Mad spoilers ahead! After a long, long wait, Mad Men fans finally got their fix when season six of the acclaimed, buzzed-about AMC 60s drama premiered with a two-hour episode on Sunday, April 7. What were Don Draper (Jon Hamm), second wife Megan (Jessica Pare) ex-wife Betty (January Jones), business partner Roger Sterling (John Slattery) and the rest up to? Read on for the top five most shocking, memorable moments from the premiere, which firmly established this year's dark theme: Death, dying and aging.
Don loses his lunch — at a memorial service! Back from an eventful, all-expense paid trip with Megan to Hawaii, a jet-lagged, queasy Don joins his coworkers to pay respects after Roger's 91-year-old mother passes away. As Roger's wheelchair-bound aunt shares her memories — particularly her steadfast devotion to her son — Don, drunk and likely recalling his own rough, love-less childhood, vomits amidst the grieving Sterling family.
Betty makes shockingly off-color jokes about Sally's violinist pal Sandy. 15-year-old Sandy says she's gotten into Juilliard, and plays the violin for Betty, husband Henry, Sally and her two young brothers during a sleepover. Later, Henry privately muses in bed about Sandy's musical talent. "She's just in the next room, why don't you go in there and rape her? I'll hold her arms down." As Henry protests, she continues in the same shocking vein: "You can stick a rag in her mouth and you won't wake the boys."
Roger finally breaks down and weeps. At first, twice-divorced Roger (who's been in intensive therapy) takes the news of his mother's death with a matter-of-fact shrug and later throws a tamper tantrum at the memorial at his first ex-wife's second husband. It takes the death of his office building's shoeshine man, Giorgio, for him to actually cry and mourn his mother's death. Accepting Giorgio's box of shoeshine tools, the normally wise-cracking, stoic Roger lets it all out.
Betty goes brunette! Fans finally know why blonde actress Jones perhaps went dark in real life last year. After Sandy (who lied about getting into Julliard) disappears into downtown NYC, Betty — who sees herself and her own missed opportunities in Sandy — tries to track her down at a gritty flophouse only to discover that Sandy's bolted for California, and to be dressed down by a sassy young hippie. In a misguided effort to reinvent herself, the failed former model dyes her trademark blonde hair — which her older son calls "ugly."
Don's got a new mistress. After staying on the straight and narrow during all of season five, serial adulterer Don has in fact taken up with a new woman other than his stunning second wife. As Megan enjoys new success as a TV star, Don, it's revealed at episode's end, is sleeping with the mysterious wife of downstairs neighbor, heart surgeon Dr. Rosen (Brian Markinson), who recently saved the building doorman from a fatal heart attack. Mrs. Rosen even lent Don some reading material for his getaway in Hawaii — the dark Renaissance masterpiece Dante's Inferno — but Don, as they cuddle on New Year's Eve, says he wants to end the affair.
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