A void for fans was filled Sunday night when the high-anticipated season five premiere of Mad Men aired on AMC, giving us a glimpse into the lives of Don Draper played by Jon Hamm and Megan Draper played by Jessica Pare just a few months where season four left off.
It cannot be argued that Megan, played by Pare, will not only be the talk of the water cooler on Monday for those in the fictional Mad Men land at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, but for Mad Men fans in general.
The season premiere begins with a glance at the relationship between newlyweds Megan and Don after a few months have passed since their engagement. The couple are married and living together, with Don's children visiting over Memorial Day Weekend.
Megan wants to throw Don a surprise party for his 40th birthday, much against Peggy's advice, as she knows Draper is not about letting people into his personal life let alone his home.
The party goes off without a hitch, despite Draper's hesitation...well except for that raunchy burlesque show Pare as Megan performs - uncomfortably in front of the entire staff at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce -- Zou Bisou Bisou, leaving all the Mad Men characters in awe, as well as us.
According to Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, his intent was to make us uncomfortable.
Were you embarrassed when you were watching it at first? Weiner asked a reporter for TV Guide. I want you to be uncomfortable. It's not weird. You are just watching something private.
Weiner says, while the couple is happily married in 1966, there still must be some conflict.
The whole show is about having a problem - not not having a problem. And now you're looking at Don and you say, What is his problem? Well, you saw what happened in the episode. He was mortified and humiliated to have his personal life shared in the office. And this young, optimistic, loving person thought that was okay. It's basically him saying to her, Don't you know where I work? That's where we are.
Despite the embarrassing birthday, Weiner says Megan will be an integral character this season and could be the one responsible for changing Don for the better.
I loved that we see that Megan has some power over him, Weiner told TV Guide. He was craving a different kind of intimacy on new terms. That's part of why we see what we think, at this point, is genuine love in his eyes.
And Draper must be in love, as he even admitted he doesn't care about work early on in the episode.
So who is this woman who has stolen the heart of Mad Men's Don Juan?
There's a kind of honesty ... and her youthfulness, Weiner said. We can see she's not judgmental. She's shocked by how hard these people are on each other; there's a purity to her. There's probably nothing Don can tell her that's going to change her opinion of him, namely in terms of his past as Dick Whitman to which Megan doesn't seem to mind.
But given the violent sex scene at the end of the dual episode, will Megan and Don continue on happily?
All we know is that they have an intimate relationship, Matthew Weiner said. There is some violence in there and it is based on who is running things. I think what we should know is that whatever is holding them together, part of it is the fact that he wants her and she knows how to control him on that level. It was a game on some level because once the tension is broken, they're intimate again. But this is adult sexuality. I put it in there so you can see ... his desire for her and her knowing that. We want Don to be powerful, but maybe Don doesn't want to be powerful. In the end he dominated her, but he was frustrated into doing so.
View the slideshow to see photos of Jessica Pare.