Tonight marked the season premiere of the hit AMC series Mad Men and with it came more of the same for Don Draper and the rest of the gang. While they’re all in different places than they were when we left them at the end of season six, a lot seems to have remained the same in terms of how they characters still act.
We were re-introduced to everyone now that we’re in 1968 and there remains a lot of unhappiness across the board. Peggy is still unable to get much accomplished without running into a wall, Ken and his eye patch are as stressed out as they’ve ever been and Joan is her same old unlikable self.
And then there’s the case of Pete who — well, California happened to Pete. He’s has always been an interesting character to watch and to say he just got more interesting is to drastically undersell whatever the hell happened to him between last season and this one. But the main story in this premiere episode follows Don and his trip out to California to be reunited with his wife Megan.
Don’s story epitomized the ‘more of the same’ theme we saw in the premiere as his trip out to California began with a lot of swagger but that quickly peeled away to reveal that he’s just as lost and unsure of his life as he was when we left him. His strutting off the plane and to Megan’s car at the airport was classic Draper swag but underneath the sex appeal was still the broken man we’ve come to know who is trying very hard to convince himself that his life isn’t as bad as it is.
There’s also something to be made of Don being on a plane for large sections of this episode as it’s a metaphor for where’s at in his life. After being put on leave at the end of last season, Don is going somewhere but we just don’t know where it is and we can bet it’s not a grounded place.
He’s in New York, he’s in California, he’s with his wife, he’s with a good looking passenger on a plane — Don Draper’s future is literally up in the air.