‘Mad Men’ Discussion: Comforting Mrs. Rosen

OK, let’s get this out of the way, first: Megan is not dead. The crackpot theory was, indeed, crackpot, although all other Megan Draper/Sharon Tate theories are still somewhat on the table, at least for a couple more episodes. I have to say, too, that all the theories floating around on the Internet about Megan, Don, and Bob Benson have added a lot more intrigue to the series, because every scene seems to be weighted down by those possibilities. It’s probably a ridiculous notion to think that Matthew Weiner would feature a Dexter-style murder on Mad Men, but that possibility — no matter how remote — gives certain scenes a certain level of suspense.

Meanwhile, something has come of the Bob Benson theories, and this is where last night’s episode got really fun. In explaining to Pete Campbell that Pete’s mother may have mistaken devotion of her caretaker, Manohlo, her for true love, Bob made an obvious (and super awkward and uncomfortable pass at Pete). So Bob is gay, right? MAYBE. And that’s the straightforward answer, and then the question remains: Does Pete — who does seem to be breaking out of his conservative Type-A shell — have latent feelings for Bob? It’s hard to imagine, but maybe he’s feeling a little something for Bob. “Degenerate” sex sure beats Raisin Bran.

In the straightforward version, I don’t see any outcome that ends well for Bob Benson and his Pete Campbell crush. Benson was clearly devestated after being thwarted.

But, OF COURSE, there’s more to this, because maybe Bob isn’t gay. After all, he made the pass at Pete after Pete remarked that homosexuals were degenerates, and Bob Benson is not a dumb guy who reads signs that poorly, is he? Maybe he wanted to prove a point about gays? Maybe he just wanted to make Pete uncomfortable. Or, again, maybe it’s all part of a long con designed to move up the SD & P ladder, or even something else sinister. Maybe he’s in cahoots with Manolo? Point is: It doesn’t solve the Bob Benson mystery, by any means. In fact, if it turns out that it’s nothing more than that Bob Benson is gay and has a little crush on Pete Campbell, that will be disappointing. I do think it’s funny, though, that now that we know that Bob may or may not be gay, many people will rush to the assumption that Matthew Weiner will bring back Sal, as though ALL GAYS KNOW EACH OTHER.

Somebody also mentioned the possibility that Bob wasn’t lying when he said his father died, and that Manohlo nursed his father back to health because it’s possible that Bob has two gay men for fathers. BUT, this is 1968. That seems far-fetched.

Speaking of Bob, the “rapist” that Bob sent to take care of Pete’s mom is an actor named Andres Faucher. They did a good job transforming him into a Spanish Alec Baldwin from 30 Rock.

What is up with Roger and those oranges? THE SUBTEXT. It would drive Freud insane. Or maybe Weiner is just trying to tell us conspiracy theorists something, such as maybe there is a surprise happy ending in store for these people?

In case you didn’t know, the oranges are a clear reference to The Sopronos/The Godfather, and they foreshadow something very bad.

Meanwhile, I love that Peggy called Stan Rizzo after she spotted a rat in her apartment (what’s the significance of a bleeding rat?), and I love even more that they have a secret code for the fact that one of them is sleeping with someone. And that Peggy offered sexual favors in return for getting rid of the rat, and that Stan knew she wasn’t serious. These two should get their own apartment together, and they should make a spin-off sitcom based around their sexual tension. They could call in New Girl — 1968. Honestly, though, I would watch an entire episode that was just those two talking on the phone.

Two questions: Who was Stan sleeping with, and why did he have a poster of Moshe Dayan on his wall? He was a fighting symbol to the world of the new state of Israel.

Speaking of Peggy, her and drunk Pete’s conversation over dinner was effortless, and by God, for a minute there, even Pete Campbell was charming. It was clear, too, that Ted felt a little pang of jealousy at their breezy rapport. Ted has problems of his own, however, at home, with a wife who is unhappy because she not only has to compete for Ted’s attention, but it’s clear that his job makes him happier than she does. It kind of puts the Peggy thing into perspective, however: She is a work crush, and for all of Ted’s dick-measuring with Don at the office, he is — at his core — a good guy, a family man, even if he is kind of a child. I think we can put the Peggy/Ted ship to bed. I hope that doesn’t mean that Peggy ends up a cat lady.

What a depressing thought.

Also, Ted, those boots, man. Nice.

