REVIEW: Mad Men Series 6: The Doorway (Spoiler Alert)

Don Draper and the gang are back for the penultimate series - but has he changed his ways?

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The last time we saw Don Draper, he was being propositioned by an attractive female, leaving viewers wondering if he would return to his philandering ways despite being married to the gorgeous young Megan. Well, yes, of course he does. Because let's face it - the Creative Director of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is never going to change. And do we really want him to?

Last night, the sixth and penultimate series of Mad Men debuted on Sky Atlantic and the double-length opener began in December 1967. Don (Jon Hamm) and actress Megan (Jessica Pare), who is now starring in a soap, are in Hawaii on all-expenses paid work trip to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, owned by Sheraton, one of SCDP’s new clients.

His first wife Betty (January Jones), appears to still be struggling with her weight but is still happily married to Henry Francis (Christopher Stanley) and has ditched the blonde Grace Kelly look for a brunette Elizabeth Taylor style. She has also taken in 15-year-old violin prodigy called Sandy, who is staying with the family after her mother dies, but Betty soon finds herself in a rough part of New York and a grotty commune searching for the girl when she runs away. 

Christina Hendrick's as Mad Men's Joan Harris. The sixth series started in the UK last night (WENN) 

A mid-life crisis appears to have hit Roger Sterling (John Slattery), who appears to be now divorced from Jane and is seen in therapy venting about his past and present. Ever the emotionless alcoholic, it’s his secretary who sobs in sadness as she breaks the news that his elderly mother has died, while his response is to raise his vodka to the skies. However, upon hearing that his shoeshine man Giorgio has also passed away, he finally breaks down and sobs alone in his office.

At the end of the series 5, fans left Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) leaving SCDP to become head copywriter at rival firm Cutler Gleason and Chaough. She is now living with boyfriend Abe and working on a campaign for  Koss headphones which requires an immediate turnaround ahead of its Super Bowl slot, thanks to some tasteless jokes about American soldiers in Vietnam and their enemies’ ears.

Two new characters are introduced - Dr Arnold Rosen (Brian Markinson) and his wife Sylvia (Linda Cardellini) who see in 1968 with the Drapers before viewers realise that Don and Sylvia have taken their neighbourly duties to the extreme. He leaves her bed in the small hours of New Year’s Day after telling her, “I want to stop doing this”, but can the advertising leopard ever change his spots?

In Manhattan, it’s business as usual at the SCDP offices and the male staff are sporting a fetching display of moustaches, beards and sideburns. But what the office scenes lacked was the stunning presence of  Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks) who briefly made an appearance, no doubt causing a huge outcry among her male fans!

Last night’s premiere was a fairly slow-paced episode, perhaps easing us into the drama and excitement yet to come. But one thing's for sure, Don's absence has certainly been felt. Welcome back, Mr Draper – you sexy cad!

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