The writing about ‘Field Trip,” the third episode of the final season of Mad Men, is a fairly breezy read this week, as this was a plot furthering episode and so no crystal balls or tea leaves need to be consulted in order to understand what happened. Instead, we get some answers to some of the larger questions that have been looming: Is Don really experiencing a genuine humbling? Will Don go back to SC&P? Will Don and Megan stay together? Is Betty still a shitty mother?
For my money, I’m not quite convinced that all of the answers we’re given are carved in stone. Humblings, even genuine ones, can be sidetracked. SC&P, much like Don and Roger and Jim Cutter, is old and stodgy and treading cultural water (hence the juxtaposition of white guys ((and gals)) in suits in a quiet conference room making financial decisions against the messy, bright, copy writer bullpen that eerily resembles the open offices that will be “invented” in 40 years. And our hero, Mr. Draper, floating nervously in between both). Don and Megan? Well, they’ve already reopened the lines of communication by the end of the episode. And Betty—well, Betty will always be a shitty mother, actually, That you can take to the bank.
So what to read? There’s Alan Sepinwall for the clinical breakdown, Matt Zoller Seitz for the more thoughtful clinical breakdown, Molly Lambert for the razor-sharp artistic discussion, and, of course, Tom & Lorenzo for what all of the costume design means.