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The Best Mad Men Recap Reader Comments: ‘Favors’

Roger Sterling (John Slattery) - Mad Men _ Season 6, Episode 11 _ 'Favors' - Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/AMC
Photo: Michael Yarish/AMC

This week Matt Zoller Seitz focused on Bob Benson and Don Draper. He compared everything from the two characters’ ability to figure out “just what to say” to their alliterative names, and ultimately postulated that Pete might be gay — “so deep in the closet that he doesn’t even know he’s in the closet.” Readers had much to add. Here’s what you thought of “Favors.”

You disagreed with our analysis of Bob’s knee brushing …

* “No Bob Benson is definitely gay, and he definitely wants Pete. Or maybe he’s bi, but honestly you don’t act that casual around Joan Halloway Harris in a swimsuit if you’re into girls. And this being just before Stonewall, not only does is make sense that we would have a new gay ensemble character but knee-touching your boss who just called a gay man a degenerate does not an opportunist, sociopathy or no, make. I know we’re all too shell-shocked by Don and every other handsome guy but Ken being a complete jagoff on this show to not see a handsome guy doing a thoughtful (if career advancing) deed as incredibly suspicious, but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar that wants to see Pete’s cigar.” — Commenter MsMessica

* “Totally disagree with your assertion that Bob Benson’s facial expression when he was leaving Pete’s office said “Well done” or something of the like. To me it looked like superficial cheeriness hiding abject terror. He may partially feel the excitement of “Well done,” but the fear of a dramatic rebuffing or a reprisal was palpable.” — Commenter jlog74

* “I can’t get on board the Pete-as-closeted-gay train. I think he was as accepting of the knee touch as he was because it came after his mother told him he was unlovable. He was beaten down from life and more accepting of affection than he might otherwise be.” — Commenter luluinlala

… and drew parallels to the dearly missed Sal.

* “Bob’s behavior and feelings toward Pete are really very comparable to Sal’s behavior/feelings toward Ken Cosgrove. One could argue, in fact, that Sal was actually even a little bit creepier with respect to the Ken relationship. But no one barked that Sal was a sociopath. Closeted gay men in the 1960’s had the weight of the world on their shoulders, and it was institutionally drilled into their minds that they were perverts. Can we blame them from behaving strangely and furtively as a result?” — Commenter ndesq

* “Gay characters on the show? Bob & Sal. Don’s kids? Bobby and Sally.” — Commenter akleira

You applauded the dinner scene between Peggy, Ted, and Pete …

* “It’s always great to see two MM characters with long histories really have a dialogue. Pete’s feeling like a third wheel to Ted and Peggy quickly turned into Ted returning and feeling he was the third wheel to Peggy and Pete. It’s wrong how right that conversation felt.” — kwinubst 

* “This was one of the best hours of TV I think I’ve ever seen. The scene between Peggy, Ted, and Pete didn’t even make MZS’s (excellent) review, and yet it was so well-acted, drawing so trenchently on the characters’ pasts, that it ran the gamut from flirtation to nostalgia to compassion in just a few minutes. It felt familiar and strange all at once - who hasn’t sat at happy hour with coworkers and felt that interplay of past and possibility? What a masterclass this episode was. A total delight.” — Commenter aquamarinering

* “I especially liked how you could see that Ted felt like an outsider when he returned to the table, and it spurred possibly a bit of jealousy in him seeing the way that Peggy and Pete were interacting. ” — Commenter pennywise

* “Yep. I felt like I was watching the end of a really, really good movie. Two great actors killed that scene. The laughter between them made my heart soar knowing their tragic history.” — Commenter Calimdgal

… cried for Sally’s shocking discovery …

* “Kiernan Shipka was heartbreaking this episode. Her sad “ok” — the lie agreed upon — killed me.” — Commenter banga

* “I’m just crushed for Sally. It’s a horrible thing when your childhood comes to an end and you realize that your father doesn’t hold up to your ideal of him.” — Commenter lifesanarsehole

* “I keep seeing the scene from Season 2, when Don’s involved with Bobbie Barrett. He’s shaving in the Draper master bathroom. Adorable Sally, probably 6 years old, with those curls and that little lisp, plops down on the toilet seat just to sit by her Daddy, just to be with him. She worships him. Sally promises: ‘I won’t talk. I don’t want you to cut yourself.’ That’s the Sally I keep seeing discover her father with Silvia in the maid’s room. It’s the darkest moment in the series.” — Commenter bamnyc

… and made note of meta-commentary.

* “It speaks to the greatness of this episode that we haven’t even gotten to Henry’s delightfully wry line, asking Betty and Sally why they’re all living in a mansion if those two spend all their time in the same room.” — Commenter LHD

You defended “sour little man” Pete …

* “Maybe I’m the only one, but I like Pete Campbell. Sure, he’s weaselly, but he’s honest, he always says what he thinks, which is often rude, but at least you know where you stand with him. I loved it when Manolo, regarding spending time with Pete’s mother, said, ‘the pleasure was all mine’, and Pete, not missing a beat, said, ‘we both know that’s not true’. In an office (world?) of posers, Pete, with all his flaws, is a breath of fresh air.” — Commenter maryknowitall

* “I love Pete Campbell. Underneath that sniveling exterior is a little boy who was never loved. He has sought everyone’s approval his whole life, and is constantly rejected be it through his own doing or not.” — Commenter nagrome12

… but were suspicious of pretty much everyone else …

* “What was up with [Sally’s friend]l? I got a weird vibe from her — not just because she was antagonizing Megan in a way that bordered on flirting (did you see her pour Megan more wine at dinner?), but her overall assertiveness and nosiness was unnerving.” — Commenter nycityofmind

* “I see this theory gaining some legs. I wonder — if not her agent — if Megan’s actually sleeping with her boss/co-star the married couple that intimated they’d like to swing with her and Don. No overt references yet, and Megan refusing her co-star’s advances work as a counter-argument, but I see the swingers as the only plausible character Megan could be sleeping with other than Don. The career advancement opportunities could be endless and it would certainly assuage her loneliness …” — LikeJordan45

* “Alright, I’m going out on a limb here — with everyone else focusing on all of the major stuff happening with Don & Bob (btw, I love Pete & Peggy together — wasn’t the “you know me” line a throwback to their first tryst?) — did anyone else notice how weird Megan’s reaction was when Sally’s annoying friend (why does Sally have the worst friends?) asked her if she was calling her agent? Am I paranoid to think that Megan might be hiding a secret of her own?” — Commenter mm3

* “Peggy’s cat is clearly a gay spy too, guys, probably working in conjunction with Bob Benson.” — Commenter seanlaw81

* “Say what you will, I am pretty sure the cat is Sharon Tate.” — jenninnnyc

… and though distracted by Don’s, um, Hammhood …

* “Was Don wearing underwear under his underwear? Or was that strategically placed sheet? Either way, I feel cheated.” — Commenter jfieldsklein

* “He’s a NeverNude?” — Commenter HughG16

* “HAMMHOOD cannot be contained.” — Commenter Loreoeo

… you made time for the crucial task of naming Peggy’s cat. 

* “No way she calls it anything other than Cat.” — Commenter ohonestly

* “Tuesday” — Commenter banga

* “Bayonet” — Commenter shanavelour

* “Hammbone” — Commenter Loreoeo

The Best Mad Men Recap Reader Comments