Mad Men: Quality of Mercy, Review

One week away from the Mad Men season finale, the show takes things down a notch, while Don starts to show the effects of his lifestyle.

Just one episode away from the season finale, Mad Men decides to pump the breaks this week and present some calm before the ensuing storm. Instead of being engulfed in a world of booze and deceit, Don spends the episode being a casual observer in his office.

Despite what Megan may think, Don has been largely absent from the proceedings of the newly christened Sterling Cooper & Partners. Gone is the spark plug of creativity and in its place sits a cheating drunkard, with five o’clock shadow on his face and a world of secrets in his eyes. Who could focus on work while being so entrenched in keeping up the illusion of being a happily married yuppie? To make matters worse, Don now has a daughter who is well aware of Daddy’s extracurricular activities.

Don needs a break from the mounting stresses of his personal life, so he throws his striking gaze towards his company. After taking a day of what constitutes as rest and relaxation for Don Draper, Don shows up at SC&P to not only the news that his Sunkist campaign has trumped Ted’s Oceanspray business profits, but also the startling revelation that Ted and Peggy have become quite smitten. It’s unclear whether Don is jealous of the allegiance that his former protégé has pledged or if his motivations are romantically angled as well, but Don takes his opportunity to burst the couples bubble in a pitch meeting, cleverly masking talk about “personal matters” and being “compromised” behind the death of Frank Gleason, when in reality, Don was attacking Ted’s devotion to Peggy and her ideas. In the final scene, Peggy berates Don for his pettiness and self-interest, calling him a “monster.” The season has been all about the move to the dark side for Don, and Peggy’s accusations seem to be this theme peaking.

Another person taking interest in their co-worker’s actions this week is Pete. After hijacking Chevy from an in-over-his-head Ken, Pete finds himself working on the largest account with enigma Bob Benson. When Pete goes to Duck Phillips for help getting rid of Smiling Bob, Duck unearths a whole mess of secrets. Turns out more than one person in the SC&P offices are pretending to be someone that they’re not. Pete learns that Bob never went to business school, has inbred parents, and worked as a personal “man servant” (catch the drift?). Pete is disgusted, but more so with Bob’s sexuality, and just like with Don, promises Bob that he won’t out him as long as he keeps his distance and stays out of Pete’s way. It’s a huge revelation knowing Bob’s backstory and has certainly been one of the biggest reveals of the season. Hopefully, we’ll have more like it in our season finale next week!

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The Best of the Rest

  • Sally decides she wants to go to boarding school. At her interview night stay, she parties and has Glen beat up a guy for her. Oh, and she smokes with her Mom. Sally’s a badass.
  • Ken Cosgrove gets shot by the Chevy Execs. While hunting. It’s enough for him to withdraw from the account.
  • Bob Benson totally equals Tom Ripley from The Talented Mr. Ripley!!!
  • In 60’s nostalgia; Don and Megan see Rosemary’s Baby, Don studies Nixon TV ads, everyone is jazzed about color TVs.

Score: 3.5 out 5

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3.5 out of 5