Mad Men Season 7 Review “The Monolith”

Mad Men Season 7 Episode 4 The Monolith

Whenever Don Draper takes a step forward, he takes two steps backward. On this week’s Mad Men, Don buckles under the yoke of the restrictions placed on his return to the agency. After getting excited for a possible new business pitch, he is harshly shot down by Cooper. But, Don takes the setback like a man – he goes out, buys a bottle of vodka and drinks himself into a stupor. When you think of a man persevering through adversity, you are clearly not going to think of Don.

While Don’s life is playing out like a broken record, Roger faces a more interesting dilemma. He and his wife track down their daughter, Margaret, to the hippy commune where she has taken refuge. The last couple episodes have made me appreciate Roger’s wife, Mona. I love her little digs at him. While she is all for tough love, Roger decides to take a more reasoned approach. It wasn’t clear why Roger wanted to stay the night at the commune. On the one hand, it seemed like he actually thought it would be the best strategy for dealing with the problem. On the other hand, we know that Roger has a certain irresponsibility and this type of lifestyle appeals to him. After all, Roger has spent a decent chunk of the last year in his own fantastical hippie commune. The only difference is that instead of going to the hippies, he had them come to him.

Roger patiently listens to all of the drivel about how wonderful it is to drink from a stream and live without electricity, but gets in a sarcastic comment every now and again. I like that in the end, Roger gets fed up with Margaret’s irresponsibility. She has some serious daddy issues, but that doesn’t excuse her behavior for her own child. I was waiting for Roger to say something like, “You hate me so much, but are trying really hard to be like me.” Instead, he just shuffles away in defeat. That was kind of a bummer.

Throughout the episode, the shrew-ing of Peggy Olson continued. She went from being insecure and irritating to now being a total nightmare. I’m starting to question why the show is taking her down such a dark path. It feels like an extreme switch. She continued to feel sorry for herself and lashed out bitterly at anyone in striking distance, including Joan. I’m constantly amazed at how Joan can gracefully deflect Peggy’s negativity. Joan certainly didn’t need to throw Peggy the bone that Don is under work restrictions. I am surprised at how much Joan dislikes Don now. They used to have an interesting relationship. Does anyone have any theories on the exact trigger that set Joan against him? It has to be more than Don’s drunken rambling.

One thing is for sure, Don needs to get down on his hands and knees and kiss Freddy’s loafers. At the end, Don appears to be bucking up to finish the tagline assignment from Peggy, and he only does this after Freddy shames him. Even as Don sat down at the typewriter, I had the feeling that Don’s newfound energy is not going to last.

Follow me on Twitter @LaVaudreuil