"You're a monster," Peggy sneers at Don toward the end of Sunday's episode of "Mad Men," titled "The Quality of Mercy." Don is not just getting burned by his protégé but by his daughter as well.
"My father hasn't given me anything," Sally's responds coolly to her mother's quip that he had probably given her a beer before. (Betty had just offered Sally a cigarette, which perhaps counted as a mother-daughter rite of passage in the 1960s.)
Earlier in the episode, Betty informs Don that Sally will not be visiting him anymore and that Sally wanted to attend boarding school. Don is clearly rattled by Sally discovering his philandering ways. The episode opens with him in the fetal position on her bed after going on a bender; he's even spiking his morning OJ. It closes with him in a similar position, but on his office couch. He knows he has lost Peggy, his work daughter of sorts, as well. Both Sally and Peggy have run out of mercy for their daddy-monster Don.
But first: One of season six's biggest mysteries was cleared up when this episode answered the question: Who is Bob Benson? Disgusted by Bob's apparent romantic advances and worried that he would get in the way on the Chevy account, Pete reaches out to Duck Phillips, a former Sterling Cooper employee and now a headhunter, to see if he can tempt Bob away from the firm.
Duck's digging turns up that Bob has been lying on his résumé, which paints him a well-connected, well-educated blue blooder with big firm experience. Really, Bob – if that's even his name – is a ho-dunk kid from West Virginia who at some point reinvented his identity, not unlike – you guessed it – Don Draper.
"I've never seen anything like this before," Duck remarks when he breaks the news to Pete.
"I have," Pete responds, realizing that Bob Benson just Dick Whitman-ed him.
But there is a new mystery with this revelation: why Pete chooses not to use it against Bob.
"I would like to think that I've learned not to tangle your kind of animal," Pete tells Bob when he confronts him. "Where you are and who you are is not my concern. I surrender."
Perhaps he fears any attempts to reveal Bob's true secret will go by the way of when Pete tried to blackmail Don with his (not very well) "I like Bob. Chevy likes Bob. And if you don't like Bob, we can find someone who does," Jim Cutler tells Pete earlier in the episode. Maybe Pete realizes all those extra coffees Bob carries around paid off in the end.
Or maybe Pete – usually the most insufferable character on "Mad Men" — does feel a bit of the mercy to which the episode title refers.
Pete may have surrendered to Bob. But the detente Don arranged with Ted last week has been blown up. At first Don appears to be holding up his end of the deal when he tells Harry to drop Sunkist because it conflicts with Ted's client Ocean Spray. Don and Megan see Ted with Peggy at a showing of "Rosemary's Baby." (Relax, Sharon Tate-truthers. Showrunner Matt Weiner already said no one would be meeting the fate of its director's wife.)
Emboldened by the discovery of at least an emotional affair between the two, Don puts the truce aside to get Sunkist back, costing Ted his client. Furthermore, Don rats out Ted for going over-budget on an aspirin ad – an ad Ted thinks will win awards for Peggy. (Remember when Don stole the credit for her award-winning Glo-Coat ad?)
The tension finally erupts when Don tells the aspirin exec that Ted is pushing a bigger budget because it was Frank Gleason's last idea – in effect, robbing Peggy of the credit for the idea, yet again, while deeply embarrassing Ted.
"I know your little girl has beautiful eyes, but that doesn't mean you give her everything," Don – the man who married his secretary – lectures Ted. "Your judgment is impaired. You're not thinking with your head."
By calling Peggy a "little girl," Don is as patronizing as ever.