What a Kubrickian episode! "The Monolith" lives up to its name; it's enigmatic, eerie and void of any enviable romance. 2001: A Space Odyssey would be one year old at this point in the Mad Men universe; let's celebrate by going to see the Mets!
Pete is at dinner with Miss Bonnie Whiteside who is wearing a short shawl with tassels. Vicks George stops by and mentions that Pete's ex-Father-in-Law has had a heart attack and then he says "who knew he had a heart?" which was probably a hit every time he said it at the office. Pete asks if George would like to join Miss Bonnie Whiteside and himself and Vicks George wiggles his eyebrows over at a pair o' jugs waiting for him over yonder. Miss Bonnie Whiteside says it's super sexy to watch Pete "work" and Pete gets so uncomfortable he pushes his face deep into his pile of tuna.
Don is in the elevator at SC&P and the doors open and there is a monolith waiting there because symbolism. His hair is combed and he looks fine as hell. He walks through the office like it's the almost-empty Overlook Hotel until he hears voices coming from the Gold room. Lloyd the bartender stands among the
ghosts alive people who are living. Lloyd looks like Marky Mark and is young and handsome. Hard hats are worn and a speech is made about wearing the proper footwear for when the computer arrives, LOL. I'm guessing this is a joke because the iPad Air is like literally one and half pounds?? Ginsberg tries to explain that famous FRIENDS blooper when David Schwimmer can't get through the word "Pivot!" and even goes as far as to say the word 'fart'. This is not the show I fell in love with.
Peggy is given a raise and that's pretty much all this scene is about, no matter how hard I try to make it about Full Metal Jacket or A Clockwork Orange. She assigns Don twenty-five taglines, but he don't wanna do 'um. He gets mad that Peggy is his boss now; doesn't anyone remember her curly bangs in Season One? Don finds a Mets banner in his office—the office in which a man in Don's exact size-eleven shoes recently hung himself—a congealing and impish Burt Cooper wants us to know. Don is taking the place of a dead man and he is not super aware if he's dead or alive himself. In a partners' meeting, Cutler calls Ted the "king of fish and chips" and Pete throws some shade at Peggy which hurts his arm a little because he's not the best at throwing but he's good at other stuff. Lou confronts Cutler about putting Don to task so quickly. "He's an exquisite copywriter if nothing else," says Cutler. "Plus, have you seen those pics where you can see his wang through his shorts? Unbelievable."
Mona (a perfect ten) and Brooks (a man) are in Roger's office to talk about Marigold. They tell him she's at a commune and that it's Roger's fault, which seems unfair until Marigold says it later and then we're like oh, wait yeah it's totally his fault. Brooks is threatened into retrieving his wife and ends up in jail because he gels his hair too much. Mona and Roger go to find Marigold themselves and Mona wears a fur coat. They drive until they see some topless ladies in a field and eventually they find Holly Hunter in a long long wig, speaking in only fortune cookie one-liners. They find their daughter and the mother and father try to coax her back home to raise her son and live under the painful restrictions Manhattan puts on its young females. She says she prefers it at the ranch and Mona reminds Marigold that the company she is keeping is lost, on drugs and full of venereal diseases. "Isn't that right?" she asks Roger, who is half a joint into his new life on the ranch.
Back at the office, Lloyd the bartender serves Don up some computer lingo. Don calls himself the Business Director and scowls when Lloyd suggests that Lou is the Business Director. "Don't forget Ted!" adds Harry Crane, trying to get people to notice his new haircut. Lloyd comes into Don's office for a light and they flirt like bonobos at the zoo in April. "Machines can be a metaphor for what's on people's minds," says Lloyd, unprompted by anything at all. Don walks out of this meeting while Lloyd yaps on and on and pitches that SC&P start thinking about repping computer companies. Melty claymation Burt hates the idea because it is Don's idea, and Don plays Solitaire until Monday when his homework is due. He tells Ms. Olson that he didn't do it, and then cuts work to sneak into Roger's office for a full Smirnoff Ice. He pours it into a Coke can in a way that would have made the Always Sunny gang proud.
Don wakes up drunk on his office couch and the Mets banner appears before him. "DEATH!" screams Don when he sees it. He wants to go see the Mets and Freddie Rumsen, the man who peed his pants, comes to do Don's PR for the day. Don is almost out the door when he realizes that he hasn't left SC&P in its most awkward state. He runs back and pulls up a stool to Lloyd's bar. "You go by many names," Don says to Lloyd with as much clarity as the CAPTCHA image on your bank's sign-in page. Don is drunk as a skunk who is drunk even though they all said he couldn't do that anymore. Hm.
At the ranch, Roger and his daughter sleep on their elbows and talk to the moon. It is sweet and commendable how non-judgmental Rog is of his daughter. He wakes up to the sound of Marigold getting a "U up?" text and he. has. had. enough!!!!! He wears a three piece suit in the morning and picks his daughter up and throws her into some mud. "I do sex stuff with weirdos," he shouts, possessively pointing both hands into his chest. "That's my thing!" He implores Marigold to think of her baby and all I want is for her to say, no, think of your baby! en re: Rog and Joan's baby, but instead she makes an even stronger point against Roger and, oh boy, has this dude fucked up when you think about it. He stares off for a second and then slowly lifts a BIG OL' FATTY to his mouth while grinning and making eye contact with the camera because this is who Roger has become as a character, but it's okay.
Don's at his apartment and it's like, 10 at night and the dude still thinks they're going to see the Mets. If the Mets pennant is a metaphor for Lane's death or whatever, is drunk Don asking to be killed off at this point? He's super hung up on going to see some baseball and asks Freddie to grab his binoculars and then passes out like a kid amidst a Tootsie Roll pile at midnight on Halloween. When Don wakes up; Freddie, the man who peed his pants, gives him the ol' Gondor speech and the next day Don goes to work writing his taglines for Ms. Olson like a good boy.
Misc.: DEATH! DEATH! DEATH! It's always looming around in Mad Men but oh boy was it looming close to the ground this time. Nothing beats the "riding along on a carousel" lyrics to accompany a driven and dedicated Don Draper at work, but something tells me the missing Smirnoff from Roger's bar will not go unmentioned and without consequence. I loved Joan and Peggy's toast to cowardice; if the show ends with these two in charge of it all I will not at all be surprised and in no way disappointed. I didn't miss Megan this episode and neither did Don, in part because the Peggy/Don dynamic has always been my favorite. Don's face as he's accepting his first assignment from his "new boss" is dangerous, maybe even threatening. But to whom?
Krista writes weekly recaps. Follow her at @potatoemporium.