How much symbolism is too much symbolism? Mad Men's fourth episode of the season decides to test this theory.
The big event at the heart of the "The Monolith" is Sterling Cooper & Partners' acquisition of a computer to appease Harry Crane. The computer is being installed in the creative lounge. Get it? Machine replacing man. The times they are a'changing. Ginsberg takes it especially hard, trying to save the lounge's couch: "“They are trying to erase us, but they can’t erase this couch!"
"I'm sorry you lost your lunch room," Harry says to Don. "It's not symbolic." Don snaps back: "No, it's quite literal." So literal that the computer came with a tech evangelist, Lloyd Hawley, dressed like a Mormon missionary, extolling the "god-like" virtues of the computer to Don. “This machine is intimidating because it contains infinite pieces of information and that’s threatening because human existence is finite," Lloyd tells Don. “But isn’t it god-like that we’ve mastered the infinite?”
Meanwhile, Don is back at the firm, occupying Lane Pryce's old office, quite literally taking the place of a dead man. He finds Lane's Mets pennant and puts it up on the wall. After Sterling Cooper (thanks to Pete Campbell) gets the opportunity to perhaps win the Burger Chef account, Lou puts Peggy in charge, giving her a raise, sure, but also forcing her to control Don. Don stews beautifully in Peggy's office as she orders taglines from him, then takes the chance to go off the deep end. He steals vodka from Roger and gets wasted in his office. He falls asleep on the couch—in the same position where he and others placed Lane's body after cutting it down, just in case we didn't get it—and stares up at that pennant. He calls up Freddie Rumsen with a desire to go to a Mets game. Mind you, this is 1969, the year of the Miracle Mets. (Will Don's recovery be the show's miracle?) Freddie swoops in and rescues him, but not before he takes the opportunity to confront Lloyd, now the actual devil. “You don’t need a campaign," Don says. "You’ve got the best campaign since the dawn of time.”