“Mad Men” season six continues Sunday at 10 p.m. EDT with “The Crash,” an episode title that recalls Don Draper’s and Ted Chaough’s turbulent flight (and Ted’s spectacular aviator glasses) in last Sunday’s “Man with a Plan.” That flight made a smooth landing in the end, but Ted’s and Don’s new partnership will surely face more bumps in the road in the weeks ahead, after the honeymoon phase is over.
According to the episode synopsis, Don is disrupted by a surprise visitor. Who could it be? “Mad Men” history tells us that said visitor need not be a sentient being: Don has been visited by ghosts in the past (his younger brother Adam, most recently), and once hallucinated a former mistress. It could also be something as mundane as Betty making an unannounced visit to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce or Don’s and Megan’s apartment. We haven’t seen much of her this season, and she’s due for an appearance.
When we last saw Peggy and Abe together, Peggy was complaining about their new home on the Upper West Side, and was fantasizing that Abe was Ted as she was kissing him. But this was before the merger and Peggy’s new working relationship with Ted. If she’s hit the pause button on an affair with her now-boss, does it mean she will be thinking about a future with Abe?
As we were all anticipating, the assassination of Bobby Kennedy made it into the “Mad Men” script -- but only at the very tail end of “Man with a Plan.” Will the tragedy still be in the headlines in “The Crash”? The last three episodes of season six have covered two months’ time, and, in the past, “Mad Men” has not often picked up exactly where a dramatic event left off. In season five, Lane Pryce killed himself in the penultimate episode “Commissions and Fees,” but, by the season finale, SCDP was well on its way to business as usual, with Lane’s co-workers being given some time to absorb the shock.
There’s really no reason to believe the aftermath of Bobby Kennedy’s death will underpin “The Crash” the same way MLK’s assassination consumed “The Flood.” More likely, we will revisit the presidential election in a future episode, as the historic 1968 Democratic Convention took place in August in Chicago.
But when will SCDP go to Los Angeles? This year, the Los Angeles Times published production stills of season six, and one of the photos showed Harry Crane behind the wheel of a convertible in sunny L.A., with Roger and Don as his passengers. But that’s all we know about a West Coast trip. From the looks of the “Next on ‘Mad Men’” preview of “The Crash,” it looks like much of the action takes place inside the SCDP offices. Don’s taking a nap in his office in one scene, and a gussied-up Megan is impatiently demanding to know where someone is -- presumably her husband -- in another. Perhaps Don is avoiding Megan while reeling from the breakup with Sylvia: Rejection isn’t something Don’s accustomed too, and we can’t imagine he’s handling it gracefully.
Check out the episode trailer here, and tune in at 10 p.m. on AMC.