Mad Men Recap
Season 7, Episode 3
This week’s episode, “Field Trip,” illuminated for viewers whether or not Don Draper would return to work for SC&P. What Don did at the end of Season 6, when he admitted his life story to Hershey and basically told them that they did not need an ad campaign, and caused the firm to look at him differently. His erratic behavior partially caused by drinking too much was so unsettling, yes even to the other folks who drank almost as much, that he must take a leave of absence from the agency. The length of this leave has been unknown since the beginning and in this episode Don has finally lost hope of ever coming back. Despite this knowledge, he wants to work and he feels absolutely ready to get back in the swing of things, whether other people agree or not.
I am going to open up a Hershey kiss in memory of last Season and digest what happened this week. Maybe I should make it a gum drop?
Megan’s agent calls Don and tells him to come to LA and pretty much get his woman in check because she is flying off the handle trying to get extra auditions. He shows up unexpectedly in LA, buys her some nice flowers, gives her some old fashioned lovin’ and proceeds to confess that he has been on leave from the agency for several months. Needless to say she is very upset and he argues that he has been “good” and that he hasn’t been drinking all that much. Uh…huh.
Don seals a deal with David Wooster, the guy he had lunch with last week, and is asked to come work for them. In an effort to make a decision, he goes and sees his old friend Roger Sterling. He says, “If you want to come back, come back.” Really? Just like that and Don takes it as an offer to come back to his old stomping grounds.
Then the moment us fans have been waiting for, the return of svelte and beautiful Betty Draper. Notice I didn’t use the word nice or kind to describe her. She decides to take her son Bobby up on his offer and go on his school field trip to a local farm with him.
On the school bus she meets his teacher who has her shirt slightly unbuttoned, revealing some of her cleavage, this leaves Betty perturbed as usual. Anyone fun, cute or “cool” and “hip,” just annoys the crap out of her. We are seeing more and more that Betty is old school, she doesn’t wear mini-skirts like Megan and she never lets her children assume that she is their friend. Continuously we see on this show the theme of old versus new, some stay behind rigid in their old ways, and some are progressive and forward thinkers. This could be said, I am sure about any generation out there in history.
Down at the farm, Betty decides for a split second to be a cool mom and volunteers to drink the freshly pumped cows milk straight out of the bucket.
They sit down on the grass to have a nice lunch and bond, but when Betty returns she asks Bobby for her sandwich and he tells her he traded it for gumdrops. This lights the fire under her and she tells him he better eat every gum drop, to which Bobby painfully eats. Now this scene is so pivotal and tells so much about this time period. Mothers didn’t baby their children and honestly, as much as I hate to admit it, reminds me of one of my own grandmothers. She was nice sometimes, but lots of the other times she could be callous and make you feel like a stupid kid. Betty embodies the spirit of Depression era children who grew up to be adults in the 60’s. They were no nonsense individuals and many viewed children through the idiom of children should be seen not heard. As much as she wants to bond and let her inner-child free, her own judgmental personality and rigidness does not allow her that freedom.
At home, Harry asks Bobby how the field trip went, he responds in the saddest way possible, that he wishes it was yesterday. In other words, the day went completely wrong and according to his mother he ruined it.
Back at SC&P, Don returns and apparently Roger never gave anyone the memo that he was coming back. No one is happy about his return, not Peggy, not Joan and especially not Lou Avery. The art department guys are the only ones who seem to be happy to see him. Perhaps they are the few that see the lack of vision that seems to be going through the office.
The head honcho team assemble to discuss what to do. The whole scenario is like a bad breakup. They know that they do not want him there, but they don’t want anyone else to have him. Since he has a no compete clause in his contract, that means they would have to buy him out in order to send him away. He is expensive and costly, instead they offer him his job back. The job offer stands that he can no longer drink in the office, all his ideas will have to go through the head honcho group first and he will report to Lou Avery.
At this point, Don is screaming internally, but he says okay and he takes the job. Don is back and we will see if he can shape shift SC&P back to its’ old standards of work, if he can’t do it this time then he will have crashed and burned for nothing.
What do you guys think? Do you agree with his decision to stay?