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Lady Lazarus
5x8 Lady Lazarus.jpg
Season 5 Episode 8
Air date 6 May 2012
Written by Matthew Weiner
Directed by Phil Abraham

At the Codfish Ball
Dark Shadows


Peggy is irritated by a secret she has to keep. Pete covers for a friend and Don gets unexpected news.


This episode opens with Pete discussing life insurance with Howard, a fellow train rider who has been having a "blue month" in terms of sales. Rallying back and forth Pete assures he doesn't need life insurance because his Junior Partnership at SCDP cover's it, Howard assures him while Pete stays alive that is, reminding him he has a family that will still need financial help even after he's gone. Later in the conversation Howard reveals that he has a new, attractive mistress in the city, claiming his wife is happy despite the affair because he provides for her. In the train-station parking lot one evening, Howard's wife, Beth, asks Pete if he knows her husband and tells Pete she has locked her keys in her car. Pete drives her home, during which time Beth discusses her dire relationship with Howard. He comforts her, which results in them having sex on the floor of her living room. After the incident, Beth tells Pete to forget it happened and that it will never happen again, which doesn't sit well with him. Pete continues to yearn for Beth afterwards, calling her and even orchestrating a situation in which Howard invites him to dinner with Beth at their home. Before Pete creates an excuse to leave, he tells Beth to meet him at the Hotel Pennsylvania. Pete checks into the hotel. When Beth doesn't arrive, Pete smashes a glass of champagne against the wall.

Pete consoles Beth, in Lady Lazarus.

Megan confessing to Don, that she wants to start acting again. Episode: Lady Lazarus.

Don's reaction to the empty elevator shaft, in Lady Lazarus.

Peggy scolding Don in Lady Lazarus.

Peggy and Joan gossip about Megan in Lady Lazarus.

Megan wants to get back into acting and begins to resent her job at SCDP. After she confesses her feelings about work to Peggy, Peggy scolds her for taking a spot at a high-value job in the agency when there are other people looking for jobs. Late one night, Megan wakes Don to tell him of her desire to start acting again. Megan decides to quit her job at the agency the next morning. Don sees her off to the elevator as she leaves the office. Moments after Megan leaves, Don calls up another elevator. After the elevator doors open, Don finds no elevator. All he sees is a bare elevator shaft, and he looks down at an empty abyss.

Don, Ken, and Peggy attend a taste testing for cool whip. While at the taste testing Don and Peggy perform the intended commercial for the product, and Peggy mixes up a few words. Don becomes angry and yells at Peggy who yells back that she is not the one who Don is mad at. Don pulls out a cigarette only to be told there is no smoking in that room.

Roger enters Don's office and states that he can see Megan as an actress. Roger states that he did not get to choose what he did, his father told him. He then suggested that Megan is doing this because she wants a baby. Don says he brought up the idea of having a baby on their honeymoon but that Megan said his kids were enough. Roger says that Jane wanted a baby. He says that he doesn't want Megan to end up like Betty or her mother.

Don complains to Megan about not knowing what is going on in youth and popular culture, leading Megan to bring him a copy of The Beatles album Revolver. She tells him to start with the song "Tomorrow Never Knows". As Megan leaves for acting class, Don plays "Tomorrow Never Knows" and sits by himself with a glass of whiskey. About a minute into the song, he turns the record off, seemingly displeased with the sound, and walks back to his bedroom.


  • The episode title refers to Sylvia Plath's Lady Lazarus poem. The reference could be an allusion to the theme of being reborn: in the episode, most notably the career change of Megan Draper as a metaphor; in the poem, the author, who identifies herself with Lazarus (whom Jesus brought back from the dead), evokes her two near-death experiences and how she imagines coming back from her next one in the form of a phoenix.
  • The episode title is taken from a poem for the second time so far in the series existence, the first time being "Meditations in an Emergency", which takes its title from a book of poetry and its title poem.
  • The collection of poems which includes the episode title's namesake, Ariel, was first published in the US in 1966 (on or before June).
  • Alexis Bledel, who plays Beth Dawes in this episode, married Vincent Kartheiser in 2014. Their relationship began in mid-2012. 
  • In the scene with Roger Sterling and Pete Campbell, there used to be a line by Roger where he said something along the lines of "I know you don't ski, you do everything that's expensive."
  • Megan was originally much more defensive in the scene with her and Peggy in the bathroom.
  • Alexis Bledel got the role of Beth Dawes when she auditioned for a movie Matthew Weiner was working on. He said she was not right for the movie part, but he had her audition for Beth Dawes later.
  • For the scene where Pete throws the champagne glass at the mirror, the crew had a furniture pad set up so Vincent Kartheiser would not break the mirror. However, he missed and broke the mirror; The take was actually used in the show.
  • Usually for scenes with music on the show, they do not play music on set for the actors. However, the crew did play "Tomorrow Never Knows" for the actors this time, which Elisabeth Moss said helped a lot.


