Our Mad Men recap looks at the events of season 7, episode 3, “Field Trip,” in which Don’s career took a surprising step forward.
The episode kicked off with Don in one of his favorite places – the movie theater. Time off continues to treat him well. He’s watching “Model Shop,” directed by Jacques Demy and depicts Hollywood’s iconic Sunset Boulevard.
That night he makes a call to Dawn at SC&P, who can’t come over for their regular catch up because she’s preparing to shoot a commercial for Mountain Dew. Although Don’s upset that she can’t make her usual visit, he need not be concerned for too long because he’s about to be back in the office.
Megan may be over, but the job is back
A talk with Megan’s manager Alan about some questionable career decisions she’s made lately leads Don to make a surprise visit to Los Angeles to cheer her up. On his flight, the attendant knows him by name thanks to the frequent cross country trips he’s been making.
Sex helps Megan calm down, but tempers flare up again after he warns her about what he heard from Alan. He admits that he and her manager spoke about her recent mistakes and the fact that she may be struggling, which makes Megan think Don didn’t come out to L.A. because he missed her.
Megan’s pissed at Don and asks what’s going on with his job since she can never call him there. Finally he comes clean to Megan too about his job situation – a decision he made last week with his daughter. “I’ve been good, I haven’t even been drinking that much,” he says of his new life without work.
“I don’t want you to worry about me anymore,” Megan tells him. And with that, their relationship comes to an end. For now.
Back in New York, Don has some motivation to right some wrongs. He takes a meeting with a competing ad agency owned by Dave Wooster. A girl shows up at the table claiming to know him and attempts to invite him up to her hotel room, but Don resists. Instead, he goes to where he knows Roger is staying. Sterling takes one look at the offer made to Don and shrugs it off, instead inviting his old friend back to SC&P. This scene was one of several strong moments for Roger (and actor John Slattery) this episode.
Now that his job is back (sort of), Don calls Megan and tells her he’ll be back to his usual self. She’s not convinced this is going to turn things back around, however. “Stop pushing me away with both hands,” Megan says with tears and a cigarette in hand. She doesn’t return an “I love you” delivered by Don, and the story of their relationship in this episode ends here.
The following Monday Don returns to the office nervously, and the first person he encounters is Lou, who we see later is afraid he’s going to lose his job now that Don has returned. With Roger late for a meeting, Don finds himself homeless in the office. He next runs into Michael who’s looking for some advice on a car campaign.
Dawn, Peggy… basically everyone at SC&P is shocked by Don’s return. “I can’t say that we miss you,” Peggy tells him. Ouch. The one exception (besides Roger) is Dawn, who’s happy to get him his usual lunch. At first the partners think they’re going to send him packing, but after an impassioned speech from Mr. Sterling, they decide to keep him around because it’ll be too costly to buy him out.
Don meets with the partners and gets his job back, but not without a series of new rules: He’s not allowed to be alone with clients, and he must stick to the script in meetings which will be approved by the other partners. In addition, there will be no drinking in the office unless it’s for business purposes. He’ll be placed in Lane’s old office, and he’ll report to Lou. Don agrees after a great moment where the camera slowly pulls in on his face.
At the beginning of the episode Betty is called old fashioned by a friend which motivates her to mix things up for a change. The first order of business is to go on a farm field trip with her son Bobby. The kid is obviously happy about this decision and at one point tells his teacher with a gleam in his eye that he’s having a conversation with his mother.
At the barn, Betty shows her wild side and drinks milk that was drawn from a cow’s utter right in front of her. Her attempts at being cool dissipate after Bobby accidentally trades her sandwich for candy. Back at home, Betty tells Henry how Bobby ruined the day and asks hubby why the kids don’t like her. He disagrees with this thought.
Harry Crane out?
Following a lie to a client about SC&P’s computing powers so that they look like they’re as up to date as a competing agency, the partners briefly discussed whether or not Harry Crane should remain at the company. Roger has no problem getting rid of him after Jim Cutler makes the proposal – but will it truly be that easy? By next episode we may see if Don fits in to a spot possibly vacated by Harry.
Your ‘Mad Men’ recap: What did you think of ‘Field Trip’?
Mad Men season 7, episode 4 airs Sunday, May 4 at 10 p.m eastern/pacific on AMC.