We're almost there. Just three more days until it's acceptable to wear pencil skirts and 60s-inspired bobs while drinking Manhattans or ultra-tailored suits and thick-rim glasses with scotch on the rocks on Sunday nights. Mad Men returns March 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC, but before that happens it's important to make sure the subtle signals of Season Four's Summer 2010 run aren't lost on you.
Brush up with these essential details. (You can thank us later.)
1. Betty Is Unhappy
In the second-to-last scene of "Tomorrowland," the Season Four finale, Betty tells Don that "it's not perfect" when they're talking about her new house with Henry, but it's clear to both of them that they're talking about her marriage. Don's response is that he's engaged and it seems to upset them both, though Betty's the hurt party. The last two seasons have seen her desire for independence grow stronger
and heading into Season Five the big question is: will she do something about it? 2. Roger Can't Let Go of the Past
The year was 1965. The world was changing, and in Season Four, Roger wasn't ready to change right along with it. The first signal of his stubbornness was Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce's meeting with the Japanese executives from Honda. He burst in and blamed them for Pearl Harbor, though they weren't even part of the generation responsible for the attack. It was a symptom of a larger question: is Roger to old
and unwilling to adapt to the future?
3. Joan is Pregnant and it's Not Her Husband's
She and Roger got frisky when they experienced a brush with death. Joan's hubby is overseas and mathematically-speaking, the baby has to be Roger's. That's all there is to this story for now, as we know from Peggy's pregnancy, babies don't stay hidden even when the mother chooses not to believe it. 4. Peggy Is Fed Up
She was miffed and hurt when Don accepted the Cleo award for the Glo-Coat cowboy commercial that was born out of her initial idea, but after an evening alone in the office in "The Suitcase," Peggy understood that she needed to stop worrying about some silly award. Of course, that award became important again when accounts started dropping like flies—including Glo-Coat— and Peggy was driven even further to the brink when her work closed a major account for SCDP, and all anyone could talk about was Don's engagement. You can bet that anger isn't going to just work itself out; Peggy's stronger than that.
5. Sally is Growing Up—Fast
Sally Draper is a complicated little lady. Growing up with a father who spends more time on Madison Avenue than in his own house and a mother who's constantly competing with her for attention will do that. And now that Sally is growing up, she's mimicking her reluctant mother. First, she cuts her hair short; Betty has rocked a housewife bob since Season One. Then, she's caught masturbating at a friend's house, and none of has forgotten Betty's washing machine moment from Season Two. It's something both Betty and Don seem to struggle with, but what's really exciting is that Sally's character is becoming more and more robust as she gets older. 6. The Age of The Cigarette Is Over
Lucky Strike drops SDCP like a hot potato. Then Don declares: no more cigarettes...in an editorial called "Why I'm Quitting Tobacco"...in The New York Times.
..without telling anyone. It's just another signal that the company is moving out of the 60s rut and into the future, echoed by the finale's Disneyland inspired title, "Tomorrowland." 7. Pete's a Father...Again, Still Stares at Peggy Occasionally
Pete Campbell was the man who couldn't get his wife pregnant. He couldn't move out from under Don's shadow. He had a secret baby out of wedlock. And now, he's nabbing accounts, saving Don's ass, and his wife Trudy had a baby. Life is looking pretty grand—so why does he keep staring at Peggy?
8. Don Lost Anna, Attempts to Replace Her With Megan
Don once said that Anna, the wife of the real Donald Draper, was the only person who really knew him. So when she died, he was rightfully a little lost. Don's sudden commitment to Megan is likely his way of attempting to regain that homebase. As Jon Hamm told Hollywood.com, Don "is in love," but that doesn't mean his rash decision isn't an attempt to fix a recent hole in his life. And that could spell trouble for the happy couple.
Mad Men Premieres Sunday, March 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.