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The Strategy

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The Strategy
The Strategy
Production
Season 7 Episode 6
Air date 18 May 2014
Written by Semi Chellas
Directed by Phil Abraham

Previous
The Runaways
Next
Waterloo

Synopsis

Peggy Olson and the newest creative guy, John Mathis, are in the midwest doing research. They are buying the meals for Burger Chef customers, and in return, they are asking these customers to take a survey. They give a harried mother in a station wagon an extra 10 dollars to answer a few questions.

Burger Chef

Burger Chef Logo

Pete and Bonnie are on a flight to New York. Bonnie is discussing the cost of seven nights in a hotel, plus theatre tickets. Pete assures her that everything is free (on SC&P), and tells her he wants her to be "shopping all day and screwing all night." She offers to buy him a pair of loafers. Pete explains he will be spending some of Saturday in Cos Cob, visiting his daughter Tammy. He doesn't want Bonnie along, even though Bonnie bought the Barbie Pete is giving Tammy, because it might "confuse her." When Bonnie states that the fact that her parents are still not divorced is more likely to confuse Tammy, Pete says "I thought you were never going to get married again." Bonnie deflects the comment by rubbing Pete's crotch, and telling him to meet her in the rest room. "I've always wanted to do that," muses Pete.

Don is hurriedly cleaning up a table in his apartment, moving his typewriter, some files, and some papers.

Joan is leaving for work. She turns off the television, and tells her mother to take Kevin "outdoors today, please."

Don is in his office. Bonnie enters. She tells Don he is the only one she knows in New York, and says she hears he has a huge apartment. Pete arrives, and tells Don that Peggy is going to be leading them through the work she has done for Burger Chef, and invites Don along. Bonnie leaves, and Pete and Don proceed to the boardroom. There, Peggy and Stan are preparing the presentation. Pete announces, "I've asked Don to join us." Peggy recovers quickly, and states that Don's work has indeed been instrumental. She states that her research showed that mothers feel guilty about going to Burger Chef, so the pitch must focus on giving homemakers permission. Lou interpolates gleefully: "Who gives moms permission? Dads!" Peggy goes on to give a nuclear-family based pitch, in which a harried mother with two children in the back seat of her car arrives at Burger Chef. She gets out of the car, and a man meets her with a bag f food. She kisses him, and we discover it's her husband. Don says, "It's right on strategy; it's exactly what they want." Lou is delighted with the traditional family-based concept.

Roger is in a steam room at the New York Athletic Club with Jim Hobart from McCann. They engage in that faux-friendly hostile banter at which Roger excels. Among other things, Jim needles Roger about Burger Chef. "It's not Buick, but it's cute." Roger leaves.

Pete is in Lou's office. He wants Don to lead the pitch to Burger Chef. Peggy is called in to give her assent. "Don will give authority. You have emotion," says Pete. "I have authority," says Peggy. "Don gives emotion." Ted then chimes in on speakerphone from L.A. Peggy is thrown off balance but finally agrees to let Don take the lead, but she is clearly miffed. "If you think George Payton would prefer it," she demurs. Pete is delighted, and crows, "She's every bit as good as any woman in this business!"

The GM execs from Detroit arrive. They are there to talk about the new Chevrolet XP account. They chat with Bob and Ken and Joan. They get uncomfortable when Ken talks about his young son, crawling everywhere. "You've really got to keep an eye on him!" Bill of GM is especially flirtatious with Joan. As the GM execs walk off, Bob asks Joan if he can come over Sunday to visit with her and Kevin and even her mother. "I want to see everyone," he says.

Peggy enters Don's office, and tells him that he should give the presentation to Burger Chef. He asks whose idea this is, and Peggy, lying, says it is hers. Don mention he's been noodling around with rewriting the pitch from the kids' perspective: "Mom, can we go to Burger Chef?" Peggy tells him that the pitch is set, and leaves his office, only to spot Megan by Marcia's desk. When Peggy greets Megan and introduces her to Marcia, Marcia says, "I didn't know Don was married!" Megan's face falls. Peggy shows Megan her office, and Megan is impressed. "Sooner or later you're going to get Don's, aren't you?" Peggy says that Don's office is right next door. Stan stops in, and when Megan asks about Ginsberg, Stan realizes that he has visited Ginsberg, but Peggy has not. Don then arrives, appears surprised, and Megan says she'd like them to go to dinner downtown. They leave, and Stan says wistfully, "I miss her." Peggy's expression moves Stan to ask if she is mad at him. "Goodnight, Stan," says Peggy.

