The Monolith was Mad Men at its most heavy-handed and it fell a little flat as a consequence. At the centre of the episode was the clash between people and the inevitable – Roger Sterling's daughter Margaret has run away from her maternal duties while at Sterling Cooper & Partners, the creative room is ripped out and replaced with an enormous early computer.
"These machines are a metaphor for whatever's on people's minds," says Lloyd, the man overseeing the computer's installation, not long after Harry assures Don the computer going where creative used to be creative isn't a metaphor. "It's quite literal," replies Don.
Most of the episode was quite literal, and was also peppered with a few references to moon landings and space travel ahead of Neil Armstrong's one small step later in 1969 and later in the season.
As well as people facing the inevitable, The Monolith was also about rebellion. At the end of last week's episode Don Draper had rather pathetically accepted a number of clauses seemingly set up to send him crashing out of SC & P. It proved how desperate he was to keep working, and to keep working there.
It also emasculated Don, with his fellow partners treating him like a small child. If that was the case last week then this week Don reacted like a teenager, giving Peggy Olsen the silent treatment and breaking the no-drinking rule imposed on him.
It starts with Lou Avery putting Peggy in charge of the newly-acquired Burger Chef Account on which Don is also a creative. Lou does this because he sees both as a threat, but Peggy as a lesser threat (no doubt due to his sexist mind-set), so he curries her favour with a pay rise before placing her in charge of the account, and Don. Immediately she requests that Don come see her in her office, reversing the roles they had played for many of the earlier seasons.
Don sees right through the charade and is furious, deciding to give Peggy the cold shoulder. He later speaks to Lloyd – the engineer overseeing the computer's installation – and thinks he may have a new client for the company. However Bert Cooper shoots down the idea, and this drives Don back to drink.
Drunk Don is not something we necessarily want to see as viewers hoping for the character to achieve his redemption, but Jon Hamm is always entertaining when playing drunk and here it added some much needed flavour to the episode.
Someone else who adds flavour to any scene he's in is Roger, and much like last week he shone in the episode's major sub-plot.
He and his ex-wife Mona embark on a little road trip to retrieve their daughter from a hippie commune. Margaret – or Marigold as she's now known – immediately clashes with her mother, who leaves, but Roger stays, understanding why his daughter would be attracted to the hippie lifestyle.
Roger has dabbled with drugs and free-love, but he also feels partly responsible for his daughter running from her husband and infant son. They bond over some weed and potato-peeling (classic father-daughter activities) but Roger changes his tone when he discovers his daughter has been indulging in the free-love side of hippie life. Infidelity is a step too far as far as Roger is concerned, and reminds him too much of his own misdemeanours.
The two finally clash, but it's a little disappointing as Margaret reveals little more about her daddy issues than we knew in last season's finale.
Things ended much better for Don. Okay so he was drunk and one wrong move could have seen him fired and sent him into a terrible spiral, but he was saved by former alcoholic Freddy Rumsen – who he called to his office in the hopes of seeing a New York Mets baseball game.
Freddy keeps Don's drunkenness under wraps and nurses him back through a hangover to deliver a message - "Do the work, Don," he says, pleading with Don to pull himself together. Don knew the tough journey ahead when he said "okay" last episode, but after a few missteps he now fully-realises what he needs to do.
Don's journey so far this season has been eventful – more eventful than Mad Men fans are used to – with plenty of good and bad signs. The Monolith was more on the bad side and showed us how easily Don might fall, but it ended on a high note with him getting to work with The Hollies' 'On a Carousel' playing us out.
The song is significant of course because it harks back to Mad Men's greatest scene and Don's creative peak. It reminds us just how good Don is, and represents another glimmer of hope.