June 10, 2013 at 10:10 am #279543
Continue.June 10, 2013 at 11:06 am #279545
Sally catching Don and Sylvia together overshadowed most of what was an otherwise engaging episode without that jolt beforehand. Poor Sally, but great news for Kiernan Shipka. The city is indeed as “dirty” as it ever was. The whole draft-dodging matter with Sylvia and Rosen’s son was compelling enough (particularly when Don plays “friend” with Rosen at the bar and compromises the firm’s relationship with Chevy to feel the waters for possible favors), but now even I’m starting to question the extent of Don’s “love” for Sylvia (great work again from Linda Cardellini; really hope she’s nominated next month). The way that the show’s capturing Don’s steady moral and physical decline is fascinating to watch. He seemed so low in that elevator scene after getting caught. I thought they might do some needed Don/Betty follow-up after the events of “The Better Half,” but maybe that’s coming before the season ends. I loved the scene between Pete and Peggy at the restaurant, and Pete’s mother thinking that Peggy was Trudy (bringing back their old baby drama from the past to light again). The whole shady/foreign male caretaker with Pete’s mother was funny at first, but this was done far better this past season on “The Good Wife” between Mary Beth Peil and Yul Vasquez. And did Mr. Bob Bensen show his true colors tonight with Pete lol? James Wolk! I think I was as uncomfortable with that knee exchange as Pete was in not knowing what in the hell was about to happen next. Elisabeth Moss had some nice comedic notes here with her rat trap troubles and the late night phone call with Stan. I wasn’t as into the scenes with Ted and his family malaise. I’d rather continue to see his inferiority complex with Don play itself out some more. This new Ocean Spray/Sunkist competition was a nice one, but I thought they’d go a bit deeper with their continued underlying tension. I do like that Harry Hamlin is essentially Ted’s Roger, only savvier and mostly sober. I wonder how long this merger is going to actually last before another “split” happens. Fine episode work all the same though.
Grade for “Favors”: B+June 10, 2013 at 11:13 am #279546
Well I thought this was good and was totally surprised by Sally walking in on her father , I thought the boy would try to rape her or she would find the boy dead by suicide or something like that but wow…I was hoping so much to see an argument between her and Don face to face on that bedroom bleh. but whatever the thing with Peggy was good, Kevin Rahm was great here eventhough I think he overacts a little with the yelling and stuff. And ye Bob is gay but as someone said, theres more to it, he might be a psycho obcessed weirdo and try to kill Pete or something, lets wait and see.June 10, 2013 at 11:15 am #279547
LOL I’m not even sure Bob is gay. I think he’s playing an angle and he’s playing it well. I’m not completely convinced yet, anyway.June 10, 2013 at 11:40 am #279548
I think Bob is gay. It remains to be seen if there’s anything more to his character that that, but I do think he’s gay. Really he just seems to be too earnest to have any kind of secret motive. I think.June 10, 2013 at 12:03 pm #279549
I feel bad for Bob. Anyone who falls for Pete is the unlikiest person the world! So, I hope he wasn’t serious. Though it seems a strange angle to play.June 10, 2013 at 12:24 pm #279550
If there’s no ulterior motive Bob hitting on Pete is just nonscensical and anti-climatic. It’s not really a reveal since even some characters have speculated about his sexuality, and he’s not gonna be a long-term character, so his homosexuality means nothing. I’m thinking it’s a red-herring.June 10, 2013 at 12:26 pm #279551
really strange, what if pete decided to rub his leg aswell, amc breaking borders?June 10, 2013 at 12:39 pm #279552
Review: “Mad Men”—“Favors”: Sally, can you hear me?
Sally sees something bad, Peggy has rats, and Bob Benson takes a knee.
by Alan Sepinwall Monday, Jun 10, 2013 3:11 AM
A review of tonight’s “Mad Men” coming up just as soon as Fred Astaire punches Ginger Rogers in the face . . .
“Couldn’t it be that if someone took care of you—very good care of you—if this person would do anything for you—if your well-being was his only thought—is it impossible that you might begin to feel something for him?” —Bob Benson
Through nearly six full seasons of “Mad Men,” it feels like we’ve seen nearly every trick in the show’s bag, at least when it comes to Don Draper. Other characters may grow, change, and/or surprise us with what they’re capable of doing and being as the ’60s move along, but Don is Don. We know his secrets. We know his limitations, just as we know his strengths. And we know—or think we know—exactly what Jon Hamm can do in this great role.
