It’s been a year and a half since we’ve seen a new episode of Mad Men. Considering that we sometimes can’t remember what we ate for lunch by bedtime the same day, it’s safe to say that the Season 4 finale wasn’t exactly fresh in our minds — which means we recently had to re-watch it, because it’s kind of our job to know what’s happening on the show. But in case you don’t have time to give the show another viewing before Sunday, we’ve put together a quick cheat sheet on where all the characters when last we saw them, in November 1965. (As you may recall, the premiere will pick up sometime in 1966, and Matthew Weiner and his cast are certainly talking like there will have been major developments in the off-season.) Remind yourself of who Don Draper’s sleeping with, what’s going on with Joan’s baby, and how far Peggy’s gotten in her quest to rule the world, after the jump.
Don Draper: Oh boy. What didn’t Don do in the finale? He brought his kids to California to get Anna’s (the recently deceased wife of the real Don Draper) affairs settled and ends up with her engagement ring. Luckily, he happened to have impulsively asked his secretary to come along as a nanny for his kids — hey, you’re female! — and makes quick of bedding Megan and proposing. “I feel like myself when I’m with you,” he tells her. Of course, she goes with it, because no one says no to Don Draper, even if it’s almost always in their best interest to do so. He quickly breaks it off with Dr. Faye, who was under the mistaken impression that he was going to miss her while he was away. There is much celebration at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, but by the evening of his return to the office, Don is gazing meaningfully out his bedroom window as Megan sleeps. So, this relationship is as good as doomed.
Megan Calvet: Oh, Megan. Poor, naïve Megan, the girl who has too wide a gap between her front teeth to ever be a star. (If only she’d been born in the era of Madonna.) She’s positively over the moon. “I know that you have a good heart,” she tells Don. Guess it’s nice to know that someone is sure of that.
Faye Miller: Dr. Faye may have gotten unceremoniously dumped, but at least she didn’t give Don the satisfaction of a friendly break. She also had the best line of the episode: “I hope she knows you only like the beginnings of things,” she says of Megan. You know what, Faye? You were too good for him, anyway.
Peggy Olson: While Don’s off acting like a teenager, Peggy has basically saved SCDP by jumping on a tip from her Beatnik lesbian pal that Topaz pantyhose just fired their agency. Teaming up with Ken Cosgrove, she wins the company over with her great ideas and scores a couple hundred thousand dollars’ worth of business. But her triumph is overshadowed, of course, by Don’s engagement — which she thinks is completely ridiculous, because Peggy is a sane and reasonable person. The situation is exacerbated by her boss’s groan-inducing backhanded compliment, that Megan “reminds me of you.”
Joan Harris: Thankfully, Joan is around to talk shit with Peggy about Don and his stupid engagement. “They’re all just between marriages, anyway,” she quips. And she’s got reason to be moody: Earlier in the episode, Lane announced that she’s being promoted to Director of Agency Operations — but don’t get too excited, sweetheart. It’s not like you’re getting a raise. And then there’s the small matter of Joan’s pregnancy, the result of an ill-advised tryst with Roger. Our suspicion that she never went through with the abortion was confirmed when she called her husband to talk about it. Of course, the poor guy thinks it’s his. Here’s hoping the kid doesn’t show up in Season 5 with a full head of gray hair…
Pete Campbell: We don’t see much of Pete in the season finale, but when we do, he’s bugging Ken to work a personal connection to drum up some business. When his former rival and current underling refuses — on the grounds that he’s “not like Pete” and has already brought in a huge chunk of SCDP’s accounts — some pained grimacing ensues. Expect the prep-school boy’s inferiority complex to carry on in Season 5.
Ken Cosgrove: Meanwhile, we weren’t originally too fond of this guy, but his refusal to put business over family really puts his workaholic colleagues’ insanity into perspective.
Roger Sterling: This isn’t a huge episode for Roger, either. But he sure is validated by Don’s decision to marry his secretary! Champagne time, bros!
Betty Francis: The Betty nervous breakdown trains chugs on! After catching creepy Glen leaving the house before the Francises’ moving day, she fires Carla. Yup, that’s what this poor woman gets for a decade of raising Betty’s kids. Towards the end of the episode, she runs into Don at the old, Ossining house, where he’s come to let a real estate agent show the place. They share some wine, and it’s pretty clear that if he wants her back at that moment, he can have her. She’s doesn’t show how hurt she is at his engagement, but the tension is palpable.
Henry Francis: Why is Betty so friendly to Don? Well, things aren’t going too well between her and Henry. When he hears that she fired Carla without consulting him, he’s livid. In the midst of the shouting match, he throws down the second best quote of the episode: “There is no fresh start! Lives carry on.”
Sally Draper: We don’t see a whole lot of her, either, but she gets one hell of an awkward farewell scene with Glen. They hug and hedge about how much their separation means. It’s your standard middle-school romantic stand-off. But is it wrong of us to want someone better than this weirdo for Sally?