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Mad Men



Episode 11 - Favors

12 June 2013

Credit AMC

I thought the main story was really strong. You knew Vietnam would eventually play a direct role in our story and the involvement of the Rosens' and Sally was a very personal way to accomplish that.

I liked the way Don's guilt\love for the Rosen's drove him to risk souring a work relationship to do something to help them. Then it's Ted who ends up helping him, demonstrating the kind of aid his colleagues could give him if he had a more honest relationship with them. Then the emotions his kindness stir up lead to Sylvia's worst fear and they get caught mid-act. It's another horrible reminder for Sally why she doesn't live with her father. From then it was all darkly resonant as Sally tries not to look at anyone involved in this betrayal and Don is left clueless. He turns to drink when he has nowhere else to go and then makes pathetic excuses to Sally who must feel like there's nothing to trust in the adult world. Or maybe in the world in general after her friend sent the embarrassing letter to Mitchell.

Assuming Bob Benson is gay and that coming onto Pete was his real goal all along then it's something of a letdown. In part because, come on Bob, you could do better! But his judgment seemed to depart entirely after Pete referred to homosexuals as degenerates and then still came onto him. I don't mind it if this is the truth, it's just a shame that Bob became such an intriguing player only to touch legs with Pete in a less than subtle way. Again I wasn't pleased with the portrayal of Pete's mothers' dementia which ebbs and flows based on plot need and very little to do with medical reality.

For now Ted Chaough still seems like the anti-Don. He sticks with his wife and is actually obsessed with work rather than his own distractions. However he also seems childish when he cries for "my juice" and manages to empower Don by obsessing over what he thinks or does. I did enjoy the dinner with Pete and Peggy where their drunken mutual affection was very pleasant. Don certainly wouldn't have been the calming presence Ted was in that situation.



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  • The strength of the main story in this episode crystallized what I haven't enjoyed in this season. I appreciate that the show is trying to chart the entire decade of the 60s but I kind of feel like there is only so long that Don can go on. For quite some time now we have see Don in this downward spiral and a lot of this has felt like retreading of character beats. Obviously Sally has never caught him before but I don't see how the outcome is going to radically change Don's arc. It's just going to be more Don wallowing. There's moments of brilliance and excitement like this episode but the show has been a lot of ethereal drifting, which is true to the shows root and maybe life but it doesn't make for interesting viewing.

    Viewer score: 68 / 100

    Posted by Derek, 12/06/2013 4:07am (7 years ago)

  • I've nothing to add to your review this week.

    A solid episode. Poor Sally, she's going to need serious therapy.

    I do hope the Bob storyline comes to more than him being infatuated with Pete.

    Sally never did grab the note to Mitchell so there may still be some more fall out from her encounter with her Father's infidelity.

    Viewer score: 69 / 100

    Posted by Yogabon, 12/06/2013 2:54am (7 years ago)

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