don draperTonight, Mad Men fans will hopefully, finally get answers to our most burning questions. But if history repeats itself in any way -- and as we've learned from watching six seasons of Matthew Weiner's brilliant AMC drama, it sure tends to -- we'll still have plenty of questions (possibly even MORE!) by the end of the season 6 premiere. But, just like in the past, the premiere may also shed some light on running themes we're bound to see throughout the rest of the season.

Like all TV critics, NPR's David Bianculli was sworn to secrecy about most of what he saw in the premiere, but he was able to describe one key scene from tonight's double episode and then take an educated guess about where Don Draper is headed in this next chapter. You'll likely agree with me that his hypothesis is right on ...

Warning: If you don't want to know anything whatsoever about tonight's episode or guesses about the upcoming season, don't read on!

In the premiere, Don pitches a new campaign to clients who own a luxury hotel in Hawaii. But there's a hitch ... Don's campaign can't show the hotel at all -- just a set of footprints in the sand, leading into the water and vanishing. Bianculli reports, "But this time, for the first time, Don's verbal seduction doesn't have the desired result." In turn, he predicts:

I'm guessing — and this is only a guess — that this will end up being the primary theme of this new season on Mad Men. It'll be Don Draper losing his touch as the '60s march on. It'll be Don Draper doing, in the show, what his drawn caricature does in the beginning of every episode as the opening credits play: He goes into free fall, surrounded by all the images of happiness and desire he helped create.

Oooh, chills! I have chills! Yeah, that sounds about right, huh? What a terribly depressing image Bianculli paints there ... But hey, this is Mad Men we're talking about -- not exactly the darkest show on TV, but inarguably one of the most well-written, awesomely acted emotional dramas. So, as bleak as that outlook sounds, I have no doubt the journey to witnessing Don's demise (if that is what's in store for us?) will be poignant, complex, and beyond entertaining.

In the meantime, check out the NPR report for a sound clip from the premiere.

Would you agree with Bianculli's guess about the theme of season 6?

 

Image via Frank Ockenfels/AMC