The time has come. After waiting, waiting, and waiting some more, "Mad Men" returns this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on AMC for a two-hour dramatic extravaganza.
The era? Late '60s. The clothes? Colourful. The sideburns? Growing. And between the civil rights movement and Vietnam, the gang at and around Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce are in for quite the experience... we assume. Here are ten things we hope the season will deal with.
1. Peggy's professional rivalry with Don
The student becomes the teacher? We desperately want to see Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) and Don (Jon Hamm) go head-to-head in the wild world of advertising. That, or the opposite: not that we're championing a love story (their platonic love is what makes them great), but to explore a changing personal dynamic between them would be a gift to us all. Especially if we see Peggy shepherding Don the way he once shepherded her.
2. Sally Draper rebels
But not in the way we've seen before: rebel in the full-on teenage sense of the word. The hippie movement is upon us, so imagine Don's horror if he saw Sally (Kiernan Shipka) morph into a younger version of Midge's (Rosemarie DeWitt) friends from Season 1? Minus the hard drugs and sex scenes, though, obviously. (Seriously, Matthew Weiner, don't even try.)
3. Pete's receding hairline
Vincent Karthesier has revealed in the past that he actually shaves his hairline back for the role, so forgive us for wanting to see exactly how far back he's willing to go. Will he use sideburns to overcompensate? And if so, will he begin wearing tinted aviator glasses? These are the questions we ask every day.
4. Joan's newfound power
Joan (Christina Hendricks) has always been powerful, but by the end of last season she was finally viewed as equal to her (horrible) male bosses. As the '60s progress, women only get stronger, so will Joan make up for the injustices she herself has faced (e.g. years of sexual harassment, assault, and being paid less), or will she use those injustices to inspire change among the younger women at the office?
5. The search for Bobby
Since the premiere of "Mad Men," there have been four Bobby Drapers. We can only hope that Season 6 is the one in which every character bands together to find Don's three missing boys.
6. Glen blooms
It's easy to give Glen Bishop (Marten Weiner) a hard time after he walked in on Betty (January Jones) in the bathroom during Season 1, but after his appearance last season ("Commissions and Fees"), you've got to feel something for the kid who admitted to getting bullied regularly by everyone at his prep school. Clearly, the most interesting people tend to thrive later in life, so perhaps we'll see him abandon the prep path for a more interesting life in the city.
7. Vietnam, the civil rights union, and protests for each
Vietnam is raging, and aside from Joan's estranged ex-husband who served there, there's been relatively no other mention of it. The same goes for the civil rights movement, which only gained more momentum leading up to Martin Luther King Jr.'s death in 1968. True, "Mad Men" tends to deal only with what impacts the characters directly, but to stay immune to a turbulent -- and historically significant -- social climate is impossible. We're bound to see unrest (or at least Don and friends' inability to understand it).
8. Henry Francis' mother (Pamela Dunlap) explains why she's the worst
She hates Betty, gave Sally sleeping pills, and treats her son (Christopher Stanley) like dirt. All we're asking for is a simple "I'm sorry, everyone -- I am the worst" before promising to either change or leave the Francis' lives forever.
9. Ginsberg takes over Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce
Creative powerhouse Michael Ginsberg (Ben Feldman) made Don feel so insecure that he full-on refused to pitch Michael's work to a client. If he could somehow eclipse Don or start his own agency or, better yet, join forces with Peggy, wouldn't that be the greatest development in the world? Well, no. Because the actual greatest development would be...
10. Megan and Don actually making it work
Believe it or not, Don loves Megan (Jessica Pare) -- so much that he supported her acting dream (despite his preference that she hang around at home). So, here's the thing: we've seen a philandering version of Don Draper, and a version struggling with the concept of happiness. But what we haven't seen is a man who can actually learn to play second fiddle to a more successful partner. It would be a challenge, sure, but if Don is truly the protagonist of the series, he's got to evolve, or we as viewers will be stuck in a rut along with him.
Will we actually see any of this come to pass? Well, we'll find out this Sunday.