After nearly two years off the air, AMC's smash hit drama "Mad Men" is back on screens. The two-hour season premiere reintroduced us to the fabulously flawed men and women of the Madison Avenue orbit, and they've all switched things up since we last saw them.
**Note: Spoilers after the jump, and in the video above**
Sure, "Mad Men" isn't your conventional TV drama, so maybe it's not surprising that Don Draper and Megan Calvet tied the knot offscreen, depriving viewers of a wedding that was likely rife with awkward glances and uncomfortable moments considering these two jumped into matrimony after a handful of clandestine hookups.
But we did get an inside view of their life together, including the couple's sleek new apartment, and Megan's Laurie Petrie as Brigitte Bardot performance of "Zoo Be Zoo" at Don's surprise birthday party. The ditty was fairly cringe-inducing; a sloppily sexy moment that seemed like it should have been for Don's eyes only.
Megan does, however, deserve props for shaking things up, tidying up their trashed flat after the party in just her underwear and then scolding and belittling Don, maintaining a crusty old fart like him can only look not touch -- which leads to the pair getting busy on the once-pristine white carpet anyway.
Don loves ... his wife?
Season five also served up another twist that "Mad Men" diehards have never seen before: Don expressing genuine interest in the woman he is currently married to. He and Megan head to work together, where he closes his office door to nuzzle and negotiate some midday nookie with his wife, who is still plugging away as his secretary. Then, astonishingly, when Megan isn't in the room, he's not barreling toward the next pretty face for a no-frills romp. Don Draper being into his wife? Quelle surprise!
Joan is a mom ... Roger is still Roger
At the end of the last season, we saw that Joan is keeping her child and passing it off as her husband's even though her on-and-off office paramour Roger Sterling is the real father. Now that her little one is here, we see Joan actually get a little frazzled as she takes on motherhood alone (her husband is still away in Vietnam). Even though she's got everything we always thought she wanted - husband, family, etc. - she's intent on working and heads back to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, ostensibly for a visit, but really to see if she still has a job. We realize that she really is the hard-charging career woman she was once harassing Peggy not to be.
We also see Roger hold his newborn baby for the first time. He pops a cigarette in his mouth, plucks the babe from a secretary's grasp, dangles the child for a few moments, and gives the kid a smirk. Then a few seconds later, the child is back in someone else's arms and he's off to do whatever it is Roger does these days now that Lucky Strike is a distant memory. It's classic Roger and Joan: coolly electric tension and banter that no one else in the office appears to notice.
Peggy may be unraveling
Her hard-won career is in full-swing but it seems to be taking its toll. She still hasn't gotten the Drapers a wedding present, and she drunkenly makes a crack about having too much work at Don's surprise party. When she apologizes to Don later, she makes another crack about how she shouldn't be allowed to drink at work functions - or ever. Two men who have figured prominently in her professional and personal life - Freddy Rumsen and Duck Phillips - both suffered spectacular falls from grace due to the bottle. Is Peggy next?
Pete is still wound tight
He may be a partner at SCDP but he's still stressing about stuff. In the season five premiere, he's all up in arms that Roger is getting too cozy with his clients when the founding partner turns up at a client meeting unannounced. Pete also lobbies for a new office, specifically Roger's digs, but Sterling pays Harry Crane to give up his office instead.
Betty is MIA
She didn't show up at all in the premiere. Sally, however, looks as if she's 17.
There are black people in the 1960s in New York -- and they aren't going anywhere
The episode is bookended by two instances in which African-Americans are making their voices heard: the show opens with punk young professionals lobbing water balloons onto a street full of protesters and closes with a room full of applicants responding to a joke newspaper ad stating that SCDP is an "equal opportunity employer." The waiting room packed with black men and women flusters the partners, but eventually Lane Pryce takes the ladies' resumes for a potential secretary position - and presumably a possible new "Mad Men" character.
About Viewer Discretion
ContributorsMatthew Gilbert is the Globe's TV critic.
Sarah Rodman is a staff TV and music critic for the Boston Globe.
Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Glenn Yoder is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.
Swati Sharma is an Arts & Entertainment and Things to Do producer at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.