Warning: This Mad Men review contains spoilers for the episode, “The Monolith.” If you haven’t seen this week’s episode and don’t want it ruined, you should probably stop reading.
As AMC so rudely reminded us this week, we only have three more episodes of Mad Men Season 7 Part 1. In other words, we’re halfway through to the halfway point of the final season and less than a dozen episodes left until we come to find out what’s left of Don Draper. If this week was any indication, he may not make it very far.
Don fell off the wagon, again
Don (Jon Hamm) may have been allowed to return to the office, but no one seemed particularly keen on letting him return to work. After spending weeks holed up in his office playing solitaire, Roger finally got him on a campaign. However, Lou finagled the situation so Don was, in essence, working under Peggy. When Don tried to talk to Bert Cooper about the issue, Cooper gave it to him straight: Don shouldn’t have come back. He wasn’t wanted. Ouch. Cooper has always been a hard-hitter but this seemed especially rough, even for him.
Making matters worse for Don, his one and only ally in the office, Roger, was out attending to personal matters. So, Don did what any alcoholic would do: He broke one of the major rules of his new contract, swiped alcohol from Roger’s office and proceeded to get s***faced in his office. Then he drunk-dialed Freddy Rumsen so they could go to a Mets game.
What even? Showrunner Matthew Weiner clearly wanted to highlight Don’s dire state of affairs and he couldn’t have picked a better person to illustrate that point than Freddie. Remember back in the good ole days before Mad Men turned into a soap opera and was actually a show that focused more on the ad business? Freddie was a raging alcoholic. This week, that same man was the one who walked Don home and tucked him into the couch safely. In the morning, he proceeded to give Don the ultimate pep talk.
Will Don listen? We left him at his typewriter, typing up those 25 Burger Chef tag lines Peggy had asked for two days prior. But, how long can his newfound resolve last? (Especially when you consider he’s still lacking a cheerleader to push him forward.)
And where, exactly, is Mr. Sterling?
So far this season Roger’s life has seemed almost as equally in shambles as Don’s, just not at work. Every episode seems to feature a new girl blowing through his hotel room. For once, though, Roger had to step up and act like an adult in his personal life when his ex-wife, Mona, and his daughter’s husband showed up at the office with some disturbing news. It turns out his princess, Margaret, hadn’t been happy for some time. They tried a “marriage encounter” but when that didn’t work, Margaret ran off to live on a commune with a bunch of super grubby hippies.
When Roger (John Slattery) and Mona showed up to bring home Margaret — newly re-named Marigold — she was having no part of it and quickly hurt Mona enough to make her flee. Roger actually roughed it overnight in an effort to look like he was trying to understand his daughter’s decisions. When morning came, Mr. New York was ready to flee and he did his absolute best to pull Margaret/Marigold along with him. In the end, the poor guy ended up having his a** handed to him by Margaret and sent packing. She may be off her rocker, but she had a valid point. After giving her a guilt trip about abandoning her son, Margaret reminded him of all the times he’d left his family hanging. For work… or hotel rooms with strange women. How could he compete with that? He couldn’t. So he left her with the hippies, venereal diseases and hard labor. Think we’ll see her again before the end of the show?
Worst moment: Rizzo’s unfortunate necklace
Best moment: As much as you want to root for Don, it was really great to see him drunk, again, and singing the Mets song.
Will things get better before the end of the final season of Mad Men, or should we still expect Don Draper to be the man tumbling from the building in the show’s opening credits? Only time will tell.