Mad Men, season seven, episode six: The Strategy
Spoiler alert: This story contains multiple spoilers. If you are watching the current season do not read on.
Don & Peggy
Gearing up for the creative pitch to Burger Chef, Peggy’s big moment is totally ruined by Pete’s insistence on Don working the account. (Everyone is still very awkward about Don). Peggy gives a flawless pitch appealing to family values: everyone loves it. But just when they are about to proceed, she gets called into Avery’s office where Pete says, very reassuringly, he thinks Don giving the presentation would totally guarantee a successful pitch. All the men say the right things, that it is Peggy’s decision, but then tell her that Don has to give the presentation anyway (there Peggy goes feeling that glass ceiling again).
Peggy goes into Don’s office and tries to throw her (non-existent) weight around saying she has decided that Don was their best chance to win the account. Don sees straight through her, but still defers to her authority and does his best to not cause any trouble – but as she is about to leave he asks her about changing the strategy, she stonewalls the suggestion and Don knows it was the rest of the team’s idea to get him to do the presentation – and he gives a very dramatic fist pump in celebration. Back in the game baby!
Peggy, feeling very disempowered starts to fret that her idea isn’t good. Over the weekend she comes into the office, freaks out a little and gratuitously rings Don to tell him she didn’t like his idea. The next day Don comes to the office where Peggy is seriously pissed off, he wears her down and they start to rework the pitch together. After a few drinks Peggy confides she just turned 30 and kept it a secret and freaks out she hasn’t had children. Don tells her he worries that he doesn’t have anyone. They decide that their ad is pandering to a family that doesn’t exist anymore and Peggy wonders maybe about the new nuclear family in the new American culture. The radio comes on playing My Way, and being caught up in the mood of reassuring one another they slow dance a waltz in the empty office.
Pete, sporting a mahogany tan, makes the trip back to New York with Sex-kitten Bonnie. They share a very amorous flight, (even joining the mile high club), and breeze into SC&P looking very much the happy couple. She is eager for him to finalise his divorce from Trudy so they can get on with their Zen Californian bliss.
He goes upstate to visit his daughter, but she doesn’t recognise him. Later on, he comes back from their outing and can’t find Trudy. He cancels his date with Bonnie, babysits his daughter and gets drunk. By the time Trudy comes home Pete’s chilled out-vibe has totally evaporated and he accuses her of acting immorally and abandoning her responsibilities as a mother. She in turn tells Pete that he isn’t part of their family anymore. Pete comes back to his hotel and sees he has also managed to alienate Bonnie who says she hates the ‘New York him ‘and promptly flies back to L.A alone.
Pete, Don & Peggy
After having weathered their own tribulations, Don Pete and Peggy come together at the end of the episode at Burger Chef to discuss their strategy for the pitch. In a very moving grace note sit and enjoy each other’s company – after all the years together –sharing a meal and laughing at one another – like a family.
Joan & Bob Benson
Bob Benson came back from Detroit for his first appearance of the season. He came, bailed a GM executive out of jail in the middle of the night (who is also apparently gay), found out that he was going to be headhunted by Buick and then promptly asked Joan to marry him. Joan – having to good sense to decline – said she would still rather wait for love rather than make some kind of convenient ‘arrangement’.
Like last week there was a very strange vibe to all of the Megan and Don scenes – they seemed very happy, but all of their conversations had a weird tension to them, like something dramatic was about to happen. But whatever tensions there were, still remain unspoken. Not sure where all of this is heading. Maybe next week will give us some clarity.
Lots of office intrigue this week, and I kept losing count of how many clients kept coming and going or were up in the air, definitely gearing up for next week’s mid season finale, ominously titled Waterloo – yikes.
After last week’s madness it turns out Ginsberg has been committed and is taking visitors.
Very cool to see how the old guard are loyal to Don – last week it was Harry, this week Pete insisting Don work the burger chef account.
That dastardly Jim McCann is back to stir up trouble, this time showing up next to Roger in the steam room for some very homoerotic corporate intrigue.
Harry Crane is a partner!
Ken Cosgrove still has an eye patch! And gets quote of the week for indirectly alluding to it when talking about his baby son: “you’ve really got to keep an eye on him.’