Mad Men Recap: Don vs. Machine

Huge moves were made on Mad Men last night. The theme seemed to be the advancement of all things: technology, Peggy’s career, and Don’s inevitable march toward either recovery or the grave. Though he turned it around by the end of the episode, who knows how long it'll last. There were a ton of death references. Pete’s father-in-law’s heart attack, Lane, Roger’s grandson Ellery fake shooting the secretary, Lane’s office, the partners “driving Don to kill himself,” Lane's Mets banner that won’t go away even though Don threw it out.

It was extremely depressing to see Don constantly emasculated by so many people he once dominated. Roger abandons him to rescue his daughter from a casual commune so he gets secretly wasted and calls Freddy Rumsen, a man best remembered for peeing himself in the office. That’s who it takes to convince him to behave. The episode ends with him typing Peggy’s bullshit tag lines and the song ‘Carousel,’ a throwback to Don’s Kodak pitch for the Carousel in season 1, the last time he could sort of pretend he had his shit together.

The weirdest part was definitely when Don went on a rant to the computer guy Lloyd and he says “You go by many names. I know who you are,” which is rich coming from Dick Whitman. Speaking of people who aren’t who they claim to be, where is Bob Benson?

Now let me say, fuck Peggy. I read on a reliable source, Twitter, that her $100 a week raise would equivalent to about a 30 thousand dollar raise today. I guess if you’re an employer and you value things like working overtime and trying hard then you could say Peggy deserves that, but seriously fuck Peggy. Who does she think she is pulling a petty power move to make Don walk two feet to her office and pitch her 25 taglines? And you just know Matthew Wiener styles her to look like a crotchety librarian on her way to old maidhood, aka the absolute bottom of the getting-married-soon totem pole.

I hope Ted comes back soon just so we can see her do some more crazy shit. Peggy’s blatant unhappiness with everything despite her successful career is really not a strong case for feminism, and it was highly satisfying to see Don openly playing solitaire instead of attending her bullshit meeting. The irony is that if he had a computer in his office he could at least pretend to be doing work.

The computer was a big deal last night and while it’s amusing to watch an entire room renovated for the sake of one computer while I type this on something smaller than my lap, I see why it may be threatening to the characters to compete with an unknown machine that is physically bigger than all of them combined. However I don't see why it would drive one to drink or like, live on a commune.

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Yes, it's time to talk about the Sterling family trip to the commune. We had a feeling Margaret/Marigold was joining some kind of cult. I wouldn’t agree with Mona that this is so much a religious cult as maybe a polygamist colony, though who knows what kind of satanic sacrifices go on behind closed bales of hay. It’s really not as surprising as it seems though, Margaret was always a huge brat who followed whatever whims she had. There’s also something about the way she says “daddy” to Roger that borders on prostitute pillow talk. I thought Roger might actually even stay on the commune and incest didn’t NOT cross my mind. This is a man who had an orgy last week, and the one before, etc.

Roger definitely had his comeuppance in the end when him and Marigold both end up in the mud (like the dirty hippies they both are) and she calls him out for never being around when she was young and says this is the same thing. Even though that’s a totally fucking ridiculous analogy! At least Roger was making a living while he contracted his venereal diseases.

Quotes of the Night

Pete: I think the clients are going to love having a woman’s point of view, or whatever Peggy counts as.

Hippie: Electricity and all that, it just brings problems.
Roger: But you’ve got a truck.

Mona really killed it this episode. God, I hope she’s not a drug addict, although they usually stay in the city.

These people are lost, and on drugs, and they have venereal diseases. That’s not for you.

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