The new season of Mad Men nearly gave us a heart attack.
Instead, it gave one to someone else.
The last time we saw Don Draper (Jon Hamm) he was being propositioned by a woman in a bar, and the audience was left hanging with whether the now kinda happily-ish married man would return to his womanizing ways.
Now, it's December 1967, South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard has transplanted a human heart, and that's only part of the ticker trouble going on this episode.
So what we learned is…
Don Has Gone On to Paradise: Well, Hawaii, which is presented in its innocent 1960s glamour. Don is there on business with his wife Megan (Jessica Pare), who transformed the commercial Don got for her into a recurring role on a soap opera. And Don? Well, after a brief voiceover of him reading Dante's Inferno, he doesn't speak for the first seven minutes of the episode. The silence is eventually broken as he helps out a soldier, gets back to work and makes a nice new buddy, a doctor, too. But we don't really learn anything about what we've missed until the end of the episode—other than the fact that Don does think that heaven sounds totally morbid, OK?
Megan Asks the Eternal Question: And that question is: will you still love me if I'm a lying cheating whore? To be fair, she asks that question when she finds out her soap character, who she's fretted over while being away on vacation, is about to turn evil, but nothing about this show just, you know, happens. Oh, and the answer is yes.
Betty Drives Recklessly and Discusses Rape Fantasies With Her Husband: Betty (January Jones) has had a rough go of it over the past few seasons, but the show insists on giving us a few more classic Bettyisms, the worst of which are her creepy jealous comments to her husband about a 15-year-old friend of daughter Sally (Kieran Shipka). But from that low point, the still slightly fat-suited character starts a journey toward, if not redemption, a search to help said teen (probably because it suits Betty, but time will tell) and a physical change that at least one character totally objects to.
Roger Sterling Can't Feel Anything: Despite his recent nude acid trips, the silver-haired charmer Sterling (John Slattery) faces personal loss and psychoanalysis but can't seem to feel much of anything (excluding a flash of jealousy at his ex-wife) until he receives an unexpected gift: a shoeshine box. Also, he receives the gift of a drunken Don vomiting into the umbrella stand at his mother's wake.
Peggy Has to Work, People!: Having left to go to a new firm, Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) now gets to troubleshoot a Super Bowl ad that goes awry. And boy, she not only learned advertising from Don, but how to be a haughty jerk, too. That said, she can really deliver the goods.
Bob Benson Is Trouble: Handsome, charming and full of gee-whiz enthusiasm, this guy in accounts clearly will be some kind of sociopathic troublemaker this season. Ken is on to him, and now we are, too.
And It's Still Cable, People: The episode references sex, death, swearing, vomiting, gastric distress, public restroom sex, drunkenness, pot smoking, infidelity and family vacation photos. And Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) has some killer sideburns developing.
Welcome back, Mad Men!
What did you think about the season premiere?
Sound off in the comments!