Recap: Commissions and Fees

 Posted by on June 4, 2012 at 1:39 am  Season 5
Jun 042012

Mad Men-Commissions and Fees-Lane breaks down

Everything you think’s going to make you happy just turns to crap.

Last week, Megan was annoyed with the Jaguar ad campaign. A wife is a Buick in the garage, she said with a touch of bitterness, but a mistress is an exotic and temperamental Jaguar. I don’t know what kind of car Don Draper drives these days, but it’s not a Jaguar, and at the end of Commissions and Fees, the person driving that ordinary car was the only one who was happy.

Rest in peace, Lane Pryce.

I’ve been doing this recap dance long enough to know that even when I imagine I have nothing to say, there are plenty of words to come. Yet I am in the strange position of feeling that the very act of writing is disrespectful to what I have just seen. Lane felt, tonight, like a person, not a character. A person we lost. A person that Don tried desperately to treat with dignity. A person who deserves, not a recap, but a eulogy.

Rest in peace, Lane Pryce.

The things we want, the magical, out-of-reach things, they just don’t work. Glen knew it, in the end, as quoted above. Don pitched the living shit out of Dow Corning. He pitched desire. He pitched never being happy enough as a net positive, as a sign of life. McManus (the current agency) is just bringing them happiness, just bringing them success, but Don insists that’s not enough.

In Episode 5.01, A Little Kiss Part 1, Trudy said to Pete “Dissatisfaction is a symptom of ambition.” This is, essentially, Don’s pitch: “What is happiness? It’s a moment before you need more happiness.”

The magical, impossible, unmanageable thing, the thing we think we want but which cannot satisfy us, is clearly represented by Jaguar. That’s the pitch. Remember last week: “If they weren’t temperamental, if they weren’t beyond our reach and a little out of our control”? Jaguar is so fundamentally unsatisfying you can’t even kill yourself in it. Poor Lane, so desperate, and relying on such notoriously shoddy engineering.

The sequence of the car not starting is funny, and its bona fides have been fully established, with the two prior episodes making sure we understand that Jaguars just don’t start. It’s also tragic, since lousy English technology won’t stop Lane, who loves the U.S. and weeps that he will lose his visa—he kills himself instead in an office lavishly decorated in Americana. The position in which he hung himself meant that one of his last sights was his replica of the Statue of Liberty. Ah, Lane, the American Dream failed you, and you didn’t even enjoy that moment before you needed more happiness.

Don will blame himself, you can already see that. He has shame and remorse all over his face when he hears the news. Last week, Joan touched him kindly and said, “You’re a good one.” It’s likely he married Megan because she believed he was good, but it’s the one thing he never believes of himself. He often does terrible things, but Megan was right in Tomorrowland, he always tries to do better.

How impotent his efforts to do good must feel to him now; that much is obvious in the bitter way he condemned the partners for voting last week without him: “Should I leave so you all can do whatever you want?” he pointedly asks.

He couldn’t save Joan from Herb. He couldn’t save Lane from himself. In the back of his mind, always, is that he couldn’t save Adam (his brother, who hung himself in Season 1), and probably that he couldn’t save the real Don Draper (whose death can be blamed on Dick Whitman). The only one he could save was Glen Bishop, for whom he could fulfill a simple wish. “We’re worried about you,” he said of young people in Episode 5.03, Tea Leaves. He can’t prevent Sally from becoming a woman (and “spreading her legs to fly away” as Emile Calvet would have it), or save lives that should be saved. But he can take Glen driving. Sometimes we can only do little things.

Megan, too, is intensely protective of children, protecting Glen, she says, because she wasn’t able to protect Sally. Substituting a lesser form of protection for a more necessary one is a motif this episode.

But instead of talking about themes or motifs, I would rather describe streams: two directions in which this episode flows. One is towards dissatisfaction, dissolution, and death, the other is towards life, rebirth, and becoming. Creation and destruction, momentum and inertia: the two great forces of life. Don tried to talk to Lane about starting over, and in fact, I think Don was as kind as humanly possible. When he says, “I’m doing the most decent thing I could possibly do,” he is telling the truth. But Lane is not flowing towards rebirth as Don advises, he is unwinding, and the only kind thing Don can do is lay Lane gently to rest on the couch.

Sally, on the other hand, flows towards rebirth as a woman. Her first “date” with Glen may not have been very romantic, but it was very satisfying for her (until it became too much, physically and metaphorically). Her movement towards sexuality, innocent as it is, is life-affirming, just as Roger’s boredom with sex is life-denying. Roger, whose enlightenment “wore off,” is in the stream of dissolution with Lane.

There are a lot of ways to talk to a young girl about her first period. What Betty said was lovely, and also important; she talked about babies, and about a healthy body, and about Sally joining in the grand cycle: the stream of becoming that will come around to Sally’s someday being in the mother role that Betty is in today. Ask any mother—when we have children of our own, our relationships with our own mothers are transformed. Betty, with her arms around Sally, sees Sally becoming herself, sees her own mother and her future granddaughter in a stream as circular as Betty’s arms when they envelop her daughter.

Easter is mentioned several times, and Lane specifically talks about resurrection to Joan—all this while snow is visible through the window. Winter and spring. Death and rebirth.

Rest in peace, Lane Pryce.

Some additional thoughts:

  • Suicide has been foreshadowed heavily all season. In this episode, it was Betty’s turn: “I wanted to know if you would have any problem with me strangling Sally.” Sally, of course, is not the one who ends up strangled.
  • Betty’s could be the quote of the week, but instead I’m giving it to Kenny: “I don’t mind waiting 20 minutes for an unspecified meeting with my boss. I mean, it’s not like your imagination would run wild.”
  • For her museum date, Sally wore the go-go boots Megan had bought her in At the Codfish Ball: the boots that Don made her take off because they were too mature.
  • The drive from Park Avenue to Hotchkiss Academy in Lakeville, Connecticut is just about 100 miles each way.

Originally published at Indiewire Press Play.


  347 Responses to “Recap: Commissions and Fees”

  1. Thanks for the recap. Just finished the show here on the West coast. Need time to process. But I always saw Lane as a very weak man. His terrible end was not a surprise, but still so very sad. As Don said, why didn’t he just ask for the money? Probably his own Father issues. Sad.

  2. Rest in Peace, indeed.

    Lane Pryce was such a touching, sad character. He was terrible to Joan this week and last, but it was understandable in context. He is the second person to die in that office. SCDP might want to consider re-locating.

  3. The take on happiness and dissatisfsction reminds me of an episode from involving Midge’s beatnik pals way back in S1. I think Don is accused of inventing want. The line is delivered as a confrontation. Don doesnt take the bait, but his disdain for the beatniks becomes more obvious. Don talks to Rachel Menkin in another episode about love as an advertising invention. Could it be that show has wandered back to those same early themes after some substantial digressions? Did Don temporarily believe in happiness and love as reflected in Megan only to have the belief gradually slide away as Megan changes, Peggy leaves, Joan sells out and Lane kills himself? Don would not let himself believe that all Adam Whitman wanted was his brother Dick. He did not love his first wife and he was unhappy. He becomes happy, visiting DisneyLand and marrying his new love, but Megan, and later Peggy and Joan want more. They are not satisfied with what Don offers. Enter Burt Cooper, the original Mad Man. He tells Don to get to work, be an adult.

    • Advertising is based on one thing – happiness. You know what happiness is, the smell of a new car (Poor Lane didnt think so?) Its freedom from fear, its a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever your doing its ok. You are ok.

      Don’s aggressive stance with Baxter from Dow and Roger’s excitement in seeing the ‘Old Don’ – was this Don ‘trying’ to channel that pitch; that ‘happiness’?

      MW even provides payoffs that go back to the first episode!

      • Well, the smell of *that* particular new car did not provide a freedom from fear. The new car was so incompetent it couldn’t even produce an odorless gas.

        (Morbid observation, I know.)

  4. I’m too tired to leave a profound comment…
    But I watched the last quarter of this episode with my hand over my mouth, even though I’d been wholly expecting it. Powerful stuff, and great great work by Harris, Hamm, Hendricks and slattery.

  5. Great recap (as usual)

    R.I.P. Lane. I don’t blame Don, though I know some people will. Jared Harris is amazing and will be missed.

    I HATE that no one mentioned Peggy. Hope that’s not the case next week.

    Interesting your mention of Megan and the car. Ginsburg compared her to the Jaguar last week. In the beginning of this ep the rival ad guy stated that he didn’t want Jaguar and was happy with Chevy. The company was so elated to get the Jaguar account but at what cost? Peggy leaves, Joan prostitutes herself and now Lane is dead. Was it really worth it? Don bought a Jaguar but instead drives Glen back in a reliable, nondescript car. What happened to the Jaguar that he purchased? Joan said that when it came to women Don had a ‘type’. The glamorous, model type (Betty and Megan) aka Jaguars. Yet he took Peggy (reliable and nondescript) for granted. The theme seems to be all that glitters is not gold and that true happiness and substance can be found in the grittiness of life which Dick Whitman has been running from since he left Korea. It might not be easy but when you find it, there is no greater reward.
    And it appears for the first time Don is just now starting to realize that (thank god!). I just hope he follows through and stays on that path.

    Sorry for the essay, lol

    Sorry for the essay, but for the first time all season I amd relly excited about the

    • Don didn’t buy the Jag, he gave the salesman a slip and said if he didn’t return, that covered it. When he left Joan he was going to return the car.

    • Peggy got out just in time, it looks like. I can only imagine her reaction to Lane hanging himself right there in the office, right after Don asked for his resignation. It seems like the episode was about 4 to 6 weeks after her departure, so I can believe they wouldn’t still be talking about her all the time. And I think we’ll see her again, maybe even next week. Just a hunch.

      • Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Peggy quit on January 20th. The action of this episode was the weekend of February 5-7th. So it’s been two weeks since Peggy left.

  6. Don took the Jaguar back to the dealership. Don only wrote the guy a check so he and Joan could test drive the car together. Lots of checks being written these last few episodes that either aren’t covered or won’t be cashed.

    • Re cheques – I’ve been noticing the amount of money that’s been floating about this season, and they usually specify dollar amounts, whereas previously they would be vague about the exact amount of money. I’ve got bookmarked so that I can fully appreciate the amounts of money they’re talking about. Meanwhile, as Don and Roger splash large sums of money about, Lane had none. There was real bitterness in his voice when he said this to Don.

      • Isn’t that something that makes the themes of becoming and being all the more poignant? Dick Whitman has so thoroughly made himself into Don Draper that Lane can’t imagine that Don can relate to having a financial need. WE know Don appreciates unfulfilled wants all too well and has experienced material needs, but Lane can’t fathom that Don would know his experience. And how telling is it that Don can’t trust Lane now? Here’s a man whose adult life is based on fraud and lies. He’s become Don so well that he can’t see the hypocrisy in that.

      • “Do you know how the rest of us live?” – Lane to Don, in their last conversation.

        Heartbreaking. 🙁

  7. The quote at the beginning of this recap is very apt for me right now. We are dish network subscribers, and dish killed AMC at the end of the show tonight, which means I will have to scramble to find someone with another service in order to see the finale. I have been made very happy by this show, and now my satellite provider has turned it all to crap.

    • Pele – fyi – Amazon offers a service called Video on Demand, you can watch the ep for $1.99, it is usually available to download early the morning after it airs – you can then watch it as often as you like with no commercials

  8. Don’s pitch to the honchos at Dow Chemical also represents a resurgence of a life force stream.

    It’s too soon to say whether they will be swayed by it, but Roger commented that the pitch marked the return of a hungry, potent Don. That’s something that has been mostly missing this season, as he luxuriated in his extended “love leave,” but if the Dow folks do leave McManus for SCD(?), it could again raise the Dick/Don identity situation and pose some serious security clearance issues.

    By 1965, Dow was the last manufacturer of Agent Orange and they also supplied Napalm to the Defense Department, both of which were used in Vietnam. From the 1950s to the 1970s, Dow managed the Rocky Flats Plant in Colorado, a nuclear weapons production facility that made plutonium triggers for hydrogen bombs. Earlier, we saw the loss of the North American Aviation account because of Don’s secret and the security issues it posed. The addition of Dow Chemical to the agency’s client roster, could turn out to be a short-lived acquisition.

    • Don’t forget it is Megan who is encouraging Don to return to his roots and because of what she believes will never criticize him for working too hard or being too focused on work. A very unusual wife indeed.

      In the back of Don’s mind, he always had to wonder whether Megan will leave him because she felt ignored. He doesn’t feel that way currently. Megan has given Don free rein to be as “hungry” as he wants to be as long as he doesn’t disappear from work and secondly does not cheat on her.

      And Don so much needs to be involved in work now to help him forget about what has recently gone on at the firm.

      If Don were in a traditional marriage, this formula would not work. But Joan said it best: Don found someone perfect for him. And we get an insight into Don’s way of thinking early in season one where Don suggests to Midge that they get married because she has her own business and he can drop in to see her at any time to have good sex. And this is the way Don feels with Megan: he can do his own thing and she will be there when he drops in from time to time.

      Obviously if Megan is NOT around when Don drops in, that is a different story and why Don blew up at Megan because of the idea of her working out of town for 3 straight months.

      • You do not reference that Megan is committed to her own career. I think Don of S1 is quite different from that of S5. Don’s relationship with Megan is far more complex than his relationship with Midge. Megan brings a balance to Don we have not seen before. And Don did tell Megan he wants her to succeed at her acting career.

