There are reasons why we don’t try to write our Mad Men recap on Sunday night, after the broadcast. We need time to decompress and deconstruct the drama that just unfolded. After last night’s “Favors,” penned by Matt Weiner and Semi Chellas, we were wondering if we would have the emotional strength to digest and write about what we had seen. After a fitful night of sleep, some tossing and turning and fevered dreams, as we tried to make all the hurt go away and solve the most complicated of father/daughter relationships, we think we are ready to write.
We are reminded that if you ask someone for a solid, be prepared to pay for that favor.
Here’s this weeks’ Power Rankings:
Don: After the trip to L.A., Don and Roger got the go ahead from Sunkist to create a campaign. Because the two busy partners don’t read the inner office memos, they don’t know that SC&P received the ok for the Ocean Spray account. This lack of caring caused Ted to pout because his brilliant and we imagine prolific missives aren’t being appreciated.
At home, Mitchell, Sylvia and Dr. Arnie’s son, is talking to Megan. He has been declared A1 and can be shipped off to Vietnam any minute. While in Paris, Mitchell became a part-time activist, freedom fighter and sent in his draft card and now his college status does not protect him from the draft. Canadian born Megan wants to help him, but Don tells her to stay out of the Rosen’s business.
With Sylvia at her wit’s end, it will be up to Hero Don to save the son of the woman he may actually love, with a deferment of some kind. He asks Pete to do him a solid if Pete still has connection with the state department. Pete, still hurting from not being a part of the firm’s boy’s club, declines to help Don, but, he does remind Don he is having dinner with Chevy/General Motors, which happen to be the largest defense contractors in the country.
The Chevy dinner was a disaster. When Desperate Don appears, the Don that Ted and everyone admires disappears. While trying to read the temperature of the Chevy executives, Don drops hints about young men who are looking for deferments and wonders how this is done. The Chevys let Don, Ted, Jim and Roger know that they think trying to get out of Vietnam is disgusting. The silence at the table was deafening and it takes a quick Ted to get the talks back on track.
The next day, a rightfully angry and righteous Ted blasts Don for his behavior at the Chevy dinner, reminding him that he could have cost them everything. Plus, Don was not supposed to have anything to do with Chevy until 1970. An earnest Don explains his friend’s son’s situation and Ted, understanding that Don doesn’t have many, if any, friends, recognizes that this was an important request. Ted promises Don a solid. He will talk to his flying buddy who just happens to be a brigadier general in the Air National Guard and if Mitchell writes a letter and cuts his hair, he will probably get into the Guard and avoid Vietnam. This solid comes with a promise, a promise that Don will stop waging war on Ted. Don now must take an active role in the company, read memos and let Ted have his juice, Ocean Spray. A heartfelt Don agrees to the terms of the favor.
The moment Don has been waiting for arrives when he is able to pick up the phone and tell Sylvia his National Guard plan. Of course, he pretended like he was calling for Arnie. Grateful Sylvia falls a part on the phone. She apologizes for not being good to Don because she did not want either of them to fall in love. But, Don is in love, or in something, and we know that this favor he is doing for Sylvia, not for Mitchell nor Dr. Arnie, will have to be repaid.
Sally: Last season, Sally was usually the smartest person in a room full of adolescent adults. She had to hear and see things (Roger/Marie/fellatio) no child should. As we have stated before, this year, we have seen more of the prickly, sullen, bratty preteen than smart Sally, who saved her brothers from Grandma Ida.
Sally and her friend, Julie are suppose to go to Manhattan on a field trip, which would require them to stay overnight in a hotel. When Betty finds out that they are the only girls going, she says no to the hotel, although she thinks that Sally staying with Don is no better.
We were afraid when Sally ran into Mitchell, in the apartment lobby. The too adult Julie had her eye on him and she wants Sally to feel the same. We were afraid because we did not want to see Sally involved with Mitchell on any personal level, especially one that involves a crush. That would have been too creepy.
During Sally and Julie’s overnight, they write down their girly thoughts about Mitchell. The next day, Sally finds out that Julie slipped Sally’s note under the Rosen’s door and she cons the apartment doorman into giving her the building’s keys. While looking to retrieve her letter, Sally sees Don on top of Sylvia receiving his thanks for his solid and runs away. (Is that a Double Solid Don?)
An ashen Don runs after her but she is gone. Don heads to a bar to drink in some courage before returning home to try to explain to Sally that whatever she thought she saw, she didn’t. He tried to convince her that he was just comforting Mrs. Rosen, who was upset about her son. Comforting her with his solid solid.
When Julie confessed to Sally about the letter in the cab, we had the sinking feeling that Sally was going to catch her father and Sylvia. We hoped we were wrong. Matt Weiner has been showing us the parallels between Sally and Don, even to the point of last week when Betty said that Henry thought Sally was just like Don. We know Damaged Don became that way because of Dick growing up in a whore house. We have seen Dick spying on his mother, having sex and now Sally sees her father having sex with someone other than Megan. Julie had hinted about Don and Megan and what went on in their bedroom, right down the hall, but no child wants to think about their parents and intimacy.
Now comes the questions about Don and Sally’s parallel lives. How will Sally rebel, because we know she will. Will she act out with sex and/or drugs? Run away, become a hippie, live in an bombed-out abandoned building in the Village? Will she use emotional blackmail to get everything she wants? With Henry’s political life in full swing, an out-of-control Sally won’t be in the Francis household for long.
Don, we don’t like you right now. You have wounded Sally’s psyche with your out-of-control selfishness and neediness. Don has to use all of his wiles to fix this or become an angel again. As strong as Sally is, we don’t know what will happen and are afraid because children, even smart children, aren’t equipped to handle such an adult secret. Complicated indeed, Don.
Pete/Bob Benson: Awhile back, Bob helped Pete find a private nurse, Manolo, for mother, Dot, who is suffering from dementia. Dot seems lucid and insists that she has had a sexual awakening because of Manolo. This, again, is something no child wants to hear from a parent, especially from a parent who has been so buttoned up and cold. When Pete tells his mother that he didn’t want her seeing Manolo, a pervert (because a young man and an older woman can’t find love together), she tells him that he doesn’t know love and never has. He was a little boy, and now he’s a sour little man. That sounds pretty lucid to me!
When Pete tell Bob that Manolo has to go because of a possible intimate relationship with his mother, Manolo breaks it to Pete that Manolo is gay. But, (and this is a big but) what would be so wrong if Manolo and Dot did feel something for one another. What is wrong with one human loving another, if that person is taking care of you, if he had your interest at heart? Then…Bob presses his knee against Pete’s. Pete looks down, but, in our opinion he did not pull his knee away fast enough. We have seen Pete angry and we have seen him get physical when he is angry, so we would expect Pete to deck him. He did express his disgust with Manolo and thus, Bob, but, his protest was weak.
We never quite knew what Bob’s game was. He seemed to be one huge suck-up, doing favors for any and everyone. We won’t address all the crazy theories about who Bob may be, that are floating around the www, but, we will freely admit that we did not see that Bob was in love with Pete. Maybe, all along, Bob has seen something in Pete that Trudy, Dot and all the rest of us couldn’t or can’t see. Pete and Bob, Bob and Pete. Our heads are still reeling at the possibilities.
Ted: Jealousy and envy can be motivators, but, there is always some damage associated with these negative emotions. Ted’s man crush on Don is so strong, even his wife sees it and accuses Ted of wanting to spend more time at the office than with his family. Ted is so hungry for any positive acknowledgement from Don that he becomes infantile and bratty when Don ignores him, his memos, and his contributions to the firm. By golly Ted wants the firm to handle Ocean Spray, his account, not Don’s Sunkist and he is going to hold his breath and kick his legs until Don gives in. I WANT MY JUICE!
Ted and Pete and Peggy are at dinner, celebrating Ocean Spray, and when Ted leaves the table, Pete tells Peggy that Ted is love with her. When Ted returns, we can see that he is jealous of the easy camaraderie between Pete and Peggy.
Even though Don promises to stop waging war on Ted and was genuinely moved by the Ted’s HUGE favor, we think that they will clash again. Don doesn’t do bromances. We do know that Ted needs to stop idolizing Don and feeling envy. As we see Ted come home to his wife and sons, a cozy, homey scene, we know that Don will never have that sort of familial peace.
Ted, be grateful for your home life and leave Peggy alone.
*Until she sells, Peggy will to learn how to live in a broken down, rat infested building and most of all, depend on herself to solve the problems that will arise. Her new cat will help with the rats, but who will help her with her heart. We were glad to say goodbye to Abe, but, Peggy, leave Ted alone. We like how Peggy was thrown by Dot talking about her and Pete’s baby, when Dot thought she was Trudy.
*We aren’t sure if Sylvia is Catholic, but, we are anxious to see what her guilt will drive her to do next, after being caught by Sally. This is a wild curve, but, maybe this revelation, this real truth of feeling and emotions that Don and Sylvia feel will bring them out of the servant’s closet into the open.
*This has to be the proverbial bottom for Don, he can’t go any lower. He can lie, cheat, con, deceive and ruin his life, but, he should not allowed to ruin Sally’s life.
All in all, we can feel our skin again and the raw pain we felt last night has lessen. But, we may need a Canadian Club ourselves, if next week’s episode is as intense as this weeks. Dragons, torture and the frozen creatures from beyond the wall have nothing on the emotional stew that is Don’s journey.