Mad Men Live Blog: Season 6, Episode 12 — “The Quality of Mercy”

9:40 pm: Tonight's Mad Men episode description states, "Don takes a day off." This is atypical? Don takes off every day. He's taken off this entire season, leaving Ted Chaough to run the SC&P machine. This is a fine outcome, by the way, because Ted Chaough is a modern Renaissance man who has actually tried something with Peggy (a smart, successful woman), while Don is an old man married to a child. Every day at home with Megan is an intellectual vacation for Donnie D.

The title of tonight's episode ("The Quality of Mercy") may mean someone's about to get canned, which would be great. Or perhaps someone will die. It's the penultimate episode of a Mad Men season, so anything can happen! My bet, however, is something more pedestrian. Pete Campbell is making new friends with his rifle, so maybe he'll see a deer or something on the side of the road when heading back to Connecticut. Or maybe he'll shoot Bob Benson. From Accounts! The night is young.

See you in the live blog!

9:41 pm: The Killing is quite good in Season 3! The story is more detailed and interesting than the Rosie Larsen melodrama.

9:46 pm: The Killing is what happened to Seattle when the Sonics left town.

9:52 pm: Watch a drama about Death Row or watch the Spurs? Tough call.

9:55 pm: The warden on The Killing's Death Row has innovative motivational skills. Kind of reminds me of Game of Thrones, albeit with less drama.

9:58 pm: Yes! Black Swan is on AMC! Finally, justice is done.

9:59 pm: You're The Killing me. Ha.

10:00 pm: It's Mad Men time! Bob Benson loves Chevy and Pete's knees!

10:01 pm: We open on Megan, who is alone is bed. Don is in what looks like Bobby's room, tired or just uninterested in Megan. I'll go with uninterested in Megan.

10:02 pm: Don has a shot with his morning OJ! 

10:03 pm: Megan asks Don to stay at home today, which means he'll be alone right near Sylvia.

10:04 pm: Ken Cosgrove just got shot? Oh, come on.

10:05 pm: Yes, Ken Cosgrove was in a hunting accident with (presumably) the Chevy guys, which means that Bob Benson will take over the account. I just…come on, man.

10:06 pm: Maybe Bob Benson will take Pete's knees with him to Detroit. Meanwhile, Betty Francis has just dialed don re: some silly thing with silly Sally, and Don is drunk, because it's a workday.

10:07 pm: There's some actual ad work going on in the SC&P office under Ted Chaough, and it's scintillating stuff about cranberry juice. It's actually quite interesting, even without the Ted/Peggy flirting.

10:08 pm: Harry Crane gets Sunkist! And Don tells him no because of the conflict with Ocean Spray. What is this whole "conflict" thing, anyway? It's all money. The more, the better.

10:10 pm: Megan is scared by a movie. Peggy is scared that Don and Megan catch her with Ted Chaough on a midday movie date. I am not scandalized. Ted and Peggy should marry, and then write actual ad copy together.

10:11 pm: Back at the Drapers' apartment. Megan is scandalized by Peggy and Ted, while Don sees an opportunity to get back at Ted Chaough by reigniting Sunkist. Note: this is my guess and not actually in the show yet.

10:13 pm: Commercial break! In other news, the Spurs are up by 12 over the Heat. This 2-3-2 model for the NBA Finals is odd. Miami had a better record than San Antonio, so they should host every alternating game after game 4. It's just fair.

10:16 pm: Ken Cosgrove is not dead, but he's got a heck of an eye patch. He is crying out of his good eye.

10:17 pm: Pete Campbell is not the person that should console Ken Cosgrove, as Pete Campbell wants Ken's account more than Ken's friendship.

10:18 pm: Sunkist offers SC&P like a billion dollars because Harry Crane loves him some color television.

10:19 pm: Ted is angry that he's going to lose Ocean Spray to Sunkist, but he gets Peggy onto the account.

10:20 pm: There's a transition meeting about Chevy with Pete, Harry Hamlin, Bob Benson (from Accounts!), Ken, Roger, and Bertie Cooper. 

10:22 pm: Pete is a little Bob-o-phobic after last week's knee episode. This is going to go all Gob Bluth-Tony Wonder, which is perfectly OK.

10:23 pm: Pete tells Bob that he will not stay in a hotel with him. Bob cannot believe it. Frankly, I cannot believe it. Gob Bluth-Tony Wonder, happening tonight.

10:24 pm: Commercial break! This commercial break is going on forever.

10:26 pm: So, Bob Benson is a fake everything, right?

10:28 pm: Wow, that's a heck of a green screen in the background of Betty's car. The background is as grainy as a Technicolor TV show.

10:29 pm: Pete calls Duck and tries to get Bob Benson out of his life. Bob Benson calls … Manuel? … and tries to get Pete Campbell's mother out of his life. In Spanish.

10:30 pm: Ted and Peggy are playing footsies in the office. Peggy is drunk on love.

10:33 pm: Sally is at boarding school, auditiioning for the role of obedient plaid-wearer.

10:34 pm: Pete, re: Manolo the nurse: "That Spanish fly."

10:35 pm: Commercial break! The Miss USA pageant is ongoing, and Mo Rocca just asked Miss Connecticut about prisoners' rights, all while she's wearing an evening gown. And yet, this pageant will probably get a higher rating locally than Spurs-Heat.

10:37 pm: Commercial break, still! Did you know that the U.S. Postal Service exists? It's like FedEx, but free!

10:39 pm: Sally, re: Megan: "My dad's remarried, but she's my age."

10:40 pm: Sally's getting hazed by the prep schoolers, who transition from gentle to cruel for some reason.

10:41 pm: Ted is upset at Don for telling on him re: his and Peggy's expensive commercial.

10:42 pm: Back at prep school! It's Matthew Weiner's creepy son! Glen Bishop has brought Sally's hazers some alcohol. We are absolutely sending our kids to prep school.

10:43 pm: Bob Benson is a Mountaineer! Duck calls Pete after he uncovers Bob Benson's past, which is completely fabricated (hey, like Don Draper!). He didn't go to Beloit, he didn't go to Wharton, and he was a "manservant" to…well, whatever, he's like Don, but with a Gob Bluth-Tony Wonder twist.

10:46 pm: Sally Draper sees Matthew Weiner's creepy son go into a bedroom with one of the prep school girls, so she makes up a lie about…well, whatever, Matthew Weiner's creepy son actually looks less creepy now that he's grown up a bit. No more thin mustache. And he's tall!

10:48 pm: Local commercial break, and a quick nap! Will Ken Cosgrove lose the eye? If so, he should visit Perrelli Optical the next time he's in the Cambridge/Watertown, MA metro area. 

10:50 pm: Tonight's Mad Men is going until 11:05 pm, and these super long commercial breaks are why. 

10:52 pm: Back to the show!

10:53 pm: Ted to the advertiser, re: the overbudgeted commercial: "We want to do this right." Qualitiative metrics like that are why SC&P ascended to the dominance it sees today.

10:55 pm: Don takes away Peggy's idea for this awesome, expensive commercial by stating that it was Frank Gleason's last idea. The client gives him more money as a result. The client is emotional, which is the exact person you'd want to spend your cash.

10:57 pm: Don to Ted, after the client leaves: "You're not thinking with your head." Pot, kettle.

10:58 pm: Don to Ted, after calling out Ted for flirting with Peggy: "Your judgment is impaired." Pot, kettle.

10:59 pm: Pete to Bob Benson, the new fraud: "Sideburns. I have sideburns!" 

11:00 pm: Pete blackmails Bob Benson by asking him to be kind to him, so basically, he blackmails Bob Benson into being his friend.

11:01 pm: Looks like Sally got into boarding school! Maybe she can take an art class and paint a better green screen for her mom's car windows.

11:03 pm: Peggy to Don, re: Ted: "You hate that he's a good man," and then, "You killed him," and then, "You're a monster." Maybe that's enough to push Don over the edge.

11:04 pm: It's over. One more episode and then we're done.

Final Score: I guess Bob Benson wins tonight's episode for being from West Virginia. We had two good scenes about advertising tonight (the Ocean Spray brainstorm and the St. Joseph's play-acting), and that was about it. Ted and Peggy were the best parts of tonight's episode, and I hope Season 7 has more of them and less of the noise. Sally is noise, Betty is noise, and Megan is the noisiest of them all. 

One more episode to go. It's Hail Mary time. Mad Men needs to do something dramatic in the season finale. Maybe Bob Benson becomes Don Draper with a reverse blackmail of Pete? Maybe Pete shoots out Ken Cosgrove's good eye? I think a major character will pass on in the finale, and I'm OK with any or all change.

Thanks for joining tonight! See you next week for the Mad Men Season 6 finale.