27 March 2012

Mad Men Season 5, Episode 1: "A Little Kiss" (Parts 1 & 2)

So Mad Men finally returned Sunday night, after an excruciating wait of nearly a year and a half. The first episode was supersized to just over two hours, but it still counts as two hours of season five, meaning there only eleven more episodes that will air this season.

I would have preferred a single hour for that reason, plus I didn't feel like sitting on the floor for two hours in front of the second TV to watch it live, so I didn't see it at all until last night and I've only watched it once. In the coming weeks my plan is to post my thoughts as soon as possible after the episodes air, hopefully on Mondays, so you won't have to wait too long.

[Let's remember my standard disclaimer: I have avoided reading any other recaps, writeups, or other commentary on this episode before writing this, so if I express something similar to thoughts you've read elsewhere, it's entirely a coincidence. If you have not watched the episode, assume there are spoilers ahead and act accordingly.]

We've jumped forward in time approximately six or seven months since the events at the end of season four, to the beginning of the summer of 1966. (I didn't have an exact read on when S4 ended, other than it was the fall of '65.) Don and Megan are married and have a swank new apartment, and as I expected we don't get to see the wedding. Fans may be disappointed by this, but from the production's point of view, it's much easier and less costly not to have to depict a wedding ceremony. Who knows? Maybe we'll get a snippet of it as a flashback.

Elsewhere, Joan has had her baby (I expect Christina Hendricks was grateful not to have to don prosthetic pregnancy gear), a boy named Kevin. No disrespect to anyone named Kevin, but I was expecting a slightly less ordinary name from her. Conveniently someone mentions that it looks just like her, which means she can dodge the paternity issue, at least for the time being. Joan is almost immediately torn between her maternal instincts and her desire to get back to work, and having her mother around seems to be making her distress worse. Why do people on TV always have such fraught relationships with their parents? It's such a cliché.

Pete and Trudy have moved to Connecticut, and Pete is already weary of the commuting routine. I predict he's heading for a full-on affair, not just one of the one-time assignations we've seen in the past. He's also clashing with Roger, who's still doing as little work as possible and is now buying favors outright.

Peggy is still pissed off about Don and Megan, and she's letting it affect her relationship with Don, which is worse. Even though she wouldn't want to be the younger woman Don married, part of her still thinks it could have been her, had she made different choices earlier in her employment.

What to make of Lane? The guy has quite a kinky streak. As his fellow countrymen would say, he's bent.

I found the party scene rather depressing, probably because we were primed to see it the way Don would. And while Megan's performance was certainly provocative, I found myself wondering if she had been some sort of performer before coming to work at SCDP. Instead of having her work at the agency in an easy boss's-wife job, I would rather see her to say to Don, "I'd really like to go back to my career as a nightclub singer," because he would be totally against that and the resulting conflict between them would be a lot more interesting.

Two hours and no sign of Betty? I thought maybe the writers had given in to fans' anti-Betty sentiment, then I remembered that January Jones had given birth not too long before production on this season started, so I guess they had to work around her to an extent. She was in the previews for next week, though.

I'm sure a lot of people will disagree with me, but I really liked Pete's madras jacket. The colors were a lot more interesting than what you typically see for that type of garment. Update: at least GQ agrees with me.

No comments: