Mad Men-Favors-Jon Hamm

On Mad Men, “Favors” proves that once a child’s innocence is lost, it can never be retrieved. The consequences of last night’s revelations will resonate throughout season six. Little Sally Draper is a kid no more.

The Players:

  • Director: Jennifer Getzinger
  • Writer: Semi Chellas and Matthew Weiner
  • Cast: Jon Hamm, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Elisabeth Moss, Robert Morse, Rich Sommer, Aaron Staton, Kiernan Shipka, Christopher Stanley, Jessica Parè, Kevin Rahm, Jay R. Ferguson, Mason Vale Cotton, Ben Feldman, James Wolk, Harry Hamlin, Linda Cardellini, Channing Chase, Brian Markinson

Episode Title: “Favors”

Don helps the Rosen’s while Sally and a friend visit. Meanwhile, Pete and Peggy take a trip down memory lane as he wrestles with his mother’s newest drama.

The Good:

  • Shattered Love: The favor Don did the Rosens by getting their son to train as a pilot instead of fight in Vietnam wasn’t done with a reunion in mind. Don seemed propelled to help Mitchell with full knowledge of what he would have to live with if he ran rather than deal with his life. None of that matters when you come to the moment where Sally happens upon the two mid-coitus at the Rosen’s; nor is it important that she borrowed the doorman’s keys under false pretenses to get in the apartment. Only the sting of the now ruined bond holds weight. Even with all his shortcomings, Sally has always been Daddy’s girl; watching her listen to his pathetic excuses through the door at the episode closed was a heartbreaking signal that that may be over.
  • The Change: Ted’s character took a hit this week. His attitude towards Peggy a few weeks ago seems baseless considering how quickly he became jealous at Peggy and Pete’s knowing looks and inside jokes. What is more worrying was his unhappy wife’s claims. He only gets excited when he’s challenged, and his wife and kids no longer provide that.  Peggy does, but we’ve already seen how he cools when the difficulty dissipates. Even worse, his hypocrisy with Don is almost unbearable. Having clandestine meetings with your partner on how to drive a wedge between the company and then openly accusing Don of the same is ballsy. We’re headed towards a rift in the company, though how that divide can grow greater is yet to be seen.
  • The Triple Threat: Peggy never disappointed last night, reigniting Ted’s already kindling fire for her with a little jealousy. Bonding with Pete over drinks while Ted looked on reminded everyone of the connection the two will never forget: their child. How fitting that their moment of glee stemmed from a conversation with Pete’s mother that seemed to mention that abandoned offspring. The dementia riddled woman thought she was speaking to Trudy and meant no ill offense. That takes nothing away from the beauty of Peggy’s flip from the hilarity of Mrs. Campbell’s revelation of her physical relationship with Manolo to the unspeakable pain at the reference to her son. Rounding out Peggy’s appearance was her midnight phone call to Stan. Everyone can see how perfect they are for each other so obviously they’ll never be what they should. But come on: they have a code for when he’s got a girl in bed, how much more perfect can they be?
  • Coming Out: Michael’s seemingly flippant question on Bob Benson’s sexuality shouldn’t have been overlooked. While dealing with the fallout from Manolo’s assumed affair with Pete’s mother, he made his intentions clear. It’s still puzzling why he would choose to come on to Pete at the exact moment he was bad-mouthing Manolo for the same proclivities. Everything Bob has done to this point has seemed practiced and purposeful. We don’t just doubt his homosexuality. We wonder whether this move was made because of romantic intentions or whether there was an opportunistic thought behind them?

Overall:

“Favors” used its namesakes to put characters in compromising positions. The service Peggy asked of Stan was rebuffed, leaving her to get a cat, a move that echoes her loneliness. The request Don paid his neighbors gave him undue praise in the face of the ruin of whatever was left of his eldest child’s innocence. In turn, the favor Don asked of Ted was immediately lorded over him. We’re still shocked by the ending; we imagined someone would catch the adulterers, but we never dreamed it would be Sally.

Rating: 10/10

Mad Men airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on AMC.

What did you think of the episode?