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The ridiculously long wait for Mad Men: Season 5 is over. This past month has been chock-a-block with on-air promos, lead-up interviews, and all kinds of Man Men-related hype, most of which I devoured pretty shamelessly. In this last week alone I’ve read articles about where the series has been, where it could go, why it’s a better show than Downton Abbey (kind of an unfair comparison!), and even how one enterprising woman has mashed and edited Mad Men clips to make her own kind of art. 

So it’s back, and I”m happy. Here are some thoughts.

Mad Men

Finally! MAD MEN is back. (via Wikipedia)

Sally hasn’t changed a bit. She is still a creepy, creepy child. Early in the show we see her waking up in her Dad’s apartment, wandering down the hall and trying the doorknob of his and Megan’s bedroom (“I thought this was the bathroom”). Later she saunters over to the breakfast bar, where Don is frying bacon for the kids. She’s gotten taller and less little girl-y looking, but she’s still her same old creepy, watchful Sally self. Nothing happened, there was no “scene,” no inappropriate anything… and yet, because it was Sally and because it was Mad Men, I was filled with a familiar sense of apprehension.

And that pretty much sums up how the rest of the show went. Nothing major happened. But it just reminded you who you were dealing with and hinted at things to come.

Best Scenes and/or Moments from Season 5, Episode 1 (in No Particular Order)

1. Roger cutting in on Pete’s business lunch, and 2. Pete’s fake Staten Island meeting revenge.

3. Roger offering Harry a month’s salary to switch offices with Pete. “You still owe me.” “No, I don’t, I just gave you a large amount of money.” “So…. This is every month?”

4. Joan crying on Lane’s shoulder. At first blush it seems out of character, but I don’t know: She’s the same smart Joanie, but she’s now living with her infant son and god-awful mother. That’s bound to take a toll on a girl. (And after their heart-to-heart on his office couch, I can totally see a Joan-Lane fling in the future, perhaps after a party and a few too many.)

4. Stan trying—and failing—to stop Harry from waxing lustful about Megan’s birthday party song-and-shimmy routine (while she was standing right behind him).

5. Megan’s song-and-shimmy routine. 5A: Lane’s wife’s expression during same.

6. Megan’s subsequent (and private) cleaning-the-apartment-in-sexy-underwear scene. I found it interesting that my husband, who, like me, wasn’t even born in 1966, knew exactly where this was going a full minute before I did. (In fact, I didn’t know where it was going until it actually got there.)

The great thing about numbers 5 and 6 are that, while pretty much the entire AMC-watching universe counted Megan out at the end of last season (“Maybe season 5 will start with him having dumped her in the interim!”), Megan is is now definitely one to watch. Because after the ill-conceived party and the neat-o way she gets Don to forget about it, it is now impossible to predict what Megan will do next. She’s gone from the sweet secretary who is good with children to “You’re not the only one who worked on Heinz this weekend!” (to Peggy) and “Don’t you look at me!” (to Don, who looked  anyway).

I’m missing scenes and moments. But I’m looking forward to a fresh batch next Sunday. I predict a huge scene between Joan and her mother (which causes her to hire a nanny so she can return ASAP to SCDP)… And that Lane will rue the day he stole the snapshot from the wallet he found in the cab… And that Mad Men will stop skirting the race issue with minor characters and put one of this week’s job applicants in a permanent, prominent role.