Mad Men Watch: Season 5, Episode 12 - Commissions and Fees
Things aren’t getting much cheerier around the halls of SCDP this week on Mad Men as a series of missteps finally catch up to Lane Pryce.
SCDP may be dropping the P as Lane Pryce has not only resigned from the firm, but taken his own life along with it. The scene is grisly and hard to watch as Lane decided to hang himself in his office over the weekend and it was an extremely sad end for the declining Englishman. Lane had “borrowed” eight thousand dollars from the firm, hoping to receive a bonus check to cover a few weeks later, to help pay off his taxes with his mother country. When Cooper gets his hands on the books and hands the check over to Don to deal with the problem things quickly come apart for Lane. And poor Lane. Things were just starting to look up for the guy as he got a position heading up the 4A’s Fiscal Control Committee, but Don dresses him down and has him out the door with little effort. Don feels sorry for him though, even says he would have helped him out, and Lane makes a pretty convincing case to why he was put in the position he was in. We know Lane wasn’t being malicious, but Don has every right to let him go and it is a sad scene to watch. Jared Harris is wonderful here and throughout the episode as things only get worse.
His wife buys him a congratulatory Jaguar with money they don’t have, but thankfully Jaguar’s spotty engines spare Lane from soiling the car with his initial suicide attempt. The man is determined and he sees the job through and it was a hard fall to watch. Lane/Harris will be missed, they brought a lot to the show, and Mad Men didn’t pull any punches in their send off.
Don on the other hand is full of energy and sick of everyone else passing him by. It’s great to see a fire under his ass, finally, and he gets some great scenes with Roger as they try and make an even bigger splash than Jaguar. The target is Ken’s father-in-law’s company, Dow Chemical. Don goes in spitting fire and makes one of the best sales pitches of his life. The tone isn’t friendly, but he knows what he want and that is to stop being irrelevant at the firm. Hamm and Slattery are great together, as always, but Don’s reaction to the news about Lane is Hamm’s best work of the episode. The scene where Don has to fire Lane was some great work by the actors, but the sorrow, despair, and earnestness to not let Lane hang is some of Hamm’s best stuff. It will be interesting to see where this takes him in the finale next week, as he seems to almost have an, “ah, fuck it,” attitude at the end of the episode as he lets Glen drive them upstate.
Our last story of the week revolves around creepy Glen coming to visit Sally in the city and Betty being able to one up Megan for a change. Sally gets left alone to her own devices on a Monday morning in the city and she takes advantage by calling Glen down to see her. The set up lets us see some classic Betty as she and Sally go after each other and the mother sends her daughter off to Don for the weekend. Megan isn’t all that happy to play babysitter, but she takes Sally out regardless for a good time. It’s when an unexpected arrival of Sally’s womanhood during her and Glen’s museum adventure send her back into the arms of her mother, giving Betty something to finally hang over Megan. January Jones is delightfully devilish in her final moment with Megan and wonderfully sweet as she comforts Sally. While only briefly in this season, January Jones has continued to be great as Betty and it’s a shame so many people write her off so easily. The episode also showed that Sally isn’t quite ready to be the grownup she thinks she is, let’s just hope this female rite of passage doesn’t speed up the process any further.
Another excellent episode of Mad Men this week, even if it is one of the saddest entries in the show’s history. Lane will be missed, but something is brewing in Don that we have been waiting for all season. Don is becoming self aware and let’s hope that Lane’s death - and the possible guilt Don holds against himself over it - doesn’t stifle this burst of ambition Abecause everyone in his life could benefit from it.
-I would figure Don's haircuts were more elaborate.
-Who is this guy?
-Lane getting out while still ahead?
-Joan can't let go.
-"Whatever it is."
-"Or should I leave and then you all do whatever you want?"
-Things are rough at the Francis house.
-"It's your child bride..."
-There's some classic Betty for you.
-Don is protecting Lane?
-Don is an excellent interrogator.
-They are dropping like flies over there at SCDP.
-"I've started over a lot..."
-Campbell getting his name on the door?
-Lane going to go out with a bang? Or a fall?
-Who is Roger sweet talking?
-"It's too easy."
-Don is getting self aware. Thinking big.
-"'No' used to make you hard."
-"Then fire him." Holy shit! Look out Ken.
-Megan doesn't want to play babysitter.
-No Pete, music to Roger's ears.
-Loving Roger and Don bouncing off one another.
-At least Don like's Leone.
-"You should see if you can get a drink."
-Don't do it.
-Jaguar's shifty engines save Lane's life?
-Not creepy Glen, Sally.
-Beautiful shot, silhouette on the exhibit.
-At least he's honest?
-God damn, Draper.
-"Buy you a drink if you wipe the blood off your mouth."
-Still need your Mom for some things.
-Hope Lane isn't dead behind that door.
-Betty loves hanging that over Megan.
-Glen going to creep on Megan?
-Betty isn't that bad of a Mom when she needs to be.
-Don doesn't need this guilt.
-I guess Glen is pretty nice.
-Sweet little moment there, letting creepy Glen drive.
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