Mad Men – Recap & Review – The Quality of Mercy

photo: amc

photo: amc

Mad Men
The Quality of Mercy

Original Air Date: Jun 16, 2013

Ryan O – Senior Staff Writer

Someone gets shot! More secrets about Bob Benson — REVEALED! Don Draper, enemy of the office romance!

Ken, out hunting with a couple of guys from Chevy, gets shot. Oh, wow.

The show cuts directly to a Nixon campaign ad about needing to eliminate crime and restore the respect for law and order as we see photos and film clips of hippies. Irony!

There’s three plot threads this week, Pete and Bob, Sally, and Don.


Betty calls Don to tell him that Sally doesn’t want to go to Don’s for the weekend. Also, Sally wants to go to boarding school. Don is a little relieved, thinking the phone call was going to cover what Sally saw him doing last week.

Sally talks with Betty in the car on their way to Miss Porter’s for Sally’s interview. Sally isn’t being nice or forthcoming about why she wants to go but eventually says she wants to grow up and take her education seriously.

During the interview, Betty does a nice job of talking up Sally. Sally’s going to stay overnight and go to some classes the next day to get a sense of whether she’d like to attend.

Sally talks with the two girls she’s spending the night with. They’re nice up until the point where they’re not. They tell Sally she needs to stop talking and produce some alcohol or cigarettes. Sally has neither. They tell her their opinion is crucial in whether Sally gets in. Sally asks if they want money. They don’t need money. They tell her to call her mother and tell her she’s useless. She looks worried.

Later that night, Sally is getting along better with one of the roommates, who is now smoking. Then, Glen Bishop shows up with a friend, Rolo. Rolo brought some marijuana. Glen brought some vodka. Everyone is having a pretty good time.

Glen goes off with one with one of the roommates. The other roommate is out of it somewhere else. Sally is left with Rolo, who thinks he’s going to hook up. Sally isn’t so interested and she fends off his advances. She gets tired of it and knocks on the door where Glen and the other girl are. Glen comes out, gets annoyed that Rolo won’t leave Sally alone and they get into a fight. Sally can’t help but smirk. The boys quit fighting and Rolo and Glen take off.

Sally and Betty drive back from Miss Porter’s. Betty says the school’s headmistress had very complimentary things to say about Sally and they’d be happy to have her. Betty has a cigarette and says Sally can have one, too. Betty says that Don is probably already giving Sally beer. “My father has never given me anything.” Betty looks a bit surprised and confused at this attitude from Sally but doesn’t question her about it.

Pete and Bob

Kenny is alive! He’s back in the office. His face is bruised and he has an eyepatch. Pete comes into Kenny’s office. Kenny tells him Cynthia’s pregnant. Also, he wants off Chevy. Kenny just can’t take being with those guys. Pete says he’d take it.

Pete is cleaning his gun, the one he got forever ago after exchanging a wedding present for it. He meets with Bert, Jim, Roger, Kenny, and Bob about Kenny giving up going to Detroit for Chevy. Jim tells Pete Bob is going to help smooth things over. When Pete expresses some objection, Bob excuses himself. Jim says he and Chevy both like Bob and if Pete doesn’t, Jim will find someone that does.

Out in the hall after the meeting, Pete tells Bob that he doesn’t want to work with him or stay in a hotel with him after Bob professed his love. Bob says he only professed his admiration, which is quickly waning. Bob says Pete needs to be careful about what he says to people.

Pete’s on the phone with Duck Phillips, doing some (secret) headhunting on behalf of Bob. He wants Bob out of the office. Meanwhile, Bob is on the phone bitching about Pete in fluent Spanish to Manolo.

Duck calls Pete back. He tells Pete that pretty much everything Bob has said about himself is a lie. Duck isn’t even sure if Bob Benson is really his name. He did work for an accounting agency but as a man servant for a senior vice president. Duck says he’s never seen anything like it. Pete says he has and he means Don. (The things you could get away with (more easily) before Google!)