        • I believe Don is career hungry for business now because of Peggy is at Chaough, the competitor. As said before, Peggy is the female version of Don. He is now driven because she left.

          • Also–Peggy picked up all of Don’s slack for a really, really long time. Even if the other creative guys are good, there was absolutely no way her departure would NOT mean lots more work for Don Draper–at least until he can find somebody else to mostly do much of his job for him in a way that will not threaten him.

            And perhaps as long as the underlings were working on small accounts, it didn’t bug him so much that the accounts were small. But Don doesn’t want to work on small accounts like Topaz– like Peggy was willing to do. If Don has to do more work, he wants it something bigger, better, and more challenging.

            Funny–Don never seemed threatened by Peggy’s talent. Maybe it was because she wasn’t as talented, but maybe he always felt confident that she would use her talents to boost him up. He was able to take credit for her work more easily.

            Ginsberg–that’s a different story. Notice how Don looked through his book, and then spent a lot of work trying to out-do Ginsberg? And then in the end he never introduced Ginsberg’s idea to the client and got the account on his idea? Perhaps he knows Ginsberg (and other ad guys) won’t let him take credit for their work quite the way he could do with Peggy?

            Of course, it is also possible that Don was intrigued and inspired by the level of talent shown by Ginsberg. Perhaps Peggy was never as stimulating.

            Anyway, I think that the departure of both Peggy and Megan–combined with the creative competition from a competitive guy like Ginsberg–I think Don is really feeling the pressure to work hard again.

            And he wants to impress people with his work–not do small accounts.

      • No, Megan will never criticize him…she’ll only ream him out every episode for not calling her to check in constantly.

        Don has been on “love leave” this entire season. We’ve only seen Don in S5 as an empty shell of his former dynamic self. His charisma suffers when he’s with Megan and I think we’re only now beginning to see it return.

        Additionally, I believe Joan was completely sarcastic when she called Megan perfect.

    • My take on Don and Dow is that Don doesn’t expect Dow to leave McManus, but he does hope that Ed Baxter will be impressed enough with Don’s pitch that it will break what Ed says is the roadblock that the letter set up between SCDP and all the large companies (like Firestone) at the American Cancer benefit. Don wants the big guns.

    • Don owes Lane big time for Don’s decision to go after Dow, and more particularly Don’s aggressive ( don’t be satisfied with 50%, or even 81% ). It was Lane who confessed to Don that Lane regretted never having asked for what he needed or felt justified in receiving and for always underselling himself.

      • Yes. Though it was also Lane who mocked what he regarded as a coarseness about the very need to dominate and control market share. In the Chrysanthemum and the Sword the meeting of the partners is told that Honda has 50% of the motorcycle market. ‘Where’s my other fifty percent?!’, Lane retorts, as if chiding the ambition of his would be clients. Lane was, at his core, a modest man.

    • SmilerG, I think you raised an excellent point. But the dynamics at SCDP are quite different now. Not sure that Pete or Bert or even Roger would be willing to walk away to protect Don.

      • Pete and Bert are both aware of Don’s identity issues and they probably wouldn’t risk a new, nearly-Lucky-Strike-sized account to protect Don. I’m just curious why Don would so eagerly pursue Dow Chemical in the first place, what with the possibilities of exposure present in the deal, given their connections to the DOD.

        • I think he knows they probably won’t get it, and he’s just sharpening his chops.

        • I cannot think of any of the Dow work requiring access to Classified materials or security clearance.
          And, whatever is the mix, their ad budget would mostly be targeted at the civilian market.

    • What, I wonder, is signalled by Baxter and associates making Don and Roger wait 1:45?

  9. Poor Lane. Like Walter White, he broke the law when he didn’t have to, because of his stupid pride. Of course, Walter is worse, because he actually had an offer for help that he didn’t take (unlike Lane, who just didn’t think to ask) and Walter left a trail of bodies in his wake while keeping himself alive. And Walter probably enjoyed the thrill of being a bad guy, unlike Lane, who I don’t think ever got any pleasure out of it. And that’s why Lane is dead and Walter isn’t.

    • As sad as recent developments on Mad Men have been and with the season finale next week, at least there are two bright spots on the horizon for fans of riveting dramatic television. S-4 of Breaking Bad is out on home video Tuesday and S-5 kicks off on July 15th. I’ll be missing Mad Men until it returns for S-6 next Spring or Summer, but the new season of Breaking Bad will help make up for that.

      • Great! I’m so ready for the return of Breaking Bad.

        • I love that some Basketcases are Breaking Bad fans!!! Yay. BB will win the Emmy over MM because MM slipped and BB was the equal of MM before said slippage.
          Does anyone know when S4 of BB is available for streaming on Netflix?

          • Unless there’s a scene in the MM season finale that involves cast members on water skis and sharks, the show has no reason not to expect Emmy nominations and wins.

            S-5 began slowly, but barring something irretrievably stupid plot-wise next week, the show has more than redeemed itself, just on the basis of the past few episodes.

          • I don’t know. But I am hot for Bryan Cranston. He’ll convert all the anti-dentites in the world.

          • MM definitely slipped this season. As one reviewer wrote, its Megan-centric theme may have cost it the fifth Emmy.

      • There was a promo last night for Breaking Bad indicating that AMC would run all the episodes in order, several at a time, leading up to the S-5 premiere on July 15th. I didn’t note the time, but I think they said they’ll begin Sunday night/Monday morning this weekend.

  10. For a fleeting moment, when the Jag wouldn’t start, I thought perhaps Lane would see the humor in it all, and start laughing at himself and the situation. And then pick himself up a la Don Draper, and move on.

    Then I realized that’s the genius of Draper, and of Mad Men and maybe of America itself. You can be at the literal end of your rope, and in that moment see it for what it is — laugh, chuck it all, and decide to reinvent yourself.

    But if in that moment you just can’t do it — too rigid of a class system, too much of the wrong “morality,” not enough love or forgiveness — it’s the deepest of tragedies.

    • Poor Lane. I, too, felt he would laugh or cry when the car wouldn’t start. He had to be thinking, “Damn, I can’t even be successful at killing myself my way.” Any way it happened would have been sad, but I’m glad he did it in the office and not at home where his wife would find him. The death of a co-worker is always sad and devastating, but only for a moment. It’s amazing how much life just goes right on in business. Not so much at home with the ones who really care……

    • I had hoped for the same thing, but alas it wasn’t to be. So sad. RIP Lane, indeed.

    • Oh, that’s a conclusion Lane could never have reached. He would have perceived that as yet another pathetic failure, not a point of laughter. He would have forced himself to “try again” so that the intial failure would never have been left for anyone else to notice. Lane was ultimately obsessed with a sense of his own inadequacy, and if you look closely, his whole existence was about covering that inadequacy up.

      So his death is extremely tragic.

      • Thanks for using the term “tragic” in the classical sense – that his circumstance wasa fated, inevitable.

        The far more common usage (especially in news stories) is it’s devalued sense – as a substitute for “unfortunate”.

    • I, too, hoped Lane would see the brand new Jag-U-ar’s failure to start as an omen, a sign that he was fated to live, face his misfortune, and start over as Don said he would.

      The 1972 dictionary I have at hand calls for a tragedy to combine fate with a “tragic flaw” – a character flaw that leads to downfall.

    • JD- I agree!

    • It is so sad that Lane couldn’t think clearly. He could have stood up to Don and said that he, Lane, is in this position because he has been operating at a loss for 3 years, and all of the other factors beyond Lane’s control. And then Lane could have told Don, this is how it is going to be. I just got the AAAA award, I will leverage that to find a new position. In the mean time, I stay here until that new position is found. And we keep one another’s secrets so that no harm comes to SCDP because of its lack of morals in business dealings and no harm comes to Lane because of his transgression which is that he stole money in a desperate situation, hardly something that is unforgiveable.

  11. I don’t see Roger in a stream of dissolution or as life-denying because of his dissatisfaction with sex. I saw that scene as making a pointed warning toward Don. Roger was saying that sex with 25 year-old women, while a reification of heteronormative masculity at first, eventually becomes unsatisfying and dull. I took that as a warning or foreshadowing of Don’s own situation with his “child-bride” (who looks 35), Megan. This further highlights the divide between their ages that has been hinted at since S5, E1.

    • Actually I took as a sign that “an old dog can’t learn new tricks” and that Roger should have learned by now with his experience with Jane that perhaps he is looking in the wrong place for love.

      Yes, Roger can’t figure out why the Don-Megan marriage works but that goes with everybody at the office as well.

      • I’m not convinced that Roger thinks Don and Megan’s marriage is that great or works. I think Roger sees some of the parallels to his now-failed marriage to Jane. They both started in the halcyon glow of vacation or breaks away from reality. Both have involved serenades in front of agog audiences. Both involved tense discussions over children. Obviously, these are the ones we see, but I suspect Roger sees some of them as well.

        • Both have involved serenades in front of agog audiences.

          I forgot about that, with regard to Roger and Jane. Good catch, there. 🙂

        • i have to say that i thought megan looked put off when sally first arrived…kind of like sally’s presence would change the direction of the weekend she planned (which, of course, she would), but it looked like megan wasn’t quite as warm to sally when sally was on “megan’s time.” further, the idea that don ‘dumped’ sally on megan didn’t sit well with megan, and that megan had to bring sally to lunch with her girlfriend looked like megan’s nose was out of joint, as well. now, it’s given that twelve year old sally would be excited to be with cool, hip megan and her friend, ordering coffee before they went to a movie, but megan looked annoyed at don when it was clear that don was working for the weekend, and he was making sally megan’s responsibility. now, she certainly has a right to that feeling, but much has been made of megan’s innate “maternal qualities,” which i never fully accept.

          when betty and sally hug in the bathroom, it reminded me exactly of the first hug megan and sally shared. in both instances, sally was vulnerable and scared, and when she embraced both of the women, they were stunned first but then reacted to the hug. however, in the megan hug, the camera pans to sally’s face and shows her to be comforted, not so much megan’s face. in the betty hug, the camera pans to betty’s reaction, as it shows a genuine love and understanding and comfort in her daughter coming back to her. the scene where she cuddles sally after bringing her a hot water bottle was simply touching.

      • Pete is the only one that think Don and Megan’s marriage works.

      • Sorry, I should have clarified that I didn’t necessarily mean that Roger was consciously warning Don; I meant that perhaps his words themselves are a foreshadowing of the underlying problems in Don’s and Megan’s relationship.

    • The things that Roger has affirmed his life with are dissolving. His enlightenment wore off. His new marriage ended. Sex is boring and disappointing. I don’t think Roger is in the stream of rebirth and renewal.

  12. [In the past, your shots at other Basketcases have been removed from long posts. Now you are getting this warning and future posts will just be trashed. When I get bored trashing your posts you will be blocked. Deborah]

  13. The real surprise for me in this episode wasn’t Lane’s death. After all, there have been hints about death and dark omens all season long. The surprise was the episode’s masterful handling of this immense tragedy. Once again, I marvel at MW’s superb skill.

    I was struck by the irony of Don’s outrage upon discovering that Lane had forged his signature. As if Don hasn’t been forging that same signature all this time.

    Last week I was convinced that The Other Woman boasted the best acting of the season, but after last night . . . Amazing work, Mr. Harris, Mr. Hamm, and Ms. Hendricks.

    • I understand people’s objection to Don’s disappointment with Lane as hypocrisy… but let’s face it. It really isn’t in the same plane. Dick switched to Don Draper after realizing he would either face more war, death, or life back on a farm in the middle of nowhere. He used deception to reinvent himself, received help from the deceased man’s wife, and has tried to live with his decision ever since — with some good results and other disastrous ones. But he is primarily a survivor, and the only person Dick Whitman’s revelation will punish severely is Dick Whitman himself.

      Lane’s version of survival could have gone more smoothly if he had simply reached out for help. His pride, however, stood in the way of him doing that. Though it would have been more honorable for him to ask for a raise at year one, or to confide in someone about his difficulties, or to simply speak to his wife honestly — something — he betrays the trust of people he’s working with (beyond Don) and jeopardizes his competency as a numbers man to embezzle funds from the company and forge Don’s (stolen) name. That does not just jeopardize Lane; it places EVERYONE who trusts him in jeopardy.

      I know both acts are duplicitous; but there are some definite nuances. I’m not even very pro-Dick/Don; but… I don’t think it’s as cut and dry here.

      • Oh, I agree. I only thought it was ironic.

      • Well-said, ashe_phoenix.

      • I agree with you, they are very different act. Lane’s jeapordized an entire company Don/Dicks deception didn’t involve many othe rpeople, just Anna and he took care of her. I hope we find out what he told Megan about Anna

  14. This is not going to end well for Don. His signature on a check written to Lane, found by Cooper. Who is going to believe now that it was forged? Cooper may concoct a story in his head about Don being responsible for Lane’s death, and there will be no one to back up Don’t story. I sure hope this doesn’t happen, but how can it be avoided?

    • As I wrote above, Bert Cooper will now know Lane forged Don’s signature. There was no reason for Lane to fall on the sword for Don. They are not related by blood or bosom buddies. Folks commit suicide mostly because of self-blame or the shame of what they have done or being found out and suffer or face a future of public disgrace or even imprisonment.

