More than ever, it feels as though we're supposed to "solve" "Mad Men" episodes these days; each meaning, symbol, allegory and metaphor is as neatly arranged as a Japanese bento box, one we are supposed to unpack with proper care and reverence.
I luxuriated in the season premiere, which, more than anything else, felt like a big, shiny present to fans. Don's surprise birthday bash was brightly colored and amusing and, like the best "Mad Men" moments, full of lots of intersecting layers.
The season premiere allows fans to marinate in the world of the characters for two hours, serving as an appetizer, if you will. They're a nicely calibrated prelude to the main courses to come. I'll drink to that!