Don Draper is back! This time its 1967, the hair is longer and there’s more facial hair. I thought that Peggy Olsen had got a new boyfriend but it was the same guy, just hiding behind the weight of colossal sideburns and a beard.
Don Draper read Dante’s Inferno whilst on holiday in Hawaii with his wife Megan. That was the scene of the most interesting vignette, when Draper was best man at a GI’s beach wedding. The show was composed of several somewhat elliptical scenes, in which characters’ experience were condensed into glowing, tightly edited compositions. The sight of elegant Betty Draper in a doss house was alarming, but it showed a development in her once shallow and rather brittle character.
Sycophantic Pete Campbell was such a powerful presence last season, he continues to provoke Don Draper as best he can, using his oily charm on business leaders against Don’s maverick ideas (a surreal ad which showed a man’s clothes reminded them of James Mason leaving his clothes on the beach and drowning at the end of A Star Is Born).
I’m not sure how long Mad Men can keep all this stylized artifice up. When Mad Men began, it was 1962, the time of JFK, Marylin Monroe and Jackie Keneddy. The show’s rat pack glamour seemed in keeping with the era, but i’m not sure how well it works in 1967. Mad Men will have to become more Easy Rider than Frank Sinatra. It will be fascinating to see what happens.