Mad Men

Mad Men Roundtable: “Public Relations”

EJWho is Don Draper? Remember Season One, when that question formed the backbone of the season?  At the time, we had no way of knowing how complicated the answer was going to be.  Well, now we’re asking that question again, literally opening the season with those words. Only this time, Don Draper doesn’t seem to know the answer.  When the series opened, he was a rising star at a rock-solid advertising agency, a married (though not necessarily faithful) man raising two children.  Now he’s shepherding a fledgling agency that may or may not make it, his wife left him for another man, and he hires a prostitute to slap him during sex.  For a man who carefully created a persona out of nothing more than a dead man’s dog tags, it has to be difficult to start over again.  He gave up Dick Whitman, and now he’s had Don Draper taken away.  The man has to rebuild his mythology all over again.  Only now, he’s lost things that matter to him.  That leaves a mark.  And for a man who wouldn’t even agree to a contract at the old Sterling Cooper, it can’t be comfortable to be the reason that most of the staff signed up with Sterling-Cooper-Draper-Pryce. I love the way they handled the premiere – a year (more or less) has elapsed since we last saw them, and they’re not bogging us down with exposition or unnatural introduction.

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