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Screens & Tech

Mad to be back: The return of 'Mad Men'

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Jon Hamm


This Sunday at 8pm, '60s ad man Don Draper and the sharp-dressed, sharp-tongued crew at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce return to AMC after an unbearable 18-month absence. And — hell's bells, Trudy! — it's about time. Sure, the long wait forced me to find my TV drama fix elsewhere, which led to fun new flings with Sherlock, Game of Thrones, and Downton Abbey. But like Don Draper himself, I need a place to hang my hat after nights of queue-ing around.

Season four left us with some juicy cliffhangers, and creator Matt Weiner is notoriously tight-lipped about plot details — so here are some questions I hope to see answered in the two-hour season premiere. (Spoilers abound if you haven't seen season four.)

1. So what year is it now? Each season portrays roughly one calendar year; last season spanned Thanksgiving 1964 to fall 1965. My guess is that we'll pick up several months later — spring or summer 1966.

2. Will Don be married to Megan? In the finale "Tomorrowland," Don (Jon Hamm) proposed to his young secretary Megan (Jessica Paré), choosing the sexy new model over the older-but-also-way-sexy Dr. Faye Miller (Cara Buono). While the engagement was a tad sudden, it makes total sense. Megan sees Don the way he wants to be seen (powerful, smart, successful) and not the way he feels deep down (worthless bastard son of a prostitute). Don's mommy issues also come into play: Megan is patient, kind, and caring with his children, unlike Faye and first wife Betty (January Jones). Don will definitely marry Megan, giving him the fresh start he craves. But as Faye ominously warns in the finale, he "only likes the beginnings of things." Will Don still be into Megan when she's not quite so new?

3. Will Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce still be open for business? According to the recently released press photos, this one's a definite "yes." But SCDP will probably still be in a tough spot. After longtime (and largest) client Lucky Strike bailed last season — effectively shuttering his agency — Don fired back with a full-page ad claiming SCDP was in fact bailing on the cancer-causing tobacco industry. Moral high ground secure ... but at what cost?

4. What about Joan and Roger's baby? In one of Season Four's soapier plot twists, smoking-hot office manager Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks) impulsively hooked up again with boss Roger Sterling (John Slattery). I think she'll keep the kid and try to pass it off as her husband's, at least until it starts sporting prematurely gray hair and drinking straight vodka.

5. Will Pete Campbell still be a smarmy jerk? Christ on a cracker, I sincerely hope so.

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