TV Club

Mad Men Favors recap: Sally, Sylvia, and Don’s compromising position.

“I know you think you saw something.’

Michael Yarish/AMC

Hanna, Paul,

We open with a rat in Peggy’s apartment. We close with Don praying Sally won’t rat him out. Peggy solves her problem by getting a new tabby; Don’s problem is a smidge more difficult.

Someone should page Dr. Freud, stat. Sally wandered through that service door with sex on her mind—mainly, some complex thoughts regarding the tight-trousered ass of Mitchell Rosen. She had no idea she’d end up watching her own father “comforting” Mrs. Rosen. Just the thought of his mom having sex drove Pete to wish for death by plane crash. What will the sight of her father in flagrante do to Sally?

As for Don, will this be the moment he faces his demons head on? Comes clean, takes his lumps, bares his soul? If so, he’s made an awful start of it. Sally’s old enough that “I know you think you saw something” isn’t going to sway her. She knows exactly what she saw. Don will need to find a way to buy her silence.

Titled “Favors,” this episode was packed with all manner of salacious quid pro quo-ing. Peggy asks Stan to play exterminator, offering sex in return. Bob offers Pete selfless devotion, Manolo-style—but Bob’s game of footsy (or I guess legsy) suggests he’d like a little something for the effort. And of course Don tries to help Sylvia’s son Mitchell escape Vietnam, which leads to hot gratitude nookie.

It’s not always clear whether people are trying to help their friends or trying to get in their friends’ pants. Or, as Betty says with more resonance than she realizes: “Diplomacy Club is just another excuse to make out.”

Mitchell took a stab at following his own conscience, but he now seems destined to follow George W. Bush into the Air National Guard. (Bush joined in spring 1968.) And his reprieve comes from a rather unlikely source. Don ain’t no senator’s son—though these days he finds himself hobnobbing with the elite—but more important, Mitchell ain’t Don’s son. So why is Don so keen to help the kid?

Don’s efforts began before he’d spoken to Sylvia on the phone. I honestly think Don meant to be a good friend to poor Arnie. Or perhaps this was a roundabout quid pro quo: Don was doing Arnie a favor in return for having shtupped his wife.  

We’ll need to wait to discover what sort of fallout will result from Sally’s eyeful. In the meantime, here’s what I’m contemplating this week:

—Paul, as our resident Bob Benson expert, I’m eager to hear your thoughts on this revelation. Bob’s secret is out. Though Bob still isn’t.

Bob does seem surer of himself than Sal Romano ever was. You get the sense he can coolly maneuver in and out of his hidden persona, grinning all the while. (As others have pointed out, Bob shares more with Don than just an alliterative name. Both wear various masks.)

But will Pete play along, pretending nothing ever happened? Will he demand Bob’s resignation in light of this “disgusting” behavior? Or late at night, when Pete’s running low on cereal in his squalid flat, will he wonder what it might be like to have that beaming Benson smile all to himself?

—Hanna, as our resident Israeli, I wonder if you have any thoughts about the Moshe Dayan poster that appeared on the wall of Stan’s bedroom. Is the eyepatch some sort of riff on seeing/not seeing? “I know you thought you saw something”—but please do turn a blind eye to it? A quick Wikipedia peek also suggests that Dayan was a noted philanderer, so there’s that.

—There was a huge new puzzle piece for the Megan/Sharon Tate conspiracy theorists. While discussing the charms of Mitchell Rosen, Sally and her friend compared him to Mark Lindsay—the lead singer from Paul Revere and the Raiders. Ready to be spooked? Lindsay at one point lived in the Los Angeles house where Tate was later murdered.

God can turn off the lights at any moment,