Mad Men – Recap & Review – Favors

photo: amc

photo: amc

Mad Men

Original Air Date: Jun 9, 2013

Ryan O – Staff Writer

The draft and trying to avoid the it take center stage this week. Don does a favor to help someone and owes a favor as a result.

Meanwhile, Roger juggles, Peggy gets a cat, and Sally has a crush on an older boy. Also: adultery and we find out the story with Bob Benson! (But nothing about Joan and Avon, so BOO! to that.)


Things are in conflict at SC&P, still, some more. Ted, while at dinner with Pete and Peggy, says the two of them are the type of people he wants in an agency. (Also at this dinner, while Ted is away from the table, Pete tells Peggy he can tell she like-likes Ted and that Ted clearly feels the same way. Peggy says they’re just ignoring it.) However, they’ve come back from seeing Ocean Spray, you know the cranberry and cranberry juice people. You might remember last week and the trip to LA? One of the clients they visited was Sunkist. After Don goes into his office and watches Roger juggle some oranges that Sunkist sent over, he has a shouting match in the hall with Ted about the conflict (can’t do work for two juice companies).

Ted stalks off to his office and slams his door. Ted wants his juice and not Don’s juice. Cutler goes in and points out whichever juice they get will be everyone’s juice. Ted isn’t really satisfied with this.

Speaking of not satisfied: Ted’s wife. She’s not pleased with Ted. Among other things, she wants him to be more present when he’s present. It sounded a lot like what Megan told Don a few episodes ago.


Abe is no longer living with Peggy. However, she’s not without a new roommate: a rat. No, not Pete, an actual rat. She comes into the living room in her cute flowery nightie and sees a trail of blood going under her couch. She hears the rat struggling. She calls Stan and wants him to come over; she’ll even make it worth his while. Stan can’t oblige at the moment since he has a female visitor in bed next to him. The next night, Peggy is sitting on the couch watching TV. On the couch next to her? A cat. (Her mother would refer to it as the first of her three cats and would not be surprised that Abe has left. I hate that Peggy’s mother was right.)

Pete (and Bob)

Manolo and Pete’s mother show up at SC&P. Pete’s mother has a truly awkward conversation with Peggy, she talks about how she wants the two of them back together, for the sake of the child. Peggy looks shocked but tries to play it cool. It becomes clear that Pete’s mother believes Peggy is Trudy. In a moment where she seems more lucid, however, Pete’s mother does talk about how Manolo has ignited something in her. Peggy later mentions this to Pete.

Pete confronts his mother about it and she’s pretty clear that, yes, it’s happening. Pete isn’t going to stand for that. He tells her he’s going to fire him. She’s sad and angry.

The next day, Pete calls Bob into his office. Pete wants to know why Bob recommended Manolo. Bob tells Pete to sit down and gets him a drink. Bob sits on the coffee table right across from Pete. Bob starts talking about how it should be okay for love to flourish regardless of where and who is involved. Bob’s knee touches Pete’s knee, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Pete. Pete is uncomfortable. Pete moves his knee away. He weakly says he’ll give Manolo a months’ severance pay. Bob gets up and leaves, looking a bit disappointed as he walks away.

Pete? Bob, you can’t aim higher? The New Roger would probably consider it. Wouldn’t you start there? Pete is just so … Pete.

The Drapers

Betty yells at Sally because she is one of only two girls who are going on a field trip to the city to do Model U.N. ( … Model U.N., just when you thought the U.N. was the least important deliberative body in the world). Anyway, instead of staying in a hotel with a bunch of boys and the 25-year-old teacher, Sally and her friend Julie are going to stay with Don and Megan.

On their way into the apartment building, they meet Mitchell, Arnold and Sylvia Rosen’s son. He’s a college-aged boy who isn’t in college any more. He makes an impression on the two girls who think he’s just dreamy.

Mitchell isn’t dreamy, he’s headed for the draft. He sent his draft card back in protest, plus he’s dropped out of college. Now, he’s 1-A, which means he could be called for service at any time. Sylvia and Arnold are beside themselves with the possibility he could go to Vietnam.

Megan tells Don about what’s going on and Don takes the attitude that while it’s upsetting, it’s not their problem and they need to leave it alone.

Arnold and Don go get a drink and they talk about what they can do. Don suggest that Arnold must know some people and he does but it might be too late for them, given that Mitchell is already 1-A.

