It’s a new world order on “Mad Men.” Someone throws a pity-party tantrum while someone else goes full-on hippie, and creative gets moved out in favor of data on Sunday’s (May 4) “The Monolith.”
“Are you just gonna kill yourself? Give them what they want? Or go in your bedroom, get in uniform, fix your bayonet and hit the parade?” — Freddy
Watching Don stare at the roaches crawling around his apartment may not be as pathetic as watching Don working in a dead man’s office, reduced to moving furniture as the partners meet without him. But after being summoned to a gleeful Peggy’s office to work under her on a new campaign to win Burger Chef, he quietly chucks a typewriter and refuses to offer up his assigned 25 tag lines. He will instead get paid for challenging the computer installation guy Lloyd Hawley (Robert Baker) to the now ubiquitous question “which is more powerful — man or computer?”
He realizes, rather prophetically, that Lloyd’s computer business is ripe for the advertising picking, but due to his new work situation limitations, his pitch falls on old, deaf Bert Cooper ears. So our favorite alcoholic swipes a bottle from Dad’s, er, Roger’s office.
Don ends up ridiculously drunk (also against his new work guidelines), hanging with his savior Freddy, while shades of Freddy’s past creep on him. He was one step away from soaking his own trousers as he called Lloyd the devil and headed out of the office.
In the end, Freddy, God love him, is the one yet again to speak sense over strong, black coffee, telling Don to swallow his pride and “do the work.” Freddy gave up the bottle. Don is going to have to do the same thing, and do the work to win his career, and his life, back. And as the computer rolls into the office, he does just that.
Don got to where he was before by being good, good-looking, and smooth. He’s going to get back there by doing the grunt work. And maybe … maybe putting down the bottle.
And kudos on the shot of Don’s head in the elevator ascending to hell, over anxious music.
“I thought she was finally happy.” — First ex-wife Mona, about Margaret
The first “Mad Men” character to turn full-on hippie? Not surprisingly, Margaret’s “I forgive you, Daddy” is followed by her running away with a van full of lovers to an upstate commune. She did it; she left her husband and child, and everything, all behind, as opposed to looking good in a three-piece suit by day, and expanding horizons at night. Turns out Margaret, the “perverse child who only thinks of herself,” as Mona says, is more like Roger than we thought.
Once white-bread Brooks lands himself in jail for fighting, Mona and Roger spend an afternoon together trying to rescue Margaret from the commune, and deconstructing not only their own lives, but what they wanted for their daughter. “Marigold” chooses to stay after the intervention, and Roger chooses to call her Marigold, and gets left behind by Mona. In return, he spends what has to be the most personal time he’s ever had with his daughter. But he draws the line at acceptance when Marigold sneaks away in the middle of the night to, er, keep warm with a fellow commune member.
Oh, Roger, you’ve grown so much, even if you do find it strange and uncomfortable at times. Your daughter is a sexual being, and while no parent finds that easy to understand, as Marigold herself said, “You were doing so well, Daddy.” When she calls him out for not being there as a parent (if only to rationalize leaving her own child behind), he silently walks away, soaked in mud from the fight. He simply has no response to that truth.
Maybe Lou Avery isn’t the worst person in the world, at least in Peggy’s eyes, at first. She’s given a raise and the large job of winning Burger Chef, and with it, stewardship of Don. She takes full advantage of her position by demanding Don give her copy. When Don won’t play by those rules, she backs down, instead complaining to Joan that Don won’t do as she says. You can’t be in charge if you don’t act like you already are, Peggy. Even if you are paid off with $100 more a week.
So it turns out Lou is still awful, and a coward, and would rather leave Don and Peggy to fight it out between themselves. But Don isn’t prepared for a fight, mentally. He doesn’t have it in him. And Joan wipes the floor with Peggy yet again, stating that getting stuck with Don wasn’t a grand plan by the partners. It was just simple buck-passing, without really considering Peggy at all.
Pete never stops working. After finding out through an old work contact that his soon-to-be ex-father-in-law had a heart attack, and after the briefest of pauses to consider he wasn’t informed of that heart attack, he instead focuses on getting the contact’s Burger Chef business. At least his girlfriend-slash-real estate agent finds his work obsession attractive.
Harry has a computer, and it’s going to make him “seem important,” according to Roger. And it’s incredibly symbolic that the computer is taking over the entire creative lounge, or the humans, as Don points out. But Harry has found validation in 1969, and it only took half a dozen years to get there.
Final thought: We only have three more episodes of “Mad Men” this year. Yes, three, due to the split final season. How much growth can we see from Don before that point?