Mad Men Recap: The Bob Benson Mystery

madmen_bobbenson_
Bob Benson.

Brown-noser. Anti-Christ. Stand-in Dad. Smooth talker. Coffee-getter.

The Smoke Monster from Lost?

Possible.

Unlikely.

But Possible.

It’s just so hard a question to answer…

This is also possible. It is also slightly more possible than Bobby Slick being the Smoke Monster.

Internet! Answers please.

From Slate:

“The unraveling of the Bob Benson mystery. Did you notice Ted accepted Bob’s extra coffee—the one Don always refuses? Might be an omen! What is the deal with this dude? Is Bob an FBI mole sent to spy on Madison Avenue’s seditious anti-war activity? Has Mad Men warped my view of human behavior so severely that I cannot imagine a man with no guile? Is Bob a refugee from another, gentler show—like maybe I Dream of Jeannie? Just a nice guy whose “every good deed is not part of a plan,” as Joan’s mom insists?”

Rolling Stone offers up four theories about who Bob Benson might be:

  1. A government spy sent in to investigate Don Draper/Dick Whitman Giddy Up America Verdict: Maybe
  2. A mole from a rival energy Giddy Up America Verdict: Possible prior to the merger
  3. An investigative journalist Giddy Up America Verdict: Very doubtful. Much more interesting things going on in New York in 1968 than the goings on in an advertising agency
  4. A red hearing/planted distraction Giddy Up America Verdict: Probable

I’m inclined to think it’s most likely number 4.

Bob Benson is just a dude, albeit a weird dude with a soft spot for redheads, but a dude none the less. If anything, all the questions about just who is Bob Benson is more of an indictment on Mad Men and the show’s penchant for having an entire roster of shady characters existing with something to hide. It’s a show consisting of not really good guys and not really bad guys. No one is just one thing. Look at Don. Don has been a colossal dick this season but then this week, all of sudden, he’s kind of a nice guy again (not to mention that Don is literally two people- Don Draper and Dick Whitman, so he never really is who he is.) The scenes at camp, at dinner with Hot Again Betty and Bobby, reminded me of scenes in The Sopranos when there were glimpses of the Sopranos as a normal family and Tony being a good father and husband. These moments were always fleeting but they stuck with me.

But don’t be fooled about Don. https://i1.wp.com/25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lku0slb9eO1qhv4q1o1_400.gifDon is not going back to Megan because he has suddenly realized he loves her. No, sir. He’s going back to her because he’s currently in a any port in the storm mind set. Betty pulled a power move and Sylvia kicked him to the curb. Right now Megan (conveniently also his wife) is all he has left. Until someone better shows up, she’s all he’s got.

And that should be enough, but not for Don. Nothing is enough for Don. Which makes you wonder- how does a show end when it’s based on a character who is never satisfied. Any arc, any story, any plot involving Don stops halfway through because Don stop halfway through.

So good luck with that Matthew Weiner.

And for America, good luck trying to solve the Bob Benson mystery.

It will confound us all.

Photos: AMC

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