Mad Men: “Field Trip” Season 7 Episode 3 Review

Photo Credit:http://www.spoilertv.com/2014/04/mad-men-episode-703-field-trip.html

It may have taken seven seasons, but the minds behind Mad Men have written themselves into a corner. Field Trip was about writing themselves out of said corner.

Yes, after six full seasons of debauchery, especially since he’s been married to Megan, Don deserved to get a kick in the ass. But did we? Is it our fault as viewers, those who have loved Don despite his mistakes, that Don needed this reality check? Regardless, so far, Season 7 has suffered simply because our main character hasn’t been in the office. Finally, this is a problem they are prepared to remedy, even if next week’s episode is going to be the true “welcome return” we’ve wanted since the premiere.

As logical as it was, putting Don on “temporary leave” was a mistake. The first to realize it was appropriately Roger, who answers Don’s late-night knock and tells him he misses him in the office. So he tells him to come in on Monday. Without telling the other partners.

But the second Don Draper walks through those doors, you know he’s not leaving. So why devote most of an episode to determining his fate at Sterling Cooper & Partners? Why, after all these years, should we believe that Joan truly wants Don fired?

At the end of Season 6, it made sense that Don’s behavior had spooked the other partners. But this episode just did not feel genuine, aside from Roger, in deciding Don’s fate with the company. The show doesn’t work without Don in the office.

I loved every scene between Don and Roger in this episode. Everything else in this storyline was about as close to being a bad show that Mad Men has ever gotten.

That said, Field Trip was also the Season 7 introduction to Betty Draper. She accompanies Bobby on the titular field trip, allowing her to have such great moments as lighting a cigarette with the teacher talking and drinking the milk straight from the cow from a bucket. Then there’s her reaction to Bobby giving away her sandwich. She doesn’t yell or anything, she just passive aggressively sighs and puts her sunglasses on, continuing to smoke her cigarette. Oh Betty, how I missed your cold heart.

So where does that leave this episode? The events here could have probably happened in the already mediocre season premiere, speeding along the season. But it’s hard not to enjoy that Don is (finally) back in the office and Betty is back in our lives. Maybe now Mad Men Season 7 can finally take off. Grade: B-

By Matt Dougherty

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