Less than three weeks to go, “Mad Men” fans! And, just like that, a lovely press kit for Season 6 has arrived at my desk, containing an elegant book of photos and cast bios, a DVD of the first two episodes, and a nice note from Matthew Weiner asking the press to please refrain, in reviews, from revealing a) in what year the season begins, b) Don and Megan’s relationship status, c) whether the agency has expanded its offices, d) any new characters, or e) any new relationships or partnerships. So I guess, um, Pete’s new sideburns are fair game? And . . . well, not much else. I’m assuming that the talented Mr. Weiner is referring to reviews that will run before the episode airs, and I won’t be writing a word about the new season until after the April 7 premiere, so he can rest easy. (Regarding Don and Megan’s relationship — and this is pure speculation, as I haven’t watched the premiere DVD yet — I’m going to guess that they’re still together, but struggling.)
It’s always fun, while waiting for the premiere of a beloved show, to revisit favorite episodes. Here are a few of mine:
— “Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency” (season 3, episode 6). This is the episode in which we briefly met the luckless, and soon footless, Guy McKendrick. Certainly one of the series’ most shocking moments, within a darkly funny and nuanced episode (which also includes a nice bit of Don/Joan bonding).
— “The Suitcase” (season 4, episode 7). An hour of beautifully acted drama, almost entirely between Don and Peggy, in which they finally discuss Peggy’s pregnancy and reveal their deeply rooted friendship.
— “The Other Woman” (season 5, episode 11). Joan becomes a partner, Peggy leaves SCDP, and “Mad Men” demonstrates its mastery of time-twisting, putting a little crimp into the narrative of this episode that breaks our hearts twice.
— “The Wheel” (season 1, episode 13). Don’s greatest-ever pitch (to Kodak), and the most wistful season-ending note imaginable, capping off a stellar first season.
Do you have a favorite?