So what strikes me, more than anything else about “Favors”—a superb overall episode of the show that was a reminder of the power of shared history among characters we’ve been watching for six seasons—was that sequence immediately after Sally catches Don and Sylvia having sex in the maid’s quarters. We’ve seen Don Draper scared before. We’ve seen Don Draper angry before. We’ve seen Don Draper be a little kid before. But we’ve never seen . . . this. We’ve never seen Don Draper with absolutely no idea what to do next. We’ve never seen Don Draper pacing back and forth the way he does in the lobby of his building, exploring a series of equally unappetizing possibilities: Do I go back up to my mistress’s apartment so she can take me along on a massive guilt trip? Do I chase after the daughter I’ve completely betrayed, even though I have no idea where she’s going, or what to say to her? Do I . . . what the hell do I do here? Jonesy, you got any ideas?
And that moment of Don being at a complete loss stands out—and is among the single best things I’ve ever seen Hamm do on this show—not only because he usually has some answer (even if it’s to run away), but because of the nature of the betrayal that puts him in this unhinged place.
We’ve seen Don Draper do bad things to a lot of people over the years. We’ve seen him cheat on both wives. We’ve seen him roughly grab the reins with Bobbie Barrett. We’ve seen him steal a dead man’s identity, yell at Peggy until she’s a sobbing mess, put his own interests ahead of the agency’s time and again, and even take Sylvia’s reading material while ordering to stay in her hotel room. This is not a prince of a man, ladies and gentlemen. But the one relationship he has that was close to sacred—the one person with whom he genuinely tried to be a decent human being with most of the time (*)—was with Sally. It is not nice to hurt your wife, your mistress, your protégé, or your commanding officer, but it seems like a whole other order of sin to do it to your daughter.
(*) Keep in mind that in one of the show’s earliest episodes, Don skips out on Sally’s birthday party—and fails to bring the cake like he was supposed to—because, as usual, he feels like an intruder in someone else’s life, and he can’t deal. But even there, he at least gets her a dog to make up for his embarrassing absence.
Sally has had her issues with her father, but by and large he’s always been the hero in any dispute between her parents. Catching Don brazenly having sex with his downstairs neighbor reframes an awful lot of what she thinks she knows about her father, and about her parents’ marriage and who was right and wrong a lot of the time. And though Megan isn’t her mother, seeing Don betray her like that gives Sally one more thing not to believe in, and one more reason to spend a lot of her teenage and adult years in therapy and/or consuming a heavy quantity of drugs. When she listens to his ridiculous explanation for what happens, it comes with a series of physical barriers—the door, her hand on top of her face (**)—going along with the huge emotional one Don inadvertently put up. She doesn’t believe him, doesn’t respect him, doesn’t want to deal with him, and he has brought this on himself by being unable to stop doing all the things he does to hurt himself and others.
(**) I firmly expect a Kiernan Shipka facepalm gif to replace the “Star Trek: TNG” double facepalm as my go-to for this sort of thing.
That a parent would so cavalierly and obliviously damage his child like that is not a new tale. But “Favors” deals over and over with the notion of parents letting down their children (and, sometimes, vice versa), but also of parental figures and/or caretakers falling down on the job—or people winding up without anyone to fill that role for them.
Don and Sylvia’s reconciliation comes as a result of Mitchell Rosen’s problems with the draft board—a development Sylvia and Arnie were completely unaware of until it was far too late. Pete has passed his mother’s care entirely off to Manolo, and has no idea what’s really going on—though, as Bob Benson notes, nothing at all may be going on outside of Mrs. Campbell’s impaired mind. Nan Chaough gives Ted a hard time about loving his life at the office far more than he does her and their sons, though at least Ted and the boys get to share a nice moment when he comes home after Nan has fallen asleep. Peggy, still in the Upper West Side apartment, calls Stan to help with her rat problem, to which Stan reasonably replies that he’s not her boyfriend, and therefore not the person who would be expected to drop everything and come over to deal with it. Don and Ted’s a relationship has, despite their closeness in age and professional accomplishment, taken on an odd father/son vibe, with Ted frequently seeking Don’s approval, and here with him taking Don to task for falling down on the job of looking after the agency’s (and Ted’s) best interests.
