Mad Men: “Favors” Season 6 Episode 11 Review

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The city just keeps getting dirtier for Sally Draper…

Aside from Sally’s awkward run in, this episode of Mad Men really had nothing else going on. Peggy battled rats. Pete struggled with his cereal supply. Don “went to war” with Ted over juice. But Sally centric episodes are few and far between yet almost always fantastic, and this was no exception.

Sally is in the city with a friend from school for a model UN (something Betty just can’t stop herself from hating). They run into Sylvia’s son, a strapping young fellow that may get carted off to Vietnam. He has to at least be a step up from that pudgy Glen kid. The one with the puberty-stache.

Anyway, Don sees this as a possible chance to reconnect with Sylvia. He brings it up at a Chevy dinner in front of Ted, who he is already on thin ice with due to the Sunkist/Ocean Spray debate. When Ted confronts him, in yet another classic rivalry scene, Don asks him for help. It’s impressive just how likable Ted has become now that he is on the same side and not just sneering at every competing client meeting.

Ted can get the kid into a flying school for the National Guard, which simply isn’t Vietnam. When Don tells Sylvia they sort of reconnect. I love how the draft was so carefully used to show how selfish Don can be.

Next thing we know, Sally walks in on the pair “reconnecting” while trying to get rid of a note her friend wrote to the boy. This one didn’t quite play out the same as when she saw Megan’s mother “connecting” with Roger last season. She runs off, jumping in a cab before Don could grab her. With all the death motifs and clear signs that the city is dangerous, I was really worried about Sally for a moment. The rest of the Internet seems to be pretty worried about Megan since she wore the same shirt as Sharon Tate, but wouldn’t Sally dying have a similar affect? Maybe even a larger one.

Luckily she popped up at dinner, calling out her father once he shook the hand of Sylvia’s husband and son. Don by this point was totally schwasted and treated her like she was five. “I was comforting her,” yeah, if that’s what you want to call it Don.

Would Sally have the audacity to inform her mother? The last time Don and Betty met, she had all the power. I could see the writers potentially wanting to give her more.

Peggy and Pete had some interesting stuff going on this week. Pete’s mother seems to have some idea about the baby they shared. Also they were laughing an awful lot at dinner. This added to the nostalgia that the show has been carrying with it this season.

Peggy mostly went on to fight a rat, and consequently have a hilarious conversation with Stan.

But Pete had some more interesting material. His mother is sleeping with her aid, and it grosses him out. Naturally Pete freaks out and pisses off his mom, leaving him once again alone. He doesn’t even have Raisin Bran to keep him company!

Although Bob Benson’s knee could possibly fill the void (about a dozen really inappropriate jokes are swirling around in my head right now). The Internet has been speculating for weeks what this guy’s deal was. Personally, I never found him to be that weird. Well, turns out he’s not a spy, or a journalist, or a Commie. He’s just gay. If anything is wrong with the guy it’s that out of everyone in the office he went after Pete.

While Favors was not a particularly eventful episode, Sally Draper proves she can carry an episode almost entirely on her shoulders. She’s my vote for the lead of a 1980s spinoff. Also the Bob Benson mystery (if there ever really was one) has been solved. But this was a slower hour than we are used to. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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