It’s Burger Chef night on Sunday’s (May 18) “Mad Men.” Pete and Roger maneuver to become Don’s biggest cheerleader over Peggy the wallflower, everyone is from L.A. is visiting New York, two colleagues reconnect, and someone gets a proposal on “The Strategy.”
“Living. In the ‘not knowing.” — Don, explaining to Peggy what The Job (and The Life) is.
Relegated to a team player only at first on the Burger Chef campaign, Don is invited in to Peggy’s meeting with Lou, perhaps undercutting both of their authorities as the haunted “I used to be you” and the “I’m better than both of you” ghost. But when Pete asks for Don to be the mouthpiece for the pitch, and everyone agrees, Peggy actually presents it to Don as her idea to use Don as the leader.
Don is pretty happy about it too.
Megan has flown in for the weekend, and Don gets romantic and wistful with her. Between the pitch going well and feeling sweet on his somewhat-estranged wife, he’s having a good couple of days. After Megan reminds him that she is, indeed, going back to L.A., and asks him to go somewhere new, he gets visibly shaken. But not for long. He finds a reconnection with …
“I just turned 30, Don.” — Peggy
“S***.” — Don
Ever wonder when America’s fascination with fast food started? It may be Peggy’s fault. She’s on a Burger Chef mission. She is trying to position fast food as an okay substitute for busy moms, giving them permission to use Burger Chef as a fall back. She’s handed compliment after compliment on her message by Pete, Lou, and even Ted, but not given the lead on the pitch. Pete wants Don to work his magic. And again, she’s unable to stand her ground. Was she unnerved by Ted’s speakerphone appearance? Perhaps.
Her only point of pride is lying to Don that it was her idea to use him as the team lead. But her brain won’t turn off, especially after Don tweaks her story idea from the mom’s perspective to the kids’ perspective. She dismisses at first it, but she’s convinced he may be right. Again.
As such, she spends Saturday spinning about his idea. Afterwards, while drinking and mad, she calls Don to complaint that he’s “tainted” the original pitch. Don tries to calm her down, but she’s convinced (1) her idea is awful, and (2) he’s going to swing in during the pitch and spin it his own way. She ends up blaming Don for her own indecision and inability to process that she is, actually, Don’s boss in this situation.
In the end, Don explains how he thinks, outlining his processes, personally connecting with Peggy in much the same way that he did with Sally a few episodes ago. Out of all of the women in his life, Peggy has stayed loyal (even when she didn’t like him much.) In a way, the scene of the two old friends and colleagues working through their personal lives and the pitch simultaneously feels very much like the famous Season 4’s “The Suitcase,” when they sat down to connect and collaborate. Neither are sure where, or how, they missed out.
To the strains of Sinatra’s “My Way,” Peggy comes up with the perfect Burger Chef pitch — a place with food and family, but no television or distractions — and in one of the most beautiful moments of this show ever, she and Don dance, she resting her head on his shoulder, he kissing the top of their head.
It turns out Pete isn’t actually divorced yet. And it bothers the liberated girlfriend Bonnie, who joined him on a cross country trip back to New York. He does spend Saturday visiting Tammy, who doesn’t remember him — at all — and missing Trudi, who is out and about, on a date, when he visits.
After getting drunk, and Trudi returns, he’s perhaps the ugliest we’ve seen him in a long time. He sneers that it’s immoral for a mother to be out dating, and that he knows she’s “just trying to make him jealous” with her “debutante” methods. He’s perfectly Pete about getting ticked off about Trudi’s social life while postponing theater plans with Bonnie, who waits for him in their company-expensed hotel room.
Bonnie, in turn, doesn’t like New York Pete, and has no problem saying so. She may be the first character (male or female) on this show to be in charge and in tune with her emotions and wants, and own the ability to communicate them. But she flies back to L.A. alone. Pete stays to make the Burger Chef pitch, presumably next week.
Bob is back from Detroit, and he’s brought with him some bigwigs, including Bill Hartley, a new VP who later gets arrested for trying to perform oral sex a cop. Bill, beaten to a bloody pulp, trusts Bob in this specific situation, but casually informs him (only after Bob has made his bail,) that he and GM are pulling their Chevy “XP” business from SC&P, but Buick will be making Bob a job offer. When Bill mentions that his wife is understanding of his situation, Bob obviously starts thinking. Leading us to …
“Because I want love.” — Joan
Unlike Tammy, Joan’s son Kevin recognizes Bob. How about them apples? And when Bob proposes to her, mostly out of fear for not being a “Certain Kind of Executive” for Buick, she actually focuses more on her career and the loss of Chevy instead of what Bob could provide (and not provide.) She turns him down, convinced that the prospect of love may still come knocking.
She ends up spilling the beans on Bob’s Buick job to Roger. That will come back to haunt her, and probably help Roger, who’s maneuvering around the Philip Morris situation with Jim and Lou.
The newest partner of SC&P? Computer guy Harry. He’s going to run the world eventually.
One more episode before the end of the season, fans. Will Burger Chef be the undoing of everyone? Or the savior?