bill bodkin and jason stives pour a drink …
AMC’s Mad Men returns for a sixth season of suits, sex and drama drama drama. So this season, Pop-Break’s two whiskey drinkin’ writers, Bill Bodkin and Jason Stives will tackle the world of Don Draper head on.
The Low Down: Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) go to Hawaii and Don has a life altering experience … which is still a bit unknown at this time. Don also is super chummy with his doctor neighbor, which is really awkward. Meanwhile, Roger Sterling (John Slattery) deals with the death of his mother as well as his own mortality. Peggie (Elisabeth Moss) struggles to re-do an ad campaign.
The Bed and Booze Count: Three overall beddings and about 15 drinks on count. What Don consumed prior to puking at the funeral is anyone’s guess. My assumption based on his drinking record is about 7, bringing a grand total of 22 consumed beverages. –JS
Favorite Performance: Jon Hamm, as always, is just brilliant as Don Draper. How many times has Don had these life-altering moments? By now it should be so tired, but Hamm just sells it beautifully. Handsome and talented, you sir are a jerk. –BB
My favorite performance goes to Ms. Peggy Olsen. As Bill Bodkin (he’s ranted about this on Facebook many a time) will tell you Peggy became a bit wasteful and unlikable last season but her performance here was so controlled and still had room for growth. She is slowly taking her lessons from Don and morphing it into her persona. It is no longer about Peggy thinking radically or in the women’s lib sense; she is a working woman with an eye for what she does. Her pitch to the earphones exec oozed Draper. A solid reversal from where she was in most of Season 5. –JS
The Supporting Scene Stealer: John Slattery, the silver fox himself, sublimely walks the line between sozzled cynic and tortured soul. Here he hits all the classic Sterling notes — smug, smarmy, sarcastic and yet, still loveable and sympathetic. –BB
Somehow Stan (Jay R. Ferguson) and Grizzly Adams beard really had me rolling throughout the episode. Not sure what I liked more; his comment on how his made him think of suicide or that he was listening in on Peggy’s conversation. Classic Stan. –JS
The Best Part of The Episode: The swerve! Don’s been so chummy with his upstairs doctor neighbor and then … bang, literally! He’s sleeping with his wife. Classic Mad Men. –BB
While I would no doubt want to look for some outstanding example of wonderfully scripted television you really can t put a price on the double whammy of Don vomiting at Rogers mothers wake and then follow it up with Roger airing his grievances to a stunned room of family and friends. While Don showing up drunk seems the most out of left field (think of the times he has helped Roger when HE is drunk) Rogers display here comes out in true Sterling format. The last possible person to express his feelings expresses them in the most obnoxious way as one would expect of him. –JS
The Part We Could’ve Done Without: My biggest complaint … a serious lack of Joan (Christina Hendricks). –BB
Betty’s storyline was rather wishy washy and quite honestly I didn’t see the point behind it. It made Betty come off far more sympathetic than the pathetic she was last season but it just never really hit much of a stride. Still, it’s nice they found something for her to do right from the beginning. –JS
The Little Thing We Loved: Wait … was that Linda Cardellini? Yup, it totally was. So, you know what that means, Don Draper is totally going to sleep with her this season. Last season Pete got Rory Gilmore, this season Don gets Velma. As always, Don wins. –BB
Harry Crane’s (Rich Sommer) sideburns. That is all. –JS
Final Thoughts: Aloha, Mad Men! This was a perfect return episode as it neatly and concisely re-established everything from last season outside of Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) and Joan’s storylines. Nothing seemed forced and, no pun intended, it seemed like business as usual, which has been a problem for certain Mad Men premieres in the past. Sometimes the show starts slow and needs to find its groove, but not this one.
On a side note, this was probably of the best episode concerning Betty (January Jones) and what’s ironic is she showed more maternal love in this episode towards a friend of her daughter’s (Kiernan Shipka) than she ever did her daughter in general. –BB
Solid season opener that flowed in very similar ways like the Season 5 opener. There was a little bit for everyone and it’s obvious that identity is going to play a key part in this season. It was hinted at last year but now we are seeing it staring Don in the face. Whether it’s his affair with the doctor’s wife or how the absence of his own lighter kept coming back to haunt him — Don knows now that he must separate himself from his past and stabilize who he truly needs to be. Change is clearly coming for everyone at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce but it’s a matter of when and where. –JS
All Photos Credit: AMC