to a close, we saw the show continue to explore intricate themes as it wrapped up the stories of these beloved characters. Don is continuing his runaway journey into the heartland and away from the city, which sets up the episode's theme of characters wanting more than the big city life.
Of course, the show is more complex than to suggest the simple country life is far better than the raucous city life. Though Don craves that simplistic realization, the truth hits him hard and he is once again left looking for answers.
8 "The Gypsy and the Hobo" (9.2)
Since early in the series, we have been waiting for the moment that Don is finally confronted with the truth about his past. This episode sees that confrontation comes to fruition, as Betty asks those tough questions.
The moment is intense, awkward and exhilarating in all the right ways. It is one we have been waiting to see and it doesn't disappoint. Perhaps going against what some might have expected, the scene is played quietly, which puts Don in a vulnerable position we've never seen him in before. That scene alone makes it a must-watch episode.
7 "In Care Of" (9.2)
Within this one episode, we see a lot of change in Don Draper the character. Maybe more change than we've ever seen from him, and that is a very satisfying experience. After running from his past for so long, Don finally embraces a bit of where he came from. It comes with consequences both good and bad.
As everyone prepares for the holidays, Don pitches to Hershey, Peggy deals with her complicated relationship with Ted, and the decision is made about who will go to California. The game-changing decisions made in this episode are well-earned and exciting.
6 "Person to Person" (9.3)
Not every show can end in a way that satisfies its fans. Certainly, even the most acclaimed series finales couldn't please everyone. However, Mad Men can boast that their finale is included on the list of its best-rated episodes, and that's certainly an accomplishment.
While the show ties up the storylines for several key characters, including Peggy finding love and Pete giving marriage another try, the focus is on Don. In an episode about people connecting, Don struggles with whether or not he can make that connection or just fake that he can.
5 "The Other Woman" (9.4)
Joan is one of the most fascinating characters on the show. As an extremely attractive woman, she is given a lot of attention from men, which she leverages to get what she wants. She is a very intelligent person with a lot of ambition. That's why this episode is such an important one for her character.
Her decision to sleep with an executive from Mustang in exchange for a partnership in the firm is complex. She could get everything she wants, but at a heavy price. Meanwhile, Peggy makes moves of her own in this high-stakes and moving episode.
4 "Commissions and Fees" (9.4)
Lane Pryce's tragic fall from grace is one of the most memorable storylines in the show. Starting out as an outsider and attempting to gain respect for his own contributions to the company, Lane was an easy guy to cheer for. But bad luck and poor decisions led him down the wrong path.
Seeing it all come crashing down for this hard-working man is hard to watch but absolutely riveting, thanks largely to Jared Harris' amazing performance. He is one of the most memorable characters in the show and this episode was a sad yet fitting end for Lane.
3 "Waterloo" (9.5)
Being a period drama, Mad Men does a great job of incorporating some of the biggest events of the era into the show's narrative. We have seen this done several times in the series, but this episode revolving around the moon landing in 1969 is particularly noteworthy.
As the world watches the historic event, Don proceeds with his own mission to regain his control within the company. The season showed Don in a more vulnerable place which had been fascinating, but it was great to see him get some of his fight back.
2 "Shut the Door. Have a Seat" (9.7)
Though Mad Men doesn't have the spectacle that some other shows have, it can get your heart racing with some of its fast-paced episodes. The show is most exciting when Don and the others are backed into a corner with nowhere to go.
Such is the case with this exciting episode in which the firm is being sold and some key members attempt to jump off the sinking ship by starting their own agency. The episode has the feel of a heist film with characters reuniting and having their own moments to shine.
1 "The Suitcase" (9.7)
Though the show is filled with so many great characters, Don is clearly the star of the show. However, a case could be made that Peggy is almost equally important. Their relationship is certainly one of the more riveting in the show, with plenty of ups and downs. But this episode saw it all come to a boiling point.
With the office empty, Don and Peggy work on an ad for a suitcase. Through their conversations, they air their grievances with each other, dissect their relationship and comfort one another. It explores their relationship once work is removed from the equation. It is one of the most thrilling and intimate episodes ever.