Mad Men Recap: Work in Progress

MadMen_s7ep4_recap_325The student becomes the teacher in this week’s Mad Men and, as Don learns the hard way, the transition stings like a slug of Smirnoff straight from the bottle.

But Draper and Olson aren’t the only ones getting swept along by progress and change. Sterling Cooper & Partners make a game-changing addition, and Roger and Mona watch a marigold bloom right before their eyes. Read on for the highlights of this week’s episode, “The Monolith.”

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UM, THANKS? | A chance encounter at a Los Angeles restaurant brings Pete back into contact with George, who used to work at Vicks but now toils for the national fast-food chain Burger Chef. George mentions that Burger Chef might be looking for a new ad agency; soon after, Pete and Ted are on a conference call with Roger, Lou and Jim, discussing who at SC&P should handle the pitch.

Ted suggests Peggy for the job, but Roger wants Don to do it – and Jim agrees, a move that doesn’t make Lou feel great. So Lou calls Peggy into his office, gives her a $100/week raise and puts her in charge of the potential account. Yes! Finally, someone is recognizing and rewarding her talent and offering her a pathway to – oh wait, no. Now he’s telling her she has to include Don on her team, which is basically like giving her a raise of awkward with a bonus of uncomfortable. “You’re in charge now, sweetheart,” Lou says condescendingly.

DON WOULD PREFER NOT TO | Meanwhile, Don shows up for work to find the firm’s first floor Rapture-empty. Everyone’s upstairs, listening to Harry and Jim announce that SC&P is about to become high-tech by installing the computer Harry whined about so hard in the last episode. The creative team is bummed, because the new machine is going smack where their lounge used to be. Guys, I’m sure you can find somewhere else on the premises to throw X-Acto knives at each other and rag on Peggy.

High on her newly bestowed power, Peggy summons Don and junior copy guy Mathis to her office and assigns them 25 taglines each to get the Burger Chef ball rolling. Mathis is very grateful; Don’s Cocked Eyebrow of Disbelief – and the fact that he hurls his typewriter against the window later — says that he’s far less so.

So Draper doesn’t deliver the requested taglines, instead choosing to play solitaire, reading Portnoy’s Complaint, hang a Mets pennant in his office and chat up Lloyd, the guy in charge of the computer installation. Their dialogue about man, computers and playing God is odd and stilted – couldn’t Don have just held up a sign that said ALLEGORY and saved us all a lot of time?

But talking to Lloyd about his company gets Don’s engines revving, and he runs up to Bert’s office to suggest that the firm vie for Lloyd’s advertising business. Bert is unimpressed and unlikely to agree, and he makes that known.

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NO SYMPATHY FOR THE… | So Don does what Don does: He pinches a bottle of vodka from Roger and – in direct violation of the stipulations of his reinstatement – gets quietly soused in his office. Perhaps inspired by the pennant, he calls Freddie Rumsen and invites him to Shea Stadium for the afternoon. And Freddie, who’s no stranger to Draper’s drunken slur, shows up to get him out of there. As the freelancer is shepherding his pickled pal toward the door, Don breaks away and confronts Lloyd. “You go by many names. I know who you are,” Draper accuses the stymied IT guy. Really, Don? Lloyd is dressed like a Mormon missionary. You really think he’s the devil incarnate?

At home later, Don wakes up hungover and on the hook for a lecture from Freddie. “What the hell are you doing? Aren’t they giving you a second chance?” Rumsen demands. He’s unsympathetic when Don whines that he’s being treated like an underling. “Do the work, Don,” the sober man says.

Surprisingly, that’s what Don does. Next we see, he’s at work, typing away at his desk and assuring Peggy that she’ll have his 25 taglines by lunch. Corner turned?

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NOT SO GROOVY | Roger’s ex-wife Mona, his son-in-law Brooks and his grandson Ellery show up at the firm in a panic: Margaret has run off to a hippie cult/commune – depending on whom you ask – and they want to recover her. Roger takes his usual nonplussed view of the situation and tells Brooks to go get his wife. “It’ll be fine,” Rog assures a very worried Mona.

But when Brooks gets into a bar fight after Margaret refuses to return to the city with him, Roger and Mona head up to the farmhouse their daughter now calls home. Once there, they ask for Margaret but are instead directed toward “Marigold,” who has traded her pillbox hats and tight updos for dirty sweaters and long, messy locks. Oh, and peace and love, man. Stating that Ellery “can’t be happy if I’m not happy,” Margaretgold says she’s not leaving to become a depressed mommy who drinks in secret. The comment is a little too on the nose for Mona, who leaves in an Chanel No. 5-scented huff.

Roger stays overnight, though, and seems to gain a true appreciation of his only daughter’s desire to live a simple life with a group of pot-smoking pals… until he realizes they’re all shtupping each other.

The next morning, he orders Margaretgold to return home to Ellery… then, when she refuses, picks her up and tries to carry her off. The move ends with them both flailing in a mud puddle and spitting accusations at each other. She argues that Ellery will get over having an absent parent – after all, she did. Hippie burn! A muddy Roger walks away, while Margaretgold returns to her new friends, who probably come to a “true consensus” that her dad was harshing their buzz.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!