It's my favorite time of the year! Spring is blooming, though apparently not in DC where summer has already made her presence known. 90 degrees in April, really? #Climatechange More importantly, April brings us the return of Mad Men, one of the best dramas on television now (and possibly ever).
The sixth season begins with the New Year, only appropriate for a show that is becoming obsessed with death and rebirth. Images and symbols for suicide, death, and loss appear throughout both episodes, setting this season up to be just as bleak as the previous one.
But before we all speculating on who will commit suicide/ get pushed down an elevator shaft/ have a heart attack, let's check in with heart of the show- the women. Even though the show's leading man, Don, is the driving force behind the show's story arcs, the women of Mad Men are often the moral compasses, and their stories are just as fascinating and interesting.
Peggy Olson- Peggy's telephone scenes are still an absolute delight. I would also totally watch a spin-off where we get to see Peggy be an absolute ball buster. In some ways, the show's thesis that nothing and no one ever really changes is directly challenged by Peggy's growth over the last several years. Her treatment of the copywriters under her is not something we would have expected from the mousy secretary from in Season 1.
Don's influence is clear in the way Peggy handled the client of the week- Koss headphones. I hope this doesn't mean that Peggy will also be emulating Don's personal life. Kevin Rahm (Ted Chaough) has been promoted to regular cast, which means we will be seeing more of the folks over at Cutler Gleason and Chaough. Is Stan right in thinking that Ted likes Peggy? I didn't like the coy smiles exchanged between them. What will happen to ABE? Full Disclosure: I didn't recognize Abe for at least an hour. He's gotten a head start on his '70's mustache.
Betty Francis- Holy shit snacks, who is this Betty? Joking about raping your daughter's 15 year old friend, making goulash for squatters in the Village, becoming brunette. I'm glad she hasn't magically lost the weight. One of my favorite shots of Betty is when she is sitting with Sally's psychiatrist at the end of Season 4. Betty's child-like and childish ways are beautifully captured in this scene.
Season 6 sees an older and slightly more mature Betty. Betty as a teenager? She seems repulsed by St. Mark's Place and its inhabitants yet she craves their approval. Betty also is much more proactive in this episode than we've seen in a while. She drives to New York to try and find Sally's friend, she tackles their derision with as much grace as she can muster, and changes her hair color. These attempts to be happy are minor but important.
Megan Draper née Calvert- I don't get all the Megan hate in Season 5. You can accuse her of not being a fully developed character, but that's hardly her fault (also, not true). Now that Don's back to his philandering ways, will we be more sympathetic to Megan? Probably not, because she landed herself a spot on a soap opera. As a villain, appropriately. Megan's star is on the rise, and she might not want to be chained to a middle-aged man who is constantly thinking about death. Even one with Jon Hamm's face. And penis.
Sally Draper- Calling her mother Betty. Check. Closing the door in her face. Yes. Sally's in teenage rebellion mode. Setting this season at the beginning of 1968 means that we missed out on the Summer of Love (an interesting choice on Weiner's part) but rest assured, there are tons of shenanigans for Sally to get herself into.
Joan Harris née Holloway- The only reason this episode was merely good and not great. A severe and tragic lack of Joan.
"Next Week on Mad Men": Don's angry, doors are slammed and everyone's 70's hair is growing in quite nicely. Except Bobby Draper who is perpetually nine years old.