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New Show Recap: “Mad Men” Season 6, Ep. 11 “Favors”

Hey guys, things happened in this episode! Also, the themes are getting a little more obvious. Or maybe I’m just getting better at paying attention.

Sylvia and Arnold’s son Mitchell finally shows up, but it’s because he sent back his draft card and was asking Megan for advice on how to get to Canada. Don advises against this, because, “He can’t spend the rest of his life on the run.” Don seems content to let the matter go, but then Arnold shows up to drink with Don, and Don ends up invested in the younger Rosen’s well being. In one of the very rare examples of true altruism we’ve seen from Don, he actually does his best to help Mitchell Rosen escape prosecution. At a dinner with the Chevy men, Don tries to probe them to see if they would have any connections that could help Mitchell. His effort fails, and Ted berates him the next day for upsetting the clients. But it comes out that Ted knows a guy in the National Air Guard and is willing to make a call, IF Don will stop competing with him. Don’s reaction indicates that he might not have been aware that there was any competition at all, but he agrees and it looks like Mitchell Rosen is safe. Don even writes the apology letter for him. He calls to tell Arnold, but ends up with Sylvia on the phone who begins to sob in gratitude.

And if it had only ended there, they’d be great. Unfortunately, Don goes to follow up on Sylvia’s gratitude and the two are caught by Sally. When the Drapers are together at dinner that night, Arnold brings Mitchell up to thank Don and Sally storms off to her room. Don tries to explain to his daughter that he was just “comforting” Mrs.Rosen, and while Sally looks like she’s willing to hear the lie, it seems that she stops short of believing it. For the record, Don looks pretty sick with himself ,too, as he listens to Arnold’s gratitude and his wife’s admiration.

Abe has apparently moved out of his and Peggy’s apartment, which Peggy seems fine about until she sees a large but exceptionally clean rat running around. Later at the office, she talks to Pete’s mother when the older woman stops by the office to visit and Mrs.Campbell mistakes Peggy for Trudy and talks about their child which clearly wigs Peggy out a bit until she figures out what’s going on. But Mrs.Campbell confesses that she’s been revived by the love of a good man. Specifically, her nurse, Manolo. At a dinner with Ted and Pete, Pete playfully picks up on the chemistry between Peggy and Ted while Ted envies the camaraderie between Peggy and Pete. After Pete drunkenly tells Peggy that she really knows him, Peggy clues him into Mrs.Campbell’s feelings about Manolo. I’m pretty sure it’s best both parties were drunk for the conversation.

Peggy sets out traps for the rats, but ends up with a bleeding rat under her couch. She calls Stan for help, but he’s entertaining a lady-friend and despite Peggy’s insistence that he can bring her over too (Peggy! You minx.), it looks like Peggy’s on her own. Until she gets an adorable kitty! Yay! Kitties for everyone!

Sally and her friend Julie go to stay with Don and Megan, because Betty refuses to let her stay in a hotel with all the other male members of her school’s model UN. They meet Mitchell Rosen on the way in, and the young ladies are immediately taken with the older boy. Julie ruins Sally’s morning by taking a silly mash note they wrote about Mitchell the night before and slipping it under the Rosens’ door. When Sally goes to retrieve it, she catches Don and Sylvia.

Pete’s concerned about his mother after Peggy reveals what she said about Manolo. When Pete confronts his mother, she insists that they are having a loving, physical relationship. This alarms Pete to the point where he confronts Bob about it, and Bob quickly drops the helpful demeanor to get to the bottom of the mess. Bob tries to gently explain that Manolo isn’t into the ladies, and when Pete calls him a pervert, the younger man’s face falls. It was at this point I yelled at my TV, “OH, BOB BENSON, NO!” And I was right to, as Bob makes a heavily veiled overture to Pete, couched in how it would be possible to fall in love with someone who took such very good care of you. And there’s a leg brush. It’s tragic. Pete Campbell does not deserve this man. Bob Benson does not deserve this heartache. SO SAD.

We get to see Ted and his wife arguing about how much time Ted spends at work. She seems very understanding, but also very firm that Ted needs to be more present with his family. He can’t really argue with her. Later, he comes in to put the kids to sleep and it looks like he’s recommitting to his family now that he and Don have settled things.

Roger learns to juggle oranges while saying, “Not all surprises are bad,” and some people think this bodes ill for the future. Because everything on this show is an ominous foreshadow of something far worse, don’t you know.

Favors, wanted and unwanted, drove the episode; Bob’s favors for Pete, Don’s favors for the Rosens (Sylvia, specifically), Julie’s “favor” to Sally, and Peggy being unable to find someone willing to grant her favors and arriving at her own solution. All of these favors came with their own costs, and I guess the next episodes (and next season) will see the result of some or all of them.

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One thought on “New Show Recap: “Mad Men” Season 6, Ep. 11 “Favors””

  1. So much transpired in this episode! The Pete/Bob Benson interactions are fascinating to watch. He is clearly terrifyingly ambitious (yet kind of sweet), and I wonder if his come-on to Pete is simply a response to something he thought he saw in Pete.

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