Surprisingly, I haven’t much to say about season two of Mad Men. Okay, I’ve got a bit, which you can join me after the jump for.
The main thing to say is that it’s not had quite the narrative thrust of season one. Without most of the shocks in how women were treated, the prevalance of smoking, attitudes to homosexuality, etc, that season one thrust in ours faces and without the "what is Don’s secret?" arc, we’ve not had too much to drag us from episode to episode with this season.
The slight exception is Don’s ongoing marriage issues – which we grew accustomed to in season one. It’s been fascinating to see him go on his quest and to come out of it with new attitudes (I’m trying to be non-spoilerish here), but again, not too much of a draw, particularly since it’s just been a dawning realisation that he’s a brittle f*ck-up, which we knew already.
However, the finale – and a couple of flashbacks to Don’s early days in sales in previous episodes – almost made up for all of that. Apart from the cameo by Ryan McPartlin (Captain Awesome in Chuck), we finally had some development of the Peggy/Pete storyline and some forward movement on the other, behind-the-scenes turmoil.
It does feel, though, that we just reached the end of The Empire Strikes Back – the whole thing had been building to the next season, which is what happened at the end of the last season, too, and resulted in minimal resolution.
As beautifully written, beautifully acted, beautifully shot, etc, as Mad Men is, it does feel like a bit of a tease, leading us from season to season without really giving us resolution. Is it ultimately going to say something, or is it merely content to document?