Welcome to Mad Cap: a daily rundown of every episode of the acclaimed AMC series Mad Men. During this time, I will be compiling my thoughts and highlights as we travel through every moment and season of the Emmy-award winning drama that has come to define modern TV. The goal is to be a refresher on every moment for Don Draper and his band of advertisement executives leading up to the final season. Stay for all of the shocking moments and the brilliant acting performances, and make sure to chime in with your thoughts and criticisms on why the show means something to you.
Season 6, Episodes 1 + 2
"I'm just acknowledging that life,
unlike this analysis, will eventually end
and somebody else will get the bill."
- Roger Sterling (John Slattery)
Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Megan Draper (Jessica Pare) return from a vacation in Hawaii to find the chilly streets of New York. Meanwhile, Betty Francis (January Jones) invites Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka) and Sandy (Kerris Dorsey) to theater. It is later that night that Sandy reveals that she wants to go to Juliard and runs away. Betty tracks her down to a seedy apartment in New York. Meanwhile, Peggy Olsen (Elisabeth Moss) has to deal with a controversial new ad for headphones after a comedian makes some offhand remarks that could damage their brand. Roger Sterling (John Slattery) is fantasizing about seeing Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks) and has to take care of his mother's funeral, which doesn't go well. With Don drunk and throwing up, it is a disaster. Don discovers that he has a lighter that belongs to someone he met in Hawaii. It sits on his conscience for most of the episode. Peggy decides to let the ad run without any changes. Betty meets some colorful people who intimidate her into changing hair color from blonde to black. Sterling gets his mother's souvenirs and breaks down in tears. Everyone celebrates Christmas and then later New Years.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Roger Sterling (John Slattery)
While the episode kicks off with everyone having their own personal conflicts, it seems like Sterling is having the worst time of them all. First, he is still suffering from a relationship that he cannot have, talking to his therapist through humor in order to prove points. Then he has to deal with his dead mother and the grieving public that clamor to him for condolences. He is having a rough go of everything and with his life not exactly on the straight and narrow, he must find a way to make it through. For the most part, he hides it well with humor and continues to be one of the best repressed characters on the show despite everything that stands in his way.
It is a moment that the episode seemed to be building towards. Would Sterling finally just croak and cry his eyes out? His mother's funeral didn't exactly go the way that he wanted it and he still lives with multiple frustrations. Still, there's nothing as poignant as receiving his mother's heirlooms in a box, alone in his office. He has nowhere to run to hide his grief. Instead, he gives into it, crying and crying until he is empty. It is a tough time and this is about as much emotion as Mad Men has allowed him to have over the past six seasons to date. Let it out, Sterling. You deserved it.
UP NEXT: "Collaborators"