Mad Men recap: No Country for Old Men

Don finally sees the writing on the wall, while Roger's sins come back to haunt him
Ep. 04 | Aired May 4, 2014

Peggy's rather pleased with herself -- especially that big raise -- and she's not above playing power politics. She resists the temptation to meet with Don in his office about Burger Chef. Instead, she calls him (and Mathis) to her turf to welcome them to her team and give them marching orders. 25 tags by Monday, fellas. Don takes the news as well as Lou and Cutler had hoped. Oblivious Mathis delivers the unintentional shiv, telling Don he'll "get used to it" after Peggy explains that Lou likes to work backwards. Don looks at Peggy with utter disdain and quickly retreats to his office, where he tries to throw his typewriter through the window. No one hears a thing, what with all the construction surrounding the computer installation.

Don Draper never seemed like the naive type -- but this episode seemed to indicate that he had few suspicions about his new arrangement with SC&P. Last week, he had to swallow his pride and agree to several stipulations that clearly were intended to offend him. When he accepted them with a simple "Okay," I just assumed he had already shifted into zero-sum strategy mode. But clearly, he's yet to grasp the magnitude of his isolation. Later, when he gets a nibble on new business from Lloyd, he brings it to Cooper immediately. Cooper had been an ally for much of Don's professional life, but at this point the old man has clearly had enough. Don is tainted. It was okay when only Cooper knew about Don's secret shame. It's another for Cooper when all of Madison Avenue knows his golden boy is an orphan bastard. Cooper rebukes Don for flirting with new clients, and when Don angrily asks why he's even here, Cooper bats him away: " Why are you here? "Because I founded this agency!" shouts Don. "Along with a dead man, whose office you now inhabit." Bert Cooper: master of the last word.

Don needs a drink. (Did you notice that both Roger and Peggy had both offered one already? I suppose that's just Peggy being cordial, but what was Roger thinking?) He raids some Smirnoff from Roger's supply and proceeds to unravel behind his office door.

Roger is elsewhere, attending to a family emergency. Remember during the season premiere, when his daughter Margaret had a hippy-dippy brunch with him that gave rise to suspicions that she'd joined a cult? Well, she's joined a cult. Or at least a commune of sorts in upstate New York. She's been gone for 10 days, abandoning her son Ellory and husband Brooks for some peace, love, and understanding. "She is a perverse child who only thinks of herself," says Mona, Roger's ex, who wants to go after her. Instead, Brooks heads north to bring her back -- but he fails in every way. Not only does he leave the commune empty-handed, but he also gets in a bar scrap with some rough locals that lands him in jail.

Roger and Mona are forced into action, to bring their daughter to her senses and back home. They're dressed like they're going to visit her at college, and the road trip even has a playful weekend-away vibe. But this is a fool's errand. Margaret is now Marigold, living with people who, as her mother says, "are lost and on drugs and have venereal diseases." Audiences have been waiting to see Sally Draper at Woodstock, but it's clearly Marigold who will be the voice of this generation. She no longer speaks the same language as her parents. She's tired of accepting society's definition of her! She was always a petulant child, and all the pain she feels her parents have inflicted upon her now gives her license to dismiss Mona's appeal to be an adult and a responsible mother: "I think of [Ellory] all the time, but he can't be happy if I'm not happy."

Mona heads back to take care of Ellory, but Roger hangs around the farm to see if he can get through to his daughter. After all, Hip Dad Roger isn't exactly a virgin to this lifestyle. They smoke some grass, and sleep in the dilapidated barn, staring up at the stars, talking about reading Jules Verne. She remembers Roger reading her From the Earth to the Moon, but he says that it must've been Mona who read her that story. It's a sweet moment, sealed with a paternal kiss on her forehead... and then Marigold leaves the barn in the middle of the night to have free love with some groovy dude.

The next morning, Roger's permissive attitude has changed. The blue suit is back on, and he forcibly tries to take his daughter home. "It's time to leave Shangri-la, baby," he says, an echo reference to Lost Horizon from the season premiere. The irony is that Margaret has simply come to the same crisis point in her life that Roger did -- just at an age 30 years earlier. The only difference between their two circumstances is a 4-year-old son. But hearing Margaret/Marigold whine about the slights she endured as a child, perhaps that's no difference at all.

NEXT: Fight or flight, Don?

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