Peggy returned to work, Joan and Roger broke up, and Don and Betty's marriage seemed to be on the mend. But things quickly took a sharp turn when Joan became engaged to an abusive medical student and Don involved himself in another affair, this time with the wife of a client. After being exiled from his home, Don traveled to California met up with Anna (wife of the original Don Draper) while Roger ended his marriage with Mona and accepted a buyout of Cooper Sterling from Putman, Powell and Lowe without telling Don first. Meanwhile, as Don begged to come home, Betty found out she was pregnant with another child. Essential episode: ''Meditations in an Emergency''
Before Don walked out of the firm, before he proposed to Megan, Mad Men
gave us one of its most well-constructed season finales. The episode's greatness came not from its storylines, but from the fact that it made you feel as though your investment in these characters' struggles over 13 episodes had been worth it. At its core, the series is about individuals struggling with very public (and very private) demons in a world that is doing the same. In this episode, every character is experiencing their own ''live like there's no tomorrow'' moment, with Peggy telling Pete about his baby and Betty having sex with a stranger at the bar and Don realizing that while he may be selfish, he needs his wife and kids to survive. The decision to merge Sterling Cooper when the entire world could very well have exploded in the next 24 hours was a poignant and gut-punching reminder of the way fear can affect us. We get so caught up in looking for a ''shock'' factor in season finales that we tend to forget what a well-crafted hour can do, and tying the fictional events of the hour to the very real high stakes of the Cuban missile crisis elevated ''Meditations'' to a new level. Andrea Towers