Roger and Jim talk about the Commander account. Roger calls Les Clark "The Brand Commander of Commander brand."

Bob is woken from sleep by a call. It's the police. Bill Hartley, one of the GM execs, has been arrested. Bob posts bail for a beaten and bloodied Bill. The police sergeant assumes Bob is Bil's lover, and makes a point of announcing that Bill "tried to fellate an undercover officer." "Goodnight, ladies," he mocks. In a cab with Bob, Bill observes "I knew you could keep this to yourself." He is sure Bob is also gay. "Ever been arrested?" he asks. Bob says no. When Bill says, "I'm going to miss having you around," Bob thinks that Bill is threatening to out him, and snaps "I am not of your stripe." Bill reassures Bob that there is no threat to him. SC&P is not getting the Chevrolet XP account, because GM is doing it in-house. However, GM really loves Bob, and "Buick is going to come to you with a great job offer." When Bob asks Bill what he is going to do, Bill says he is going to call in sick, and that "my wife understands, thank god." Bill finally asks Bob, "How do you live in this city? So much temptation!" "It's hard," says Bob.

Peggy wakes up in the middle of the night and gets a file. It's the Burger Chef presentation. She leafs through it, and then throws it on the floor.

Pete arrives at Trudy's, with the Barbie doll Bonnie purchased for him to give to Tammy. The maid, Verna, brings Tammy to see Pete. Trudy is at the hairdresser. Tammy hides behind Verna, and seems shy and fearful, despite Pete's hearty announcement, "It's Daddy!"

706 Megan's outfits (02)

Megan

Don wakes up. Megan is setting out breakfast. Don gets up and embraces Megan,"Tell me you didn't miss this," he says. "I missed you", counters Megan. "We're going to eat this delicious breakfast, and I'm going to take you shopping", says Don.

Peggy, in the office on Saturday, calls Stan. She is dissatisfied with the Burger Chef presentation, and asks if Stan is coming in. He obviously has plans. "We both know there's a better idea," says Peggy. "There's always a better idea," Stan replies. Peggy says goodbye and hangs up, and Stan goes out.

Pete is at Trudy's. Trudy is not home, and Verna explains that she went out. Pete tells Verna to give Tammy a bath, and then he will tuck her in. He calls Bonnie at the hotel, and tells her he is "waylaid in Cos Cob," and that she should go to the Broadway show "Oh! Calcutta!" alone, since he must look after Tammy. "I'll make it up to you," he says. "You most certainly will," replies Bonnie.

Don's phone rings. It's Peggy. She tells him that his idea about the kids' perspective is not good. She then asks why he is undermining her, and claims the presentation is now poisoned because he expressed his discontent with it.

Pete gets what appears to be another beer, and Trudy walks in. He accuses her of going out with Charlie Fidditch. She is incredulous. "You've seen your daughter for the year. Don't you have a plane to catch?" she asks. He accuses her of being manipulative and trying to get him back. "I know your debutante maneuvers," he claims. When she straightforwardly reminds him that they are getting divorced, he calls her immoral for going out on a date when she has a child. "You're not a part of this family any more," she snaps. He mashes his beer bottle into a cake on the counter and leaves.

Bob arrives at Joan's apartment with flowers for her mother, and a gift for Kevin. It's an erector set. He says he tried to get a gift for Joan on Saturday, but everything was closed. Joan's mother excuses him with "The Jews close everything on Saturday," She clearly loves her flowers.

Megan is in the closet. She explains to Don that she is looking for a fondue pot. When he says they will go out for dinner, she explains that she wants to take it back to L.A. "I miss my things," she says. Don realizes that she is packing most of her clothes. She appears surprised when he says he plans to visit her in L.A. in late July, and offers to bring some of her clothes with him. She announces that she'd rather meet him somewhere else, just the two of them, "where there's nothing going on; not L.A., not here."

