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Mad Men Watch: Season 6, Episode 11 - Favors

The aptly titled episode of Mad Men spreads the wealth to many of the ensemble before bringing it all back around right on top of Don.

Away from the impending bomb in Don's life, Pete's stack has yet to blow and maybe that joint at the end of last week took a bit of the edge off. Bob's recommended nurse, Manolo, is a big hit with Mrs. Campbell and she swears that, "Manny has awakened a part of me that has long been dormant." (Channing Chase gets a number of the night's best lines talking about her supposed love life) Yesh! Pete doesn't want to hear that and his reaction is as expected, disgusted, but Bob Benson seemingly saves Manolo's job before thinking too much about himself. A lot of mystery has surrounded Bob this season, “Why is he so nice” or “Why is he lying,” are both both bound to get you a lot of hits if you Google those phrases with his name, and while it seems like he was just trying to move up in the world at SC&A at first the lengths to which he is willing to go became quite clear this week. Making a run at Ms. Holloway is par for the course at the office for most men there, making a pass at Pete Campbell, that is something else entirely. I can't believe Pete didn't lose his shit in that moment. Sure he has grown to appreciate Bob over the past few months, but in that day and age a guy like Pete wouldn't let a pass like that fly. Pete knows how to play his chips though and this might just be another one he can pocket away to play on Bob Benson at another time, but I can't imagine a bright future at SC&A.

Speaking of Pete, he and Peggy had some fireworks going off over that drunken dinner after landing Ocean Spray, and while Peggy and Ted were kind of flirty, it's the former lovers who are setting the place on fire. Between this drunken dinner, Pete's mom mentioning how these two have had a child (l couldn't tell if she was confused or if Pete had confided until Dot called Peggy Trudy) and Peggy seeming ready to give it out to just about everyone (they keep teasing us with Stan!), I wonder if these two are bound to end up back together here before the season ends. This seems out of place for Mad Men, but Moss and Kartheiser are so great together, I wouldn't mind. Plus, that cat can't keep Peggy safe forever and there has to be more to her C-plot with the rat and her flirtations with Stan.

The surprise bomb of the week was about shattered love all over the place in the Draper apartment building. When the Rosen kid, Mitchell, gets placed under 1A in the draft, Don begins to try and call in some favors to get him off the hook. The plotting was superb here as they weaved in Sally and her friend through Mitchell's side of the story, Don's investigating leads to tension with Ted and Chevy and the successful gesture brings Sylvia back into Don's orbit. They sound like old lovers when Don tells her the news, but bringing it all together to have Sally discover them having sex in the Rosen house was painfully perfect. The viewer isn't the only one who knows what is going on behind Don's closed doors now and we fill with disgust along with Sally as everyone congratulates Don for how great he is for getting Mitchell off the hook. “You make me sick!” You tell him Sally. I don't know if we have ever seen Don so clueless as to what to do and his line about “comforting” Mrs. Rosen only makes things worse. Sally's ideal image of her Dad is ruined, she loves Megan and now knows she is being made a fool of and she no longer respects either of her parents. Poor Sally.

Longer Notes:

-Ted seems to have settled into being a better father and husband by the time that beautiful montage rolled around near the end, but he couldn't be more of a child with Don. The comedy of the line, "I don't want his juice, I want my juice," was high, even if on the nose, but his childish nature of rivalry between the two has been building to this the last few weeks. Don being oblivious when he asks him to stop in exchange for the favor is great as well, but if Don wasn't even trying to get in Ted's head how is Ted going to react if Don ever really does?

-I really can't stress how perfectly put together the Don and Sally stuff was. They made sure everyone met the write players, the doorman switch was perfect so he and the audience both didn't know Don was in the building, Sally's friend scheming with the note; just masterful stuff. A sneakily great episode of Mad Men that keeps the viewers guessing as it leads us towards the end of one of its best seasons yet. I am still counting on Pete to blow his lid at some point even if he mellowed out a bit this week and I can only imagine what is going to happen between Don, Sally and the secret they must keep. Favors are for suckers.

Quick Hits:

-I like Manolo.

-Merrrrr, Mom knows, oh, Trudy delusion.

-"Did she go for China for that tea."

-"What's the point of having a mansion when you spend all of your time in here,” love the meta nature of this line.

-"The U.N.'s a joke."

-"Yeah, but what about him?"

-"But I do, I've seen that look."

-"At least one of us ended up important."

-"Because you really know me."

-"Or released a fire in her loins."

-Weiner is great at catching us off guard and just throwing people together and they kill it.

-Awe, Ted's jealous, missed your chance dude; going to screw over Pete though.

-"Can tell something has been going on all year," eeeeeee.

-For more on what Mitchell was doing in France, rent Olivier Assayas' Something in the Air.

-"I know you like facing Don Draper in the morning more than the clients."

-"I had a lot of receipts, I haven't figured it out yet?" The line of the night!

-Mitchell better stay away from Sally!

-I really like Manolo, don't be a dirt bag.

-"You've always been unlovable."

-"If you don't catch anything you have to blow your brains out."

-Look at Ted and Don reading each other, they do make a team.

-"Cause she hates it."

-"Then why are you using your sexy voice?"

-Maybe Don and Ted aren't a team.

-"I bet you don't have a lot of friends."

-Sweetheart? "I do now." Oh boy, here we go.

-"You sent us a rapist!"

-Bob is good. Oh boy, Bob. A step too far with Pete. He just called Manolo a degenerate, what were you thinking Bob?

-Holy Shit! Don doesn't know what to do.

-What is waiting behind that door?

-"I owe you." Ugh...