MAD MEN: Coming Soon (Please!)

Unless you’re dwelling under a rock, you know that Sunday marks the long-awaited return of Mad Men (yay!). When Season Three ended on an exhilarating high note, I thought, how will I make it to next summer? But time rushes by, and the next chapter is at hand. Since it’s Mad Men, I have no illusions about total satisfaction at the start. Every season to date starts slowly, subtly, but by the end so much is in motion and so much is at stake that a forgotten breath is understandable. That being said, here are a few things that I want to see in this next batch of episodes:

  1. A Little Less Betty… January Jones is phenomenal, and I think she has a real shot at taking home the Emmy for her work in Season Three. But as Betty dominated episode after episode, characters like Peggy and especially Joan all but vanished for weeks on end. Elisabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks are far too talented not to warrant major story arcs. I suspect that this will transpire with the newly formed agency and the disintegration of the Draper marriage. I’m not saying I want Betty off the canvas entirely, but make room for the other ladies.
  2. …but a lot more Lane! I didn’t really feel one way or the other about the British interloper for the bulk of last season, but after his actions in the finale, I’m on Team Lane! The man turned his back on his employers, his country, and (probably) his marriage to throw his hat into the ring with Don, Roger, and Bert. He has my utmost respect. I’d like to learn a little bit more about what makes the man behind the glasses tick. And while I eventually want to see Roger and Joan reunited, who’s to say that Lane couldn’t pair up with “Red” for a time? The scandal!
  3. Peggy and Duck – The Truth Must Come Out. And I don’t even care about Pete’s reaction. Naturally I would welcome a series of confrontations between Peggy and her baby daddy, but what I most want is for Don to explode. Peggy is more than his protegé; Don sees the good in himself reflected and magnified in his former secretary. Imagine his reaction upon discovering that she was (and possibly still is) sleeping with sleazy traitor Duck. Would he attack Duck or simply lose all respect for Peggy? And which would be worse? Either way, this is a plot thread that cannot be ignored.
  4. Who is Ken Cosgrove? When it comes to the supporting actors, everyone has layers. Harry is ambitious but dumb luck rather than intellect defines his advancement. Sal is brilliant but at odds with restrictions both societal and internal. Paul is forever trying to convince the world and himself that he is an unappreciated genius. But what do we really know about Ken? He’s a published writer, Sal crushed on him during Season Two, and that’s about it. It’s time to give Ken and actor Aaron Staton more to do. My suggestion? Ken was left behind when Don and Co. jumped ship to start fresh. While I can’t quite see him bitter as a result (that’s more up Paul’s alley), I’d like to see him as Don’s professional adversary in the vein of Duck or Lane. Such a rivalry would be colored by the fact that the characters and the audience know and kind of like Ken as opposed to a new Season Four “villain” we’ve never heard of before. Ken could prove an amiable opponent, or maybe something darker, more malicious lurks beneath the surface. And hey, Paul and Sal (please!) could join Ken as everyone dukes it out for new clients (I think I just wrote half the season).
  5. Come back, Sal! This last one might be wishful thinking. I’ve heard the rumors that Bryan Batt is gone. But I keep hoping that it’s all a trick so that we’re not expecting Sal when he resurfaces in episode three or four. There’s far too much story left to tell in both the Romano marriage, such as it is, and on the business front. Whether Sal is rehired by what was Sterling Cooper (and I think that’s doable since Roger absconded with Lucky Strike) or Sal sets up his own shop and comes into contact with his former coworkers, I want him to confront Don again even if it means his ultimate undoing. In short, Bryan Batt is just too good to let go.

What are you hoping to see in the world of Sterling Cooper and Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce? Let us know.

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