There were two things going on with Don Draper in last night’s episode — Don trying to keep Mitchell Rosen out of Vietnam, and Don’s relationship with Sylvia, both of which would merge in an unbelievably terrible sequence. It’s striking that Don didn’t seem that interested in Mitchell’s plight until he had drinks with Arnold Rosen, and I think it was two things that convinced him to try and help: 1) that he honestly does respect, admire, and like Dr. Rosen, and 2) he’s clearly carrying a lot of guilt over his affair with Sylvia, and fixing the Mitchell situation might unburden him of a little of it. For a few minutes, it even felt like Don Draper was a stand-up guy.

I also like the way that it played into Don and Ted finally burying the hatchet, although it seemed apparent that 80 percent of this competition between Ted and Don was all in Ted’s head, and that Don doesn’t even really see him as competition, probably because he’s too preoccupied with matters outside of the office. Ted had two great lines in that stand-off, though: ““Imagine if every time Ginger Rogers jumped into the air, Fred Astaire punched her in the face,” and the very backhanded insult: “Well I bet you don’t have a lot of friends, Don, so I assume this is important.”

Ouch. Don was terrible in that meeting with GM, however.

But it looks like he may have solved Mitchell’s problem, which led to a phone conversation with Sylvia, which led to this.

If anyone is going to commit suicide this season, and given her namesake, it would make sense, it would be Sylvia. Look how distraught she was that she was found out.

Someone is going to mash that reaction GIF up with some hardcore house music and have themselves a huge viral hit. That said, there almost certainly won’t be another suicide this season, although do keep an eye out for gas ovens.

But Jesus, poor f**king Sally, right? First she sees Megan’s Mom going down on Roger, and now this? No effing wonder Sally Draper is reading Rosemary’s Baby at her age. She’s already screwed in the head. It’s good to know she’s an ass man, though.

God, her friend was annoying though. Can it be Julie that gets murdered?

It’s amazing, though, that Don — who has been philandering for years — has never been caught in the act before, and wouldn’t you know, it’d be his damn daughter who would walk in on him.

Notice, too, how pale and bloated that Don has gotten over the course of the season, and it’s not just when he’s drunk, either. He looks like sh*t.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that the real Jon Hamm is not a hollowed out, bloated mess of a man in real life.

Cranston is going to have some serious Emmy competition with Hamm’s performance this year.

The “comforting Mrs. Rosen” wins the award for best euphemism of the season. In fact, I just submitted it to the Urban Dictionary.

What’s the end game here? I don’t think Sally will rat Don out, at least not to Megan. She may tell Betty, but Betty won’t give a sh*t. She’ll tell Sally to mind her own business. It’s more likely that Sylvia will confess to Dr. Rosen to head it off at the pass, which will lead a super awkward confrontation next week, when Megan will undoubtedly find out. There is disaster written all over this. In fact, the only thing that keeps this from getting out is if SALLY ends up dead, and I don’t even want to travel down that rabbit hole at the moment.

What we do know, however, is that Don has lost respect of his daughter, the only female relationship in Don’s life that he hadn’t destroyed yet.

– Here’s a couple of loose ends: I don’t think that Megan needed privacy to make a call to her agent. It’s possible that the call was to her obstetrician, which keeps the Sharon Tate theory alive.

– Another indication that the Sharon Tate theory is still alive was the reference that Julie made about Mark Lindsay living in Sally’s building. Mark Lindsay was a singer who rented the Sharon Tate house for a while.

– On the other hand, Matthew Weiner has spoiled it all for us, saying all the Sharon Tate connections was mere coincidence. Bastard fun ruiner.

– The woman on the TV in the background at Don and Megan’s house was talking about a murder, and also lying liars, and I can’t for the life of me figure what that movie was, but it certainly did put me on high alert for something gruesome to happen.

– I loved the little irony of Don telling Megan, about Mitchell, that he should be scared: “He can’t spend the rest of his life on the run.”

– When Sylvia said to Don, “You were good to me,” I did a lot of head scratching. Does she not remember anything about her relationship with Don?

– I’m sure that many of you spotted the return of Pete’s gun in scenes from next week’s episode. Weiner and his Checkhov’s gun really IS f***king with us now.

– Should we be shipping Pete and Peggy again? There mutual loneliness makes them a good match: Cat lady and Raisin Bran guy, plus they have a child together out in the world. But, man: Peggy deserves better than him. He has a good moment here and there, but the guy is a total weasel.

– Note how Peggy also called Manolo “Manuel.” This goes back to Peggy’s history of issues with race, including the awkward night with her secretary.