Protracted negotiations between “Mad Men” creator Matt Weiner and the executives at AMC and production company Lionsgate earlier this year resulted in a good news-bad news situation for fans. The good news is that the show is guaranteed to go at least two more seasons. The bad news? It won’t begin airing until March. While we wait (and wait) for the start of Season 5, we offer up our own plausible (or not) plot developments to fill the gap. So pour yourself a drink, and see what may be in store for the team at Sterling Draper Cooper Price.
Inspired by his children’s delight in Disneyland in the last season — and his subsequent proposal to former secretary Megan Calvet, who came along as nanny — Don flees New York with kids and new wife to the West Coast, reverting to his original name: Richard Whitman. He then opens a new ad agency with Pete Campbell (WhitCam Advertising) and revolutionizes the nascent field of television advertising by inventing the first Super Bowl commercial. Betty frantically spends all her husband’s money tracking down her newly “Whitmanized” children and finally catches a break when she spies them appearing as extras on “Batman.”
Having earned nothing but derision around the office for trying to bring in the newly formed National Organization for Women as a client, Peggy befriends NOW President Betty Friedan and reads “The Feminine Mystique.” Stronger and more vocal, she then jeopardizes her job again by writing the recruiting copy for the feminist movement. Her newly assertive ways clash with Abe, whose radical façade fades when Peggy insists he do the dishes, revealing his true closeted traditionalist nature.
Joan Holloway Harris
Free to fudge the exact date of her child’s birth (what with hubby/rapist Greg tending to the troops in Vietnam), Joan soon has to dodge Roger’s unwanted attentions. When he insists on having access to his child, Joan signs up for a self-defense class at the Y and karate chops him one night. Inspired, she signs up for more classes and quickly becomes fluent in Swahili, joins Toastmasters and is enthralled by an underground speech given by Huey P. Newton, in town to expound on the black power movement.
The 1960s bypass ol’ Betty, whose frosty spoiled nature brings her in true head-to-head combat with precocious, rebellious daughter Sally. Drained by their daily fights, Betty goes a shade of gray the bottle can’t cover up; by the time Sally joins a biker gang to check out the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and points west, the now-twice-divorced, vain Bryn Mawr graduate will have no choice but to undergo plastic surgery. The plus side: Don starts taking an interest again once he sees the perk is back in her cheeks … and other body parts.
The Draper kids are gathered around the breakfast table in 1966 Ossining (Don kept the house!) while stepmom Megan simultaneously serves them waffles and teaches them French. Don kisses them all goodbye and heads to work. By the end of the season (or the day), Don sleeps with (A) Betty, (B) the ghost of a girlfriend past (Jewish department store scion Rachel Menken or schoolteacher Suzanne Farrell) or (C) the first woman he sees upon leaving the house. Business at SDCP (the C now stands for Campbell) has recovered nicely with Toyota and Dow Chemical on board, though as youth culture raises its freak flag, a now out-of-touch Don can be heard muttering about “kids these days” while rubbing the love beads Megan bought him.
Appalled that Don promoted Megan to copywriter, where it quickly becomes clear she does not have “the same spark” as Peggy (at least when it comes to copywriting), Peggy looks for offers from firms more receptive and respectful to women. Finding no such agencies, she goes to Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball with gal pal Joyce, where she shares a dance with a masked man who reveals himself to be … Mr. Frank Sinatra?! “You’re a classy dame, Peggy Olson,” the Chairman tells her. “My broad looks like a little boy.” By year’s end, Peggy takes her first airplane trip, not the only time she’ll fly high in 1966.
Following the birth of a beautiful baby son, Joan’s husband, Dr. Greg, returns on leave from Vietnam. Confused about the boy’s thick head of white hair, Greg does the math (though he needs to take off his socks to count) and realizes the child’s not his. Greg later dies, not in ‘Nam but from a stray bullet while confronting Roger in Don’s office. Roger helps Joan the only way he can (money), setting up an office nursery. She goes it alone as a single parent. And she and the boy are better for it.
Don’s newfound marital bliss drives Betty bonkers. Dr. Edna (Sally’s therapist) suggests Betty do something constructive with that festering ball of rage. Seeing Megan’s natural way with kids, Betty holes up in a movie theater, watching Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music” for clues. Unfortunately, the lesson she takes away — making clothes from curtains is fun! — compels the kids to hate her even more. (Betty: You need to remove the rods.) Complete mental breakdown and/or diagnosis of lung cancer follows, removing the now very pregnant January Jones from the cast.