And there’s that strange scene between Pete and Bob, where we seem to finally get an answer to the mystery that is Bob Benson—allowing for the possibility that the show could still reveal him to be the immortal, vampiric, time-traveling offspring of either Pete and Peggy or Dick Whitman and Aimee the hooker, and/or a sociopath who is planning to cook and eat the entire creative department of SC&P—as he makes an unwanted pass at Pete. It’s an odd choice—even above and beyond the idea that Bob might be attracted to Pete—in that Bob seems to read people well and Pete has just, upon learning that Manolo is gay, called the man a degenerate capable of all manner of disgusting things. Even if he still felt that attraction—as opposed to, say, Sal’s heartbroken response to hearing Ken describe Kurt with similar language back in “The Jet Set”—that would seem a clear signal to abort in this particular moment, no?
Still, Bob’s theory that you can make someone love you by attending to their every need stands at odds to what we see going on elsewhere in the hour. Don has taken Sally’s love as a given, though he’s rarely done anything to earn it, and is devastated to realize that he’s lost it. (And also, because Don is a selfish ass, he’s just freaked out that she will tell Megan, or Betty, or anyone at all.) Mrs. Campbell and Pete have always been emotionally distant from one another, yet there’s an expectation on each of their parts that the other should be treating them better than they do, simply because they’re related.
In perhaps the episode’s best scene—or, at least, the best scene that doesn’t involve Sally getting her heart stomped into a million tiny pieces by her father—we see Pete and Peggy getting drunk after a successful pitch meeting with Ocean Spray, while designated pilot Ted has to stay sober and pay the check. Theirs has always been a complicated relationship, and one the show hasn’t touched on in recent years as each character has evolved. But Peggy’s conversation with the senile Mrs. Campbell brought back so much of their history—with every one of the old lady’s words applying to both Peggy and Trudy—before we got to watch Pete and Peggy genuinely enjoy each other’s company for a few moments and reflect on all they’ve been through. It was both an echo of some similar Don/Peggy scenes in “The Suitcase”—as in that episode, nouns aren’t particularly necessary, because everything is understood between the two parties and their audience—and also a much kinder version of the kind of after-hours Pete/Peggy scenes we saw in the early years. Back in season 1, Pete told a confident, happy Peggy, “I don’t like you like this.” Here, Pete can tell her, “At least one of us ended up important” and have the sentiment feel at least half complimentary (the other half: self-pity). As Pete observes, Peggy really knows him, and some of the best scenes in this series revolve around characters with shared history taking a moment to reflect on what that means, and who they are now versus who they were way back when.
If “Mad Men” were to run another 10 or 15 years, as opposed to likely ending after next season, I could imagine a scene where Don and an adult Sally wind up at a bar together, and she gives him hell for all that he failed to do for her, and all the ways that he and Betty screwed her up. But at a certain point in that scene, I can also imagine them laughing over that time he brought the dog back after blowing off her party, or when she accidentally put rum on his French toast instead of syrup.
Don has fallen down on the parenting job in almost every way imaginable. But he does know Sally, and unfortunately Sally knows him. He has not done right by her, as we saw in such devastating fashion tonight, but there’s a connection there that will not go away no matter how much Sally might understandably want it to.
Some other thoughts:
* I am open to any and all theories as to why Stan (as opposed to, say, Ginsberg) would have a poster of Moshe Dayan above his bed.
* September of 1968 was one of the rare months that year without a major tragedy or scandal, which is probably to the show’s advantage; though Matt Weiner can only work with what was happening in the world at the time, there comes a point where it becomes desensitizing to see the characters react to one horrific news story after another. Though Vietnam looms as a general issue for the Rosens, the episode as a whole focuses much more on office politics and personal relationships, and is the stronger for it.
* Among John Slattery’s many talents: the man can juggle oranges.
* Not only can Pete sense the attraction between Ted and Peggy, but Ted in turn can sense the bond between his two traveling companions. And Mrs. Chaough understands her husband very well, even if she may not know just how much Ted enjoys being in the company of this particular young copywriter.
