7 Takeaways From Mad Men: Field Trip

Don is forced to face the facts with both Megan and the SC&P partners—and he doesn't get off easy.

In this episode, Don pays Megan a surprise visit in L.A., but it doesn't go as well as he hoped. Meanwhile, Betty proves she's not much better at parenting boys than she was with a girl, and (most importantly) Don returns to the agency after last season's mistakes, and the possibility that no one wants or needs him back.

1. After Megan confronts Don about where he's been spending his days, he becomes uncharacteristically forthcoming— but it's only a reminder that Don's honesty is always reactionary rather than instinctual. The fact that he didn't expect Megan's reaction speaks to his archaic approach to communication in marriage. He's learning the hard way how out of touch he is.

2. Dawn putting him "on hold" when she's swamped with calls is just one of the many indignities Don suffers in this episode, but it might be the most telling.

3. The '70s are nigh, as judged by the ever-changing wardrobe choices at the SC&P office. From Harry's bold-frame glasses to Ginsberg's dingy brown polka-dotted shirt, remnants of the '50s have almost completely disappeared. (The exception, of course, is Don's trim suit, freshly shaven face and perfectly parted hair.)

4. Don and Betty's boys age at roughly half the speed of normal children—meanwhile, Sally ages twice as fast.

5. No one could have ever accused Betty of being being a forward-thinking kind of gal, but her old-fashioned approach to parenting in this episode is stark. Despite her son's earnest admiration of her, she's petty, self-serving, and even a little cruel, and seems to completely misunderstand her role as a mother. So, business as usual.

6. Don's return to the office—botched by Roger's failure to commune with the partners—was a marathon in indignity for him, but he struggled through it admirably despite a few tough encounters (namely Lou and Peggy). This episode was about putting Don in his place and showing him just how far his stock has fallen. The new restrictions on his office conduct (including curbing his drinking) are sure to pose problems, but until then, Don is officially back, and it just feels right.

7. "Computers don't think, people do." A statement that remains as true today as it was in in 1969.

Image via AMC

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