Looks can be deceiving.
For the season opener of AMC’s Mad Men, audiences were given the typical Don Draper introduction, with all the glamour and panache we’ve grown used to, but coupled with the hollowed out emotional truth we’ve come to know.
Last time we saw Draper he had botched a meeting with Hershey by telling them he had grown up in a whore house, then he’d taken his kids to see the place. Now he is back to his lying ways, grasping on to them like a comforting old teddy bear.
He is still on leave from the company, but Megan isn’t aware. He comes to California under the pretense that he is there for work. She lives in a shabby bohemian house in the hills and gets angry when he buys a television. Truly, it is for himself because he is bored to tears. There is clearly a divide between them. She moved out there alone to further her acting career, assuming that Don is hard at work back in Manhattan, when really he has been sitting on his ass getting wasted most days.
Seeing Don at LAX and in the cafe next to Pete, he looks like he has finally met his match in the form of California. When visiting the place during last season he had a bunch of druggy trippy emotional revelations that he didn’t enjoy. Now he looks like he’s stepped out of a time machine into another world. Pete is supposedly enjoying the place. He wears shorts and a cardigan wrapped around his polo shirt, like the douche that he is. He shows Don the SCDP offices and his new realtor girlfriend.
Don tries to connect with Megan, but clearly the magic is gone. They make love, but Megan’s head really isn’t in the game. Later on when flying home, he meets a widow who spread her deceased alcoholic husband’s ashes at Disneyland. Sound familiar? That’s where Don fell in love with Megan when they took his kids on vacation. Don and the widow go from flirting, to lamenting their marriages, straight past the sexual tension, and into cuddling. Don admits that this second marriage is basically done for and then lies to the widow, saying he can’t hook up because he has to work.
And in a way it’s kind of true. Don is using Freddy Rumsen to pitch ideas to Peggy without her knowing. Unfortunately, Don’s replacement Lou isn’t buying these ideas from a woman and shuts Peggy down. Joan is having her own problems. After Ken pawns a client’s bitching off on her (still treating her like a secretary even though she is a partner) she meets with the young punk for Butler shoes who wants to do all of their advertising in house. He hangs his MBA knowledge over her head and so she does some research at a university and learns as much business jargon as she can. The professor asks for an exchange of goods and Joan assumes he means sex (so sad). But he actually wants to know more about SDCP operations and she lights up with glee telling him about their commission rates.
Peggy has more problems than just Lou. Ted comes to visit and makes the office super awkward. Stan attempts to be her cheerleader, but she brushes it off. Now that she is separated from her idiot boyfriend, she is in charge of the brilliant idea he had to own an apartment in the ghetto. She gets her brother-in-law to fix the plumping issues, even hoping that he’ll stay the night so she won’t be so lonely, but he doesn’t want his wife to be alone. Irony. Peggy breaks down right after he leaves.
Roger is having nightly orgies with hippies, boozing and drugging, when his daughter calls. She wants to meet for brunch and when they do she tells him that she forgives him. He doesn’t understand if he has even done anything wrong and assumes she has found religion. But really his daughter is just letting all of that shit go. And good for her, because apparently deep seeded psychological shit runs in her family.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let us know in the comments!