Apr 2, 2015

Mad Cap: "The Monolith"

Welcome to Mad Cap: a daily rundown of every episode of the acclaimed AMC series Mad Men. During this time, I will be compiling my thoughts and highlights as we travel through every moment and season of the Emmy-award winning drama that has come to define modern TV. The goal is to be a refresher on every moment for Don Draper and his band of advertisement executives leading up to the final season. Stay for all of the shocking moments and the brilliant acting performances, and make sure to chime in with your thoughts and criticisms on why the show means something to you.

Season 7, Episode 4
"The Monolith"

"You're hung over. It's the best time to hear it. 
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. Do the work, Don."
- Fred Rumsen (Joel Murray)


The business has a radical shift when Harry Crane (Rich Sommer) has a new IBM computer installed in the office. Peggy Olsen (Elisabeth Moss) is having Don Draper (Jon Hamm) working on copy for a burger company. He is burned out and begins bothering the computer installers. Many writers are moved out of their office to make room for the computer. Roger Sterling (John Slattery) goes to a hippie commune to retrieve Margaret Hargrove (Elizabeth Rice), who abandoned her son. Things don't go well and Sterling leaves disappointed. After Don gets drunk and goes to a baseball game with Fred Rumsen (Joel Murray), he gets a pep talk to straighten up and fly right. If not, Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks) and Peggy will consider ratting him out and get him fired.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Elisabeth Moss
Peggy Olsen (Elisabeth Moss)

This episode is all about structure and what it means. While Sterling is discovering how lack of structure can be debilitating, Don is discovering why it matters at a company. He has no faith in his job and thus decides to shirk off whenever he wants. It all comes back to Peggy, who looms over the company like a monolith trying to get all of the jobs done. She is controlling and becomes frustrated in ways that are a nice reversal from season 1. While it looks like Don may be on the outs for his job, Peggy may be coming into her own as a force to be reckoned with. She keeps everything in check and to hear her complain is to notice just how much effort she has put in. Too bad Don doesn't quite respect her in that way.

Left to right: Elizabeth Rice and John Slattery
Best Scene

If there's anything that preaches the end of the conservative age on Mad Men, it isn't the computer but the relationship between Sterling and his daughter. Things are going all right until Sterling begins to wonder what his daughter is doing with her life. She has abandoned her child and is having free love with whoever she wants. It is tragic to see them say goodbye to each other, as they no longer agree on the best way to form a community or take care of responsibilities. It may be damning of the hippie movement by suggesting that laziness is their prime motive, but it still comes as a tragic moment that reflects the disconnect between the older generation and the youth in the 60's. Things are changing and people are breaking away from the monolith/corporate structure that society has given them. Sterling is too old to fall into that trap. His daughter unfortunately isn't.

UP NEXT: "The Runaways"

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