We always knew this was going to be a tough season. After last season's revelations and chases down the rabbit hole — LSD! Howard Johnson's! — Don Draper had reached a point. Suicide was in the air. A woman approached him in a bar, offering a return to his old ways. "Are you alone?"
The question was more than flirtatious. It was also
existential. Because this is the beginning of Don Draper confronting
That is no more true than in the just-released poster for season six, which could be called Don Draper/Dick Whitman, or just Draper v. Draper. Last season's poster
of Don looking through a store window at mannequins made its meaning
clear soon enough: The characters were trying on domesticity, or
something like it, to see how it fit. Now Don will have to face his own
The new poster makes this tension almost too plain — note that
there are two one-way signs, suggesting Don has to make a
decision he can't take back, and one light-suited and one dark-suited
Don. Doubles! (Note also, irrelevantly, that a commercial airplane
appears to be lifting off from the sixth floor of a Madison Avenue
office building.) But the style of the illustration, done by 75-year-old
Brian Sanders, one of series creator Matthew Weiner's real-life adman
inspirations, is perfect. And luckily Mad Men has more nuance than the production design of Black Swan,
so expect more than dueling black/white suit choices.
When the show
comes back next month, Don's existential drama is likely to be
spoon-fed, like every thread of Mad Men, deliberately, week by week, and with great care for the details.