Mad Men Live Blog: Season 6, Episode 11 -- "Favors"
9:51 pm: Does Don Draper's fate matter? Mad Men fans talked the last week about whether or not Megan is already dead, and then whether or not Bob Benson is a spy. [And about the Red Wedding, too. The stakes seem higher during a civil war than on Madison Avenue.] But who's talking or thinking about Don right now, at this moment, today? Don was in the background during his entire trip to California. Meanwhile, every other character (Roger, Peggy, Ted, Joan, Harry Hamlin, and even Bob Benson) is moving at the speed of light compared to Don. They're all building new careers and new lives. With three episodes left, is there time for Don to just move on?
Tonight's Mad Men episode is titled "Favors," yet the episode preview indicates that Betty has a prominent role. Is that a favor to the audience? On the bright side, Peggy's love life looks like it will get some attention. In the episode previews, a person with a green outfit is drinking with Ted Chaough. Later in the preview, Peggy is wearing a green dress while struggling to unlock a front door. Could it be Ted's front door? Let's hope!
See you in the live blog!
9:55 pm: The Killing is on AMC right now in the last pre-Mad Men minutes. The third season of The Killing is giving Game of Thrones a run for its money on the gore front, that's for sure. It's actually 17 "killings" instead of just the one from Seasons 1-2. Volume sells.
9:58 pm: The secondary bad guys on The Killing are just pure evil. This is actually a big difference from Seasons 1-2, and oddly, it makes the show more compelling. Season 3 is moving at a much faster pace than the previous season.
10:00 pm: Here we go! It's Mad Men time!
10:01 pm: Peggy is in the iconic green dress that looked like the one in my hopeful Ted-Peggy hookup moment, yet she scampers out of her own apartment because of a rat. It was a misleading next episode preview.
10:02 pm: Don makes some quip about finding Roger under the desk. Because they're both drunks!
10:03 pm: Pete's mom shows up at Sterling Cooper & Partners (the new name of the merged firm, remember?) and Peggy (of all people) is set up to chat with her. Pete's mom brings up the child that Peggy and Pete have together, but it turns out that she is senile and thinks Peggy is Trudy.
10:04 pm: We had a brief power outage, so I missed the Betty and Sally segment. It's like 80 degrees here in Boston, which means every A/C unit in the city is running full tilt. Anyway, it's a Betty scene, so I can't have missed much. Just imagine January Jones sneering at someone, and you've got a good idea of what the scene was probably like.
10:05 pm: Megan is at the Drapers' apartment with the doctor's and Sylvia's son, so I guess she's not a ghost, Internet people!
10:06 pm: Don tells Megan that the doctor's and Sylvia's son (who's going to get drafted for Vietnam service) should not run. Yes, he is Dick Whitman. This is funny.
10:09 pm: Oh my goodness, Pete is hitting on Peggy in her iconic green dress. Peggy responds by bringing up the conversation with Pete's mom, which is how she gets all the men.
10:10 pm: Pete has tender thoughts of his mother with Manuel (her new nurse). So tacky.
10:11 pm: Commercial break! This break is very early this episode. Most of the other breaks in this season seem to have started around the :16 minute mark.
10:13 pm: In sports news, Miami is up by one billion points on San Antonio. I imagine that Justin Bieber is at the game.
10:15 pm: Back to the show! The doctor comes over to meet Don and Megan re: his Vietnam-bound son, further proving that Megan is not dead.
10:17 pm: The doctor is fretting about his kid's Vietnam draft status, but he didn't know that his kid had left college. So, does he really care enough about his kid?
10:18 pm: The doctor is going off on how awesome America is and how his kid doesn't deserve this country.
10:19 pm: Ted's wife is attractive. Unfortunately, she is also hypercritical about Ted's workload. Ted rightly points out the whole "food, clothing, shelter" argument used by workaholics (and one I agree with, by the way).
10:20 pm: Ted's wife to Ted: "Even when you come home, you're not here."
10:21 pm: Ted's wife to Ted: "I just wished you liked being here more."
10:21 pm: Oh, Ted's wife, come on. Let him work!
10:23 pm: The SC&P boys are fighting because they're pitching both Ocean Spray and Sunkist. I prefer my orange juice blended with cranberry juice. Ted throws a hissy fit and hides in his office. That's not Ted's personality at all. Odd.
10:24 pm: Ted to Harry Hamlin: "I don't want his juice. I want my juice!" Harry Hamlin: "It's all your juice."
10:25 pm: The doctor's son is hitting on Sally and Sally's friend (who may have been introduced during our power outage, but whatever). Sally is still very young, and the doctor's son is in college, so there's probably going to be age-inappropriate shenanigans later in the show.
10:26 pm: Commercial break! As in previous weeks, if you believe in better vision, and if you live in the Cambridge/Watertown metro area, visit Perrelli Optical for all your eyecare needs! Perrelli Optical is in the building that houses my gym, and that building is getting a new Walgreens, and I literally said when looking at the construction work for the new Walgreens, "Wow! That looks like an amazing Walgreens!" Social life!
10:28 pm: Back to the show! Pete gets his mother all to himself for an evening, away from Manolo the nurse.
10:30 pm: Pete's sideburns are the most controversial new characters of the season. If (really, when) my hair resembles Pete's, I hope I don't compensate by growing out my sideburns.
10:31 pm: Chevy dinner! Steak and drinks.
10:32 pm: Don kills the mood at the Chevy dinner by bringing up the doctor's son's Vietnam War draft status. Don has been on enough client dinners to know to keep the conversation light.
10:34 pm: Sally and Sally's friend are talking about how dreamy the doctor's son looks. He is clearly not dreamy.
10:35 pm: Mad Men gets one step closer to Game of Thrones. The rat in Peggy's apartment is now bleeding to death, so Peggy (without a man, remember?) offers to trade her innocence to Stan Rizzo in exchange for him taking care of the rat. In 1968, apparently, women were legally prohibited from handling dead animals. Seriously, this is another character shift. Peggy is tough enough to take care of the rat on her own, without a man.
10:37 pm: Commercial break! The new commercial for the University of Phoenix is compelling -- go online to school, then learn how to become a nurse or Wall Street trader. I'm pretty sure the nurse part at least requires some real-world training, but still, it's a good commercial.
10:40 pm: Back to the show! Sally is giving Megan a hard time, just like in the past two seasons. In other news, Megan is certainly not a ghost.
10:41 pm: We're at the office. Ted flips out at Don (and rightly so) for bringing up the Vietnam War draft at the Chevy dinner.
10:42 pm: Ted to Don: "A client shouldn't have a single negative thought."
10:43 pm: Ted to Don: "Well, I bet you don't have a lot of friends, Don, so I bet this is important."
10:44 pm: Ted offers to help Don get the doctor's son out of the draft in exchange for Don giving up Sunkist. Ted is incredibly connected, apparently, and can call an Air National Guard brigadier general on a moment's notice to get a kid he doesn't know out of the draft.
10:45 pm: Ted is the single smartest, most connected, most likable man in advertising. Let Season 7 focus on Ted!
10:46 pm: Don calls Sylvia to tell her the good news about her kid's draft status. She responds (in a really long-winded phone call) by giving Don an opening back into her life.
10:47 pm: Bob Benson!
10:48 pm: There's this whole segment now about how Pete's mom is with Manolo, the nurse that Bob Benson referred to Pete. I really don't care. Pete's mom is boring. Bob Benson, per the Internet, is a spy and...wait, wait...
10:49 pm: Is Bob Benson hitting on Pete Campbell? If yes...is Pete lonely enough to go for it?
10:50 pm: Bob Benson is hitting on Pete Campbell! And Pete didn't entirely say no! 1968 is a great year!
10:51 pm: Sally Draper is upset at her friend for signing a letter to a boy, which pales in comparison to PeteBob. If only Bob Benson went by Rob -- then we could call them Peterob. It's pronounced "Peter-ob." I think I'm going to call them Peterob anyway.
10:52 pm: Commercial break! A reminder that we're going to 11:05pm tonight, which is one more minute of Peterob than we had expected.
10:54 pm: Christina Hendricks, who hasn't been in the episode tonight (I think?), wants me to drink some Johnnie Walker. OK, Christina Hendricks.
10:55 pm: Back to the show!
10:56 pm: Sally Draper, through some contrived reason, is breaking into the Rosens' apartment to get a letter from the whatever silly contrived reason. More importantly: Sally sees Don with Sylvia, and by with, I mean with with, which is gross.
10:57 pm: Don is about to cry in the elevator, which seems about right for someone who just got caught cheating by his own daughter.
10:58 pm: Pete Campbell hates raisin bran!
10:59 pm: All the characters are alone at the end of the night, save Ted Chaough, who dislikes his wife. So, everyone is alone.
11:00 pm: OK, seriously, why would any doorman give ALL the keys to the building to a teenager?
11:00 pm: Also...why didn't Sylvia and Don dead bolt the door? Don't these apartments all have locks from inside?
11:01 pm: Catching up...Don is drunk, comes home to Megan/Sally/Sally's friend for dinner, Sally is upset at Don but doesn't say anything, the doctor comes over with his son to thank Don for pulling strings with the Air National Guard, and then Sally is all like "I hate you, Dad!"
11:03 pm: Don to Sally, re: his snuggling with Sylvia: "I was comforting Mrs. Rosen. She was very upset." Well, I bet she's more upset now, after Sally found out about the two of them!
11:04 pm: That's the episode. "I was comfortng Mrs. Rosen" is the best excuse that Don Draper, a professional spin doctor, can create. It's time for the Ted Chaough show in Season 7. Ted would have worked out of that jam much more elegantly.
11:05 pm: On next week's episode preview, Harry Crane looks paunchy and distraught. Working in California does wonders to a body.
Final score: Jonesy, the doorman at the Drapers' apartment building, wins the night! Jonesy gives the master keys to every apartment in the building to Sally Draper, a teenager who doesn't even officially live in the building. Yes, Don Draper might get upset if Jonesy the doorman didn't help out little Sally Draper in a time of need...but that must pale in comparison to every single other resident of the building, who would certainly oppose a random non-resident having access to the whole building. Why would any experienced doorman hand the entire key ring with every master key to anyone?
Regardless, Jonesy sacrifices his career for the good of Mad Men's plot development. Sally knew her father was a monster, but now has visual confirmation of his dishonesty. Megan will find out before the end of the season and either (a) leave Don or (b) come to some unsettling end. Don will be distraught and alone by the end of the season, preparing viewers for his Leaving Las Vegas-style demise in Season 7. And Ted Chaough, the single greatest human being to ever work in advertising, will run SC&P for the rest of his natural life. And beyond, probably -- Ted is just that perfect.
Don's days are numbered. Will next week further his decline? Join me again next Sunday for the next-to-last episode of Mad Men Season 6!
As always, your analysis is insightful and bemusing -- but is the best place for an amazing Walgreen's really right next to an awesome CVS?