Season 7 Episode 7
Air date 25 May 2014
Written by Carly Wray and Matthew Weiner
Directed by Matthew Weiner

The Strategy


On 16 July 1969, Bert watches the Apollo 11 liftoff in Florida on his television. "We have a liftoff!"

In California, Ted Chaough takes 2 Sunkist executives for a flight in his plane. As he talks about the astronauts and death, he turns off the engine of the plane in mid-air. Later, he receives a firm call from Jim Cutler and tells Cutler he wants to quit advertising, asking him to buy out his stake in Sterling Cooper & Partners. Cutler says that he'll talk it over with Ted the next time he's in California, but before hanging up, asks for control over his voting rights in the company, which the drunken Ted nonchalantly agrees to.

Don, Peggy, Harry, and Pete rehearse for Burger Chef in the conference room. Harry asks about how much he should negotiate for now that he's been invited to be a partner. Don tells him to just take the offer. The presentation appears to be coming together, and everyone is optimistic they will win the business. Meanwhile, Cutler tells Lou their prospective cigarette account has been folded in with Phillip Morris. Lou tells Cutler he wants Don out of the agency for embarrassing him by barging into the meeting. Cutler tells Lou he's just "a hired hand."

Burger Chef

Burger Chef Logo

Peggy returns home to see Nick, a handyman, installing a drop ceiling in her apartment. He gives her his phone number in case she needs any "odd jobs" done. Her 10 year old neighbor, Julio, shows up to watch TV and eat a Popsicle.

Betty welcomes an old college friend from out of town, who has brought her husband Rick and her two sons. Her younger son Neil is sad he lost his telescope, and her older son Sean, a football player, catches Sally's eye. The next morning he enters the kitchen without a shirt on, and Sally eyes him before leaving for her lifeguard job. Her mother mentions that she's never seen her wear lipstick to the pool before.

As he arrives at his office, Don's secretary Meredith brings him some bad news. A letter arrived from SC&P's lawyer claiming Don had breached his contract's addendum and will therefore be fired, which will also result in his shares in the agency being seized. She tries to be sympathetic, and kisses him but he rejects her advances. First, he goes to Jim's office and they exchange heated words. Jim tells Don to take a swing at him. "It would save us all a lot of trouble." Don then heads to Roger's office to accost him about the letter. Roger, Pete, and Bert Cooper are surprised. Don calls a vote to see who wants him out. Cutler (who votes proxy for Ted) and Joan, still upset at Don for costing her money when he refused the sell the company the year prior, vote to uphold the letter and fire Don. Don votes to keep himself, as do Bert, Pete, and Roger, although Bert makes it clear that he's only siding with Don because Jim acted improperly in trying to fire him without consulting the other partners (Harry doesn't have a vote because he has not yet accepted the offer). Don storms off. Later, Roger angrily speaks to Bert, who tells him that although Cutler has vision and is a leader, and Roger does not, Bert is still on the same team as Roger is. Roger quotes a song: "So let's have another cup of coffee, let's have another piece of pie." He leaves.

At home, Don calls Megan Calvet. He tells her that he is going to be fired. She offers sympathy but when he offers to move out to California to be with her she remains silent. He understands her message and tells her that he'll always take care of whatever she needs. She cries as she tells him goodbye.

While packing for Indianapolis, Peggy's 10 year old neighbor Julio comes and asks to watch TV. She asks him which outfit she should wear. He tells her that his mother and he are moving to Newark. She consoles the crying boy.

The next morning, July 19th, Harry, Peggy, Don and Pete fly to Indianapolis, Indiana. The captain wishes Apollo 11 a safe flight, and after performing the sign of the cross Peggy tells Harry that if Apollo 11 crashes they will have to postpone their Burger Chef pitch.

The next evening, 20 July 1969, the entire world watches the Apollo 11 lunar module touch down on the moon and Neil Armstrong take humanity's first steps on the surface of the moon. Bertram Cooper marvels at the accomplishment, and says, "Bravo". At the Francis residence, the football player complains that the Apollo mission cost 25,000,000,000 dollars but there are still problems to solve on Earth. Don calls to talk to his kids and Sally answers. She relays the pessimistic message to Don who tells her that he's disappointed she's being so cynical. Sally later goes outside and looks through the other visiting boy's telescope, pointed at Polaris. She kisses him before he is called inside by his mother. She then smokes a cigarette.

At home with his family, Roger Sterling receives a tragic phone call. He goes to the offices of Sterling Cooper & Partners and takes the name placard off Cooper's door. Joan arrives in tears, followed shortly by Cutler. They share condolences but Cutler cuts to business, he still wants Don fired.

