Mad Men Season 5 Episode 1-2 recap

All over Google this morning, people are discovering that “zoobeezoobeezoo” is, in fact "Zou Bisou Bisou", a legit French pop song, and then happily humming it to themselves as they go about their Monday.

I have a bit of mournfulness already.  It's a strange reaction but I wasn't completely elated that my show was back; instead I kind of felt, after watching, like the parade is over and all we have left are the memories.  This is, of course, patently untrue, and I think it's also partly intentional, because Matthew Weiner knows that I am an addict where this show is concerned, just like you are.  So the realization that, as in regular life, some things have changed but everything else feels kind of the same, is what feels both incredibly sad and exciting at the same time.  

For me, it was Sally Draper's sheets that did it.  I've seen those before, in someone's linen closet, not used anymore, a forgotten relic, and it reminded me that this is such a small moment in time for her.  That she will remember, when she thinks back on her childhood, "when did your father get remarried?", and that that was the aesthetic of the time.  

Didn't you love seeing Don with his kids?  He seems easy with them, right? He's cooked for them before, but the kisses he offered and the handshake to Bobby (#7?) seem easier, lighter. He's less concerned with things.  Devastating to me but extremely clever was the fact that we didn't see Betty at all.  The kids are still with Mrs. Francis most of the time - through the week and every other weekend - but we'll have to wait to see what that means.  I am salivating for it.    

Don is different.  Married to Megan, who now has the kind of job she wanted, in creative, lucky girl.  When they arrived at the office, that's when I got my first stomach-ache of the episode: he's casual about the business.  We saw him leave early at least twice.  None of the partners - except for good old Cooper - showed up for the meeting they had scheduled.  I am worried about the viability of SCDP, and the only person I can share it with is poor Pete Campbell, who we'll get to.  There's a theory that misery is good for creativity, that being in constant turmoil in your mind and heart is what churns up the good ideas from the depths of your subconscious.  The flip side to this, of course, is that being happy can make you complacent.  Less eager to change things up.

Peggy knows this, of course, though she may not have the words to articulate it just yet.  Her reaction to Don throughout the episode was so telling - especially when the bean pitch went down and she expected Don to help her, not just by fixing it with the client, I suspect, but in the aftermath, to yell at her, to bring up in her the usual feelings of terror and invigoration that make her find her better work.  She's aware that without it, she's kind of adrift, or at least much more on her own.  My favourite revelation of this week was that Peggy has decided to become sassy.   I don't believe she comes by her quippiness naturally, which isn't to say that she's not good at it. It seems like a trait she felt would be helpful in her all-male business world, and she's borrowed it partly from Joan and partly from friends and has constructed it as a part of her persona - Peggy, the sassy copy writer who's hip to what the kids are doing.  I love her relationship with her irritating art director.  I love how she's both deferential to and kind of in charge of Mrs. Megan Draper. Peggy kind of has it going on, which is was what made her slip at the party that much more interesting.  It wasn't that she had been drinking so much, it was that she was trying desperately to connect with Don in the way they used to.  Working on the weekend was necessary and made the work feel like it was important, hard won. If Peggy loses this connection with Don, who does she have to look up to as someone who always puts the work first (and conveniently fills the hours so you don't have to think too much about your personal life)?

I could not be more delighted that the answer is Pete Campbell. Seriously, who could have predicted this? Pete has moved completely and fully into the role Don has left vacant.  Committed to the company and the client, he sees the gold where others don't. The only one of the partners who boasts a social conscience (which I love - it seems to have developed from pragmatism in earlier seasons to a real sense of right and wrong now), he alone seems concerned with the business and, with the advice of his commuter buddies (I didn't love the train scenes, sorry), will have the wherewithal and precedent to work late into the night to realize his vision - now that he has the right office for it, of course.   

As a sidebar, I love that Harry Crane is now being acknowledged as the irritant he's always been, and his incessant use of the word “Jennifer” was somehow enough on its own to drive me crazy. 

Finally there's Joan, and this was the one that left me the most disconcerted.  Utterly out of her element with baby Kevin and her mother (!) in her apartment, it didn't take long at all for her insecurities to get the best of her.  While this proves several self-evident truths, like that your mother can undermine you like nobody else even as she's helping you out, and that being alone in a house will make anyone crazy (note to self: go outside), I didn't like where this might go, if Joan's relatively recent absence (how old was that baby supposed to be - 10 weeks?) had made her this uncomfortable and insecure.  I've always liked the relationship she and Lane have; despite the fact that he really is a lady-hound, he's never really seen "Mrs. Harris" that way, which makes me like him a little bit.  Am I being premature in suspecting that he's the one who will notice baby Kevin's eventual resemblance to his erstwhile papa?

Of course, the party and the aftermath are what most are talking about, but to me it's the easiest part.  Don isn't that surprised that the lovely, young silly woman he married is young and silly - after all, he watched Roger go through it (and how quickly has that become the sourest situation in Manhattan?).  He's only kind of tired, and less interested than he was the first time around in faking delight at little silly efforts that she'll soon learn not to attempt - that, I suspect, Betty Francis has long not bothered with.  

I can't believe Pete is the new vanguard (and is punking Roger in the process); I love that Peggy will continue to put her foot in her mouth; and I can't shake the feeling that the time might be right for a visit from a now-humbler Paul Kinsey. (This is pure speculation.)  

Studio 60 was a far inferior show to this one, and I almost shouldn't bring it up, but they had that weekly-countdown clock that I always liked - as soon as the show was finished, it started counting down the hours to the next one. I have an internal one of those going for this show.  6 days and change seems interminable sometimes.