      If Don had signed the check, Lane could have attempted to bring Don down with him. The suicide letter apparently did not implicate Don. For that Don should be thankful.

      And Don is going to replace the $8000 from his own pocket. No harm , no foul in that sense.

      • The check was written to Lane, not Don. Bert correctly believes that $8000 is not a large amount to Don. I think Bert was concerned that the rule of “no partner gets a bonus” and thought Don may have been breaking that rule, not forging checks. Bert being Bert, I suspect he knew exactally what had occurred and let Don do the foot work on that issue, otherwise he would have confronted Don and Lane at the same time. Also, who started the conversation about the percentage from Jagular, causing Bert to review the books?

        • That was Pete, as Jag inquired about an alternate method of payment.

        • Good point, Donna. I was originally thinking that Bert just assumed that Lane asked Don for a check and Don gave it to him, even though no one was supposed to be getting bonuses. But you’re right, it’s quite likely that Bert knew exactly what happened.

      • I think it bears noting that the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention ( cites more than 90% of people who kill themselves suffer from one or more psychiatric disorders.
        The comment “Folks commit suicide mostly..” is not true. Anyone who has been close to someone who has taken their life knows only too well how complex the causes of suicide are.

    • It sounded to me like Bert indicated he was willing to believe Don had written Lane the check out of sympathy, knowing how desperately hard he had been pushing for the bonuses. I think that’s why he chastised him for playing the good little boy, giving Lane what he was begging for, instead of being a grown-up and saying no, you can’t have an air rifle. Is he really going to be surprised Lane ended up shooting his eye out?

      • I’m sorry, was there a follow up conversation on this subject between Bert and Don about this issue? If so, I must have missed it, because now that Lane has turned up dead, seems like Bert might connect some dots, and try to lay this at the feet of Don. No way would Bert have suspected Lane of forging the check. There is still that $50k line of credit hanging out there, and with Jaguar trying to change the fee structure, the $8k is the tip of the iceberg.
        But what a boring storyline if they go that route. I”m bored just writing about it.

        • Yeah, the funniest part of last night’s ep was the explanation of the changed fee structure. All the non-accountants around the table were just as bored and baffled as all of us non-accountants in the audience.

        • I don’t think anyone but Lane knew about the 50,000 line of credit. He told the partners the company had done well and they could give out bonus checks to everyone, including the partners. Then that got shelved, except for the non-partners and that is when Lane realized he was in deep trouble.

        • I don’t think Bert is incapable of figuring out what really happened; I believe that, for the sake of the firm, Bert is willing to overlook the truth for the nicest possible version of the story. It behooves none of the partners to expose the crime. I will say I don’t know how they’re going to justify the line of credit, or what Joan will do when she goes through the books. Coop might have to drop some “grown-up” wisdom on them all. Talk about a dirty business.

    • Cooper will want to move on as fast as possible. Don will cover the check and they’ll say it was a tragic accident. No one will want to ask too many questions. They should move to a new building though, Miss Blankenship then Lane is too much

  15. Don’s desire to take Lane down from hanging in mid-air while his male colleagues “remain on ths sidelines” reminds me of Megan comforting Sally Draper after she fell in the Season 4 episode The Beautiful Girls while the other ladies are onlookers and not participants.

    • I’m sorry but no… there is no comparison. Wow…

      • Well, there’s the similarity that both gestures are “fixits.” Kids shouldn’t be sprawled across the floor in offices. Dead bodies shouldn’t be hanging in offices. Don’s haunted by Adam hanging himself, and he some kind of connection to Lane (and more than likely some guilt as well). The other men want to follow procedure and wait for the coroner to do his job. But Don wants to clean up, sanitize, and normalize the office. Lane’s asleep on his couch.

        It has more similarities to Ms. Blankenship’s death, when half the office (or so it seemed) worked together to move her away from the desk so the clients wouldn’t see her body. Make the office look normal. The secretary stepped away.

        Sally was running away from the other women in the office and toward Megan. There’s an element of convenience in that scenario that doesn’t apply to dealing with dead bodies.

    • I wondered if Don was thinking back on his brother’s suicide by hanging, after he’d given him money to go away…it had to be on his mind, and that he’d not been there for him either.

      • That’s exactly how I saw it. Man, my mind is still buzzing from last week’s episode — my little brain will never calm down now! This has been magnificent drama.

    • On the contrary, the analogy to the scene where Sally ran away and into Megan’s arms in Season 4 is the parallel of Sally running away from the Museum and home into her mother’s arms.
      To Sally, Megan may be her cool friend (again, the “child bride”), but Betty is her mother. The writers’ emphasis on only portraying Betty’s nasty side (perhaps showing Don’s view of her) has short-changed a vital aspect of her role, which is that she is still Sally’s mother and performing the tasks that mothers do on a daily basis. We saw a more dimensional view of Betty in Seasons 1 through 3, but she’s been treated badly by the writers since then. Anyway, Sally was running toward Megan at the beginning of this episode (and away from the family ski trip). But Megan wasn’t receptive (stayed in her bedroom reading while she parked Sally in front of a TV). When the personal crisis happened, of course Sally ran home to her mother. When you need someone, a Buick is better than a Jaguar.

      • I totally agree. I think Megan is quite kind, but she doesn’t appear as engaged in Sally as she did before she married Don. She’s dutiful and takes care of Sally when she’s over, but she didn’t seem all that thrilled — and didn’t really mask it, though she was polite — when Sally showed up and she parked Sally in front of the TV instead of spending time with her. The “old” Megan would’ve spent the day making art with her or something. And then when she did take Sally out, it was to meet with her friend who spoke inappropriately in front of Sally.

        It’s not easy mothering on a daily basis; sometimes, you are the bad guy who enforces rules. As such, it’s hard for Betty (her limitations aside) to compete with the glamorous stepmom who doesn’t have to deal with a tween’s hormonal shifts and resentment about her parents being divorced and the attendant challenges of shifting from one household to another.

        • She did not seem thrilled because it was a surprise visit and she had plans.

        • Yup. Because before she was “wife-Megan (with a day job)” and now she’s “actress-Megan.” Like you, I agree she’s been quite kind, but I think she’s also not ready to take on a full-time mothering role. To Sally or to anyone else. (I don’t see Megan having a baby in the near future, unless it’s unplanned)

        • When Sally showed up, didn’t Megan have an next-morning audition to prepare? That, by itself, would occupy her attention.

          • She did, of course. But I also think that because of her recent move to acting, her priorities have shifted, and that’s her main interest, whereas before, she came across as more of a homemaker and more maternal.

            I’m not saying that people can’t do both, or that it’s wrong for her to have shifted gears. Just saying that she has.

      • Sally has rational and emotional needs. If she wants to be around someone who will treat her like a good friend, she will seek out Megan. But if she wants her emotional needs to addressed, then Betty is the person to see. For Sally, Megan is NOT emotionally invested in her while Betty is. And when Betty told Megan that Sally was now a woman, Megan fully understood why Sally went home.

      • Love the Buick/Jag line! I suspect that Megan is coming to terms with Sally misreading their relationship. I didn’t pick it up on first viewing but thought Sally’s comment to Glen that she was going “to Megan’s” said it all. The Betty/Sally scene was a positive highlight of the night and maybe the season.

  16. I couldn’t sleep last night. I felt so heart wrenched and awful after seeing his gruesome face. Like you said, its like we lost an actual person not a character. Jared Harris played this extremely brilliant. I don’t think Don is to blame. Don could have went to the police with what Lane did but tried to guide him in starting over. Don, however didn’t know the bigger picture. My heart also goes out to his wife and poor Nigel.

    • I agree with Pamela…. Don did his best to help Lane move to a new path (without involving the Police) but Lane… Poor Lane couldn’t see past the doors of SCDP

  17. Don doesn’t want Jaguar. He doesn’t want a mistress.

    Instead he wants to handle a Chevy. An all-American family car.

    • He has a jaguar at home: Megan. He used to have Buicks/Chevys: Peggy and Betty. Maybe now he can appreciate what he had and threw away.

      • I wish he would realize this re: Peggy and Betty.

        I don’t necessarily wish for Don or Betty to reconcile, but I do wish he would realize what he put her through and give a thorough and proper apology. Then they can co-parent in a healthy way and be friends of some sort.

      • Sorry, but Betty Draper is no Chevy. Princess Grace is a Caddy, and don’t you forget it! : )

        • I once described January Jones (as Betty) to someone who wasn’t familiar with her or Mad Man:

          “Grace Kelly wished she was as good-looking as January Jones”

  18. I’m sad about Lane. I could see the seams in the embezzlement storyline. It was farfetched. They can write it any way they want it as long as they can make me believe it, but I never bought it, not for a second, that Lane would do what he did. It wasn’t earned until the couch scene, where Don confronts Lane, but by then it was too late.

    This storyline did serve as a way to make Joan partner, just as, in the opening episode of this season, the antics of “Our Windows Don’t Open” led to the hiring of Dawn. That storyline was much more believable and in character for everyone.

    Now we’ve got a white woman as partner in 1966 and a black woman as Don Draper’s secretary, and both of these hires happened not because the men at SCDP were forward thinking for the times, but because circumstances forced their hands.

    Which is a very interesting way to watch change happen in the sixties, which makes for good television, but I still feel deflated about Lane in part because I never believed he would go to such lengths and I could see the strings being pulled and manipulated by the puppeteers.

    • Yeah, it’s hard to believe Lane would rather embezzle 50k than confide in Don or someone else that he needed a loan. At first, they played it up as if somene might even be blackmailing Lane; then we find out it’s just taxes?

      It was a breathtaking episode, and this season has been worth the wait. But I agree with you: That storyline doesn’t seem to add up.

  19. Don was shocked by Lane’s suicide just as he was with his brother Adam’s suicide.Don told Lane that he has started over more than once. I think he expected Lane to heed his advice.If Bert Cooper had fired Don in season one; Don would have left Betty and the kids high and dry and started over.Don has always dealt with guilt and shame his way;start over.This is why Don Draper and Dow will be such a good fit.Dow sells to both consumers and the Defense Department.Their recruiters are having problems on college campuses, they have an image problem.Don Draper will help.Those guys were listening.

    • And Don changed the conversation.

    • Agree completely. I couldn’t sleep and I am heartbroken. I will admit to absolutely loving Don last night, the way he handled Lane, both in life and death was deeply touching. I loved that both he and Megan were protective of Glen and that Don let him drive back to school. Glen will never forget this night and of course, neither will Don.

  20. To the moderator: Please post this at the appropriate place. Having little familiarity with other methods of watching MadMen, I am one of Dish’s victims. What are other methods of watching the MadMen season finale next week? I may not be the only Luddite out here, and I would appreciate clear instructions for accessing other means of viewing. Thank you.

    • I watch on iTunes. You can download the finale on Monday a.m. for $2.99. I’m used to watching it on the laptop now.

    • I watch the show through Amazon Instant Video (streaming). It’s $1.99 per episode and available on Monday morning.

      I used to watch on iTunes but the download time was too long due to my slow Internet connection.

    • With itunes, I download only the standard version and not the HD version (which includes the standard version and thus longer download). I have a slow internet connection and standard version takes less than 2 hours. To download the standard version, drag your mouse over the MM episode you want to buy, but do not click. A “play” arrow will appear on the left, click on that. A small window will open and give you the option to buy either the HD version on the standard version for $1.99.

  21. It almost seems like Don is trying to vindicate Lane by getting big business. Don’s ‘hunger” was fueled by having to ask for Lane’s resignation, and Don knows that the embezzlement occurred because there wasn’t enough surplus to go around. Don wants to make it so that as God is his witness, the firm will never go hungry again.

    • Ha, excellent parallel! I wonder if Don will start making suits out of liquor bottles (the only surplus SCDP seems to have). LOL

    • I saw that as Don feeling responsible for Lane’s shortage of cash–if only Don had reeled in some huge clients and made the firm highly profitable sooner, Lane would never have felt the need to embezzle because he was struggling. Don’s tired of all the “piddly shit”–all the nickel and dime accounts that have only led to the firm being recognized as “small” by other players. And the firm’s suffered because he’s been out of commission for too long. Failed marriage, disastrous drinking binge, redemption and lovey-dovey honeymoon state in a new marriage, whatever–he’s been at less than his peak for long enough and he needs to set his sights on big money accounts if he and his partners are ever going to move forward, because his inactivity has begun to cost in lives. And I think that fits in well with the title of the episode–the idea that all actions (and accompanying inactions or omissions) have their cost.

  22. I was near tears while I watched last night. When they showed Lane sitting in his office after his talk with Don, I thought for sure he was going right out the window. I woke up this morning, still thinking about the episode and it struck me that AMC won after all. Remember when it was rumored that Matt was going to have to cut a couple of major characters? In the space of two episodes, we’ve lost Peggy and Lane.

    • Yes…..I thought he would jump from the window, too. I’ve thought all season about somebody’s fall from SCDP or from Don and Megan’s apartment.

    • Good point. I remember reading that about dropping some characters from the show but then it was reported a BOK that was no longer going to be the case, that the issue had been resolved.

      But I do know that MM agreed to cut each episode down to 45 minutes from 47 minutes in season 5 except for the first and last episode.

      Having said that I did think there was a possibility that Lane’s story line would go into season six because MM like to let the dynamics unfold gradually. It really wasn’t that long ago tha we learned of Lane’s embezzlement.

