Mad Men Season Six Recap: “The Quality of Mercy”
“My father has never given me anything.”- Sally
So after last week’s absolute horror show, Sally has decided she wants to go to boarding school. Don’s been on a bender apparently since it happened, and is so relieved/guilty/drunk when Betty calls with the news that he’s all for this. He’ll pay for all of it! Sure! Fine! So off to Miss Porters School goes Sally, to interview for an escape from the hell she was born into. I’m a little stunned, but mostly disappointed. I wanted her to go full on stoner hippie. Running away from the family is such a Don like move–I just thought she’d do it via drugs instead of physically.
Speaking of physically, did anyone cheer when Glen beat up the Rolo friend of his for trying to sexually exploit Sally? At least there’s one man in her life who’s standing up for her. He’s even bringing the beer and pot to get her in good with the new Mean Girl crowd she’ll be running with once she’s been accepted. (Of course she’s accepted. She and Betty celebrate with cigarettes.)
As for Sterling Cooper and Partners and their spiffy new logo:
“You finally found a hooker who’ll take traveler’s checks?”- Don
So Harry got in good with Sunkist. This is unfortunate, since Don promised to end the war with Ted last week and drop his juice for Ted’s juice. That is, until he sees Ted and Peggy leaving the movies. That movie, is, in fact, Rosemary’s Baby. (The Polanski references just keep coming.) They claim their doing research into a commercial for St. Joseph’s aspirin. Neither Megan nor Don buy it for a second. In a fit of jealousy, Don reignites the war on a global scale, starting with a call to Harry to go ahead with the Sunkist commercial.
For the record, note how all the women assume Peggy is getting some and she never does. Joan assumed she’d banged Don, though she never had. Now Megan assumes she’s banging Ted. Look lady, just because you banged your boss to get ahead…
But it doesn’t end there. First we have Ted calling out Don on the Sunkist thing. (Don lies and says it was set up two episodes ago during the California trip, pre-cease fire.)Is that why Don does what he does next? Or is it just that he’s really that emotionally insane? He calls the St. Joseph’s client and busts Ted&Peggy on the budget, and then at the meeting that follows tells the client Ted’s reason for the commercial is “a little bit personal. In fact, it’s very personal.” Everyone in the room know exactly what he’s talking about…except the St. Joseph’s guy. The pause that follows seemed to last eons. Don then lets Ted off the hook: “It was Frank Gleason’s last idea.”
“Well, why didn’t you say so?!” says the St Joseph’s rep. Budget expanded, and on the surface Ted’s getting what he wants. Don has his revenge. But at what cost? Ted is enraged. Don’s chiding him “We’ve all been there – I mean, not with Peggy,” was pricelessly awful.
Why is Don doing this? He just lost Sally. Must he also lose Peggy? Did it never occur to him that this would be just as horrific an emotional experience for her? Does he not think of Peggy as a human being with feelings? Oh wait, Don has never quite thought of Peggy as a human being with feelings. He’s taken her for granted. Did you think that losing her to CGC might have been a wake up call? No, because he won her back too easily by merging the companies. He didn’t have to work for it. Back to taking her for granted from the day she moved back in. But she’s done with this. She calls him what he is: a monster. “You’ve killed him,” she hisses.
No, I don’t think Ted is going to commit suicide in the office a la Lane. But he’s been humiliated beyond measure by Don, in front of all his peers. I have a bad feeling Ted is a goner at the end of the season, leaving Don the merged company as his winnings.
Elsewhere in the company, the execs from Chevy shot Ken in the face. I know what you’re thinking: Can he still dance with that eyepatch? Pete’s idea is to take Ken’s place. Not so fast–remember who got put on that account a couple of weeks ago for being in the right place at the right time? Guess who’s going to get Pete’s plum? You betcha–Mr. Benson.
So far we have learned Bob is gay, closeted and crushing badly on Pete. Today, after Pete has Duck take a spin at figuring out who he is, we learn far more. Everything we know about him is a lie. He wasn’t at the finance depart at his last job. He was a manservant. (Suddenly his connections to Manolo make even more sense.) Bob Benson is indeed Dick Whitman 2.0. He too is from a world where the dream of luxury is indoor plumbing. He’s a hillbilly from Appalachia–the kind of place where everyone’s related and semi inbred. The only difference between Bob and Don is that is Bob really is his name.
The exchange between Duck and Pete on this is Hilarious.
Duck: “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Pete: “I have.”
Finally, something Pete knows how to handle. Last time he learned this about Dick Whitman, he ran to Cooper. The lesson he got was no one cares, as long as the man knows how to make money. This time he doesn’t run anywhere except to Bob, who thinks this means his life is over. Oh no, Pete has no intention of telling anyone. He’s spent years with Don Draper, and if there’s anything he knows about there types of reinventing chameleons, it’s that the best thing to have on them is a trump card. The first thing he’ll use it for? “I’m off limits.”
It’s ok, Bob. Trust us, you don’t want Pete anyway.
By the way: Joan Harris suggesting chicken soup? For everyone who have decided they are done with Mad Men, I’ve a suggestion. Next season (the last season) instead of Mad Men and Don Draper, we have a spin off called Oy, Joanie!
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