MAD MEN: Sequence of the Week

“Favors” was, for me, one of those Mad Men episodes that started out super strong. Peggy is mistaken for Trudy by the senile Mrs. Campbell, Pete and Peggy get drunk and relive pieces of their shared past (while a sober Teddy wistfully looks on), and Roger Sterling juggles! Things tended to drag a bit in the middle as Sally and Julie pine for Mitchell Rosen while Don schemes to keep the boy out of Vietnam. And while I was intrigued by the out of left field pass that Bob Benson makes at Pete, I’m also starting to wonder if Matthew Weiner created this man of mystery just to set the blogosphere on fire with conspiracy theories (he’s a spy! he’s a ghost! he’s Megan!). I’m sure that the dots will soon connect, but right now Bob is starting to feel like a rudderless enigma for curiosity’s sake.

Anyway, it’s not where you lag in the middle, it’s where you finish. And what a finish! From the moment Sally walks in on Don “comforting” Sylvia, the gloves came off. Sally has always given her father the benefit of the doubt when it comes to all things Betty and, to an extent, Megan. I don’t think Sally has ever been so naive as to view her father as a blameless hero. But it’s one thing for Sally to empathize with Don because she too has borne Betty’s wrath. It is quite another to see him shtupping Sylvia one minute and accepting Arnold’s oblivious gratitude the next (the door Sally that slams in Don’s face near the episode’s end will be slow to open again, if ever). The unravelling of all things between Daddy and Daughter Draper was punctuated by Pete taking out his many frustrations on his cereal, and Peggy fulfilling the destiny desired by her mother. Better to be a cat lady than live in sin (hey, as a cat lady, I ain’t knocking it; I just think Peggy wants someone of the non-tabby persuasion curled up beside her). I can’t quite believe that there are only two episodes to go. How will this wrap up? Will this wrap up? And might Bob Benson be a spy involved in a passionate affair with the long absent Sal, and could Sal be pulling the strings, instructing Bob which buttons to push, in order to destroy the agency from within (sorry; I couldn’t resist)?

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