Many Mad Men fans will be celebrating the return of the critically acclaimed series in April; and based on the recently released teaser photos, it looks like there is some celebrating going on for the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce crew as well. The glamorous black-and-white photos are set to the backdrop of a classy cocktail party, with the cast decked out in fabulous formal wear. Though the shots are not actual stills from the season’s upcoming episodes, the promotional images may provide a glimpse of what is in store for the anticipated sixth season.

When we last left the characters, the SCDP partners (Joan, Don, Pete, Roger, and Bertram) were gazing out the bright windows of their new higher floor, looking forward to a future of possibilities. In Don’s (Jon Hamm) personal life, however, things weren’t as clear. In one of the season’s most memorable scenes, Don was shown walking away from Megan (Jessica Paré) at her commercial shoot – perhaps separating from her emotionally as well? The episode ends with a woman at a bar alluringly asking Don, “Are you alone?”

In previous years, it wouldn’t even be a question as to whether he would indulge in his womanizing ways; but last season we saw an idealistic Don who remained devoted to his bride. We are not only left wondering whether or not he returns the woman’s flirtation, but also, has he lost all connection with Megan? Is he really alone? Is their marriage doomed?
 

Photo 1: Twisted Family Portrait

Twisted Family Portrait

Betty, Sally, Megan and Don

Skinny Betty is back! Audiences were shocked last year to find January Jones sporting a fat suit. Perhaps we will see a more self-assured Betty this year; but will she act as spiteful and childish as ever? Last season we witnessed a couple of sweet moments between Betty and daughter Sally (Kiernan Shipka); but even so, Betty has a lot of issues to resolve, whether skinny or not. Hopefully, this means she will play a more prominent role this season, as her character has been sidelined the last couple of years.

The photo suggests that mother and daughter are in different worlds, as they are looking away from each other, with no physical contact. Sally, by the way, looks like she is maturing into a polished young lady (there seems to be a group of fans who are hoping she turns into a hippie wild child when Woodstock comes along). Speaking of the Draper kids, with the absence of Mason Vale Cotton in the photo, I can’t help but wonder if this means there will be a fifth Bobby Draper, a role they seem to recast each season.

Megan, a modern girl who is usually styled in the trendiest fashions of the times, wears a long and teased hairstyle, a look popular in the late ’60s. (Will we see any grown-out hairstyles on the men this year)? Throughout last season, Don tried to find his happiness in a loving wife; and while Megan was supportive, she was also a bit more independent than he anticipated.

Don looks debonair as usual, but also appears detached. In fact, everyone seems disconnected, with no one looking at each other except for Megan, leaning in towards Don. Definitely the warmest figure in the photo, Megan appears to still feel affection for him. Don doesn’t seem to be maliciously ignoring her, but just looks like his typical introverted self, perhaps contemplating a decision. This clues us in that the couple may still be together, but whether Don is interested in the marriage any longer is another question.
 

Photo #2: Peggy’s Not Going Anywhere

Peggy and Don

Peggy and Don

After leaving on her own terms to another ad agency, it will be interesting how much we will see of Peggy’s story. Some worried that Elisabeth Moss would not be returning this year, since Peggy quit SCDP. From this photo, however, it looks like she will definitely be an integral part of the plot. She is surrounded by men — but not in a good way. She actually looks pretty lonely. Peggy is seen sitting at the bottom of the staircase and seemingly ignored by the partygoers… except Don.

Partly cut off, we can at least tell he is looking down on her. This may mean he figuratively looks down on her with disapproval, or perhaps he misses her and thinks of Peggy with fondness, like a father dropping off his freshman daughter to her college dorm. With arms crossed, no smile and no drink, Peggy is far from the celebratory mood of the others. This may hint at some tough times ahead for Peggy, trying to make it on her own at another male-dominated agency.
 

Photo #3: Cheers to SCDP

Roger, Don, Joan, and Pete

Roger, Don, Joan, and Pete

It certainly looks like the partners are doing well; the photo suggests they are enjoying great professional success. At least Don looks more cheerful here than in the family portrait. And, considering the dark turns these characters were put through last year, it is nice to see them relaxed and smiling — for now. For those who appreciate Mad Men’s exquisite set design, seeing the décor of the new offices will be something to look forward to in the premier. Style wise, although the men’s hairstyles are still short and groomed, Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) has grown in some sideburns.
 

Photo #4: Happy Times (?)

Mad Men 4

The last photo reveals the employees merrily living it up. We see Ken and Harry are still at the company. The overall jovial spirit indicates that the team has seemingly moved on after the horror of Lane Pryce’s tragic office suicide. Which brings up another question: with Pryce departed, does this mean the firm will have a modified name? Sterling Cooper Draper Campbell Harris is a mouthful, so it is curious how they will resolve this. While work life is going grand on the surface, we all know that these characters will face one drama or another ahead. As usual, it will be fascinating to see what surprises are in store as the season unfolds.

Creator/writer Matt Weiner treats fans with a 2-hour premier episode April 7th at 9/8c on AMC.