The morning after Don’s woe-is-me rager, he’s hungover and griping to Freddy that nothing’s back to the way it was. Freddy replies with a strong cup of coffee and a heaping serving of reality: “How the hell do you think that’s going to happen when you’re at the bottom of the bottle?”
If freelancing doesn’t work, Freddy should become a life counselor. “Are you trying to kill yourself? Give them what they want?” Don isn’t killing himself; he’s killing his career. Which, in Don/Dick’s world, is the very essence of Don.
Freddy tells him to suit up and "do the work." That’s the only option he has left as damaged goods. Freddy’s inspirational speech has Don close to tears. And it looks like it sinks in. We see him back at the office, typing with purpose. He might be writing tags for Peggy, but at least he’s writing.
Since the show began, theories have swirled that Don will die or kill himself at the end of the series, likely by throwing himself out the window like in the opening credits. That’s too obvious and I couldn’t see series creator Matthew Weiner appeasing fans in that way.
A death is imminent, as if the countless suicide references didn’t make that obvious enough. But I don’t see a casket in Don’s future. More likely, he’ll shed the façade he’s grown to hate. “You go by many names,” he drunkenly snarls at Lloyd. He means himself. Maybe he’ll drop Don and go back to Dick.
I had a feeling Margaret, Roger’s spoiled yet spiritual daughter, drank the Kool-Aid. Proving that rebellion is not limited to reckless teenagers, the 20-something housewife ran off to upstate New York to join a hippie commune.
But she’s not the only one with a rebel streak. Don rebels against the partners by drinking at work. Roger rebels against his family by philandering and experimenting with drugs. And Margaret rebels against her family by more-or-less doing what her father has done his whole life. Only difference is that she dons a hand-spun sweater instead of a three-piece suit. And her zingers are far crueler.
“I love myself. I don’t have to lock myself in the bathroom with a bottle of gin every day,” she cloyingly says to her mom before twisting the knife. No, but she does practically hook up with a hippie next to her sleeping dad. Ew, ew, ew! What about that says self-love? Get it together, Marigold.
“I thought she was finally happy,” Mona says of her daughter. Funny, we all said the same thing about Roger when he got remarried to Jane, and again when he blissfully dropped acid, and again when he started a sex commune in his own apartment. Actually, that last part was just pathetic.
Margaret, like her father, isn’t truly happy. She uses the free-love hippie stuff as an excuse to feel philosophically and morally superior to her family. Yup, just like Roger on LSD.
This like-father-like-daughter trajectory that Margaret has taken makes me worry about Sally’s future. After all, Don has led a vaguely similar life to Roger’s (married with kids, divorced, married again, divorced again). His daughter might follow the same path as Roger’s.
Last season, Sally was caught drinking and assumed another identity by using a fake ID. Two very Don Draper-esque things to do. But will she spiral out of control like Don or revolt like Margaret?
The next episode is titled "The Runaways." Margaret fled home this episode. Sally’s great escape could be next.
MORE HIGHLIGHTS FROM "THE MONOLITH":
BEST ROGER ONE-LINERS: Lots of gems from the Silver Fox this episode, but these two were my favorite:
“It’s time to leave Shangri-La.”
“Now I see why we’re eating so early.” – Roger regarding the excessive weed toking at the hippie commune.
BEST MEREDITH ONE-LINER: “Don’t eat that — you’re so trim!” to Don as he chews on junk food. More Meredith, please! Roger’s lost some of his luster since becoming a messier version of Don.
BEST GINSY ONE-LINER: “The other one’s full of farts!” – Ginsberg about the couch shuffle. Nice to see Ginsy’s gone from psychotic last season back to default neurotic this season.
MOST DISAPPOINTING PROMOTION: Peggy’s Burger Chef project. Yes, I’m ecstatic that she’s overseeing Don and is raking in more cash, especially since she trash-talked Lou. (“[He] doesn’t know a thing about creative.” – burn!) But like Joan and Dawn’s recent promotions, it was a move purely based on politics, not her talents or performance. On the plus side, Lou feels threatened, very threatened, by Don. Good. I like seeing that talentless brute suffer.
MOST DURABLE MACHINE: Don’s typewriter. He hurled it against the window and it worked just fine later. Flash forward five decades and my computer spazzes if I have too many tabs open.
WHAT ABOUT BOB?: I really do miss Bob Benson. Snide remarks from Pete don’t count. I’d prefer my creep factor in the form of a plastic smile with two cups of coffee in hand over a Charles Manson-esque commune.
CALIFORNIA LOVE: No word from Megan this episode. Wonder how soon it will be before we see Don served with divorce papers?
MAN ON THE MOON: The moon landing was referenced twice in this episode: once by Lloyd the IT guy and again by Margaret. If they’re mentioning it this much and it hasn’t even happened yet, I’m betting it will be a big part of an upcoming plotline. Just three more episodes left of this half. You can bet we’ll see it this season.
BIGGEST UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: Don’s not the office’s only lush. How long until Roger finds out that liquor in his office is gone? More importantly, why didn’t Lloyd tell one of the other partners, or at least Harry, about Don’s alcohol-fueled freak-out? And why didn’t Peggy tell the partners that she saw Don drunk? Those three things should have gotten Don booted immediately. The clock — or watch or timepiece or conversation piece — is ticking for Don. His time at SC&P is fleeting.