  23. So sad: I nearly cried. Goodbye to a great character.

    • I was just thinking about Don’s advice to Lane to start over: sadly, he already tried to do that and failed. I’m talking about when he wanted to leave his wife and dated the young Playboy bunny (I’m sorry, I can’t remember the character’s name right now), and seemed happy with her, and then he was brutally put back to “his place” by his father.
      So, when Don told him so, Lane must have thought that no matter how hard he could try, he just can’t manage to escape his fate.

  24. Don is a jerk. As someone pointed out earlier, his berating Lane for forging the signature is really rich considering he has been forging Don Draper for a long time. Plus his little speech about starting over is ridiculously oblivious to the fact that Lane doesn’t look like Don, doesn’t have Don’s talent and wouldn’t get very far being over 50 at that. Plus he isn’t even American and can’t just get another job in NY.

    Don’s pride kept him from compassion.

    • I could not disagree more.

      What Lane did was a fundamental violation of his duties as the financial person for the firm. It was understandable, but not something from which he could be redeemed. The core issue was really crystalized when Dan asked Lane if that was the only check.

      Given that the act was unforgivable, Don was shockingly decent about the whole thing. He did not rise to the bait when Lane provoked him. He offered to cover the money with the firm. He even gave him the best advice that Don has to offer, which the Hobo Code.

      • Dean, I agree 100% with your take. Lane’s actions may be understandable but that doesn’t make them redeemable in a business sense. Offering Lane the opportunity to resign gracefully, and giving him the weekend to devise a way of doing it, as well as not saying anything to the other partners, was as gracious as Don or anyone could possibly be.

        • Thanks.

          One of the many, many things that I love about MAD MEN is that its world doesn’t revolve around Don (or Peggy, or anyone else). Most TV has all its events directly tied to the decisions of its protagonist(s). If they make the “right” choice, then there is a good outcome. If they make the “wrong” choice, then they get a bad one.

          Sadly, life is not like that and MAD MEN reflects that reality. Don (and most of the rest of the characters) makes good choices with horrible consequences and bad ones that work out great. Poor Lane was an example of the former.

        • This is such an interesting discussion — essentially, some commenters are saying that the proper reaction in the situation was justice, while other commenters are saying that the proper reaction was mercy. That’s an age-old debate, and fits in rather nicely with the Easter theme.

          I’m not sure where I stand on the issue — if I had been in Don’s place (but been myself rather than Don), I would have wanted to act with mercy but felt that I *should* act with justice (since that would be consistent with the law). I’m not sure what I ultimately would have ended up doing. Probably acting with mercy and then worried that Lane and I would both be caught.

          • I feel that Don acted on the Middle Path (which is what the Kabbalah calls the path between the pillars of Justice; the Left-Hand Path, and Mercy; the Right-Hand Path).

    • I don’t mean to be confrontational, but what was Don supposed to do, exactly? Tell the financial officer that it’s totally cool he stole money from the firm, that he will cover for Lane and trust him not to do it again? While it’s established that Don can be a jerk (or a total assbag at times) we are talking grand larceny here. Whether Don is known by a dead man’s name or not is immaterial. Don is many things, some not at all nice, he is not a thief. He has earned everything he has, he is the ultimate self made man, spare the name itself. What was he supposed to tell Lane, ” I’ve started over lots of times, but you aren’t American, and you don’t look like Clark Kent, so that’s not an option for you”? He gave the best advice he could, based on his own experience. Lane didn’t off himself because of anything Don said in a heated 5 minute discussion. He killed himself because he lacked the strength , vision and instinct to move forward.

      • I think Don did a pretty decent thing for Lane. He didn’t report him. He would have covered for him. He would have probably helped him start over. But really….what boss is gonna admit to their own garbage in a situation like that. Yes, Don is the ultimate Identitiy Thief, but that is graveyard talk that will never be shared with anyone else at the office. He sympathized with Lane, but he was correct to ask for his resignation.

        • I’m beginning to think that’s the reason Bert went to Don. Bert knows that Don Draper isn’t really Don Draper. Bert could have easily initiated an embezzlement investigation; but that would have resulted in the loss of their creative director and their chief financial officer. He’s intuitive enough to know that if Don wanted to give Lane money, he would have given Lane his own money. But a case would have negatively impacted both Lane and Don. He figured Don could find a way to solve the problem without it going too far.

          • I think you hit the nail on the head. 🙂

          • very perceptive interpretation, ashe_phoenix. I actually thought there would be an embezzlement investigation that would reveal Don Draper’s true identity and pulll down SCDP. What you’ve described is much more nuanced, like Bert Cooper, who sees everything and plays it all out subtly.

          • Alternatively, applying Ockham’s razor leads to this conclusion: Bert saw a check with Don’s signature and decided to resolve the issue there.

            That said, I do see a subtle message from Bert to Don regarding “…letting the adults run the firm”. That is a coded message I believe, regarding the Joan Harris prostitution decision. Don voted no, left before the issue was resolved and now reaps the reward absent the responsibility of deciding.

            It is well known that business is not for the “faint of heart.”

            Nothing excuses the SCDP partners playing the role of pimps, but Don abdicated his responsibility by prematurely departing the board meeting.

          • Nice. Very perceptive.

        • I agree. The other partners would have turned him in, Pete would have been delighted. It’s so sad that he didn’t ask for an advance.. They knew he hadn’t made any money from the other firm. Don would have loaned him the money personally. Joan would have figured out some way to advance his paycheck. Lane was a tormented character, I was nearly teary eyed. Having the Jaguar not start was such a relief… We never found out about his monster father..

          • You’re right, Hawk. Remember Cooper told Don he didn’t have the stomach for a partnership. I think that’s what he meant.

    • I thought Don’s suggestion to Lane made sense, especially after Lane had informed Don of the AAAA offer. While that position, itself, was honorary ( without pay ), it was a peer recognition of competence and an entre to seeking a position with those connected with AAAA. There was a way out for Lane; he only saw another way out.

      BTW- It was unnecessary ( “shark/jump” ) the way Lane’s wife, without consulting Lane, and knowing finances were tight, to go out and buy the Jaguar ( that she paid by check was “irony” but based on prior episodes, I do not believe Lane gave her access to the checks and I do not believe she was a signatory on the account.

      • Rebecca did not know finances were tight. Part of the hole Lane dug himself into was constantly lying to her about their financial state.

        • Well, earlier in the season he told her not to write checks and she had to ask him for grocery money. Also, she had been worried about whether Nigel’s tuition would be paid.

          • Yes, and we now know it was because of money problems. But it seems that what he was saying to Rebecca was that she was careless with money and he was managing her. (Somewhat proven by the way she bought the Jag!)

          • But that was before they landed Jaguar – she probably assumed there would be more money coming in as a result. For the times her beingin the dark about family finances was spot-on, I assume more so among that class of Brits than even Americans. Money was a man’s world. Women got an allowance to run the household and care for the children. Many had no clue what their husbands made in salary, or what debts they might have (remember Pete’s Campbell’s mother’s disbelief that her husband had blown throught the family fortune?)

        • Rebecca seemed like a reaonably intelligent woman it always seemed strange to me that she never figured it out. Even Betty knew when her husband was distressed about something, even though she didn’t know what it was.

    • Lane’s weakness of character was the cause of his death; not anything Don or anyone else did.

      It led to him not being honest with his wife regarding their financial situation, it led to him not asking one of the partners for a loan; and, it led to him chosing the end path he did…leaving everyone else, particularly his wife and son, to deal with the consequences.

      I very much like the Lane character, and JH’s portrail of him; but, what he did is inexcusable for a partner in a business, particularly one who is charged with managing the finances.

      He certainly has his faults…but, what Don did in this case was commendable. I only wish he had not told Megan, I think that was a mistake even if Lane would not have committed suicide.

  25. This episode left me with profound sadness. What came out was a very lonely man who wasn’t able to confide in anyone – either at home or at the office – about what was going on in his life and in his head. That he felt there was no other option but to rid himself from this earth was extremely sad. The questions in my head have been – Could this have been handled by Don in any other way? If he had gone to Roger or Bert – would they have advised him or done anything differently? In my own mind I think the answer is “no”. That perhaps they all would have wanted to fire Lane if they knew he had forged a signature and embezzled money from the company. Should Don have turned a blind eye and give Lane a second chance? What now? Will they discover the extended line of credit he got from the bank without telling anyone? That they are close to financial ruin? I’m curious to know how others feel about Don’s decision.

    • Like last week, I thought Don took the “least bad” option in a terrible situation. The fact that he was ultimately powerless to help Lane did not mean that he did not do everything in his power. Even if Don had been compassionate to the point of foolishness, Lane lied in their meeting. The bonus money came from a loan against projections that are not going to me met.

      Lane would have been fired either way.

      • Dean: I agree. It’s just a hard pill to swallow. I’m also wondering how the news of Lane’s death will affect the image of the company. Obviously the name will be changed, and this may lead to questions about how the company is doing. Also, Peggy’s departure may be seen negatively by clients. I can’t imagine what the last episode is going to be like.

        • I think this is why Don is now putting himself out there as the face of SCDP. Once the clients or potential clients only focus on him and him alone because of his cachet, they are less likely to dwell on the supporting cast at the firm.

          This is what all teams in professional sports do as well to successfully market their teams–focus on one or two individuals that attract the most attention.

          • I also think it stung Don a bit to hear his competitor saying how impressed Jaguar was with Pete Campbell…just another wake up call to Don that it’s time to get back in the game.

        • Hopefully the full extent around Lane’s death will never become public knowledge, simply that he was found dead in his office. Given his age, the normal assumption would be a heart attack and no one needs to be the wiser. It’s why the partners sent everyone home with a “building emergency.”

    • Joan will get busy on the books and find out where they truly stand. Don will tell her (and Bert) what happened with the check.

      As far as we know $7,500 is the only “surprise” – and small in the context of the firm – less than eight months of Joan pre-partner salary. It represents the only damage (as unrecoverable funds) associated with the $50k credit line.

      I’d be interested in what the firm owes Lane’s estate – that is his wife and child. He paid the $50k demanded of the junior partners in S4, his 11-odd% of the firm should have considerable value. What is (was) standard in such partnerships?

      Surely a resignation does not cut SCDP loose of all that?

      • Oh.

        Of course there were the bonuses given out to all BUT the partners – that will multiply the impact.

        • No, at first there were going to be bonuses to all but the partners, but those were rescinded.

  26. One of the things I love about this show is that I am rarely able to see something coming a mile away. There have been a couple of things I saw coming, and I take no joy in Lane’s suicide being one of them. I love Jared Harris, he has impressed the shit out of me ever since he played my all time favorite rendition of Andy Warhol in “I Shot Andy Warhol”. And a hillarious pervy photographer in a film about Bette Page. Lane was so repressed, so internelized and friendless that I just ached for him. This will make it really hard for the office to move forward with the funk of Lane’s misery and failure staining the workplace.

  27. I just finished watching this this morning, and I’m thankful I waited because I would have never gotten to sleep on time! Damn! Lane! I loved him, why couldn’t Don give him a second chance? So sad.

    • Was it really up to Don to give Lane a second chance? Couldn’t an argument be made that Don’s primary responsibility was to SCDP and that he acted accordingly?

      Yes, perhaps he should have perhaps gone the conventional route and consulted the partners before making the decision to ask for Lane’s resignation but that might have exacerbated the problem if the partners wanted Lane prosecuted and sent to jail.

      What Don figured I believe was I will allow Lane to keep his dignity and his freedom and let him get on with his life but I can no longer in good faith have him around any longer because if he embezzles again I will be the one to blame for letting him stay on.

      • I think that Don’s response to Lane’s single act (as far as any of us know) of embezzlement was both perfectly valid, and impulsive.

        Don is an impulsive person. He acted on impulse to steal another man’s identity. He’s acted on impulse in business (“firing” Pete, with no authority to do so, in 1960) and in personal matters — punching Jimmy Barrett, launching affairs with Rachel, Suzanne, and Megan, and proposing to Megan. This is a man who gets messages from his gut, and acts on them.

        I don’t see that there was anything irresponsible in Don’s action to protect the firm from Lane, once he’d discovered the fraud. But Don still did it from an instinctive place (“I can’t trust you”) — and he regretted it, on some level, almost immediately.

        Going into Roger’s office, pouring a drink, ranting about the differences between the business they have and the business he wants? Those are not the actions of a man at peace.

        Watch Don’s face when he realizes what has happened to Lane (and remembers what happened to his broher Adam — and what he had to do with it). That isn’t just guilt: it is the certainty that this would never have happened if he’d acted differently, taken more time to think.

        First Adam, now Lane? What actions would Don undo, if he could?

        • Wow. That’s…a post. Among other things.

        • VERY provocative comment. I have to chew on this one. Maybe I’ll wait for your post. : )

        • Anne B – Good one. Acting without forethought is a hallmark of Don’s personality. He wouldn’t be Don Draper (literally) if he had thought through his actions carefully.

        • Yes, Don was impulsive, but that, in itself, wasn’t inappropriate, given the circumstances. Stepping away, to the extent one can, from the shock and horror of Lane’s choosing to end his life, I’m looking at the impulse that moved Don into the action he took. It was the impulse – instinct even – to preserve his business.

          In the time since Commissions and Fees aired, my thoughts have gone back to the scary and exciting scene we witnessed in the S-3 season finale. In Shut the Door Have a Seat, Don asks Roger and Bert, “Do you know how to do what he does?” (referring to Lane) In that question, we come to understand that the nascent SCDP has little chance of even getting off the ground without Lane. He’s the numbers guy. Roger can handle accounts in his sleep. Don is the creative force. Bert, the wise old founding partner of SC. But Lane brings his special skill set to the mix and is the one who can keep the fledgling firm on an even financial keel, so it can grow and hopefully, prosper.

          Through S-4, he was the steady numbers guy, marshaling and preserving the company’s resources. Even with the catastrophic loss of Lucky Strike, he kept the monetary lifeblood that was vital to maintain the vitality and viability of the firm pumping (sometimes weakly) through SCDP’s system. By S-5, things settled into a state of stability and even modest growth – and then, his forgery and embezzlement threatened to scuttle the ship.

          We’ve learned that it wasn’t simply a matter of the $50,000 credit extension or the $8,000 loan to himself, to get him out his jam with Her Majesty’s Taxman. What posed the most serious threat was his breaking the trust that is inherent in a partnership, whether personal or professional.

          Sadly, the situation that prompted his actions might have easily, though uncomfortably for Lane, been remedied, had he only trusted Don to assist him. He was fully aware that Don would have been in a position to fix things, but instead of turning to him for help, he forged his name and misappropriated funds belonging to the firm.

          Ultimately, Lane’s sin wasn’t stealing. It was that he couldn’t muster the courage to do what partners do – trust one another. His failure to extend that trust, led him to rely upon his own skills and devices and do the thing he was best at – work the numbers, juggle the books, write the check and make an already bad situation much worse. For his business, his partners and tragically, for himself. The irony is that he turned inward and applied the very talents that grew the firm, in a way that injured it and all parties concerned.

          I am sad for Lane and for Don. Lane, for his impulse to go it alone and for Don, because Lane really left him no other choice.

          • It was that he couldn’t muster the courage to do what partners do – trust one another. His failure to extend that trust …

            This illustrates why the MW theme of “every man for himself” is not a healthy mindset to have. Had Lane relied on the team, this situation would have been much better for the firm, Lane and his family. But because it is every man for himself, I think we are headed for even more scarier times.

          • Smiler this is really good and I wish I’d read it earlier. I think you summed up my thoughts on this perfectly.

          • Didn’t Roger do something similar in the not trusting his partners? I seem to remember Roger not telling everyone right away about Lucky Strike departing.

            It is only a television show but such a depiction of a tragedy that it feels almost real.

          • Marylou, that true. Roger should have told the partners about the state of things with Lucky Strike. Instead, he faked a call to Lee Garner, Jr with Bert, Don and Pete right there in the room (though they only heard Roger’s side of the “conversation”). And just this week, Roger finally found out what Ed Baxter told Don, how his Tobacco Letter poisoned things for SCDP with really big advertisers, like Dow Chemical.

            Off the top of my head, about the only time we’ve seen someone in the firm quickly tell the truth about something that could damage the firm, was in S-1 when Pete went to Bert about the Dick/Don identity situation — and he was ignored and rebuffed. Bert even told Don he could fire Pete if he wanted to.

          • And, I should add, the next day Roger faked a trip to North Carolina, for a supposed emergency meeting with the Lucky Strike folks. To his credit, he did reveal the truth about everything to Joan — but then she kept quiet about what she had learned about the Lucky Strike crisis.

        • Great point. I would push it a step further. Not only is Don impulsive, but he is almost uniquely able to get others to act on impulse. That is what makes his pitches great. His seductions worked on that level, too.

          Don is able to access the impulsive quality in others precisely because that quality has worked out pretty well for him. He grabbed his commanding officer’s dog tags and got free of Korea. He tells Roger that he hired him in a black-out and gets into Madison Avenue. He founds SCDP and he gets rich. He marries Meagan after knowing her for a few days and winds up with the most functional romantic relationship on the show.

          The problem is that Don does not understand, or even fully know, what the impulses of others might be. He is human after all. Suicide is such an alien impulse to him that he cannot imagine that it might Lane’s “elegant exit”. It is is mind-set that persists even after Adam made exactly that choice in a very similar circumstance.

      • You have to be very careful about extending what seems like compassion to someone you work with, harsh but true. As a very young charge nurse(23) I realized the End of shift calculation and accounting for narcotic drugs was off. There were only 2 people who had access to the keys to the medicine room and one of them was me. I went through every transaction that shift to see if I had screwed up, but I hadn’t. As per procedure, I called the nurse supervisor to report this. She showed up just after the other person who had access to the keys begged me not to call and that she would never do this again, I didn’t understand what it was like to be a single mom on a low salary and she wasn’t taking the drugs, she was giving them to someone for money. I have no idea what I would have actually done had she spoken to me before I called the supervisor, but I have always had a great fear I would have let her cover it up, not that would have lasted for anytime, it would have been caught eventually, and we would both been arrested and lost our nursing license . So I learned a harsh lesson, sometimes you just have to do the legal thing, not necessarily the compassionate thing.

      • Don’s primary responsbility is not to SCDP, it is to himself. didn’t they give up onthe big defense account because Don couldn’t go through the right security clearance due to his assumption of the real DD’s identity? Remember Pete fell on his sword for Don over that one. Don could have done better by Lane. Take Lane out for lunch, get to the bottom of the problem, figure out whether it can be fixed with Lane staying at SCDP or, if not, how Lane can actually effect an elegant exit. Given someone in Lane’s shoes one week end to figure out an exit is no favor. No one could figure a way out and have a survival plan in one week end. Add the visa issues, even more impossible.

        • I disagree. The context is different. Don went to Pete and said, look, I can’t go through this, I’m sunk. Don said he’d disappear and leave Pete to handle things–which is exactly what Don suggested Lane do himself, by the way. Pete then fell on his sword–angry, but voluntarily.

          Don discovered Lane’s problem only after the check and the forgery came to light. First, the money was a problem (per Bert). Second, the forgery was a problem. Third, when Don gave Lane a chance to confess, he started by denying and continued to deny until threatened with the authorities.

          Don was blind to Lane’s weakness and shame. He didn’t understand that this was a man who would not and could not run or start over. It was, in retrospect, a terrible mistake, but “no favor” seems quite false to me.

          • We’ll ahve to agree to disagree. The idea that Don was upset that Lane would forge someone’s name to help himself out of a jam . . . . don has spent his entire life doing that. Get out over the week end is in my opinion no favor.

          • I see Anne B. said it better upstream somewhere. Don acted impulsively, which Don tends to do, and then sometimes regret. End of the day, maybe Don did have to ask Lane to leave. But if Don had taken the time to really talk to Lane, find out the depth of the problem, realize that Lane had a good point in that Lane kept the lights on for three years, operating at a loss, a huge contribution, the type of contribution that unfortunately goes unnoticed or unappreciated unlike the flashier contributions of a Don or a Michael, while Lane was being drowned in debt due to not getting what he needed and deserved compensation wise. Don being the creative type could probably have suggested a plan, and if Don had taken a bit of time, Don may have realized Lane’s limitations, and done his partner/friend a life saving good deed by giving Lane say a month to leverage Lane’s recent AAA officer gig and whatnot to actually find a new job, or possibly even salvage the situation at SCDP. And of course it grates that SC turned away from business that could have made Lucky Strike less criticial, North American Aviation, because of Dick Whitmans forgery of Don Draper’s identity, and Don was spared. Then Don turns around and tosses Lane out. In the end, it is Don’s impulsive nature that prevented Don from doing something truly helpful.

            • Okay, phrasing it this way is absolutely fair. I agree with what Anne said. What grated on me was your use of “no favor.” Don, with his flaws and failings, nonetheless tried to approach the problem kindly. He can be a terrible person at times, but right now this character blames himself for Lane’s death and I feel for him. He may have done the wrong favor, or an inadequate one, but not “no” favor.

  28. Don understands that HE didn’t win Jaguar, Joan did. Everybody strives to get what they want through whatever means are at hand. Don thought he had that gift, then realized Joan had used a different talent. Now Don has to prove to himself that he can still influence a big account, and the Dow speech is evidence of that. Funny that Dow is the corporation chosen here, such a symbol to those of who lived through this era. ( Halliburton?) Then Lane’s death…something Don could have prevented had he understood the depth of Lane’s agony. Don has earned my admiration in the last few shows, to me he has turned a moral corner, but the firm could be in deep trouble, once word spreads that the financial officer has committed suicide right in the office. How will that be perceived in the advertising world? I agree that Peggy might have escaped at just the right time, can’t wait to see how all the threads are brought into the season finale. Great writing, brilliant production

    • I wonder if they’ll be able to cover up that Lane committed suicide (or if they will at least try to cover it up). Pete said already, as Don and Roger returned from lunch, “No one knows.”

      • It doesn’t have to be suicide. People kick the bucket just at their desks at this firm. Someone died in the office, business as usual.

        Yes, I am being cheeky about it. But there is really no reason for it to be anything more than that to anyone but the partners, Ken, and Harry– both of whom seem smart enough to know when to be discrete.

        And if they do want to note it was suicide, they can spin it in number of ways– homesick, marriage troubles, family issues. People could speculate over a bad affair. For the average Joes and Janes in the office, there isn’t a reason to bring the embezzlement up as a motive.

        • Wait a minute — did you just say Harry is smart enough to be discrete? Gonna have to disagree with that one!! : )

          Harry will blab everything during his next lunch with an NBC exec, bet can your hat on it!!!

          • In general, I wouldn’t trust Harry Crane further than I could throw him (insert your own joke here). BUT I do think that he CAN be discreet when the chips are down. Besides, enough people saw Mother Lakshmi come in his office– and who knows what they are saying about that– that there is some leverage that could be applied on him.

            And what does he know? Lane hung himself. Beyond that, he knows nothing.

            And as far as the preview, those things can be so misleading at times that might as well just feature dancing beans saying lines from the next episode.

      • I think that some of this may be outside the firm’s control. If there is some sort of investigation or examination by government officials (police/coroner/medical officer) in order to issue a proper death certificate, the issue may turn on how convinced the officials are by the evidence.

        Some of it could be a matter of public record–whether the firm wants it to be, or not.

        • In 1967, I think the investigation of suicides was quite different from what it is now. People were much less likely to feel you have to be transparent and public about what actually happened, and police science was primitive in comparison to now. Nobody had watched all those CSI shows; they hadn’t even watched Quincy yet. Things were way more likely to be taken at their face value. I could be wrong, but I doubt there will be much official investigation into Lane’s death. The interesting part will be how it gets spun to the outside world and even within SCDP.

    • I doubt Don could have prevented Lane’s suicide. When one is committed to the act, nothing short of involuntary commitment will (temporarily) prevent it. And Lane did everything he could to hide his financial distress from everybody: partners, wife, colleagues.

  29. Lucas, the Prince of Darkness. How ironic for Lane.

    • You might want to spell that out more. I’m not sure many people know the maker of Jag electrical systems… 🙂 Also, not sure I follow the connection to the dark Prince. That’s Lucifer, right? Different etymology.

  30. I’m wondering what Peggy’s reaction to Lane’s death would be if she had stayed. Joan busted out crying.

    • Remember that Peggy found Miss Blankenship.

      • I dont ever recall Peggy having any scenes with Lane. Joan on the otherhand had an established relationship with him and her outward emotions reflect that

  31. This is very nice Deb. I agree very much with the idea that we lost a human being in Lane and it is another testament to the fine writing and acting that we feel such loss today. Where Joan’s decision last week came to edge of what I’d believe she’d do, Lane’s decision is entirely in keeping with his character and circumstances. It is also very permanent and very sad.

    We can practically see young Lane growing up in the UK bullied and under the thumb of his autocratic father. He grows, is placed in his caste where and, in turn, is bullied by PPL. Change is not an option for Lane as it is with Don. When discarded as collateral in the would-be PPL sale, Lane asks St. John what he will do and he is told that he will make himself indispensible as he always does – with all the freedom and self expression of a robot.

    Lane falls in love with the US the way that Don describes falling in love with the Jaguar. It is free and fast and a little dangerous and Lane loves that idea. Also like Jaguar, The American Dream is famously unreliable. Lane almost made it – he could have thrived.

    On a final note, for reasons still unknown, Colorado and western states have a disturbingly high suicide rate – like over 40% higher than the national average. Helping or at least trying to reach out to others is something we should keep in the back of our minds. The website here: or any number of websites offer some warning signs and ways to help.

  32. I’m heartbroken. Oh Lane, why?

  33. And I thought last week’s epsiode was dark. Oh my. I awoke at 4:30 this morning, really upset about Lane’s death. Yes, sort-of expected it for weeks now, with his money troubles and all, but was still disturbing to watch. It felt very real to me.

    Farewell Lane.

    There have been several references to the Hobo Code in these comments. Could someone please briefly recap that for me and how it relates to Don’s speech to Lane? I recall that epsiode and about reading the signs to determine the character of people who live there, but don’t remember the essence of that episode and how it relates to this one. Thanks.

    • Me too!! I couldn’t sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night automatically thinking about him. I felt sorrow and fear (b/c of how gruesome he looked…great make up btw)as well.

    • I did the same thing, woke up at 4am just thinking about the episode. Superbly acted.