* Jonesy’s another caretaker who doesn’t do a very good job of things, repeatedly giving Sally his entire key ring without thought of what might happen. Then again, he’s better at the gig than the guy who starts changing out of his uniform in the lobby and doesn’t even bother greeting Sally on his way out the door.
* Now that we know Megan isn’t dead (yet) and seem to know that Bob is gay (though, again, that could be all part of his master criminal plan), what new crazy theories can we spin out about one or both of them? Could this be like Heinlein’s “All You Zombies,” and we’ll eventually find out that Megan and Bob are the same person from different points in their own timeline?
What did everybody else think?June 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm #279553
Currently have The Flood/For Immediate Release, The Crash/The Better Half, The Doorway Part Two/Favors as tapes, though this is based on my personal opinion of the episodes rather than consensus.
I think they’re all great, though I hope Doorway 2 can be lifted out for a better episode in the next 2 weeks. If the final episodes are both great, I’m not sure what else I would lift out – it could depend on compatibility issues.June 10, 2013 at 3:46 pm #279554
What felt like a filler episode soon became an engaging hour. I loved the cafe scene between Pete and Peggy, loved the work from Hamm, and I’m with Icky, shocked by that, that Bob hitting on Pete is a red herring.Marcus Snowden (The Artist Formerly Known as msnowden1)ParticipantJune 10, 2013 at 4:14 pm #279555
I have The Flood/For Immediate Release, The Crash/The Better Half, and Favors/?? as their series submissions. I really hope that they do not submit “The Doorway”, even though I think they will. That episode garnered a lot of backlash among this site, and I personally don’t think it’s good enough for submission. It is a good episode, though.Marcus Snowden (The Artist Formerly Known as msnowden1)ParticipantJune 10, 2013 at 4:33 pm #279556
Also, word on the street is that MM’s final season (next season) is going to have 14 episodes instead of the usual 13. This makes me think that Weiner is probably going to cut the season in half, just like The Sopranos and Breaking Bad did.June 10, 2013 at 7:12 pm #279557
I keep going back and forth as to whether this episode or The Better Half is my favorite of the season. The Better Half had the episode-long arc of Don/Betty which I absolutely loved, but this episode was just filled with so many great individual moments. While most people loved the Pete and Peggy scene(which I did too), my favorite Peggy scene of the epsiode was her conversation with Pete’s mother. I honestly forgot about the Pete/Peggy history for a moment and was confused as to why Peggy looked os uncomfortable, but after about a second I remembered. And Elisabeth Moss just blew this scene out of the water. The look on her face when Pete’s mother mentioned the baby was emmy-worthy alone. In a split second she went through shock, confusion, shame, sadness, everything. Not to mention she also killed it in her scene with Pete which I enjoyed a lot more then I though i would seeing as I geenrally find Pete very unlikeable. I really liked bringing back thier relationship which feels like so long ago noe for us as well as the characters. For the first half of this episode I was thinking this would be a GREAT tape for Moss but after that hilarious and touching scene with the rat she didn’t really have anything to do for the rest.
And with Bob I was also a little surprised that he still went for it with Pete, but was I the only one thinking for a split second that pete might actually go for it? He honestly seemed to for a moment be enjoying the attention Bob was giving him and I thought he might be so down on his luck he’d try anything to make himself feel better. But then I also was sure he was going to call Peggy and invite her over after he ran out of cereal and that clearly didn’t happen.
And they really put Sally through the ringer on this show. The moment she caught them was great, but I honestly was hoping for a bit more of a fight with Don. And have to mention how confused, run down, and just pathetic Hamm made Don seem, which is really a testament to what he can still do with this character. But I’m also sure with still more episodes left this will definitely not be the last we hear of that TRAUMATIC incident.
My main problem with the episode was the Ted storyline. It was a good storyline and I did like seeing more of his character, but not at the expense of the other characters that we care os much more about. normally I’d say every minute of that time should have gone to Joan but with Moss killing every minute this episode I probably would have wanted most of the time to go to her to justify a lead submission tape.
Overall one of my favorite episodes of the season. Probably not of the whole series but their ar eindiivudal moments and scenes which i might call some of the best.
MVP: MossMarcus Snowden (The Artist Formerly Known as msnowden1)ParticipantJune 10, 2013 at 7:50 pm #279558
Mad Men submitting the remaining two episodes of the season in Writing really makes me think.