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Field Trip

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Field Trip
Production
Season 7 Episode 3
Air date 27 April 2014
Written by Heather Jeng Bladt
Matthew Weiner
Directed by Christopher Manley

Previous
A Day's Work
Next
The Monolith

Synopsis

The episode opens with Don taking in a movie in the afternoon. It's "The Model Shop". In the next shot, he is at home, talking to Dawn in the office, and telling her to send him some office supplies. Dawn is overwhelmed with calls, and promises to send over the supplies, but when she gives him a message that Megan's agent called, she doesn't have time to patch him through, so Don hangs up and calls the agent himself. The agent tells him that Megan's confidence needs some building up. Evidently, she did not do well on a casting call, and pestered the casting director to let her try again. Don promises to talk to Megan, and decides to fly out to California to talk to her in person.

In the SC&P office, Lou asks Peggy, “Who put a knot in your pantyhose?” Peggy continues to be frustrated with Lou. Not only is he dismissive of her current work, but he failed to nominate any of her previous work for a Clio award.

When Don arrives in L.A., Megan greets her husband happily and asked if he was fired, to which he didn't tell the truth. They then have sex on her sofa. Don blurts out the reason for his visit: He is worried about how Megan is handling rejection in L.A. Megan is both embarrassed and angry, and wants to know what he and her agent have been talking about. Finally, she asks Don why he never takes her calls at the office, and why there is no ambient office noise when he does call her back. She is convinced he is having an affair, and asks "Who is she?" Don denies having an affair, and finally admits to her that he has been on leave from his job since she left for L.A. Megan angrily accuses Don: “So, with a clear head, you got up every morning and decided that you didn’t want to be with me?” She tells him to leave, and tells him it's over. Don leaves, crestfallen.

Betty is in a restaurant having lunch with her friend Francine, a travel agent. Betty asks her how the real estate business is going. The friend corrects her mistake, and says she is going into the office three days a week, and that now that her children are older, they don't need her as much. Cut to Betty at home in her kitchen, telling her son Bobby that she’s going to chaperone his school field trip.

Back at SC&P, Jim Cutler has requested Harry's presence in a meeting. The client says that Gray Advertising agency has computers to analyze data, but Harry steps in and says that SC&P also has a computer, and that their analysis is better because it includes local data. After the meeting, Jim speaks to Harry in his office, and calls him the most dishonest man he has ever worked with. SC&P does not have a computer.

Don is home setting up a meeting with representatives from Green who want to recruit him. They meet at a hotel restaurant, and during dinner, a blonde woman who identifies herself as Emily Arnett comes to the table and implies that she might know Don from elsewhere. She says she is tired and that she will be going up to her room, and tells Don where that room is. Don assumes the Green representatives have set this up.

Don knocks on a hotel door. It turns out to be where Roger Sterling is staying. Don shows Roger the offer he got from Green, and in a heated exchange, Roger says “You want to come back, come back. I miss ya.” At that, there is a knock on the door, and it is Roger’s girlfriend Sherry, bringing food. Don says that he was just leaving. “Come in Monday,” says Roger, and they shake hands.

Don is at home, calling Megan. He apologizes. “I shouldn’t have lied to you. I’m sorry." He explains that he wanted Megan to see him in a certain way. “I can’t believe after all this time that you don’t know me,” Megan replies, and then, “I’m your wife. Stop pushing me away with both hands.” Don offers to fly back out, but Megan demurs, saying, “Not now. It’s not a good idea.” He says "I love you," and she says "Goodnight" and hangs up the telephone.

Don walks into the office. It's clear that he is not expected, and awkward encounters ensue. Joan is polite, but then goes straight to Bert's office to ask why Don is there.

Betty is on the bus with Bobby on the way to a farm. The teacher thanks Betty. Betty makes an unkind remark about the teacher to Bobby. When they arrive at the farm, Betty and another mother/chaperone snark about the braless teacher's "udders."

Don talks to the creative team in the lobby until Lou stops by, accuses them all of shirking work, and calls them into his office for a meeting. Dawn drops by and asks Don if he would like a chicken salad sandwich on rye for lunch.

Back at the farm, Betty drinks fresh cow's milk, and her son sets up their picnic blanket as Betty excuses herself, presumably to use the bathroom in the farmhouse.

Roger finally shows up at the office after 1:00 pm. Don is stunned that Roger didn't set things up ahead of time, and instead went out for a liquid lunch. Meanwhile Lou buttonholes Jim and announces that he is on a two-year contract, and will not be replaced by Don. Jim reassures Lou that Don will be asked to leave. Lou warns Jim that he might have to call security.

When Betty returns to the picnic blanket, she discovers that Bobby has thoughtlessly traded her sandwich for a classmate's gumdrops. Betty is angry. "There were two sandwiches," she says pointedly. When he offers to trade back for the sandwich, she refuses and orders him to eat the candy.

Roger meets with the rest of the partners about Don. “He came to me in remorse and said he’s ready to come back,” says Roger. “Unfortunately, we fired him,” Jim replies. Roger corrects him, countering that it was a leave of absence. “The leave of absence was a very clear message,” says Joan. Jim suggests that they get it over with and officially fire him, but Roger points out that Don is a partner, and if they were to actually do so, they'd have to buy him out. This changes the mood of the discussion entirely, with both Joan and Bert realizing just how expensive this would be. Roger says that between that and the money they already spent buying back the shares of their two deceased pre-merger partners (Lane Pryce and Frank Gleason), the agency would be financially crippled until at least 1973. Jim angrily protests that Don's shareholding should be revoked, but Roger counters by saying that he's already checked Don's contract, and Don has committed no offense for which they could apply that sanction. They have to either let him return, or buy him out. In this meeting it is also revealed that Lou didn't submit “anything he didn’t tag his name on" for a Clio, and Jim pushes for more resources to be dedicated toward Harry and the media department

In Betty's kitchen, she refuses dinner, saying that she is not hungry, although she was earlier. She tells her husband Henry that she is taking Gene for a bath, and picks him up and leaves Henry asks Bobby, who is eating dinner, what happened on the field trip. He says cryptically, "I wish it was yesterday." Henry enters the bedroom, where Betty is sitting on the bed with Gene falling asleep on her shoulder. Henry asks what happened on the field trip, and Betty replies, “It was a perfect day, and he ruined it.”

Don is still sitting in the lobby at SC&P. Peggy drops by and asks “How was your day?” “It remains to be seen”, he says. “Well, I can’t say that we miss you”, she says, snippily.

The partners finally call Don to the conference room. “There are some stipulations,” says Bert, and Joan warns Don that if he violates them or commits any other act of severe misconduct then he will be fired, forfeit all his shares in the agency, and be barred from working with any competing agency for at least a year. The stipulations are revealed to be only being hired back as a senior copywriter (making him subordinate to Lou and, technically, Peggy), not being allowed to speak to clients alone or bring in new business, being forbidden to make any of his own suggestions during client meetings, not being allowed to drink on the job outside of official client hospitality, and working out of Lane's old office. Don pauses, and then says “OK.”

Trivia

  • Closing song: "If 6 Was 9," The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

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