Mad Men’s “Monolith” is A One Note Sad Man Parade

mad men season 7

Mad Men’s fourth episode “Monolith” is about the terrible plight of its oppressed menfolk who must navigate societal obligations while maintaining their own dignity. With the installation of a new computer in the former creative lounge, plenty of egos are either getting stoked and stomped.

The winners of this episode include: Lou, Jim Cutler, Harry Crane, and Pete Campbell
The losers of this episode include: Don Draper, Roger Sterling
Mixed Bag: Peggy

But why rather focus on frail victories of a new computer and an opportunity of bagging a new client, when it can be better utilized as yet another cross to bear?

Everyone is being mean to Don Draper. He is put to work under Peggy. When he sees an opening to bring new business to SC&P, Bert Cooper brutally shoots him down. Even Freddy Rumsen gives him tough love. But with the help of a nasty hangover, he is able to pick himself up again and write 25 tags. He will work to regain his position; yes, he will.

In other news, Roger Sterling’s daughter Margaret has runaway to a hippie commune where everyone is happy and free. Roger and his ex-wife Mona (Talia Balsam) are forced to interact; great banter ensues. When Roger tries to rescue Margaret (now Marigold) and guilt her into returning to her family, her old anger resurfaces. With such terrible parents, Margaret (Elizabeth Rice) turned out great and therefore, the logic follows that her son Ellery will be similarly well-adjusted. Not.

While Lloyd the tech nerd (Robert Baker) waxes lyrical about science and technology, the episode overall is grim. Roger and his daughter have a conversation under the stars about astronauts and science fiction, and there is a sharp contrast between the fantasies of technology and its far drabber realities. Don briefly sees Lloyd as his ticket out of the dog house, but later realizes that he has to work. Roger and his daughter has an expansive, seemingly transcendental conversation only for it to crumble in wet mud.

So, SC&P now has a computer…but it’s no miracle cure.

Mad Men Season 7 Episode 4: Monolith
  • Character Self Pity
  • Plot
  • Dialogue
  • Subtlety

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