The clients noted that the scene looked less like a travel fantasy than a suicide. Did the man die?
‘‘Maybe he did,’’ replied Don, slipping into a reverie, ‘‘and he went to heaven. Maybe that’s what this feels like.’’
If Don was so transformed by the trip, why no sign of his transcendence when he was there?
Instead, when first seen, he was sunning himself in paradise while reading Dante’s ‘‘Inferno’’: ‘‘Midway in our life’s journey, I went astray from the straight road and woke to find myself alone in a dark wood.’’
It was hardly the sign of a man having fun. Quite the opposite, it teed up Roger Sterling’s later lamentation to his shrink.
‘‘Life is supposed to be a path,’’ grumped Roger, but ‘‘you’re just going in a straight line to you-know-where.’’
To its credit, there are no straight lines in ‘‘Mad Men.’’ But the premiere had warning signals that the show may be going astray. Challenging the viewer is what has made ‘‘Mad Men’’ great. But it shouldn’t be a guessing game. It shouldn’t put an onus on the viewer to make sense of behavior that doesn’t add up. That’s annoying.
EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore(at)ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier.