Mad Men Recap: Rites of Passage [UPDATED]

Mad Men Season 5 RecapIf you have yet to watch this week’s Mad Men, you probably don’t want to keep reading. Everyone else, please proceed… 

Let’s get a slow clap going for Mad Men, because the AMC series is winding up its fifth season in rather epic fashion, and it’s still got one more episode to go! The drama followed up Peggy’s departure bombshell last week by offing one of its standbys and gently easing another into adulthood. Let’s review how the stellar “Commissions and Fees” set us up for next week’s season finale.

How Don got his groove back | Don got all fired up about wanting bigger clients, which prompted Roger to get him a meeting with Dow’s Ed Baxter, who’s also Ken’s father-in-law. (Incidentally, Ken’s payoff for staying out of the way/helping make it happen was that he gets “forced” onto the account if they get it, and that Pete has no part in the venture.) And 48 hours later, Draper and Sterling sat down with the same man who told Don no one would work with him after the Lucky Strike letter. Choice bit number one:

ROGER: You should go in there and keep your cool. But if he baits you, I want you to punch him in the balls.

DON: What happened to your enlightenment?

ROGER: I don’t know. It wore off.

And even after some of Baxter’s associates were impressed when Don spun Dow-produced Napalm as an all-American, git-’er-done tool (the guy seriously is an ad genius), Ken’s father-in-law maintained that he was happy with their current ad company… cueing up choice bit number two:

DON: Are you? You’re happy with 50 percent? You’re on top, and you don’t have enough. You’re happy because you’re successful. For now. But what is happiness? It’s a moment before you need more happiness. I won’t settle for 50 percent of anything. I want 100 percent. You’re happy with your agency? You’re not happy with anything. You don’t want most of it, you want all of it. And I won’t stop until you get all of it. Thank you for your time.

Ladies and gentlemen, though the slang term won’t be coined for several decades after the one in which this show is set, Don is a BALLER.

Lane leaves | As Lane accepted the honor of being the head of the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ fiscal committee, the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce partners met. Agenda items: Scarlett, filling in Joan’s former role, didn’t really know how to run a meeting; Pete had some new business on tap; and Jaguar wanted to pay via a fee structure instead of a commission, to Don’s dismay. “I already said no. Or should I leave so you all can do whatever you want?” he said, looking pointedly at Joan, who quickly averted her eyes. Ouch. The partners agreed to look into it, and apparently Bert got right on that task, because he was in Don’s office a few minutes later with the check that Lane forged. Instead of disavowing all knowledge, Draper accepted the dressing-down Bert gave him and then called Lane in for a come-to-Jesus talk. Jared Harris’s episode-long incredible performance began when Pryce jovially mentioned his 4As appointment, then quickly moved through flat-out lying — insinuating that Don did sign the check and simply forgot — to puffed-up indignation and then flat-out pleading. The “13-day loan” would be paid off by Easter, he promised, but Don asked for his resignation nonetheless. “I have never been compensated for my contributions to this company, including my role in its very existence!” yelled the Brit, realizing that he was going to lose his visa. Begging Don to reconsider didn’t work, either. Draper told him to take the weekend and come up with “an elegant exit,” advice that Lane took literally. Unaware of both Lane’s dismissal and their financial problems, Rebecca surprised her husband with a Jaguar she’d bought with a check. He tried to kill himself in the snazzy roadster via carbon monoxide poisoning, but the automotive line’s legendary unreliability meant that his first attempt failed. (Lane tinkering around under the hood, using his broken glasses as a monocle, was morbidly hilarious.) Sadly, Pryce’s second try went much better — or worse — and Joan, Pete, Ken, and Harry discovered him hanging from a noose in his office. Exit? Definitely. Elegant? Not so much. But kudos to the Mad Men makeup team for Lane’s ligature marks and broken blood vessels. After Don, Roger, and Pete cut Lane down and laid him on the couch, Roger discovered the SCDP purseholder’s note: a boilerplate resignation letter. I hate that Lane’s no longer among the living, but Harris’s work in this episode is worth every accolade tossed his way.

Sally’s not a girl, not yet a… wait, nevermind | Betty, wearing a chunky sweater that did her no favors, fought with Sally over the latter’s resistance to a family ski trip. They argued like little girls until Bets called Don in frustration and announced that he and Megan would watch Sally for the weekend because “it’s your child bride she wants to spend time with.” (Ha!) Megan took her stepdaughter for lunch with Julia, where Sally let on that she had a boyfriend. “A boyfriend is a person who makes you feel special, a person who knows you,” Megan said, big sister-style. “And holding hands is plenty.” Yeah, Sally, save the sexy French pop performance and borderline domestic violence for until after you’re married. On Monday morning, when Don went to work and Megan left for an audition, said boyfriend — Glen! — showed up to hang out with his frequent phone date. Their innocent awkwardness (his prep school tie and chocolate-milk mustache, her make-up and go-go boots, plus the fact that they went to the Museum of Natural History) was too cute. Things went pretty well until Sally got her period, right there in the North American mammals hall. At least it wasn’t in the Hall of Ocean Life; that huge whale hanging from the ceiling is traumatizing enough as it is. Sally stranded Glen and took a cab home, where her mother, Henry, and the boys had just come back from skiing. Betty stepping up and comforting her embarrassed kid provided a nice counterpoint to their bitchy bickering at the beginning of the episode. And when Don came home to find Glen killing time at the apartment until his train left for school, Draper volunteered to drive him back. “Why does everything turn out crappy?” the boy asked Don, who was surprised to hear such cynicism from someone so young. (Get used to it, Draper. The ’70s will soon be upon you.) Beat down by Lane’s suicide and the effort of his fervent Dow pitch, Don was a bit more mellow than usual. “If you could do anything,” he asked his former neighbor, “what would you do?” Cut to Glen driving Don’s car back to school, with the ad man in the passenger seat guiding the wheel when necessary. Despite the episode’s grim nature, Glen’s barely contained grin ended it on an up note.

Now it’s your turn. With Mad Men upping the stakes in the past few weeks, what do you think the series has planned for next week’s finale? Hit the comments and let’s hear it!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Brett Reasor says:

    As soon as Don told Lane to resign, the first thought in my head was he was going to take Pete’s shotgun and kill himself. At least I was half right.

  2. TV Gord says:

    I loved this episode. I hate to see Lane go, but it fits. Everything fits. I loved the kids. Sally being served the coffee. Glenn and Don. Loved it! I was a little young for this era, but things were like that in the 70s, too, Kids in my orbit were treated like little adults, too. I drank coffee as long as I can remember, and I know I had it in restaurants from ages much earlier than Sally’s “womanly” years. It all felt very true to me.

    I can’t believe next week is already the season finale, but I can’t wait!

  3. Danielle says:

    If this show doesn’t with the Emmy again this year or Best Drama, I’ll be very surprised. What a phenomenal season.

    • Britta Unfiltered says:

      I unfortunately think it’s a case of too little, too late. It’s great now, but I’m sure the Emmy voters are going to be thinking about those earlier Megan-heavy episodes, and I’m not even sure tonight’s episode can be nominated for anything as it is past the deadline to be considered, I think. That’s a real shame for Jared Harris who is one of my favorites on the show. Was one of my favorites. RIP, Lane. Homeland will probably break Mad Men’s streak this year, but Mad Men will get nominated for sure.

      • rowan77 says:

        Sorry but I think you’re wrong. The fact that this episode (and the one last week for that matter) aired this late in the season is a plus. People aren’t thinking of the earlier episodes. They’re thinking of what they just saw. Plus, with the hanging episodes rule, this episode’s elements can be put up for consideration. They saved the best of the season for the last few weeks. Smart man that Matt Weiner.

        • Philipp says:

          This week wasn’t one of the season’s best episodes, though. It was solid and it’s a nice set up for the season finale but this season has put forward far better, far stronger episodes. The suicide storyline fit in, but it’s not Emmy material in my opinion. Don leaving Megan at that diner is, the Peggy stuff is, but this one isn’t.

    • Ava says:

      Honestly, Breaking Bad should get the Emmy this year but MM will probably win. BB had a solid SEASON and MM had a solid few episodes.

  4. Gail says:

    We knew it was going to happen, but when Joan tried to open Lane’s office, and couldn’y, I actually felt my heart sink. Noooo Lane! That scene where Don and Roger hear the news and then break into Lane’s office was so well-acted and directed, it was almost stunning. I love ths show and hope Jon Hamm finally receives his long-overdue Emmy in Sept 2013.

  5. Marlene says:

    For a minute I thought Lane was going to leap from the window. Poor Lane and poor Don. I’m sure he had no idea how desperate Lane was when he insisted he resign. Don had to protect the firm though.

    • Lyn says:

      Yes, it was rough the way it harked back to his half-brother’s death, but Lane had had other options and made the unfortunately criminal choice of embezzlement. His body would’ve looked a lot worse, BTW, so no points for realism there. I’m sad because another excellent actor & character is gone!

  6. Marlene says:

    My stomache was in knots watching this episode

  7. Charlotte says:

    OMG what an episode. Loved every minute ot it except of course Lane’s death. It was a touching scene when Don said that they couldn’t leave Lane that way so they went into his office, cut him down and laid him gently on the sofa. I also liked the scene with Betty and Sally on the bed. A terrific show!!!

  8. Chloe says:

    I thought Lane was going to use the shotgun or go out the window. His “body” was so real that it was sickening. OMG.

    It’s a shame. I liked him; he was a good character and will be missed.

    A side note – AMC ran two ads, telling DirectTV subscribers that the AMC channel is about to be dropped from DTV. Oddly enough, DTV chose to run an add between them, touting the wonders of their service. Um, no thanks.

  9. Chester says:

    I still feel like I am going to throw up. I can’t believe that Don was so unresponsive to Lane’s pain and his circumstances, especially since he gave up so much to help start the firm. Since we learned last week that Don’s vote is only one vote, it seemed like a contrivance when Lane did not plead his case to anyone else.

    • Chester says:

      Just to add that Jared Harris deserves an Emmy for tonight. I just felt so bad for him.

    • Mark says:

      I think the reason Lane didn’t plead his case with anyone of the other partners is because of the shame he felt for embezzling money in the first place. He didn’t want anyone else to know.

    • MissPepper says:

      Yeah but Don is pissed at how immoral everyone is being. How Joan got her partnership, how the big companies won’t deal with him because he wrote The Letter. Those wrongs are fresher in his mind than any sins he’s committed. And really, Lane should’ve asked.

      • c says:

        Yes, the identity thief Dick Whitman who abused the mother of his children and drove his brother to suicide is just so morally superior to everyone else.

    • susela says:

      Don could have called the authorities and had Lane arrested! We can (I certainly do) feel all the sympathy for Lane in the world, but he embezzled from his own company—and they don’t even know yet about the extra 50K in credit he took out—and forged a partner’s signature. That’s a crime. You don’t get to say, “Well, I meant to only keep it for a while,” and everyone hugs you and it’s all all right again. Don was very compassionate in offering Lane a way to leave with dignity, rather than being hauled out in handcuffs. It is deeply unfortunate that Lane thought suicide was his only option, but that is not Don’s fault.

      • Chalene says:

        Don and Lane are –were — the only two to know of Lane’s crime. Don was in no position to “forgive” Lane, as the crime was committed against the company. It was thus committed against all the partners. Don, were he to have quietly “forgiven” Lane, would have become an accessory to Lane’s crime after the fact. Don had to act.

      • Bobbi says:


    • kate says:

      Don did the right thing firing Lane. He can’t let that kind of embezzling go on, even if he felt Lane’s actions were mitigated by circumstance, it’s just too bad for business. Plus, $8000 in 1966 is a lot more than $8000 in 2012. It’s a shame, because you know if Lane asked, Don would have found a way to work it out. But he didn’t embarrass Lane publicly or shame him publicly, he gave Lane the chance to leave on his own terms without anyone else knowing what he’d done. Hell, Don even told Lane he’d cover the money so Lane wouldn’t have to. Lane wouldn’t have pleaded his case to anyone else, as he was already ashamed enough of himself. It’s really too bad about Lane, I’ll miss him.

      • Chester says:

        I think you meant 8,000 then was like 80,000 now. That means that Lane’s 50,000 that he put into the company was like 500,000 now. What was going to happen to that share of the partnership if Lane resigned? Resigning as a partner doesn’t even make sense because he would still own that portion of the company. Lane ruined himself to join the company and would have been left destitute. Going back to England in the 60s was not like going back to California or Nebraska or somewhere. They did not have the opportunities there that we had in America and the time, and there are not opportunities to remake yourself. He had burned his bridges with the powers that be over there, and he would never have been able to work in the advertising profession or maybe even a professional business again. England is a small country with a unified, class-based elite, especially in the 1960s. Don was sentencing Lane to poverty and probably divorce. His son would have had to leave public (private) school as well and would have had his future ruined.

        SCDP is a small group of people who know each other, took tremendous risks to set up their partnership, and should be more understanding when mistakes are made. It is not like Lane did this to buy a Jaguar, even though his wife did buy one.

        The stereotype of ‘men of the time’ as unemotional goes too far. Lane had a tax problem which everyone would understand because the UK tax system was notorious at the time for its draconian ways.

        • Good points, Chester, Just a note though: Don had said he would cover the $8,000 that Lane took.

          • Chester says:

            Lane would still be bankrupt, however. He used the money to pay taxes, or was going to use the money to pay taxes, so he had nothing left. I think that he may not have been able to make the tax payments because he wife wrote a check to pay for the Jaguar. The exact situation was not clear.

        • Emily says:

          I bet Lane leaves his partnership shares to Joan.

        • susela says:

          @Chester, embezzlement and forgery are not “mistakes.” They are crimes. And when they are crimes committed by the very person who oversees your company’s finances, they cannot be glossed over or forgiven. RIP, Lane.

        • kate says:

          Uh, yeah. That’s why I said “$8000 in 1966 is a lot more than $8000 in 2012.” What part was unclear? The fact of the matter is that Lane embezzled from the company and forged Don’s signature to do so. These are crimes, no matter how sad Lane’s story is, and Don didn’t really have any choice but to fire him. Anyone in the company who found out would think it was okay to embezzle as long as you had a good reason, and if a client found out, it would be a PR/business disaster. Lane HAD to be fired. Don did it, and he let Lane off pretty easy. A nastier man could have pressed charges and had Lane arrested. Don KNOWS Lane only did it because he was desperate. That’s why Don said he’d cover the money and gave Lane the option of resigning, leaving quietly, and coming up with a story to tell other people. Don wasn’t going to expose him. It was the best Lane could have hoped for at that point.

          • Chester says:

            This is not murder. It is a mistake that Lane could have fixed if Don had more compassion for him. That’s the problem with America. We take problems that people can apologize for and fix, make them into giant crimes, throw people in jail, and ruin their lives. As a consequence, we have the highest incarceration rate in the developed world. So many lives are ruined.

          • kate says:

            so you live in a world where crimes aren’t crimes if the person is nice or has a “good reason” for committing them. you’re an idiot. Lane got off for two crimes with no consequence but the loss of his job. Considering Don could have had him arrested, this was a light penalty. It’s too bad he thought suicide was the only way out, but he killed himself. Don was more than considerate of him. again, you’re an idiot.

          • Chester says:

            Wow Kate, you are so kind and considerate and tolerant.

          • kate says:

            wow, Chester, you’re an idiot.

        • rubytu says:

          I totally agree with Chester in both posts. Also, people can have compassion for others, they don’t have to report ‘crimes’. Things can be made right if people are compassionate and willing to help. It’s not like Lane was evil, he was a good man with overwhelming problems. Don, otoh, is rather clueless in his moral stance. He sent Lane to his death, and if this doesn’t send Don back to heavy drinking it will be because Don has no soul.

          When a friend makes a mistake it isn’t a crime, it’s just a mistake. You forgive them, you help them. Especially when they cry and beg for your help and forgiveness. You have to be the world’s biggest a–hole to throw them to the wolves.

          • Laney says:

            So, if someone stole several thousand dollars from your checking account, you’d forgive them and help them just as long as they’re your friend? And even more so if they cried and begged forgiveness?

            Because if that’s truly the case, let’s be friends. Oh, and could you please post your bank account number and bank routing number? I promise I’ll be very sincerely sorry if I use that information to make any “mistakes”.

          • Chester says:

            Yes, Laney, that is a choice. My uncle, who is now dead, was the treasurer at a non-profit organization for veterans. One of the other members, who he had known since high school and served in WWII with, embezzled $50,000 from the organization. My uncle made him put the money back, apologize, and promise never to do it again. He did not, in part because he knew my uncle was watching. This man’s kids and nephews and nieces all think he is a wonderful man, and that he lived an honorable life, all because my uncle protected him. Now is is dead too, and I know that his family remembers him fondly and with good feelings about him and themselves. Friendship, real friendship, should always come first.

            Unlike the embezzler I mentioned above, who robbed the organization out of greed, Lane was in real trouble with the UK tax authorities and could have gone to jail. He made one unfortunate decision that snowballed. The kind and most highly moral and ethical thing to do is to help a person find a way out of their worst mistakes.

          • Chester says:

            Now he is dead, and he never embezzled again.

          • Laney says:

            While your uncle sounds like a very compassionate man, part of why that situation turned out as well as it did was that the money was still there to be returned. However, if your uncle couldn’t have covered for him, and the situation had been made public, and the embezzler committed suicide, it wouldn’t have been your uncle’s fault.

            We’re each entitled to our own moral compass, I suppose, but mine guides me toward individuals making their own decisions and taking responsibility for them. Mercy is wonderful when it can exists, but it doesn’t excuse the commission of a crime nor does it require the person showing mercy to ensure that no consequences exist for making a bad choice. You may find it more highly moral to help someone dodge responsibility for their worst mistakes, but I find it morally abhorrent to expect anyone to cover for someone else’s crimes.

    • GBN says:

      That Don did not have any room to reconsider, especially in view of that SCDP exists only because Lane “turned on” his Brit overseers, is analogous to the dilemma confronting Captain Vere in Melville’s “Billy Budd’. Billy was well liked by his shipmates on the Man Of War, and the officer, Claggart, he struck was by all measures a scoundrel, but British Naval Law deemed that offense to be punishable by execution. Vere had no alternative….and neither did Don (or for that matter, any other Partner that may have confronted Lane with his crime).

      How many others of ’em at SCDP are living on the financial edge? If Lane were “forgiven”, who would be next to give it a try.

      Finally, allow me to note that a basic internal control was active; namely a review of the bank statement by a person who is not involved in cash disbursement activity detected the defalcation. As a retired CPA, I’m afraid I know how many of my clients would simply never bother to look at their bank statements.

      • Chester says:

        Life is not a series of laws. Rather, life is about people and how you treat them.

        • Laney says:

          Uh huh. Try embezzling for yourself and then try explaining to the DA that life is about how you treat people and not about a series of laws.

          Giving Lane a choice was compassionate of Don, but it was already legally wrong. His legal duty as a partner would have been to expose the theft and report it at least to the other partners, if not the authorities, so what he did was incredibly compassionate and risky, given the situation. Not to mention it was perfectly in character for him.

          The partnership part is confusing, though. A partner doesn’t just “quit”, because they own a chunk of the company. Lane would have had to sell out his shares, or be a silent partner, or (in this case) leave the shares to someone else. Which should be good for his wife; if 5% of SCDP would keep Joan and Kevin afloat, think what Lane’s share plus an insurance policy that pays out in the event of suicide would do.

          • Chester says:

            If you live life according to a Law & Order episode or you inform on people to the police here in America, yes, those are the consequences. But we all have choices about how to handle situations like this, and not every country in the world is set up to punish every single mistake people make. There are other alternatives.

          • rubytu says:

            Legal duty? I have a famous quote for you, “Law was made for man, not man for the law”. Can you guess who said it?

          • Laney says:

            rubytu — I know perfectly well who said it. The same man who said to render unto Caesar what was Caesar’s, and who respected worldly authority well enough to submit to death under it when he didn’t have to. The man who promised complete forgiveness from his father, but never promised freedom from worldly consequences to our actions. Show me where he said that, and you might have a point.

            I would add that he was talking about laws like not helping a sick person on the sabbath — any verses where he said the law was irrelevant when someone was harming another person? Didn’t think so.

            We live in a world with legal consequences when crimes are committed. Would you prefer we abolish the entire system and no one ever pay their debts to society? Are you comfortable with people harming each other, just so long as they’re “sorry” after?

            In the context of Mad Men, I still say Lane got off easy. He wasn’t going to jail for what he did, his debt was being covered, and his only loss was to be that of his job. (And all that with him really only being sorry he got caught.) Again, I ask you, how much more compassion do you want?

        • rubytu says:

          I agree with Chester.

          • Laney says:

            And you’re both wrong. Stealing thousands of dollars from a company who put you in charge of their finances is not a “mistake”. It’s a felony.

            I can promise you that if someone steals thousands of dollars from me, I’m going to report it to the police — and if you call that “living your life according to a Law & Order episode”, so be it. I have no qualms about “informing on people” WHO HAVE ACTUALLY COMMITTED CRIMES.

            I still say Don was beyond generous. He ignored his legal duty to the other partners (also his friends, excepting maybe that weasel Pete), covered Lane’s debt, and gave him the opportunity to quit gracefully. Don did so knowing firsthand that Lane could move on and start over and pretend it had never happened. (How was it he put it to Peggy? “It’ll shock you how much it never happened.”) All Don did was make sure that someone who had proved he couldn’t handle temptation wouldn’t have the opportunity to do it again.

            Lane could have chosen to create a family emergency back in England, or a disagreement with the other partners, or any number of other cover stories — and Don would have covered for him. As newly elected chair of the national accounting organization, he had plenty of business contacts. But he chose to spit in the face of Don’s extraordinary compassion. That’s on him.

  10. Charlotte says:

    One more thought….was Lane’s new car a Jaguar? If so, I thought it a bit appropriate that it wouldn’t start.

    • lauren says:

      Yes. His wife had a whole speech about telling the man at the dealership that her husband’s ad agency won the account etc etc etc. It was a rather big scene, actually.

    • joan is everything says:

      it was a jaguar…hence his wife’s reference to telling the salesman that her husband worked for the ad agency and he gave her a good price…also the terrible irony of the major gripe with jaguars being that they are unreliable

    • Aaron says:

      Yes: remember his wife saying, “When I told them you were a partner in the firm that handled their advertising, he gave me a very fair price…”

    • cuius says:

      It was the 70’s – last week’s news:

      “Jaguar has been ranked number one in the JD Power customer satisfaction survey”

      I’m sure Jaguar’s PR firms are working overtime today

  11. It was brilliant! Don has grown so much, Sally’s experience was a flashback for me, Lane HAD to expire by his own hand, Roger was back to his sardonic wit and everything about this show was terrific (Betty’s shock at Sally’s hug was wrenching, Don’s agony over Lane, Joan’s despair after making Lane leave her office, Don’s speech when pitching). This is the best written/acted/directed show on TV. I hate that it’s going on break – please not for another two years!

  12. Elliot James says:

    Chloe wrote: “AMC ran two ads, telling DirectTV subscribers that the AMC channel is about to be dropped from DTV.”

    Dish is dropping AMC. The commercial was for Direct. Even better.

  13. Charlotte says:

    And another thing…loved the ending. I’m sure that Don was reflecting on the fact that once life was so simple that one’s (or in this case Glenn’s) greatest wish was to drive a car. Or anyway that’s the way I saw it.

  14. jj says:

    Disappointing. I liked the actor whom played Lane. His character however was more tormented than I realized. I guess advising Joan on making partner did not help him…sigh.

  15. kate says:

    this was by far one of Mad Men’s best episodes this year, and I thought topping last week’s would be difficult. I have to keep reminding myself that Lane Pryce is not a real person. my favorite line of the episode was from Don. “I already said no. Or should I just leave so you all can do whatever you want?” Don Draper, I love you.

  16. what was the song that played at the end of the show?

  17. dukeroberts says:

    I had this sinking feeling in my chest the entire episode, just knowing that Lane was going to die. For a minute I thought he might crash the Jaguar with him and his wife in it because he was so drunk. No, that would have been too easy for Don to handle. Accidents happen. The gutwrenching feeling as soon as Joan tried to open the door knotted up my throat. Poor Lane. I felt so sorry for Don as soon as he heard, and when they stood there looking at Lane hanging on the door. God, I love this show.

  18. Marcy Dockery says:

    Glad to have a water cooler moment tonight after watching this amazing episode. The characters’ reactions to their own circumstances were so spot-on, including Megan’s and Don’s. Good that Glenn isn’t so creepy anymore and Sally’s need for her mother was monenntarily quenched. Jon Hamm is doing a phenomenal job with Don this season. What else can possibly happen next week?

  19. smartgirl06 says:

    Even though a story can “seem” together for the sake of character development and vice versa, I HATE THAT LANE IS GONE. I am not someone who will say they are not real people because that is why we watch it–that they are REAL in the moments we are captivated by their presence and storyline and acting–they are REAL. And I AM REALLY GOING TO MISS LANE. Even though Don feels the need to let him go because of what he did, there should have been some deeper understanding of what he came to the table bearing–that he was broke and needed it so bad. If you get both sides, there is still the HUMAN side to a man knowing he made a mistake, that he’s so VERY sorry for it, and was in apology for it in the most real way a human can be.

    There needed to be some reprieve for Lane, and now he is in a place they can never bring him back from–which is another reason to watch t.v. sometimes, because they can “fix” a situation later by bringing someone back. Not this time. And I am so sorry about it. Lane was such a HUMAN more than the others.

    I don’t agree with what he did. I just would have had more forgiveness. And, I felt, he would NEVER have done anything like it again. I may be wrong, but my thoughts and feelings are my own.

    He brought such a different dynamic that no one else has, and will be sorely missed by many.

  20. connie says:

    I want to know what the song is at the end of the show. The credits didn’t list it. It was famiilar, I think a “one hit wonder”, but I would like to know.

  21. TV Gord says:

    Poor Jared Harris hasn’t ended this TV season well, has he. First, he finds out he’s William Bell’s “bishop” on Fringe, and now this!

    I hope he lands someplace next season that is deserving of his talents.

    By the way, you know it’s a meaty episode when you don’t even miss Peggy! I went into this episode wondering foremost where her story would go this week. It just occurs to me now that she wasn’t in it at all!

    What an outstanding series.

  22. matt says:

    Can’t believe that nobody mentioned that Don’s half brother Adam Whitman hanged himself in season 1. Remember, Don rebuffed him just like he refused Lane’s plea for mercy. That’s what affected Don so much. It reminds me of Don’s line from The Wheel: ” the pain from an old wound.” Lane’s death brought back brutal memories of Adam.

    • RIP says:

      And Roger’s reaction to seeing Lane dead was spot on with his fear of death.

    • susela says:

      @Matt, I think the two situations show how much Don has grown. Yes, he rebuffed his brother cruelly, paying Adam to go away, in a panicked reaction to be discovered in his stolen identity. But his interaction with Lane was deeply generous: he offered to let him resign, decided not to tell the authorities or the partners about Lanes’s embezzlement and forgery, and offered to repay the money himself and allow Lane to keep the stolen $7500. Don, the master of re-invention, did everything he could to allow Lane to leave with the clean slate necessary to start over himself. There’s a world of difference in how Don handled the two situations.

  23. Britta Unfiltered says:

    I would like to start off by saying that someone needs to bake Sally a period cake! Lol. That whole storyline felt a bit light in an episode that was so heavy otherwise. I’m not sure how I felt about them mixing that in there. And by the way, I got that she was getting her period the second she excused herself to the restroom, they really didn’t need to go as far as showing a shot of a little girl’s underwear. I was a little disturbed by that. It was too much. Weiner is usually more subtle than that.
    Now for the Lane stuff. I am horribly depressed by this story development. Lane and Peggy were two of my favorite characters, and I can’t believe Mad Men got rid of them like that. I know Weiner has been wanting to do a suicide story since the first season, so I guess I can’t be surprised by this, and it’s not like Lane’s story was going anywhere this season. They had him on the back burner. I just….ugh. The second he had the fight with Joan and went into his office, my heart sank. The tone had become so somber you had to know it was coming. And I spent the whole episode dreading the actual moment until it happened, and then I wanted to throw up when Joan tried to open the door. I didn’t think they would show the body, I thought they would spare us that. I kind of wish they had, though it was nice to see Roger and Don, two veterans of war, being so deeply affected by the sight of a deceased friend. I also found Pete’s reaction to his discovery of the body oddly appropriate. For him, ya know.
    Peggy’s absence felt glaring tonight to me. I think she’s really off the show as a regular character. They didn’t have her doing much this season anyway, but I still hate the thought of a Peggy-less Mad Men.
    The beginning of the episode had some nice tension between Don and Megan. She really hates that he’s forcing her into a mom position to his kids. And she was right, he was being terrible pawning Sally off on her without warning. I think the funniest line of the night was Betty saying to Don, “It’s your child bride she wants to be with.”
    K, I’m going to go catch up on Game of Thrones now. Hopefully that won’t be as depressing as Mad Men, but I’m not holding my breath on that.

    • TV Gord says:

      Okay, I’ll be the one to ask. What’s a period cake? (If it’s strawberry filled, I’m still in for any invitations,)

    • Chester says:

      It would be terrible that Don is forcing Meg into a Mom position, but that’s really why he married her: she was so good with the kids when she was in California with them. Also, Megan doesn’t work. She just expects Don to provide for her while she goes out and does whatever she wants, and she can’t figure out that she might need to bring something to the relationship that supports Don. She is like a spoiled child.

      • E says:

        I like Meghan. I like that her relationship with Don is vastly different than when it was with Betty. Contrasts what a younger woman’s life experience/expectation would be like at the time. She’s good with Don’s kids — very good. Who wouldn’t be annoyed if your spouse didn’t mention you had to watch the kids, even if they were your own!

        As far as the married women portrayed on the show, she seems to be the only one that’s worked (aside from Joan) so it’s not crazy that she’s not currently earning an income. She’s still got goals for her own career.

        • Chester says:

          The other women don’t ‘work’ in the sense of having a paying job, but they all do ‘work’ in the sense of managing their household and taking care of their children. Even Roger’s young wife was available to him emotionally, if he had been interested. Megan is none of these things. She wants to pursue her own work, she doesn’t care about the effects on Don, and she doesn’t want to care for his children if it is inconvenient or have any children of her own. She just wants Don to pay for everything and to do whatever she wants. As you can see in this episode, earning enough money to life their lifestyle is emotionally draining and can be all consuming. She should give him some slack for that and help him when he needs it. He did not call her because he had a very serious and emotionally all-consuming, really terrible problem at work. She was simply inconvenienced about going to an audition for a part she is 98% certain not to get.

          What I see here is three kinds of marriages:

          – the 1950s marriage where roles are divided, but each spouse works in their sphere.
          – modern marriages where both partners work outside the home and take care of things in the house
          – the in between marriage like Megan’s and Don’s where the women decides that she should be ‘liberated’ and do whatever she wants but where she does not think she should be responsible for anything, either at home or in a job. She just goes around expecting her husband to provide for her, not appreciating how much effort that takes, and simply expecting all the world to revolve around her. This last situation is ridiculous.

          Don should divorce her, but then he would have to pay alimony.

    • xine says:

      I suppose you mean by “underwear,” “blood.” I thought it was rather wonderful that the show broke what is still something of a taboo in this society. I don’t know if you are reacting to this taboo or just squeamish, since you didn’t like the sight of the body, either.

  24. Greg says:


  25. soulsynther says:

    Song at the end: ‘Butchie’s Tune’ by The Lovin’ Spoonful from the band’s second album,1966’s ‘Daydream’.

  26. Rock Golf says:

    So no sign of Peggy this week?
    Then I’m hanging on to my theory that she’s dead. That when she left the company and walked into the elevator, there was no elevator. (Don’s already seen the door’s open and no elevator there. And you know what they say about the gun you show in the first act.)

  27. randy says:

    How many people – Other than Don Draper – can unintentionally coerce two people they’re not sleeping with to commit suicide in the space of just a few years? One suicide – perhaps just bad luck, two? the guy’s a pariah!

  28. Charlotte says:

    Just a bit of trivia ~ I think it’s interesting that Weiner named the competing ad firm McManness. Back in the mid-late 60’s there was a delightful little TV series called Bewitched. One of the lead characters worked as an ad executive at a NY agency called McMann & Tate…BTW, his wife was a witch ;o) Anyway just a little trivia to start the day.

    • KMC says:

      Actually McManus is a real agency – McManus, John & Adams had the Pontiac account in the 1960s. So it’s more historically accurate than a nod to Bewitched. Not that there is anything wrong with a little Bewitched!

    • TV Gord says:

      I’ve always said Mad Men was Bewitched without the witch. Dick York would have fit into this show quite easily! (Not Dick Sargent, though.) ;-)

  29. John Grose says:

    Lane will always been known as the guy who punched Pete. – John

  30. di says:

    RIP – Lane, I will miss you, I felt sorry for him, but half expected him to jump out the window with the falling snow. I didn’t even miss Peggy this episode, like I thought I would. I also forgot Ken was related to the Dow-man. Super glad that Don’s got his MOJO; oh yeah, Glenn is not as creepy as he was before, but at one point I thought he would take a hair-clipping of Meagan’s strands, so I guess maybe a little creepy.

    • DanielleZ says:

      Same here. I didn’t miss Peggy tonight until I read the comments to this article. What an episode. Wow. Still can’t get over it. Poor Lane.

  31. Paula says:

    sadly, the embezzelment crime happened in real life, within my husbands own company. The controller was doing the same thing, taking not huge sums but enough for the partners to notice. The other three partners my husband being one of them had to decide if they should fire him. This had been the forth partner. They could not do it, but took away any fiscal power from him. Sadly alcoholism contributed to his death at 49 several years later. This episode was so realistic. The perf

  32. turtlehead says:

    Sharp ears by Charlotte on the McMann & Tate reference. The “Bewitched” references, both verbal and nonverbal, are plentiful. Betty/Samantha, Don/Darrin, Roger/Larry, and the sets are startlingly similar to those on the actual ’60s show. The chief difference is that “Bewitched” was a show about magic; “Mad Men” IS magic.

  33. Swimmerpoet says:

    I was close to Sally’s age back in the Mad Men days. In the late 1960s, I’d occasionally park myself at lunchtime French bistros in downtown Chicago, which would serve me wine at age 15. Please note that I did not look 21 by any means. Such days are gone, for the best I’m sure — but was still very much the edgy, adult experience for that younger me.

  34. susola says:

    Incredible episode. Am I the only one who thought Lane trying to off himself in the Jaguar was his last attempt for a nasty payback?

  35. Winslow says:

    i also had an embezzlement situation regarding my first employee I ever hired and who grew the company with me. They wrote a check for several thousand dollars and forged my signature – We were expecting a huge payment that would have hidden the missing money for awhile but it was delayed and I got a call from the bank that we had an several overdrafts (this was pre-online banking). Suffice it to say I had to let her go because the violation was too great. A couple of years later i rehired her to be the office manager but she had no access to funds. She did her job well and I realized doing somenthing bad doesnt make you a bad person. Lane wasn’t bad he just did a bad thing. There are bad people that do good things all the time, that does not make them good either.

    • TV Gord says:

      I agree, and I think Lane’s intentions to repay the money when the bonuses came in were real, but I was really saddened last night when Don said if Lane had gone to him, they could have worked something out, because of course, he was right. Poor Lane, but poor Don, too, because Don did exactly what he had to do!

  36. Pete’s rifle is a .22 caliber plinker, not a shotgun. Not the gun with which you want to try to end it all.

  37. trevinom says:

    Where was Peggy?

  38. DanielleZ says:

    What a shame about Lane Pryce. I’ve always liked him. Very sad that he went the way he did. I saw it coming though.

  39. Laura says:

    Great epi. I felt that Lane was going to kill himself though from the moment he forged the check. I knew he would be found out–and he would not be able to take the humiliation–especially from his family.

    Harris was spectacular–as he has been from the start. Loved watching him and will miss him on the show.

    I think this has been another stellar season of Mad Men.

  40. Ade says:

    Does this mean it will be Sterling Cooper Draper Harris/Holloway? SCDH doesnt have the same ring to it…

  41. rubytu says:

    I thought, when Lane was trying to commit suicide in the Jaguar, that he would succeed and that the next day there would be headlines about him doing so, “Ad Executive Commits Suicide in Jaguar”, and thereby being Jaguar’s first campaign from the company.

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