Pete is in the hotel room. Bonnie arrives with shopping bags. She is miffed that he already ate by calling in room service. She is also displeased that her feet are dirty from walking around New York in sandals. "This is my vacation," she claims. "I'm inundated," he counters. "I don't like you in New York," says Bonnie. "Then you don't like me," says Pete. He tries to touch her, but she says, "You can't fuck your way out of this."

Don arrives in Peggy's office. She is still struggling with revising the Burger Chef presentation, and wants him to explain how he thinks. "You can't tell people what they want," says Don. "It has to be what you want." Don explains his process: "First, I abuse the people whose help I need. Then I take a nap." Peggy nods. "Then I start at the beginning again, and see if I end up in the same place."

Bob and Joan are drinking wine. Her mother is in bed. Bob explains that although he claimed earlier that he did not get Joan a gift, he really did. He opens a box with a ring in it, and offers it to her. He kisses her, but Joan pulls away. "You don't want this. You shouldn't be with a woman." Bob explains that he is going to be moving to Detroit for a job with Buick, and they expect him to be "a certain kind of executive." "We lost Chevy?" Joan exclaims. "Yes," Bob explains, "but the audition was a success. There's something else coming down the road." Joan still shows no interest in Bob's pitch, so Bob turns up the pressure and asks, "Is this what you want? A two bedroom apartment with your mother and your little boy? I'm offering you what no one else ever will." Joan keeps her temper and says, calmly, “I want love. I’d rather die hoping that happens than make some arrangement. You should too." "I'm just being realistic," replies Bob. "Goodnight," says Joan.

Don and Peggy go back and forth with variations on a nuclear-famiy-based pitch for Burger Chef. "Moms love Burger Chef because it's an answer to a crisis," says Peggy, still trying to refocus the presentation. But after she tries out a scenario in which a mother is coming home from work, and Don seems skeptical about a woman working, Peggy reminds Don that he is surrounded by mothers who work. When Don claims that idea is "too sad for an ad," Peggy asks in exasperation, "Does this family exist anymore?" Then she admits that she has just turned thirty, and kept it secret, and that now she has become a woman who lies about her age. Don tells Peggy that "I worry about a lot of things, but I don't worry about you." When Peggy asks what he does worry about, he says, "That I never did anything, and that I don't have anyone." When Peggy talks about doing research for Burger Chef and seeing all of those mothers with children, she asks "What did I do wrong?" "You're doing great," Don reassures her. Then Peggy says, "What if there was a place you could go, and there was no TV, and you could break bread, and whoever you were sitting with was family?" "That's it," says Don. After a pause, a song is heard playing in the background. "Do you hear this?" Don asks. "They play it all the time," Peggy replies. "You think that's a coincidence?" asks Don. "Come on," says Don. He takes her hand, and they dance to Frank Sinatra singing "My Way." Peggy rests her head on Don's shoulder, and he kisses the top of her head.

Bonnie is on a plane back to L.A. She is alone. A few seats back, so is Megan.

In a partner's meeting, Jim states that they've lost the Chevrolet XP account. He suggests that the firm should go on the offensive and place an ad in the New York Times announcing that they have the IBM 360, and Harry Crane is a new partner. Don and Bert and Pete agree with Jim, and vote in Harry. Joan is furious. Roger storms out. Jim counts their votes as abstentions. Joan joins Roger in his office, and he asks her how she knew about the loss of Chevrolet. She admits that Bob told her, and that Bob will be taking a job at Buick. Roger then realizes what Jim Hobart from McCann was hinting about. He was afraid that SC&P will steal the Buick account from them.

Peggy and Don and Pete meet at Burger Chef. Peggy wants to shoot the ad there. "It's not a home," objects Pete. "It's better," Peggy reassures him. "A clean, well-lighted place." Pete rolls his eyes and says "Thanks, Hemingway," but Peggy says, "Every table here is the family table." Don concurs, saying "She's doing it the ways she wants to do it. You want it right, or not?" As the camera field opens up to a wide shot of the Burger Chef restaurant lit up like a clean little house, filled with different kinds of families, Don gestures toward Pete, indicating he has something like ketchup on his cheek. Peggy laughs and proffers a napkin.

Trivia

  • While Roger speaks to Jim Hobart in the sauna, he says "When we grow up, we're going to kill you and marry your wife.". This is a reference to the Greek myth of Oedipus, who killed his father and married his own mother.

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