Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers from the two-hour Mad Men premiere from last night on AMC. If you haven’t seen the episode and don’t want to be spoiled, don’t read this.
The premiere of Mad Men’s sixth season was one that got me really excited before I even saw it. Not because of what I expected to happen (Matthew Weiner keeps the plot of the show under a very tight lid) but because, for the first time, I was caught up with the series and could watch the new episodes without spoiling anything.
I spent last summer plowing through seasons one through four, then got season five shortly after it came out on DVD.
Anyways, season five ended on a lot of cliffhangers. Megan finally got a role in a commercial, beginning her dream of being an actress. Roger was high as a kite on LSD and the final shot we see of him is standing naked in front of a huge window. Joan has become a partner at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce at the cost of sleeping with a real pig of an automobile bigwig, and then, of course, there was the scene with Don alone in a bar, with a woman coming up to him and asking “Are you alone?”
The premiere opens with a scream and someone being resuscitated. After that, though, we join Don and Megan in Hawaii. Jon Hamm and Jessica Paré are on screen for some time at the beginning, but Hamm doesn’t actually say anything until about eight minutes in.
We soon join a few other subplots. Peggy is annoyed that she’ll have to change up a Superbowl ad because of a spot on the Johnny Carson show, and her boss is kind of an idiot. Betty Draper continues to be fucking insane after suggesting jokingly that her husband Henry go and rape a fifteen-year-old girl that was staying with the Francis family (I still have no idea who that girl is; a friend of Sally’s?).
There’s also an interesting centrepiece with Roger Sterling when he finds out that his mother has passed away. At first he isn’t surprised at all and reacts very well. He arranges for a funeral in his mother’s home, but as someone is giving a speech he sees that his ex-wife has brought her new husband (I think) and Roger flips out, telling everyone to get out before he decides to just leave himself. Later in his office he breaks down and cries.
This season seems to show characters going off the rails. Peggy has certainly grown a lot of backbone in her new position, although she’s definitely had that professionalism for a while now. The way she layed into those two younger ad guys was pretty fun to watch. And there’s the slightest hint that she may be having an affair with Ted Chaough, which would be pretty messy what with both parties’ relationships. Then again, that’s never stopped all the other countless affairs in this show from happening.
But it seems like Don is poised to suffer a lot this season. During the pivotal funeral scene, Don shows up, drink in hand, and actually vomits while a speech is being made. Pete and co. get him out of the way. And then, at the end, there’s a big reveal, which I will not mention, but suffice to say I had myself thinking goddamnit, Don!
There are still lots of characters to check up on. I want to know if Pete does actually have an apartment in the city now, and how Trudy’s doing by herself. I want to know how Joan is dealing with her awful mother and if she’s still feeling guilty about Lane’s death.
And then of course I want to see how much more Betty is going to change (hint: Bobby said in the episode “I hate it! You’re ugly” and then ran off in fear). And I want to know if Megan and Don are truly still happy in their marriage.
There seemed to be quite a bit of criticism of this episode, but we’ll see how it all plays out. I can’t wait to see what happens next.