UK TV review: Mad Men Season 7 Episode 4
Chris Bryant | On 10, May 2014
In Episode 4, Don Draper returned to his job at SC&P. Restricted by the conditions of his employment, Don is given a new boss, a new office and a new level of sobriety. None of these are welcomed. The constraints, though, give Jon Hamm a little more room to perform; having perfected the role years ago, his concerned stare gives way to a comedic lack of interest and excitement – and being very, very drunk.
Those around Don are equally as affected. His replacement/colleague/sour-faced superior Lou Avery inhabits Draper’s old office, but little more of the creative juggernaut. His co-workers discuss their new Creative Director’s lack of creativity for the first time and even Lou realises what it’s going to take to keep his new position and starts dishing out the bribes. Some are less well received than others, especially Peggy’s. Elisabeth Moss’ icon feels she’s been given less of a raise and more of a time bomb. On top of that, she’s on the receiving end of one of the show’s Worst Attempts at Feminism Ever lines with the concise but tragic: “You’re in charge, sweetheart.”
The other partners are burdened by the arrival of Hamm’s tormented genius, but equally by the new office installation – a computer. It takes a team of seven people to install it and a few days of drilling and crashing, but they get there. Harry Crane’s dragging his company into the future again, and everyone hates him for it.
One partner with more than technology on his mind is Roger Sterling, who is attempting to rescue his daughter from a commune that offers freedom from judgement, free drugs and lots of sex. (Shockingly, Sterling doesn’t leave as quickly as his ex-wife Mona.) John Slattery’s careless executive, often the comedy centrepiece, is still every bit as important as Don Draper. Witty, charming and ever the rascal, he’s as unhappy, as angry and as aimless as Don; he just contains it better.
As both find themselves in a changing world, the show continues on towards what could be a very bitter end. Although The Monolith is as beautiful and sharp as we’ve come to expect, it could have done with Freddie’s rousing words for Don a little earlier on. We love seeing Draper out of control and at his worst, but we love it even more when he’s at his best – behind a typewriter, back where he belongs.
Mad Men: Season 1 to 7 is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.