Mad About Mad Men: ‘Favors’

bill bodkin is a mad man …

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The Low Down: The Rosens (Linda Cardellini and Brian Markinson) are in a state of turmoil as their son Mitchell’s number is called up for Vietnam. Don, stricken with guilt, tries to help out. Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka) has a lil’ bit of crush on Mitchell. Meanwhile, Ted (Kevin Rahm) is battling working at Sterling Cooper and balancing a home life … the same goes for Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) and Pete (Vincent Kartheiser). Speaking of Pete, his mom has a new nurse that creeps him out and speaking of creeping Pete out — Bob Benson (James Wolk) possibly gay? We don’t know what to think … we kinda do actually.

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The Bed and Booze Count: Don gets it on with Sylvia for one, last harrowing time. The execs get wicked wasted with Chevy, Pete and Peggy get drunk with Ted. –BB

Favorite Performance: She’s always been our favorite precocious part of Mad Men but tonight Kiernan Shipka really stole our hearts. When she catches Don and Sylvia in an embrace (and by embrace we mean sex), her facial expression was a thunderbolt of emotion. She’s always been an old soul, mature beyond her years, but seeing her tearfully fling herself on her bed after Don “explains” himself reminds us that she’s still a kid.–BB

The Supporting Scene Stealer: I really dig Ted Chaoulk. He’s the anti-Don in many ways especially when it comes to his family. Sure, there’s a slow burning romance budding between he and Peggy (which his wife even alludes to) but he goes toe-to-toe with Don in order to save his family life as well as his position within the agency. He’s got a great sincerity and passion and Kevin Rahm does a brilliant job in conveying this. –BB

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The Best Part of The Episode: Yes, Sally catching Don and Sylvia was epic and it definitely evoked a ‘HOLY SMOKES’ from me, but it wasn’t the best part. No that honor goes to the scene between Pete and Bob Benson. It was awesome. Also it definitely fuels the speculation of Bob’s sexuality … although how can you really speculate about it now? Bob’s sincerity is just so damn genuine and honest, you can’t feel terrible that Pete spurns his “advance.” Although Bob can do better. Maybe they can bring Sal back … they’d make a cute couple, right?–BB

The Part We Could’ve Done Without: Pete’s mom talking about her “lover’s” passion for her. ::Vomit:: –BB

The Little Thing We Loved: The subtle flirting between Pete and Peggy when they were both drunk. I love how Mad Men hasn’t let us forget about their past. –BB

Final Thoughts: This was a game changing episode for Don. It really leads me to believe that Mad Men, the series (not this season) is ultimately going to end with Don taking his own life. That image we see, all blacked out, in the opening credits — I’ve always felt this was Don, but only in his headspace, his subconscious. But now, after this incident with Sylvia then Sally which is ultimately going to lead to his divorce from Megan (it has to), it leads me to believe that Don’s world is going to get a lot worse. A whole lot worse. Of course, I could be completely wrong too.

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Now back to my episode thoughts. I thought this was a much needed improvement over the far out California episode of last week and the psychedelic episode from two weeks ago. We’re now back in reality but with two episodes left, one has to wonder if this episode has come to late in the game. How is this season going to resolve itself? What issues are actually going to be resolved? It’s all a bit of mess right now, but Mad Men hasn’t let us down yet and within two weeks we’ll be singing the series’ praises. –BB

Photos courtesy of AMC, Credit Michael Yarish.

Bill Bodkin is the owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites