Mad Men fans have patiently waited for the return of the show, with season 6, this Spring. But would we have been so impatient if we knew what was awaiting us? Two hours of melancholia.

Don't be fooled by this cheery picture. This episode was a huge downer. Photo: AMC

Don’t be fooled by this cheery picture. This episode was a huge downer. Photo: AMC

Did anyone turn off their TV or digital device after the episode and feel anything but a sinking feeling of despair?

Don

Eh, he’s cheating again. Part of me thinks people sometimes only like this show because of that… because this show makes it actually seem like the big deal it is when it happens to people you know. Otherwise, a million sitcoms and dramas these days touch on it with very little impact. I? I have very little interest in this angle of Don. Cheat, don’t cheat – I don’t care.

The only thing I’m really interested in is about that opening scene. You remember. He’s reading Dante’s Inferno on the beach, clearly troubled with thoughts about the world and his place in it while Meagan is delighted to just relax on the beach with a cool drink. In fact, even the idea that his watch might be broken doesn’t bother her. Nothing can touch her in that moment.

How many times have you felt like Don in that instance? Where everyone else seems to be managing to be happy and moving along, and you’re stuck with your head in your troubles? It’s easy to see that the episode was set up to have us connect with Don, and instantly remember every reason we have to resent Meagan. For all her troubles, she has it easier.

Which then makes it easier to accept that Don is cheating. So, we’re all full circle.

Peggy

Perhaps I am the only one who thinks this, but Peggy seemed almost too witchy for me. And this is coming from someone who is a feminist, and love that we have Peggy on the show. And sure, I’ll mention that her phone call with Stan was incredibly endearing. But mostly, I found myself wondering if Peggy is overcompensating for being seeing as a woman boss by being extra hard on her employees. If Don was doing that (and he has) I would come down on him critically, just the same.

She’s confident, which is good.

But she’s also being kind of a b#*ch. Which is less of the good.

Joan

We saw so little of her, but what we did see… that purple dress was so ugly!

Betty

She’s a bad mother to her own children, and even a bad Mother to motherless children. Between her odd, erratic behavior and jarring comments (“did she really just say that – that he should rape Sandy and she’d help?!”) make me think something may be mentally wrong with the character, and we’re supposed to be picking up on that.

More than anything, I am just sick of her.

Roger

He personifies a little man-boy, who doesn’t want to grow up any more than any other character here does. You can’t fault him for that. But you might start faulting him a little for how self-obsessed he is, and how he behaves in the wake of disasters. It seems like he was an undercover Mama’s boy… we never even knew his Mom, but apparently that relationship was important. He was worshiped by his Mother, and I think he knew it. Just enough for it to matter when she’s gone. And now, he’s surrounded by three women who love him, but not in the way he wants them to. And because of that, he see’s it as a total loss. His ex-wife Margaret still wants to take care of him and offer him support, but she isn’t going to give in and kiss or have sex with him just because he wants it. His other ex-wife, Jane, will show up to support him but she is as insubstantial to him as she ever was…removed and distant. Then, we have his daughter. And she primarily wants his money, at least that’s how he sees it. He makes a gesture to give her something important from his own Mother, water from Jordan. But she leaves it. Well, that is, she left it on a seat. She wasn’t leaving the house, and she probably did take it home. But the way he looked forlornly at the jar of water and the empty seat where his daughter had been sitting… you could tell that Roger felt crushed and betrayed for even trying.

He should just suck it up.

Although he also provides such great comedy. Like, his two-handed award hug of his receptionist while he was holding two glasses of water. That was amazing. So was his belly-flopped position in a bed of ladies fur coats.

Were you depressed by this episode, or not at all? Let me know.

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