S05E01 & S05E02
Finally, our favorite advertisement agency has returned for a fifth season. So what did Don Draper and company have in store for us with the two-hour premiere?
It has been a while since the season four finale for Mad Men, and therefore I almost forgot how entertaining and brilliant the series can be. I also forgot how funny the writing was when I found myself laughing out loud during a handful of scenes. Anyway, Don and Megan are married and are living together. After spending Memorial Day Weekend with the children, the Mad Men return to their office where Megan prepares a surprise birthday party for Don. Despite Peggy’s warning that men don’t like surprises, Megan assures her that Don has never been to one of her parties before.
It’s Don’s 40th birthday, even though his real identity, Dick, turned 40 months ago. He apparently told Megan about this and she seemed pleasantly fine with the information (quite the opposite of when Betty found out). Don is certainly surprised by the party and proceeds to put on a show by smiling and allowing Megan to do what makes her happy. She even performs a very sexual song, “Zou Bisou Bisou,” for Don in front of the party, which feeds the fire to a lot of jokes the following day in the office. But Don makes it clear to Megan after everyone has left that she shouldn’t have thrown the party.
Meanwhile, Joan had a baby boy and is struggling to care for him on her own. She asks her mom for help but finds herself clashing with her frequently. She’s pushed over the edge when she sees an ad in the paper that the company is hiring, which was just a prank to poke fun at a rival firm. Then there was the Heinz pitch that Peggy worked on. Her “bean ballet” idea didn’t go as smoothly as she expected, and when Don waltzed into the meeting he sided with Heinz instead of backing up her idea. She pouts later that she’s concerned for Don because since he’s been with Megan he is all of a sudden kind and patient. Like always, Peggy remains one of the best characters on the show.
Another story-line consisted of the bickering between Peter and Roger. Ever since Roger lost Lucky Strike, it seems like he doesn’t contribute as must as the rest of the partners and Peter wants everyone to know it. It looks like they all do know it, but Peter whines a little bit too much for them to speak up. Roger does give Peter the bigger office that he demanded just to shut him up, but like Peter said, that wasn’t the point of his outburst.
Finally, Lane had a strange plot-line this episode that included a wallet he found inside of a taxi. While thumbing through it, he became creepily interested in the man’s girlfriend, Dolores, in which he kept her picture. The conclusion of the episode had a lobby full of African Americans responding to the ad in the paper about hiring. During the times of civil rights and equality to all races, the Mad Men were faced with a dilemma. Don suggested that they just hire “one of them.” Lane preaches that they can’t afford to. Roger was surprisingly mute on the situation. It will be interesting to see how they dissolve the situation on the next episode.
The Season 5 premiere dealt with a theme that Mad Men has been dealing with throughout the entire show: identity. This doesn’t necessarily mean the double identity that Don’s living, but each and every character on the show finding out where they stand whether it’s in their business or their personal lives. Joan confides with Lane that even though her home is full with her baby boy and her mother, she feels alone, which Lane admits he can personally understand. Roger openly confesses that he’s unhappy with his living situation, and Peggy is chewed out by Megan that she’s just like everyone else that works in the office by saying “you don’t smile, you smirk.”
Overall, I am incredibly happy that Mad Men has returned and cannot wait for every Sunday night to take a trip back to the ’60s.