TV Recap: Mad Men, ‘Field Trip’

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The Low Down: After receiving word from her agent that Megan (Jessica Pare) is becoming desperate in auditions Don (Jon Hamm) makes a surprise visit out to LA where tensions become heated between he and his distant wife. Sent home and trying to figure out his next move to save his love life he turns to an old friend to help him in his employment issue. Elsewhere Betty (January Jones) volunteers to chaperone for a field trip to a farm with Bobby while Harry (Rich Sommer) and Cutler (Harry Hamlin) butt heads on the state of the media department of Sterling Cooper & Partners.

The Bed and Booze Count: One extra, special bedding thanks to Don’s surprise visit to see Megan. Booze count seems rather minimal this week and apparently will be very minimal for Don in the weeks to come.

Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/AMC
Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/AMC

Favorite Performance: Since only a certain amount of characters took center stage this week it’s tough to call any of this week’s players out as the standout stars. If anything Don’s calm head and persistence to make things right in his marriage said a lot and he did so without really raising his voice or even arguing against what Megan dished out at him.

The Supporting Scene Stealer: I did enjoy seeing Roger (John Slattery) step up to Don’s defense in the partner’s meeting. Initially, I wondered if Roger telling Don to come back was a momentary lapse in his thinking considering the scene he is now in. However, that was dashed the moment he put his foot down in the meeting. Bravo, Sterling. Help yourself to a threesome or something.

The Best Part of The Episode: There seemed to lack a lot of key moments of interest this week but for me the best part is the simplest scene in the episode: the ending. After having a lot of rules and regulations thrown at him about him returning to the company Don’s simple and quick response of “Sure” was so cool. It also from my standpoint reinforces his continuous strive to change and do right as a person after so many years of floundering in his personal agenda.

The Part We Could’ve Done Without: Every time a Betty storyline gets thrown into the mix I am never sure how I feel and this week was no different. Having not read any reviews I am not sure what the point of this storyline was other than her doubting her abilities to be a good mother. Also, I know he is a kid and I felt sorry for him later in the episode in all but Bobby is one annoying child. He reminded me too much of the “I love turtles” kid this week but really am I going to fault an energetic young child? Possibly.

Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/AMC
Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/AMC

The Little Thing We Loved: As usual this week saw another fine musical selection closing out the episode with Hendrix’s “If 6 Was 9” grooving right off Draper’s cool decision to return to the Sterling Cooper & Partners despite parameters.

Final Thoughts: Other than getting Don back into the swing of office life “Field Trip” kind of meanders with intention and doesn’t have much satisfaction from it as the previous week’s episode had. Yes, Don is far more prominent this time and he gets a big win by the end of the episode but it comes at a very “why didn’t I think of this before” realization. Perhaps there is more to that, I mean, Draper is a man with pride and maybe asking for his job back took a lot more than is being let on. Does his acceptance of his new job regulations come at him being content with the changes or is it because he has no other options? I hate to see the word desperation befall Don but is it possible that returning to the same place that put him on “leave” is a last resort? We are nearing the end of the Sixties and radical times mean a lot of changes not just on the streets but in the offices and homes. Ideals and morals must change and Don is clearly a changing man for good or for worse. Let’s hope this return to a house that he might as well have helped build is a good one for him and his personal life.

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