How can Season Six be over already?

In the penultimate episode of Mad Men for this year, the darkness is penetrating the tone as a mad dash is made to resolve loose ends as we step ever closer to the 1970s.

Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is reeling from the effects of the last episode and is drinking over his problems.

Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) is concerned with Bob (James Wolk) as he takes over the Chevy account from Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Staton) and Sally (Kiernan Shipka) takes a trip upstate.

Why is Ken moving away from his Chevy account? Well, they’ve already injured his leg, but the cold open after Don & Megan’s morning ritual shows Ken out on a hunting trip with the Chevy executives. He’s had to do tap-dance to keep these guys happy and full of steak “Its my job”, but these goons have gone too far with the hazing by SHOOTING KEN IN THE FACE. The buckshot does not kill Ken, but after talking with Pete, the newly expectant father walks away from Chevy with at least his life intact.

Pete, who is desperate and lonely takes the traveling job offer from Ken, pending partnership approval. We’ll get to that later!

The Ocean Spray/Sunkist accounts are competing still after Don’s promise to Ted that he drop Sunkist. Harry (Rich Sommer) comes through with a multimillion dollar buy from Sunkist if they drop the cranberry campaign that Ted (Kevin Rahm) and Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) are working closely on.

In fact, Ted and Peggy are working closely in the office together—and others are taking notice. Especially Don, who seems to be taking the Sunkist ad and shots at Ted in order to break those two up. Don is jealous of their relationship and of Ted’s success.

Pete learns that Bob comes with the Chevy assignment, and after their awkward leg touch last episode, Pete is resistant but agrees with this when the partners force Bob on him, albeit reluctantly.

Pete makes a call to Duck (Mark Moses) to have him look in to Bob Benson’s past. The reveal is that Bob is a fraud, and like Don, has forged a new life out of nowhere and weaseled his way into SC&P.

When Pete confronts Benson, he doesn’t expose his fraud to the world, instead he maturely accepts Bob as his partner on Chevy on the terms that Benson not go after Pete or his family any more. Bob’s friend/partner, Manolo (Andres Faucher) is asked to step away from Pete’s mother.

Sally does an overnight at the boarding school she’s applying at, and trouble follows her there. She invites Glen (Marten Holden Weiner) and another boy, Rolo for a party. How they got these boys here after just a few hours of conspiring is beyond me. The kids get drunk and stoned, ending in a ruckus of Glen protecting Sally by attacking Rolo. The girls give Sally a glowing recommendation to the headmaster to be accepted to the school after so much excitement.

At SC&P, Don embarrasses Ted in front of the St. Joseph’s aspirin people, but to the benefit of saving the account and the ad that Peggy and Ted ran over budget. In a sinister way, Don’s actions make everyone uncomfortable around the table. Don is picking at Ted’s bones—and Peggy knows this and calls Don a monster.

Don’s business acumen is now leaning more toward being a shark than having creative ideas. This can’t be good for the partnership. Ted is enthusiastic and idealistic, Don has dark secrets affecting all of his relationships. This conflict may carry over into the next season or we may see this resolve in the finale in a big way.

There’s no “On The Next Mad Men” this week as we all speculate on the season finale. Let’s recap some important characters. Betty and family seem to be doing OK and Sally is on the track to go to boarding school. Megan is playing two roles on her show (a soap opera that Don clicks by after seeing her on screen as he’s home sick). Megan’s strength is carrying her on to be an independent woman that loves Don.

Peggy and Ted are flirting, but not beyond that. Pete will move to deal with the Detroit account. Roger and the senior partners are taking a step back from the limelight. Harry Crane could predictably move to a Hollywood career.

What surprises are in store? We’re happy to have the Bob Benson reveal in this episode, because we couldn’t wait any more! We always hope to see more Joan in the finale as she continues to define herself at the company as a partner.

Tune in Sunday at 10 for the season finale!