  34. Well, the doomsayers were right about one thing: I always thought a suicide in the office would be too graphic a scene to handle, but what a way to go. It was an iconic episode out of a Cheever story and really true to the spirit of the series. I am speechless after watching it twice in a row. It was awful, but really made sense. Perhaps the most poignant lines of the song will make me remember the tragic Lane from now on: ‘I’ll even close the door so you won’t see me go’. Really sums up Lane. And a perfectly great title (almost sounds like Commiserations and Funerals), but I’ll choose to remember it as 7.5G.

  35. An Aside: Did anyone think the woman in the elevator during Don and Pete’s exchange looked like Joan Crawford?

  36. I thought what was particularly sad about Lane’s final moments involved his last encounter with Joan. His coldly received sexual comment was in such contrast to the playful camaraderie that defined their relationship at the beginning of the season where Joan giggled as Lane delightfully imitated Megan’s “burlesque” act. Christina Hendrick’s poignant dissolve into tears was masterfully executed.

    • Yes, that was sad that Joan will remember her last exchange with Lane in that way, but she MUST take care now to gaurd her image. After making partner in the manner she did, she could not afford to be coy with Lane anymore.

  37. when roger said he had his bets on Lane (not Pete) in the fight scene, now makes me think of us guessing which of those two would be the one to go off the deep end and fulfill the violent death foreshadowing.

    when Glen disclosed his bullying story and Sally talked about how Henry had been bullied but now had power, it made me think about differences between Henry and Don, both having rough childhoods and both being successful but Don not being open and how that creates a barrier for him, especially tragic with his interaction with Lane and how sad for Lane not having a confidant like some other characters do. DIdn’t Lane once say Pete was the only one who was welcoming or nice to him when he came to the company?

    Everything about Lane last night was really sad, from snapping at Joan, who at this point I think was his closest friend, to snapping his glasses (and remembering his father crushing his glasses when he struck him down).

    • I wondered about that — why did Lane break his glasses?

      • I feel like, for Lane, his glasses were symbolic of his milquetoast persona.

        • Agreed. I think, also, that Lane was done looking at the world around him. He decided he was finished seeing things clearly, because there was only one thing left to do, and it required blindness to all else but making sure it worked.

        • Me too.
          They magnified his eyes too and he couldn’t see without them, they seemed heavy. So I think of them as not just a symbol for the world to see, but a burden to remind him of his weaknesses too. This episode really showed the aspect of suicide as act of control.
          The broken glasses also allowed for the visual of Lane having a monocle while trying to fix the Jaguar and whatever British classism reference goes with that. Him trying to fix the car reminded me of Pete trying to fix the sink…

      • From almost the first episode with Lane I noticed that his glasses were usually sitting lopsided on his face, with the eyeglasses dipping downward on Lane’s right eye.

        I’ve worn glasses most of my life and I know how annoying it is (for me) when glasses don’t sit evenly on your nose. I wondered what it meant. Everything on MDD is done for a purpose and his glasses sitting like this were not coincidence. I always wanted to push them up for him :).

        I always took it to mean that Lane felt off kilter and was unable to fix something as simple as his glasses. Because all it takes to fix loose glasses is a trip to the nearest eyeglass store /optician where they will tighten them, bend the earpieces to sit better, fix the nose piece, etc. And they will usually do it for free. God knows how often I’ve done just that. And there are opticians every few blocks in NYC.

        He wasn’t in control.

        • Forgot to include: And he broke them because he was finally done with those damn glasses, and everything else he couldn’t fix. I resonate with that feeling, at least about the glasses.

          • Brilliant, Jan. As a fellow-wearer of corrective lenses, I could not agree more with your thoughts, and I noticed his tilted glasses right away, too.

            Man, I gotta stop reading this site today. Such a downer.

          • …….also Lane was wearing his glasses in bed just before he went to the garage to make the first attempt at suicide…..that looked so pathetic and lost.

        • On the glasses I agree with Brooklyn and all of you. The glasses are about Lane feeling unattractive, weak, and vulnerable. And as you say, they are another thing in his life that he can’t control. You can tell they are a lifetime crutch and it isn’t a stretch to see them playing a role in any number of bullying episodes throughout Lane’s life.

          It was another part of the dark humor to see Lane’s small final triumph in breaking them as a last defiant act only to have to suffer the humiliation of the handheld monocle and tape on the nosepiece one more time.

          How brilliant is that? I still marvel at how well this show does the little things.

          • Speaking of glasses, I remember the scene when the PPL folks were coming, and Money Penny reminded Lane to take off his specs, which he did.

        • Yes and did you notice Joan wearing her spectacles in a similar lopsided way in the season finale? So interesting – homage to Lane, intentionally, as she tries to step into his shoes? No wonder she takes them off after glancing at his chair.

  38. Don let Lane off the hook legally (no prosecution for forgery) perhaps because the legal proceedings would have included an investigation with handwriting experts checking Don’s signature against that on the forged check. Don understood that this may have revealed that he too is signing documents with a name that is not his own.

    The police inquiry into Lane’s death may yet lead this to outcome. Perhaps that is why Don looked worried and rushed into Lane’s office when the suicide was discovered.

    • I don’t think that was what was running through Don’s mind at all. I just thought he felt it was excruciating to leave him hanging on the back of the door. What he did was decent and not selfishly motivated IMO.

      • I agree with Diva. I dont think Don was worried about himself at all. He kept asking if Lane had written other unauthorized checks. He could not trust Lane and told him so. Lane’s good reputation as a CFO is kept intact if the general public does not know how he lied about the finances and then forged a check.

        • Don has good qualities as a manager. But remember how ruthlessly he dumped Sal after his subordinate was victimized by sexual harassment form their main client.

          Don is primarily motivated by fear. That becomes apparent in how visibly anxious Don acts whenever there is any threat of revealing his real identity:

          – When Anna first appeared in looking for her husband.
          – When is brother showed up in New York City in Season One.
          – When Betty found the box with his secret papers and money.
          – When he was being investigated by the Feds for that government contract
          – “Then sign Don”

          And so on …

          • I disagree, I really feel that Don did everything he could to keep Sal employed. Roger fired Sal. Lee Garner Jr. demanded it and Roger complied.Don will do right by Lane. Don will hide the suicide so that Rebecca will get her life insurance and SCDP will collect on insurance they have on Lane.Lane did not have a chance. He couldn’t go home,PPL may have blackballed him. His wife made no secret that she hated living in the States.His partners at SCDP mistrusted him.Lane was all out of options.

          • I dont think Don was ruthless with Sal. Don knew that Sal was gay. He also knew that Lee was married (but not gay). So the married Lee, largest client of SCDP, tells a lie about Sal and demands that Sal be fired. Based on the conduct that Don is told Sal did, what else was he supposed to do? I also dont agree that the partners mistrusted him. Don mistrusted him after the forgery was found out but not before.

          • Bob K:

            “Don will hide the suicide”

            How does one hide a hanging? Will it not be plain to the coroner?

      • DivaDebbie – I agree. It also seemed to me there was a kind of generational/experiential divide between the reaction of Don and Roger to the physical reality of death and that of Pete and maybe the others. Both Don and Roger have lots of experience with death and bodies. They understand the desire to treat your dead with respect. Nowadays most of us have very little real experience with dead bodies (unless you have military experience or are a resident of a crime-ridden inner-city neighborhood). I think that started with Pete’s generation and would have been more common with the wealthy like Bert. Was Bert a WWI vet? I can’t remember.

        But I also agree with George Martin. Don acts out of fear a lot. Not in the case of Lane’s corpse though.

      • DD – I agree.

        I really felt Don was trying to do the respectful, honorable thing for Lane by getting Lane down off the door. I saw fear, compassion, concern, sadness and guilt in Don’s eyes (Jon Hamm was phenomenal in that scene!). I don’t think Don thought the issue through any further than “Lane deserves respect” and any fear he felt was, IMHO, limited to the reaction to Lane’s suicide vs a police inquiry that might expose Don’s true identity.

    • It was a large bit of pot calling the kettle black here. Don all indignant that Lane forged his name. Only Dick Whitman can forge Don Draper’s name! Very sad. I wish they had found a better way for Lane. He deserved better than what he got from the people in his life, both family and non-family. Even if Don could have been worse, he also could have done much better.

    • I do think that a police inquiry into the matter could present some possible problems for Don and potentially the firm.

      However, when Don wanted to rush in and cut Lane down–I think that that came from a purely emotional place that even he wouldn’t fully understand. I don’t think he rushed in there out of fear of discovery, I think he was so horrified that Lane was still hanging in there that he was propelled to stop it. I don’t think he was thinking of himself in that moment.

      Actually, it may not have been smart to cut him down if Don was worried about the authorities. It seemed as though the other partners had communicated with the authorities about the matter, and they may have been specifically instructed NOT to touch the scene.

  39. Isn’t it a little hypocritical of Don to be so self rightious about Lane forging Don’s signiture? After all, He (Dick) has been donig that for years! He of all people should have had some compassion for a desperate man.

    • He did have compassion, as others have pointed out. He allowed Lane to resign rather than be fired. He didn’t tell the other partners. He said he’d cover the $8k. He didn’t call the authorities. He left Lane’s reputation intact and he believed that Lane could start over, since he had himself.

      • I think he did have compassion, but that doesn’t mean his actions aren’t also hypocritical. They can be both.

        I can’t help but wonder if Lane had known something about Don’s origins if that could’ve helped him see that Don could relate to longing and desperation, and to see that yes, this never happened and you can reinvent yourself. All Lane could see was Don Draper, chiseled success with the world at his feet, a man with everything.

        Of course, embezzling and forgery are unacceptable for someone in Lane’s job. But so is desertion for an enlistee.

        • I agree Don was both compassionate and hypocritical. The hypocrisy I see is more along the lines of what Don did w/Betty. Don literally forged who he was to Betty for over a decade. And then he expected Betty to not leave him and accept what he did. Betty did leave Don but kept his secret so that Don could go forward unscathed legally and professionally.

  40. Will they be dropping the “P” from SCDP?

    • Possibly, but firm partners die and stay on in the names. Removing his name may cause more trouble than the gesture is worth.

      • Like Scrooge & Marley: “Scrooge never painted out Old Marley’s name. There it stood, years afterwards, above the warehouse door: Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley, but he answered to both names: it was all the same to him.”

    • Or adding an H for Joan Harris? What about Pete, is he going to move up from Jr Partner?

      • Joan has to be careful so Greg can’t go after any partner holdings (present or future). I don’t think this will be a quickie divorce.

  41. Don was as decent and compassionate as he could be to Lane in his office. He also, having experience suicide in his family and knowing the cause of Lane’s despair, was very compassionate and caring for the dignity of the man in his death. What more could he have done. It always seems that by the time a person is at suicide, he’s already shut out the world and it becomes impossible for any one to reach in and help pull them out.

    Joan is such a real person. While she’s a clever businesswoman and knows how to “play the game,” she’s not afraid of having real feelings and sorrow at the loss of a colleague, especially one who had been so kind to her (in spite of his drunken rudeness the other day). She seemed so vulnerable crying over Lane and brave and vulnerable last week w/the Jaguar man.

    While I wasn’t thrilled with the time spent on Sally, it was a beautiful thing to see Betty comfort her. Betty didn’t know what to do at first. She was awkward at first, but quickly picked up on Sally’s needs. Her daughter needed her in such a unique way. I think her voice evinced some maternal pride and possessiveness as she let Megan know Sally needed her mother. I can appreciate that.

    I think Betty and Joan are alike in many ways. They are of about the same age. They both seem like models of wife and professional women who ultimately give way to the Megan’s (wife) and Peggy’s (working woman) of the world. But, Betty’s cold and clammed up, while Joan is open and warm.

  42. I love reading your recaps. I always have to watch the show a day later. With a new baby it’s hard to stay up that late. But I read your recaps early anyway because I love looking out for the nuances that I may miss. I’m not shocked about Lane but it’s still a shame.

  43. I agree with Deb and others here. Don was more than generous considering the circumstances. Lane is in the primary fiduciary position at SCDP. That is, he controls the company’s assets in trust for the partnership. Lane is held to the highest standard of care with respect to his duty to protect and prudently manage the assets of the partnership. His deliberate action to forge the check and lie about the financial position of the partnership goes to the very core of his role at SCDP and there is no way that Don can overlook this behavior. At this point, Lane simply can’t be trusted and if word got out that there was impropriety in managing the books, it would likely spell the end of SCDP.

    It is another well written irony that Lane is nominated to a committee chair position for what I assume is the American Accounting Association (does anyone have more insight on this?). Lane’s peers are impressed with the way he has managed to keep the fledging SCDP afloat and aside from this unforgivable breach of trust; Lane has done a great job for SCDP.

    It seems that it is a combination of pride and fear that keep Lane from reaching out to others and this eventually puts him in a trap from which he can’t see any escape. Part of what I’m sure will be discussed this week is the differences between Lane and Don when it comes to handling a dangerous game of deception. Don’s secrets come close to destroying him several times but relative to Lane his risks are smaller and he is wilier. Don is a natural chameleon and has better tools to deal with his deception. Lane is ill equipped to deal with the initial problem and digs a hole that he can’t escape from.

  44. IF we want to get cynical (I’m really sad for Lane’s death, but anyway), the show managed to finally play the “suicide card” that we were all waiting for (sort of) without sacrificing a really major character like Don/Pete/Roger.

  45. I have a question. Because the partners all invested thier own money into the firm, would Lane have gotten a payout to recoup the money? I was just wondering. I don’t know how all of this works.

