Earlier this summer, after reluctantly getting his wife a job as a commercial actress, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) sat down at a bar for a drink, where he was soon approached by a woman who asked him a loaded question: "Are you alone?" As he sat, considering his answer, the episode cut to black, meaning that fans of Mad Men would have to wait until next spring to find out what exactly Don's thoughts about his marriage were.
It's the closest thing Mad Men's done to a season-ending cliffhanger yet, and it was extraordinarily effective. Many fans and viewers speculated that his hesitation was a sign that he was no longer content with his volatile marriage to former secretary Megan (Jessica Pare), due to her independence and career aspirations as an actress. However, Mad Men showrunner Matthew Weiner seemed to indicate that the two were still very much in love, and our first look at the show's upcoming sixth season seems to confirm that.
A series of photos from early in season 6 (presumably the premiere episode) reveal Don and Megan relaxing at the beach. There's no sign of children Sally (Kiernan Shipka) or Bobby -- it's just the couple on vacation, and they look surprisingly happy. Well, Megan does, at least. Don looks preoccupied with heavier stuff, especially the copy of Dante's Inferno that he brought along. Seriously, Don? That's your idea of light beach reading?
The book's presence probably indicates that there will be some thematic similarities to be found in the episode. In my mind, it probably reflects a greater reflection on mortality that Don will likely be experiencing. He began to deal with the approach of middle age last season, and with the death of Lane hanging over his head (pun... sort of intended), we could be looking at a more morbid Don than we're used to.
Also: wow, Jessica Pare.
Mad Men's sixth and penultimate season will likely premiere next year. Check out some photos below.