How Much Can You Read into These New Photos from 'Mad Men' Season 6?

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As excited fans learned yesterday, Mad Men is returning on April 7, and even though the hype fatigue is already beginning, the hype is most certainly on. AMC has now released staged, non-episodic press shots ahead of the new season, featuring our beloved misanthropes at a gathering of sorts — a gathering that might (emphasis on the "might) just offer some clues about where (and when) we're at in Season 6. Here are the glamorous new images: 

So what can we infer from these photos? Though we don't know when exactly this season is taking place, stylistically these photos show a move into late 1960s-early 1970s fashion. No, none of our characters are wearing bell bottoms — yet — but Pete Campbell is sporting minor sideburns (as BuzzFeed points out), and we'd label Betty and Megan's dresses as "groovy." And remember: 1967, when last season ended, is the year the seminal comedy program Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In debuted. And 1968 gave us Barbarella. We also saw some of this shift in style and attitute last season — need we remind you of Roger's LSD trip? — but compare the image above to one of last year's buttoned-up press shots:

As far as plot speculation: We ended last season as Megan was happy with her job shooting a commercial and as Don (possibly) entertained the idea of entering into an affair — or maybe even entered one. Creator Matthew Weiner said in an interview with the Daily Beast: "I would love for people to just watch the last 10 minutes of Season 5 right before Season 6 starts." The top image seems to put Don in the same kind of place. He has a happy wife, leaning over him as he looks out into the distance, but he seems detached and unhappy. 

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As for other plot lines? Don seems to still see remnants of his previous life — Betty, who is fully back to her lithe self after a spate as Fat Betty, and Sally, who had a touching moment with Betty last season — as they linger in his line of vision. In the other two photos we notice that Peggy isn't hanging with the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce crew, but according to Weiner's interview with the Daily Beast, Elisabeth Moss is still very much a part of the show. Meanwhile, Joan, who took on a new role late last season after a controversial decision, is very much boozing and socializing with the men. Can we make a judgment call on a plot point based on a bunch of people at some sort of party together? We're not sure. Fancy gatherings often happen all the time on Mad Men, and these folks do make for lovely photos.

Or maybe we're just overthinking it.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.