    • I’m like you. I’m in the dark about that as well.

    • While I’m not at all positive about this, I don’t believe the partners would be under any legal obligation to pay Lane out under these circumstances.

    • Who owes what to whom and what happens to Lane’s shares should be spelled out in the partnership agreement.

      However, given the unanticipated nature of his death….if things can’t be resolved; it could wind up in court.

      • Bert and don won’t let it wind up in Court because they won’t want to risk the chance that the stolen identify of don draper will surface. If necessary, out of sympathy and good well and self preservation, they will likely do something to help Lane’s widow and son enough to assure that she won’t bring it to Court.

    • It depends on whether the firm is profitable. It sounds like SCDP is only marginally so. If they were to pay out Lane’s share, they would fall into the red. Perhaps we’ll know more next week.

  46. The scene when Don, Pete and Roger break into Lane’s office and stare at his body for a second (and the camera pauses on their faces together) is emotionally very intense because each one of them, at least once, has thought about the possibility of ending this way.

    • Also because none of the actors had seen “Lane’s” death makeup until that moment. Jared Harris said he was sneaked onto the set, umbrella hiding his face until he got to the office set where he was fitted into his hanging harness. So when Don, Roger and Pete pushed through the door and saw him, it was for the first time. The makeup took two hours.

      • that’s an amazing story, how do you know that Floretta?

        I think Jared Harris deserves an Emmy if this is true. The temptation to sit up and yell “BOOGABOOGA!!” must have been enormous.

        • It was on the CNN report on my IPad app, interesting article.

        • Actually, a better more in-depth look can be found on the sidebar of this website under user submitted news

        • That would be a fantastic scene for a blooper reel.

          Or even if JH said in Lane’s voice: “I WILL NOT SURRENDER!” just as VK cuts his body down.

  47. One thing that I have not seen commented on yet, did it strike anyone that aside from the main plot of Lane committing suicide that this was an abnormally happy episode of MAD MEN? Consider:
    – We got the aggressive, Alpha Dog version of Don back and with it an effective version of Roger.
    – We got some great Don-Roger moments, which highlighted my second favorite relationship on the show.
    – We got a nice glimpse into the functional, if not quite happy, marriage of Don and Meagan.
    – Really, we got peak awesome Don Draper throughout. The only way he could have been any cooler would have been to work in some charming (yet chaste) flirtation with Joan and some kinky sex with Meagan.
    – Ken got one of his best moments ever with Roger. He showed some spine, but maintained his essential decency.
    – Joan has money! She is planing exotic vacations!
    – Betty (Betty!) managed to be both funny, had her best moment as a mother in my memory and zing her rival.
    – Henry Francis got a little depth despite not appearing.
    – Glenn got another sandwich from the Draper household and lessons in being awesome from Don.
    – Pete is on the verge of scoring another good account with an assist from Jaguar.
    – Sally got to break out her Go-Go boots and have a very cool looking lunch with Meagan, flirt with being grown-up and then get some actual mothering from Betty.
    – Meagan did have a great week, but Don did respect her career choice after some initial fumbling.

    It was a pretty great week for everyone until poor, sad and honorable Lane was found hanging in his office.

    • Excellent – I agree 100%. I thought Roger was on fire this week and I can’t wait to get another listen at his lines. It was very decent (and a more balanced narrative) for MW and Co. to put some ballast on the other side of the scale given the darkness of the primary storyline.

      • Roger was great, and it’s nice that he’s starting to appreciate Pete in his own grudging way. I do think that Pete is probably next (soon) in line for a name partnership. Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Campbell… Ted Chaough would say, “It has a nice ring to it.”

    • I wouldn’t call it a happy episode by any means. But, I agree that those were a lot of positives in the episode.

    • Glen driving Don’s car was one of the best scenes ever. Reminded me of Sally and Grandpa Gene. The kid who played Don as a child looks a little like Glen. I liked the flashbacks to being Dick Whitman.

      • Anne B, I agree, Don showing Glen how to drive the car was one of the best – very sweet and touching in the midst of all the sadness in this episode. That scene, between a man and a boy said so much about simple happiness and pleasures, it let Don be a father figure to a young boy whose own father isn’t very present (as Don’s wasn’t except in the meanest way).

        I think it also did something else – it let Don ‘run away’ legitimately by giving Glen a ride back to school. I think Don needed to do that (when Don’s in trouble, Dick runs, as Jon Hamm said in an interview) but in a gentler way, without hurting anyone else by that behavior.

        • I agree, Anne B & tammi. I wonder if it was not only a fatherly moment, but a brotherly one, as well. Dick/Don most likely didn’t get to teach Adam how to drive a car (or many other things an older brother would teach his younger brother) before he left for Korea. A small moment of atonement…

          • (Sorry–Anna B, not Anne B.)

          • LOL it is very similar I would have picked a different name for this site if I had realized

          • oooo good point, Xiola! Don’s gesture may have been more ‘brotherly’ or that was at the least a subliminal part of his gesture in letting Glen drive.

            and sorry, too, Anna-B, for mangling your name. 🙂

    • Dean,

      Lane’s plight and “solution” just cast a pall over everything.

      Thanks for pointing out the leavening in what would otherwise be some very flat bread.

      I was happy to see Don fanning his feathers at Dow (and all the other fixit stuff he did – Roger said he’d missed “that guy”), Sally and Betty having a tender moment, Glen’s confession to about Sally (about his lying to schoolmates) and later assuring her that she’s like his sister.

    • Great post, Dean, I agree.

    • I wouldn’t use the word ‘happy’ for this episode, but you point out some good things about it in addition to the darkness. That can make us all feel better about it. You must be a glass half full kind of guy (I’m assuming ‘Dean’ means you’re a guy).

      It also contained the blackest of black humor when the XKE didn’t start. I laughed outloud.

  48. I saw many examples of shame and in all but one of them, the shamed person was given something that brought comfort and hope. Glenn was ashamed of being bullied but Sally told him you could end up like Mr Francis who was also bullied but now in a position of authority. Sally was ashamed of getting her period but Betty put a great spin on it that I think Sally responded to. Don was ashamed that his company was not providing enough for Lane financially but was given hope by pitching to an upper tier company that maybe will make a difference to the other employees. The way that Don reacted when he heard about Lane and his brother was very similar in body movement. Lane’s suicide had to have reminded Don of his shame of not doing right by his brother but this was mollified a bit by paying attention to Glen’s feelings (as Deborah called in a prior ep attentiveness to signals) and letting him drive. Both of them in their despair was helped by the drive. Lane was the only one who had shame but because he was not comforted by Don’s advice, the results were disastrous. RIP Lane

  49. I suspect Don will help Rebecca out as best he can, probably give her some money, maybe give a little fib on Lane’s reasons for snuffing it. She will want to know why, naturally, not that knowing will make her feel any better.

    • Early in S-5, Pete’s friend on the commuter train informed him that the beneficiary on the life insurance policy he had through SCDP, would be the firm. I’m sure all the partners have a similar “Key Man” insurance policy in place, to protect the firm financially, upon the death of a partner. I’m not sure if Lane’s suicide will affect the payout, but the widow Pryce won’t see a dime – at least from that policy. There may have been a life insurance policy in force that Lane purchased to protect his family, but if not (or if there’s some hitch with a suicide clause) I agree that Don will probably step in and assist her in some way.

      • There’s a real question w/the life insurance policy w/SCDP. If suicide is covered in the life insurance policy, then SCDP could have gotten the benefits. But Lane wrote his resignation letter before hanging himself. So at the point he died he was no longer a partner because obviously he resigned before dying. So the SCDP life insurance policy may be void due to Lane’s resignation before committing suicide.

        That may have been the point of Lane writing a resignation letter instead of a suicide note. Lane desperately needed financial help and he wanted Don to cover for him after the forgery was discovered. If Lane resigned before committing suicide, the firm will get nothing financially. Add to this Lane has extended SCDP line of credit by $50K and they are not ahead $50K as Lane had led them to believe. After Lane’s death the line of credit will be revealed and the firm won’t have Lane’s life insurance policy to cover any of it. So the resignation letter may have been Lane’s final effe you to SCDP.

        • Wow. That would go along with Jared Harris’ comment on one of the video’s that his hanging himself at the office was meant as an “f u” to the firm. Is it wrong that my first thought on this is poor Joan?! She goes through fire only to have a 5% share in a failing firm. Hopefully, Dow comes on board and the firm does well enough to do some good for Lane’s family and keep everyone left employed.

          • Thanks! The “effe you” aspect may have been why Lane first chose to kill himself in the Jag. If the police came and the story was made public it could have forced Jaguar to pull its business from SCDP. Then no Jaguar billing, then the $50K line of credit revealed, and then may be no more SCDP.

            With Joan, as others have said she’ll get the books as Lane’s second in command and will realize what’s really going on. Perhaps finding things out on her own first will lessen the shock.

        • Pete, Bert, and perhaps the others may well see how that resignation letter will hurt the firm – and it may never see the light of day.

          I’m beginning to think the rollout of Lane’s death may be a big part of the finale this season.

          • The resignation letter he left might not see the light of day, but I suspect that Lane might have left a note for Rebecca, at home and who knows what that might reveal. In the investigation, the police will ask at SCDP whether there was a note and also at Lane’s home.

            I’m not counting on this happening, but it would be quite the twist if some quick thinking person just types a new letter & forges Lane’s signature on it, before the police arrive. That would still leave dangling the prospect of a note left at home, but it would be interesting that Lane’s “sin” of forgery is employed to keep things at the firm from falling apart.

        • Excellent and intriguing point!

    • Yeah, I thought of this possibility, too. Good point.

  50. Over this past season I’ve paid some attention to the language used by the characters, sometimes because a certain phrase strikes me as anachronistic. Others have really done their homework:

    In this episode, shit was on the tip of everyone’s tongue, so to speak (Don, Roger, Glenn), but when Don says “Piddly Shit,” when discussing accounts with Roger, it really was jarring to my ear as something that someone wouldn’t say back then.

    If you fiddle around with the Google Ngram site, it seems that this phrase would not be used at all.

    • My dad used the phrase “piddly shit” a lot during that era and beyond.

    • I noticed that too. Still doubtful about “it is what it is”

      • Ya know? Of all the precieved anachronisms pointed out (most of which I disagree with ) that’s the only one I can think of that rang false to me. But a basketcase mentioned or linked something that refrenced “it is what it is” back to 1830 something.
        There have also been numerous complains re: vocal fry. While this affectation may be more prevelant (sp?) now, it has been around for as long as I can remember. In the mid-to late 60’s I clearly remember noticing older girls developing this right about at age 13 or so and wondering if this annoying thing would “happen ” to me.

        • i’m not clear on what you mean by ‘vocal fry.’ do you mean a specific sort of teenage girl pitch in her voice?

          • Vocal Fry is when the ends of your words/sentences descend into the low, croaky part of your register, so a word starts out spoken normally and ends in a kind of growl or purr.

            If you’re old enough to remember the cartoon character Snagglepuss, he had one of the earliest examples of vocal fry in pop culture that I can think of!

          • thanks! i’ll youtube snagglepuss now! 🙂

          • just listened to it…yup..i know what vocal fry is now! thanks for the help…


  51. I too felt tremendously sad about Lane. Karl said it very eloquently on the Open Thread post:

    You don’t end up having to kill yourself to save face. That’s why Don gave Lane time to come up with a “graceful” exit. Don shouldn’t feel guilty to the extent he didn’t know Lane’s underlying issues. But what does it say about Lane, his co-workers, his wife and the period in general that no one knew Lane’s underlying issues but Lane?

    I think that’s often what makes us feel sad when we hear that someone we know has committed suicide–an overwhelming feeling of, ‘I didn’t know things were that bad.’ Wishing that person had shared more with those around him.

    Of course, as viewers, we do get to see the pain that characters go through. And we wish we could warn the others around them to reach out more. I know Joan will feel awful for a long time, remembering her last conversation with Lane. But, how could she have known?

  52. Bert Coopers foreshadowing comment about Jaguar cars in a previous episode: “they never start!” And Sally’s “beginning” juxtaposed with Lane’s “ending”. Nice.

  53. I’ve been thinking about Lane’s comment to Joan and how out of character it was coming from him. I wonder if he did it deliberately since he cared about Joan and knew she cared about him. If he had already decided to kill himself before he talked to Joan he may have said what he said because he thought his death wouldn’t be so painful for her if she no longer liked him. It would be a little boy thing to do but I’ve always thought of Lane as a little boy emotionally.

    • I felt like Lane already knew what he was going to do, and for once just said exactly what was on his mind without filtering it, “properly”.

      • I thought the smile he gave Joan as he left her office was because of Joan’s reaction to what he said. I thought he was please that his attempt to make himself less likeable had worked. It could be he was pleased with himself for saying something that he never would have said before he walked into Don’s office.

      • Interesting. I am a ‘filterer’ myself, I’m also very diplomatic, and I try to say things carefully.

        I work with someone who has no filter. He just says whatever is on his mind. “You have a zit on your face.” (No, really?) :-p

    • I don’t think he intended any harm by his comment about the bikini, I think, like another poster already mentioned, that Joan cannot afford any miscontruance with her colleagues after what happened last week. She must nip all of that easy office banter in the bud. I don’t think Lane was being rude or disrespectful, just that things have changed now, things will never be the same between them.

