“Favors” is all about favors and, as a result of them, sexual favors. Most human activity is “just another excuse to make out.”
Don performs a favor for Arnold and Sylvia, by resolving Mitchell Rosen’s 1-A draft status. He tries, with little tact, to obtain a favor from GM executives at dinner. He later obtains a favor from Ted by getting him into the Air National Guard. It’s not clear whether Don’s motivations were earnest (trying to make amends for past actions) or ignoble (trying to rekindle his affair with Sylvia). The latter happens. Sally, trying to recover the favor her friend Julie left for Mitchell, walks in on them in flagrante delicto. To keep his life together, Don will need a favor from his daughter.
Sally’s relationship with Don has been a running undercurrent. She claimed to know nothing about him. That was not accurate. Sally and Don have a deeper connection. He can’t sell himself to her. Seeing him with Sylvia was certainly surprising and shocking. But she held no romantic illusions of him before. He was her Dad, but by no means a great Dad. It felt as though her half-formed notions of him were enhanced and confirmed, rather than altered. Let the countdown to Woodstock begin.
Hurting Sally is acutely painful for Don. He started his new life to escape the trauma of his childhood. Not only can he not escape it. He has now inflicted similar trauma on her.
Peggy is trapped in her Upper West Side townhouse. Not alone, but with a dying. She wants Stan to come over and do her “a favor” with the potential carrot of more “favors.” Stan, not her boyfriend, rebuffs her. One of the last shots is of her watching TV on the couch with a cigarette and (her first) cat. She shares a bond with Pete, over their past affair and present loneliness. He ends up in a similar state: home, alone and out of cereal.
Pete received a favor from Bob Benson. He’s now horrified at the thought of his mother receiving sexual favors from the maid, Manolo. Bob Benson hears Pete call Manolo a “degenerate.” His subsequent speech and a slight touch of the knees leave Pete with the feeling he may have had amorous intent (without explicitly doing so).
We know Bob Benson is a liar, manipulative and ambitious. Does he confirm here he is gay and (possibly) the organ through which Mad Men will address Stonewall? Did he spot the perfect Machiavellian opportunity to unravel masculinity-obsessed Pete and pounce? Both?
* Enjoyed the gratuitous shot at the Mets.
* Yeah, just as confused as everyone else why Stan has a Moshe Dayan poster above his bed.
* Roger juggling? Roger juggling.