Pete confronts Bob. He says Bob is better at whatever it is Bob does than he is at what he does. So, Pete says he surrenders. Bob doesn’t understand, he’s clearly expecting to be fired at this point. Pete wants Bob working alongside him, just not too closely and Pete is off-limits. He also wants Manolo out his mother’s life permanently. Bob’s a little stunned and so am I.

Don (and Peggy and Ted)

Peggy and Ted are giggling/flirting over work for the Ocean Spray campaign in the creative lounge.

Later, Harry calls Don, who is home “sick.” Sunkist is interested in TV, Don tells him about the conflict with Ocean Spray. Harry says they want to increase what they’re spending by a lot.

Don and Megan run into Ted and Peggy at Rosemary’s Baby. It’s a bit awkward. Ted talks about using the general idea from the movie for St. Joseph’s, a children’s aspirin. Peggy excuses herself saying she has to go on a date. Megan realizes Ted and Peggy are on a date.

Roger and Don tell Ted and Jim about Sunkist spending $8 million on a TV buy. Jim is excited. Ted is angry about having to drop Ocean Spray and how it looks to their other clients. Don agrees they need to work together better. Ted suggests Peggy for Sunkist — since she has juice experience.

Ted and Peggy are in the conference room with Joan going over photos. Don walks in. Ted and Peggy are giggling. They go over the idea for the St. Joseph’s ad with Don (they get Don to pretend he’s crying like a baby, a nice reference to the opening shot of him curled up in a fetal position in Gene’s bed). Don’s impressed. Ted and Peggy leave for casting. Don and Joan talk about the cost of the commercial. Joan says St. Joseph’s approved $15,000 and it’s going to cost at least an extra $35,000 in residuals alone. She tells Don that SC&P is covering the cost and Ted said he’s sure St. Joseph’s will approve it. Don isn’t pleased.

Ted comes back to the office later that day. He’s annoyed that casting was interrupted by a call from St. Joseph’s. Don tells him he called them with a budget and played the bad guy. Now there’s a meeting the next day. Ted feels for Peggy because this was all her idea and she’s really excited about it. Ted asks Don to back him up in the meeting. Don says he will.

The meeting with St. Joseph’s. Yikes. The guy from St. Joseph’s says he needs a reason. Ted can’t really give him one and Don interrupts, saying the reason is personal to Ted. Ted and Peggy look horrified that Don is doing this, outing them in front of a client. Ted says he doesn’t know what Don means. Don says the idea was Frank Gleason’s last one before he died. The guy from St. Joseph’s liked Frank and says the best they can do is $25,000. The meeting breaks up and Don and Ted confront each other. Ted can’t believe Don did that. Don says Ted is embarrassing himself and everyone can see what’s happening. He goes on to say his judgment is impaired. Don’s a huge jerk about it but he’s not wrong (although saying it was Frank Gleason’s last idea, well, that’s a bit sleazy, also the movie came out after Frank died, so there’s that, too).

Peggy walks down the hall to see Ted. Ted has gone home. He went home earlier that day when his secretary told him that Peggy was looking for him. So, Peggy goes into Don’s office. Peggy’s wearing a great suit, by the way.

Peggy says she doesn’t know why Don did it. Don says they can still make the ad work. Peggy doesn’t want to talk about the ad. Don says he saved both of them. Peggy says Don hates that Ted is a good man. Don says Ted isn’t that virtuous. He’s right, Peggy. Ted’s in love with a woman who isn’t his wife. Peggy says Don killed him, killed the ad, killed everything. Don says he’s just looking out for the agency. “You’re a monster” and Peggy slams the door on the way out. Don curls fetally on his couch.

Best Lines:

“Waah! Waah! Waah!” — Don Draper, doing a crying baby

Best Shots:

The episode opens and closes with overhead shots of Don curled in a fetal position

Song over the end credits:

Porpoise Song (Theme from “Head”) by the Monkees. Hmm. The movie wasn’t released until November 6, 1968 and the soundtrack not until December 1. The election was November 5 and we saw a campaign ad early in the episode. At best, they’re cutting it very close.

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

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