The episode opens on Don returning to work, and this time he’s actually welcome. There’s appropriately dramatic music as he ascends in the elevator. But everyone’s vanished because the computer has arrived to freak people out into feeling obsolete and defensive. Even Ellory’s running around with a toy gun. The agency’s entered the future, and Don’s behind. Don’s set up in Lane Pryce’s room, struggling to resist the partners’ death wish for him when he finds a Mets pennant flag. They won the 1969 World Series, and he hangs it up to inspire his underdog coup. But he’s off to a weak start.
The geek installing the huge computer explains it’s intimidating because it has “infinite quantities of information and that’s threatening because human existence is finite.” The computer’s power challenges Don’s view of things. This, coupled with Bert’s evil comment about his doomed return, is why Don downs Stoli from Roger’s office in a coke can, and ends up calling the computer guy the devil. He calls Freddy Rumsen, an AA convert, and says they should see Mets play. It’s obvious he’s crying out to be rescued.
Roger’s daughter bounced to join a religious cult, and it was poignant to show Roger’s heart. He’s the one that got Don back, and he tries to get his daughter back too. He tried to understand what his daughter, “Marigold” was up to at the commune, but Mona won’t have any of it, and leaves, so Roger stays and accepts his daughter’s tour invitation. Mona blames Roger’s nature – selfish, and impulsive, on Margaret’s erratic fleeing. Strangely, the father and daughter sleep in the exact same position and he humors her new calling until morning. Then he’s picking her up like the child that she is. Her iron-clad justification for abandoning her son, (Roger went to the office and had a secretary pick out her birthday gift,) doesn’t hold weight, but Roger leaves anyway. LSD-fueled orgies is one thing, but the cult’s electricity ban? That’s just crazy.
1.The partners put Don on Pete’s Hamburger Chef account, but Lou puts Peggy in charge just to screw with him. It works. Don’s worried about the computer replacing humans and his protégé replacing him, but now he actually has a shot at getting his old life back. He’s furious. It was surprising that Peggy could pull off the upper hand so well.
2. Don’s sharing a secretary now. She’s allowed to ask him how his weekend was, but he can’t ask her.
3. Carol, the only real den mother secretary of the office, delivers Roger’s ex-wife’s message about operation “free Marigold.” Roger shouldn’t have been so cavalier.
4. Don avoids Peggy’s meeting because he can’t be bossed around to play… Solitaire. Peggy issues a decree to the one on her team that actually does listen, and reschedules the meeting for later.
5. Mona’s worried and Roger’s angry on the way to the religious cult compound. He calms her down for the time being.
6. Bert’s getting less likable by the episode.
7. Roger laughs at the face of death at the commune.
8. Don avoids his demotion with a quick exit and favors Rumsen with a drunken song. He doesn’t have to go to Peggy’s meeting because ballgame.
9. Joan counsels Peggy about her opportunistic promotion, and Joan deals Peggy the straight dope, that they probably didn’t devise this and that they probably didn’t think about it at all.
10. Rumsen gives Don, who is hung over from a night of self-pity a dose of tough love. You want a red carpet invitation back to your old status? You better werk bitch. “On A Carousel” by The Hollies plays, calling back Don’s home run pitch about traveling back in time.