Main Star

Guest Star


  • James Sharpe as Calvin Nichols
  • Molly Hawkey as Sarah


Peggy: "Megan is not the problem."
Don: "You didn't want her there, you were threatened by everything about her."
Peggy: "I spend more time training her than you did. In eight months, defending her."
Don: "Defending her? She as great at it!"
Peggy: "She thinks advertising is stupid!"
Don: "No she thinks the people she worked with are cynical and petty!"
Ken: "Listen I"
Peggy: "I did everything right and I am still getting it from you! You know what? You are not mad at me, so shut up!"

Joan: "We missed you at Megan's lunch. I guess you have some extra work?"
Peggy: "No. I told her I'd rather go to my own lunch with her."
Joan: "I'm not gonna lie, I did not see it coming. I thought she would fail here."
Peggy: "I feel bad, I think maybe I was harder on her, scared her away."
Joan: "Second wives, I think they have a playbook."
Peggy: "I don't think she's like that."
Joan: "Peggy, she's going to be a failing actress, with a rich husband."
Peggy: "No, I think she's good at everything. I think she's just one of those girls."
Joan: "Then you had every right to be hard on her. Did you know he met Betty Draper during a print ad? Did you know she was a model? That's the kind of girl Don marries. Goodnight."

Seasons of Mad Men
Season 1 • "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" • "Ladies Room" • "Marriage of Figaro" • "New Amsterdam" • "5G" • "Babylon" • "Red in the Face" • "The Hobo Code" • "Shoot" • "Long Weekend" • "Indian Summer" • "Nixon vs. Kennedy" • "The Wheel" •
Season 2 • "For Those Who Think Young" • "Flight 1" • "The Benefactor" • "Three Sundays" • "The New Girl" • "Maidenform" • "The Gold Violin" • "A Night to Remember" • "Six Month Leave" • "The Inheritance" • "The Jet Set" • "The Mountain King" • "Meditations in an Emergency" •
Season 3 • "Out of Town" • "Love Among the Ruins" • "My Old Kentucky Home" • "The Arrangements" • "The Fog" • "Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency" • "Seven Twenty Three" • "Souvenir" • "Wee Small Hours" • "The Color Blue" • "The Gypsy and the Hobo" • "The Grown-Ups" • "Shut the Door. Have a Seat" •
Season 4 • "Public Relations" • "Christmas Comes But Once a Year" • "The Good News" • "The Rejected" • "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" • "Waldorf Stories" • "The Suitcase" • "The Summer Man" • "The Beautiful Girls" • "Hands and Knees" • "Chinese Wall" • "Blowing Smoke" • "Tomorrowland" •
Season 5 • "A Little Kiss, Part 1" • "A Little Kiss, Part 2" • "Tea Leaves" • "Mystery Date" • "Signal 30" • "Far Away Places" • "At the Codfish Ball" • "Lady Lazarus" • "Dark Shadows" • "Christmas Waltz" • "The Other Woman" • "Commissions and Fees" • "The Phantom" •
Season 6 • "The Doorway, Part 1" • "The Doorway, Part 2" • "The Collaborators" • "To Have and To Hold" • "The Flood" • "For Immediate Release" • "Man With a Plan" • "The Crash" • "The Better Half" • "A Tale of Two Cities" • "Favors" • "The Quality of Mercy" • "In Care Of" •
Season 7 • "Time Zones" • "A Day's Work" • "Field Trip" • "The Monolith" • "The Runaways" • "The Strategy" • "Waterloo" • "Severance" • "New Business" • "The Forecast" • "Time & Life" • "Lost Horizon" • "The Milk and Honey Route" • "Person to Person" •