What A Dark Mad Men Premiere Portends For Season 6

Real-time discussions with Slate writers.
April 8 2013 5:52 PM

Don Keeps Falling

What does the dark Mad Men premiere portend for Season 6?

(Continued from Page 1)

Seth Stevenson: I am also eager to see how the women respond to the changing times. Peggy is raring to go. Joan might have some stumbles as she tries to adjust.

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Jaclyn Mosher: How great was it to see Linda Cardellini join the cast! Looking forward to learning more about Sylvia.

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Hanna Rosin: Jaclyn, here is a good interview with LC on what it's like to work on the Mad Men set, and how different it is from Freaks and Geeks. Also, on her wig.

Seth Stevenson: She's toured the '80s in Freaks and Geeks and now the '60s in Mad Men. Can't wait for a '70s-themed Linda Cardellini dramedy.

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Patrick Topping: Have we figured out what year we are in yet? Seems like there were some clues, i.e. the Leica M2 camera Don handed to Rosen was produced between 1957-1968, the Hawaiian Wedding Song was from early ‘60s, and the Dylan song playing in the St Mark's Place house when Betty first enters—any thoughts, Seth or Hanna?

Seth Stevenson: The episode started in December '67 and ended on Jan 1, 1968. You can see a headline from the New York Times that Don picks up in front of his apartment door at the end of the show.

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Cheryl Duncan: I liked the premiere. I think it sets the table for the season. Don is back to his old antics (did we expect anything else?), Roger is still unhappy and must have lost the effects of his acid trip, Peggy is in charge and has lots of men friends and underlings, and Betty is still all over the place and weird. Don sleeping with his friend's wife is extra creepy, but there seems to be no limit to his immorality.

Seth Stevenson: I kind of wish Roger had kept tripping. It's understandable he'd decide he'd gleaned all he could from hallucinogens, but how fun might it have been if he'd just flipped out and started following the Merry Pranksters?

Cheryl Duncan: The funeral for Roger's mother was the strangest funeral I have ever seen. And short! I guess Roger misses his first wife and I don't blame him. She seemed to be the only sensible person on the entire show last night.

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Caroline M L Potter:  Did anyone else feel bad for poor Bob?

Seth Stevenson: He did get disproportionate blowback from his brown-nosing. But did you notice: He has two cups of coffee in the elevator, and gives one to Don. Then he gives the other to Pete! Take it down a notch, kiss-up.

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Megan Heaney Fleming: I thought the name of the episode "Doorways" was very apt—from elevator doors to coffin lids... But the direction they're taking Betty gets stranger and stranger. What's going on there?

Seth Stevenson: I thought about The Doors (named for Aldous Huxley's Doors of Perception) and looked up their discography. Their album Strange Days was released in fall 1967, with trippy tracks like "People Are Strange" and "When the Music's Over"...

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Jenny Hansell: I’m still hung up on Betty's “tie her hands down while you rape her” line... I was as slack-jawed as Henry when she said that. Where did that come from? Are we to think that Henry has wanted her to be more unbuttoned?

Hanna Rosin: Henry seems to blanche when she says that. I don't think it's coming from him. I think it's part of Betty's perpetual attempts to break out of the suburban fog she lives in (even if those attempts always reveal how petty and vindictive she is). Remember when Betty shot those pigeons in Season 2? It's something like that. Sometimes Betty just tunes into the dark side.

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Charles Gustine: I was thrilled Don had no dialogue until about eight minutes in; I thought it was one of those cool audacious choices that as it went on and on, and dawned on me what was going on, got me really excited.

Seth Stevenson: Don's first word was "Army" and I wondered if it was somehow a portent for the episode or possibly even the whole season. Why keep him so conspicuously silent unless his first utterance holds some deeper meaning?

Charles Gustine: I keep imagining Don going overseas to Vietnam and, in the rousing season finale, after a season-long search, pulling PFC Dinkins out of heavy gunfire a la Forrest Gump and Bubba. Reason number 5,678 why I am not a television writer.

Hanna Rosin: I had more cheesy, Touched by an Angel-style references floating through my head. There's a trope with the near death experience when a character finds himself/herself on the other side, not sure whether he's dead or not, and totally silent before the mystery. So Don's not talking is a sign, as Seth wrote, that he might be in heaven (or Dante's Inferno).

Hanna Rosin is the founder of DoubleX and a writer for the Atlantic. She is also the author of The End of Men. Follow her on Twitter.

Seth Stevenson is a frequent contributor to Slate. He is the author of Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World.

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