Don’s at dinner with Roger, Ted, Cutler, and a few guys from Chevy. General Motors was a major defense contractor and had considerable clout. After a round of fishing stories, Don turns the conversation to his friend’s kid who is now 1-A. The Chevy guys are sympathetic but aren’t going to be helpful. Also, Don really brought the mood of the dinner way down.

The next morning, Ted bursts in Don’s office all “WHAT THE HELL, DON?” Ted didn’t understand what that was about. Don explains about Mitchell. Ted, correctly, says that Don must not have a lot of friends for this to be so important to him. Wow. Perhaps because he’s so worried, Don doesn’t seem to take that as an insult and just says that it is. Ted says the guy who taught him to fly is a general in the Air National Guard and he’ll call him to get Mitchell into that, which will keep him stateside and out of Vietnam. However, Ted wants the war to end. No, not Vietnam, but the war between Don and Ted. Don agrees.

Don calls the Rosens to give them the good news. He wanted to talk to Arnold but gets Sylvia. He tells Sylvia and she’s so grateful. She can’t thank Don enough. She also explains she cut things off with Don because she didn’t want him falling in love with her. Don asks if she felt nothing.

Meanwhile, Sally and Julie are passing a paper back and forth and writing down things they like about Mitchell (this seems like a thing teenage girls did/do but I have no idea). In the morning, Julie tells Sally she signed Sally’s name to it, put it in an envelope, and slipped it under the Rosens’ door. Sally can’t believe this and heads back to the building to retrieve it. She gets the set of keys from the doorman and goes to the Rosens’ apartment.

You see where this is going, right?

Sally opens the door and goes in. She looks around for the letter but hears something. She turns and sees her father on top of Sylvia. She flees the apartment. Don pulls up his pants and runs after her but he’s too late.

Don goes to a bar to drown his sorrows. He eventually goes home. Megan welcomes him. She’s made dinner and Sally and Julie are there. Sally can’t look at him. He wants to go lie down but Megan insists that he eat something.

The doorbell rings. It’s Mitchell and Arnold. They’ve come over to thank Don. This is all news to Megan, who kisses Don and calls him just the sweetest husband. This is too much for Sally who stands up and shouts at her dad and runs to her room. Don goes to talk to her. Sally doesn’t unlock her door. (Oh Don, you naive bastard. Teenagers don’t get locks for their doors.) He starts to talk through the door to Sally, who is pressed up against the door, listening. He says he “was comforting her.” Wow, that’s where you’re going with that, Don? She’s 15, not 5. Sally doesn’t say much of anything other than she heard him. Don walks down the hall and goes to bed.

I don’t know how much his guilt over the affair played into his desire to help Mitchell but I don’t think it was very much, if at all. Don really does seem to like Arnold, and as Ted pointed out, Don doesn’t have many friends. Really, Arnold is his only one. I think wanting to do something to help his friend combined with his memories of Korea worked together to make him do what he could to help Mitchell. His mistake, obviously, was letting that get mixed in with how he still feels about Sylvia. Even that would’ve been okay if he hadn’t gone there in the middle of the day to “comfort her.” It’s a devastating scene for father and daughter alike. To know that you’ve disappointed someone you love and who loves you. To lose faith in someone.

“Your father is like a hero to you.” That’s what Betty hurled at Sally early in the episode. Where does Sally go from here in how she views her father? Will she keep his secret from Megan? My guess is she blurts it out inadvertently when she’s mad at Megan.

Best Lines:

“Imagine if every time Ginger Rogers jumped in the air, Fred Astaire punched her in the face.” — Ted to Cutler about how things are going at SC&P

“I suppose there is a way I could mistake your tone for concern.” — Peter’s mother to Peter

“I was comforting her.” — Don to Sally, about his behavior with Sylvia

Best Shot:

The shot of Peggy and Pete’s mother on the couch is striking if for no other reason than Pete’s mother is wearing a version of Jackie Kennedy’s famous pink suit while Peggy wears something very similar in a striking green.

Song over the end credits: There were several moments of silence after the last shot, which is unusual. The song that comes up after that is, I believe, an original composition.

What do you expect to happen in the coming weeks? Let’s hear your Two Cents!

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7 Responses to Mad Men – Recap & Review – Favors

  1. WOW, I think that the season finale will leave us hanging on the edge of “who did it!”

  2. bluerick says:

    I found it quite telling that Don said to Arnold about his son Mitchell’s plight and the idea that he should run to Canada; “You can’t run away from your life.”

  3. Katie says:

    Yes! I love the idea of Bob with the New Roger. Aim higher, Bob!
    Also, it was too late. Sally had already seen everything. Just like Patrick Stewart in Extras. 🙂

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