'Mad Men' Recap: Is Don Morphing Into a 'Monster' Before Our Eyes?

don draperSetting the stage for the season 6 finale that is already next week, this week's Mad Men, entitled "Quality of Mercy," seemed to be more about moving certain characters' plot lines forward more than any major, "OMG" moments. Then again, we got quite the OMG moment at the end of last week's episode when Sally caught Don and Sylvia, so maybe Matt Weiner figured that bought him at least a week off from a similar jaw-dropper.

That doesn't mean there wasn't still plenty of excitement. Don appears to be liquoring it up more than usual -- seemingly still stressed out about what happened with Sally and still on his inevitable slide down to rock bottom -- and even gets a "tsk"-ing from Megan, who remarks how he looks like hell and requests that he take the day off of work. By the time she's back from shooting, though, Don's feeling better, so they head out to see Rosemary's Baby ... where they bump into none other than Ted and Peggy.


The pair claims they were there to confirm a detail that relates to an ad pitch they're working on for St. Joseph's aspirin, but Megan and Don can't help but see through their lies ... lies they're probably still telling themselves. The affair with Peggy that Ted was hell-bent on never starting now seems to be happening, at least emotionally, whether he likes it or not.

Everyone in the office can see it, and it's even starting to interfere with their work, causing Ted to push an idea of Peggy's on St. Joseph's that is way over their budget ... When Don realizes that, he feels like he's gotta blow the whistle in a meeting with the aspirin co. He acts like he's going to throw them totally under the bus but ultimately ends up saying that the idea was deceased copywriter Frank Gleason's last. Which certainly makes it more palatable to the guy from St. Joseph's. On the surface, Don saved the day. But for making Ted sweat and swiping credit away from her, Peggy calls her former mentor a "monster." Is he? Or was he just taking care of business (with a side of showing who's alpha)? He may have also been taking out his own self-loathing on Ted when he told him, "Your judgment is impaired. You're not thinking with your head!" ...

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Meanwhile, Pete volunteers in for Ken, after the poor guy gets shot in the eye while on another trip out to Detroit to wine and dine and, this time, hunt with Chevy. But the new gig isn't without a catch ... Bob Benson is still on the account, too. After the uncomfortable moment the two shared last week, Pete is determined to get Bob off the account, if not out of the office. But when some undercover digging turns up that his background is probably about as legit as, well, Don's, Pete knows he could fire/ruin him. But instead, he takes -- you got it -- mercy on the cheeriest employee to ever walk the halls of SC&P for some reason. I'm not quite sure why yet, though. Maybe it has to do with showing that Pete has a soul? Or likes that he has something to hold over Bob's head so he's in control on Chevy? It's hard to say when it comes to weaselly Pete ...

Still, my favorite part of the ep had to be how Sally handled two mean girls at Miss Porter's, an elite boarding school she's decided she wants to run away to in the wake of catching Don. Confronted with what could have been like a hazing situation during her trial night at the school, she calls up her old friend Glen. He shows up with liquor, pot, and a buddy named Rolo, who puts unrequited moves on Sally and who Glen ends up defending her against. He says she's like a little sister to him, but ehhh -- I wonder if they're like the more rough-around-the-edges version of Kevin Arnold and Winnie Cooper? I wouldn't be surprised if they ultimately end up together.

What was your favorite plot advancement in this episode? What do you think we're in for next week?

Image via AMC

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