Roger calls Don and tells him the bad news, saying that as soon as Harry accepts the partnership offer, Cutler will have the majority he needs to dismiss Don, and in the longer run, probably him and Pete as well. He apologizes to Don. Don visits Peggy's room and without telling her the news about Cooper, he tells her she is giving the Burger Chef presentation the next day, and that he will likely be fired from SC&P in the very near future. She refuses, as she is not prepared. He encourages her and she gains some confidence.

The next day in the Burger Chef office, Pete hands the presentation off to Don, who introduces Peggy. She pitches the campaign for Burger Chef, claiming that the constant presence of the TV, telephone, and modern life in the house makes it impossible to truly have a family meal. The executives are extremely pleased with Peggy's "It's Family Supper at Burger Chef" pitch.

Back in New York, Roger meets with Jim Hobart from McCann Erickson. He suggests they buy SC&P and make him president. Their new IBM computer, with the Chevrolet account winning Ted and Don would make SC&P a very lucrative and profitable subsidiary of McCann Erickson. The executive tells Roger he must get Ted and Don to sign 5 year contracts.

The next day at Sterling Cooper, Roger calls a partner's meeting. Harry, still not a partner, is pushed out by Roger. Roger pitches the acquisition proposal (McCann will buy 51% of SC&P) and Cutler shoots it down. Roger then explains how much money everybody stands to make, and the mood in the room shifts in his favor. Ted tells Roger that the offer is tempting, but he is retiring from advertising. Don delivers an emotional pitch to Ted: walking away from advertising may occasionally feel like a healthy move, but being outside of the world of copy and pitches is worse than whatever frustration he feels now. Ted agree and all partners but Cutler agree to be acquired. Cutler also raises his hand, stating "it's a lot of money!"


Song and dance

Don leaves Roger's office and Roger and the partners address the company about Cooper's passing and the company's new direction. Don walks downstairs to his office. He has a vision of Bertram Cooper smiling at him. In a musical number with five secretaries, Cooper then begins to sing "The Best Things in Life are Free" and dances toward him, eventually vanishing into an office. Don wells up and rests against a desk to steady himself.


  • Pete: The clients want to live too, Ted.
  • Peggy: We have no liquor!
Seasons of Mad Men
Season 1 • "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" • "Ladies Room" • "Marriage of Figaro" • "New Amsterdam" • "5G" • "Babylon" • "Red in the Face" • "The Hobo Code" • "Shoot" • "Long Weekend" • "Indian Summer" • "Nixon vs. Kennedy" • "The Wheel" •
Season 2 • "For Those Who Think Young" • "Flight 1" • "The Benefactor" • "Three Sundays" • "The New Girl" • "Maidenform" • "The Gold Violin" • "A Night to Remember" • "Six Month Leave" • "The Inheritance" • "The Jet Set" • "The Mountain King" • "Meditations in an Emergency" •
Season 3 • "Out of Town" • "Love Among the Ruins" • "My Old Kentucky Home" • "The Arrangements" • "The Fog" • "Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency" • "Seven Twenty Three" • "Souvenir" • "Wee Small Hours" • "The Color Blue" • "The Gypsy and the Hobo" • "The Grown-Ups" • "Shut the Door. Have a Seat" •
Season 4 • "Public Relations" • "Christmas Comes But Once a Year" • "The Good News" • "The Rejected" • "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" • "Waldorf Stories" • "The Suitcase" • "The Summer Man" • "The Beautiful Girls" • "Hands and Knees" • "Chinese Wall" • "Blowing Smoke" • "Tomorrowland" •
Season 5 • "A Little Kiss, Part 1" • "A Little Kiss, Part 2" • "Tea Leaves" • "Mystery Date" • "Signal 30" • "Far Away Places" • "At the Codfish Ball" • "Lady Lazarus" • "Dark Shadows" • "Christmas Waltz" • "The Other Woman" • "Commissions and Fees" • "The Phantom" •
Season 6 • "The Doorway, Part 1" • "The Doorway, Part 2" • "The Collaborators" • "To Have and To Hold" • "The Flood" • "For Immediate Release" • "Man With a Plan" • "The Crash" • "The Better Half" • "A Tale of Two Cities" • "Favors" • "The Quality of Mercy" • "In Care Of" •
Season 7 • "Time Zones" • "A Day's Work" • "Field Trip" • "The Monolith" • "The Runaways" • "The Strategy" • "Waterloo" • "Severance" • "New Business" • "The Forecast" • "Time & Life" • "Lost Horizon" • "The Milk and Honey Route" • "Person to Person" •
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