      • I think he could have made a comment like that to her in their past relationship but not with what had happened

    • I can’t agree that he already knew he would commit suicide — wasn’t the scene where he sat in his office pondering the view out the window *after* the scene with Joan? I took the comment to Joan as indicative that Lane knew his time was done at SCDP; hence, there was no reason to toe the line of British propriety. And maybe — however hypocritical it would be — he felt a little disdain for Joan having gone thru with the partner-approved Jaguar servicing the week before. Though his final words to her, “Bon Voyage” were admittedly a bit telling.

    • Hadn’t Lane already started heavy drinking at this point?

  54. I understand and fully appreciate that a person in Don’s position would have no real choice but to fulfill his fiduciary duty to the company and the other partners by firing Lane — here he was gracious enough to allow him to resign and thought he was giving him a dignified exit. What struck me so forcefully in that painful, beautifully acted confrontation scene was the juxtaposition of what some could view as hypocrisy on Don’s part in talking to Lane so passionately about his inability to “trust” him going forward. Don wasn’t pretending or role-playing and I had a realization that this was far more complicated than what I viewed in earlier, pre-Dick Whitman disclosure seasons as a severe and pathological lack of self-awareness. This scene impressed on me the sense (for the first time) that Don really does have a twisted moral code — he fully believed and meant everything he said to Lane, even as he himself has so often broken faith with and disappointed so many who trusted and believed in him, most recently Peggy. I kept wanting him to recognize and appreciate that Lane was a man who felt he had no options and that he would self-destruct if Don did what he had to do. I was so conflicted because I knew Lane’s suicide would be inevitable if pretenses and appearances were stripped away. Life (and his father) had beaten Lane down. My emotions were varying wildly and I was so conflicted, as I first worried that the offer he received in the beginning of the show would only put temptation to embezzle in his way, ending in a spiral towards deeper shame and public humiliation. When he broke his glasses, he also broke my heart. That meaningful gesture, together with his departure from his usual gentlemanly, respectful repartee with Joan to speak the unvarnished, crass truth of what he was thinking, cemented my certainty that he would indeed commit suicide. What superb acting! I was sick during the confrontation in Don’s office and part of me wanted Lane to be saved from himself and the inevitable — he knew what he did was wrong and he knew full well what the penalty should be. I wished he had been a self-advocate earlier and that he had spoken up for himself, rather than try to justify his bad acts from a position of weakness, desperation and appealing to pity. It was too late for him to point out the inequities in how he had been treated. Too little, too late. Rarely have I felt such a sense of mourning for a fictional character (only Lily Bart comes to mind at the moment). The look on Don’s face when he realizes Lane is still there and they are waiting for the coroner. His determination in unhesitatingly leading the charge and forcing his way into Lane’s office. Grimly pushing past the horror of Lane’s body blocking the door, and conscripting the others to physically hold and support Lane’s body (which we knew was decaying, based on Joan’s physical reaction when she first unlocked the door). I was so grateful they restored to Lane at least some small measure of dignity. His face, yet not his face. A good man who took a wrong turn from which he felt he couldn’t redeem himself in the eyes of his wife and son. Those tragic images were powerful and will stay with me for a long while.

    • Dartgirl – Good points, but one thing I’d add about Don. “Life (and his father) had beaten” Don down, too (literally). These are two men who are the sons of abusive fathers. That makes the cultural and personal contrasts between them really fascinating. A twisted childhood can have such different effects on a son. It turned Don into someone who seems like the ultimate survivor, and Lane into someone endlessly apologetic for his own existence.

      • So true. Don is always nimble (or impulsive, as someone so astutely pointed out) and his life experiences have taught him to look out for and to depend on himself first and foremost. You are right that in stark contrast Lane’s learned response was to always capitulate and try to please.

        Lane sought approval. Do you think Don cares about approval? Does that play any part in his quest for 100% plus, or is he just trying to prove something to himself?

        • In my view, Don doesn’t really need approval very much, and he doesn’t understand a lot about ‘happiness’ either in spite of the fact that he talks about it all the time. He just cares about living to see another day (and sex, of course). As long as he hasn’t been outed as Dick Whitman and turned in to the gov’t as a desserter, he can keep moving forward in life. That’s his main goal. His reptilian instincts get him through. Emotionally, Don’s a really stripped-down guy, I think – survival and sex – that’s mostly it. He didn’t have the luxury of developing a sophisticated emotional apparatus growing up. Then again it could be that getting approval is a signal to him that he’s continuing to be a successful version of Don Draper. (And it could be I’m spending too much time thinking about Don Draper.)

          Oh, and the little boy inside him still longs to get the love he never got as a child, but he isn’t very knowing about how to give or receive it. Like Henry Kissinger said about Richard Nixon, ‘if only this man had been loved’ – a paraphrasing. DD is a lot like Nixon – maybe that’s why he identified with him instead of JFK in the 1960 election during Season 1. No matter how smart you are, having been an unloved child will get you in the end. I think I’ve heard the same thing about Sonny Liston (The Suitcase).

          Lane on the other hand carried around with him all the complexities of a very old very stratified society. Approval and acceptance were everything to him. Maybe Don and Lane are walking metaphors for their respective countries. Lane wasn’t tough enough for the dog-eat-dog world of Madison Avenue capitalism. We were still a new primitive frontier society in the 1960’s in comparison with Great Britain. We probably still are.

          Actually, it’s just coming to me right now that the effects of abusive fathers on sons is a major theme in MM – duh. Pete’s another reptilian thinker who had an emotionally withholding father, but he’s like Lane in that he’s all about getting approval. He’s endlessly angry about not getting enough of it. That’s why he’ll never commit suicide. It wouldn’t be in character if he did. Like Lane, and unlike Don, Pete grew up in a loveless, but sophisticated environment. That allows him to look down his nose at Don.

          Disfunctional mother-daughter relationships are all over the place in MM, too.

          People have most likely talked about these issues on this blog before, and I’m just suffering through a late case of madmenia. Time to shut it down for the night.

  55. Poor Lane. Now Don has the blood of 3 people on his hands. Recall that it was his fumbling with a lighter that caused the explosion that killed the real Don Draper. How will guilt affect Don?

    Don handled Lane’s disclosure about as well as can be expected. Given the current state of the firm, a scandal is the last thing they can afford. Don gave Lane an honorable way to leave and tacitly agreed to keep the real circumstances private. Lane’s pride prevented him from reaching out before it was too late, and Don’s moral code prevented him from looking the other way. The irony is that Don has forgiven others, while others have overlooked his moral transgressions and have allowed him to essentially move forward. For that reason alone, a good case can be made that Don should have at least kept Lane’s secret, just as he has kept Peggy’s and just as both Bert and Pete have kept his. It didn’t have to end this way. The trigger was Bert’s discovery of the forged check. He confronted and then scolded Don. Don received the truth from Lane. By the next morning, Lane was dead. The only person who knew the connection was Don. How long before Bert figures it out ? How will Bert react to knowing that Don was involved in Lane’s death ?

    It was tough becoming a teenage girl in the late 60’s. The world was literally changing by the day. Yet in some ways things were still the same for upper middle class children as they were a generation previous in the world of Holden Caulfield. I don’t think it is an accident that Sally constantly refers to Betty as “phony” and that Glen is so existentially messed up. How much things change and how much they stay the same. Like every young teenage girl, Sally wants to be grown up. She wants to have a boyfriend. She wants to go out on dates. But she is still a little girl inside. She was naturally frightened when her change occurred and she did what was instinctive. She went home to Betty because she wanted comfort from her mother. This was so surprising to Betty that it took her a second to embrace Sally because she did not know how to react. She showed real tenderness in reassuring Sally and then in comforting her. The close up of them on the bed was a beautiful scene. Sally had begun to relax and Betty looked angelic with her head resting on Sally’s shoulder. In that scene is hope for their relationship.

    Betty did not know all of the details of Sally’s day, and I doubt that Sally will tell her about skipping school and her date with Glen. Betty’s call to Megan was to tell her that Sally was fine. Betty’s comment that “she just needed her mother” did, to my ear, have a hint of spite and condescension. Betty was restrained, but she made her point.

    Don having fire in his belly can be good for the future of the firm. Don was correct to use the momentum of Jaguar to pursue new business and this was a point firmly made to the Dow executives. While some may feel that Don’s presentation betrayed desperation, I think he knew exactly what he was doing- he had precise command of products and context, while also directly communicating why SCDP deserves their business. Why ? Think of Pete Campbell. Because of his background, he posesses a sense of entitlement that colors everything he does. The Dow executives are no different. No matter how privileged their background, how blue blooded their pedigree, they still want more. Happiness borne of success is a drug addiction that must be fed. They want more because they feel entitled to it. Don instinctively understood and directly addressed this motivation. Notice the faces of the execs ? They got what Don was saying. The future could be very bright for SCDP if Don can wash the blood from his hands.

    Each season finale was been considered one of the best, if not the best episodes of the respective season. Given what we have seen so far, who knows what to expect ?

    • I think the Dow executives were caught off-guard when they asked Don about napalm and he completely ignored the student protests to demonstrate how to “change the conversation,” as he’d put it. I am waiting to see how Pete will react to not being on Dow at all (and that’s a HUGE account), thanks to Roger and Ken’s backdoor deal. Does Roger even have the authority to make that kind of deal since Pete is head of accounts? I expect some kind of clash about that if Dow decides to take up Don’s offer.

      • Yes they were caught off guard and by changing the conversation, Dow would be on the offensive. This approach is something they are not getting from their present representation. Dow is naturally Ken’s account due to his FIL. Pete is a junior partner, Roger has his name on the door. If Dow comes in, Pete will not be happy because Dow will diminish the importance of Pete’s accounts, but there is nothing he can do about it and when bonuses are paid, Pete will be happy to receive his share of profits.

        • Is it possible that Dow would consider vicks a conflict in any of their products? Can u imagine if Pete’s account got conflicted out by kens…

    • Don’s pitch was clumsy to me. However, I thought Roger was masterful in inserting little comments in to help the meeting along, and even giving a little rejoinder about how the Dow guy was also ‘holding grudges’ to to show them they weren’t going to be complete doormats to these execs. He could be so good if he just gave a darn and partnered with someone solid like Don.

  56. Finally a show I can point to that demonstrates the entire cast’s acting ability. The look on Pete Cambell’s face as he saw Lane hanging on the door; the look on Betty’s face as Megan realized who the real mother was; the look on Don’s face as he stare’s at Glen’s joy of driving a car…, even I remember that one in real life. Everyone deserves an Emmy for this one.

    • I don’t think Megan wants to be more than a friend to Salley. Megan did not look too happy when she walked out of the apartment with salley on the way to meet the redhead (forgot her name) for lunch. I am glad to see that Salley needed her mom. She was acting too grown up, she has enough time for that later.
      BTW…does anyone remember how old Glen is?

    • we’ve never heard him say that so it didn’t seem to fit

    • Pete’s body langauage and “dear lord” were a whole scene in themself. I saw Pete as spiritual in that moment. Vince K is a great actor. I’m so glad we got some focus on Ken, it was worth the wait!

      • I was glad to see Pete show the courage to help cut Lane’s body down; somebody else mentioned that Don and Roger’s soldier instincts would’ve kicked in in that moment, but I think many of Pete’s antagonists would have imagined him too squeamish to even enter the room.

  57. Just read the Open Thread comments and the Recap above, but not the recap comments. You can only do so much reading in one sitting.

    The biggest thing I took away from Episode 12 was how directly it hooked into the central metaphor(s) of the show. You just can’t live like the proverbial shark, always moving forward, never looking down or back. Don has tried sooo hard to do that and has been remarkably successful at it ever since his earliest Don Draper experience during the Korean War. He has also been incredibly resilient (unlike Lane), but how much longer can he move forward unhindered by all the baggage he’s taking on, year after year, season after season, getting older and older?

    I felt like this episode could have been titled The Weight (although the Band didn’t come out with that song until the next year). Commissions and Fees communicates pretty much the same idea; the cost is getting higher and higher – too damn high (or maybe not, considering the things he’s done).

    DD will now be carrying around the weight of 2 suicides that he feels responsible for, the failure of his marriage to Betty, his inadequacies as a father, his miserable childhood with that pain of never being loved, as well as the constant anxiety about the possible revelation of his army desertion and the basic fraudulence of his very persona. How much more can one man carry before he finally sinks? Also, he has no one of substance to prop him up – no real friends or family, and the strains on his present fantasy marriage are continuing to show. Even though he rejected the possibility of becoming a fully integrated personality when he broke up with Faye, it’s more than likely going to be forced on him by circumstances, and he could pull everyone and everything around him down since he’ll have no control when it happens. He’s a magnet for tragedy – what a reckless life. What a compelling character!

    Hence, the falling man. He’s sinking. I think the gaping elevator shaft we saw earlier in the season may symbolize the abyss into which he’s going to fall, rather than someone’s death, a lot like the skyscraper that he plunges off of in the title sequence.

    It’s all pretty depressing and makes me feel like his end is likely to be public exposure and prison for his ‘original sin’. Maybe that’s what MW has in mind for the ending of the series. I wish Don were going to be driving along on the Pacific Coast Highway in that sporty red convertible with the ocean breeze whipping through his unmoving hair as he finally escapes all the ugliness of the advertising world and what he’s done in it. He can even afford a beach house in ’60’s Malibu with all of his money. Oh, the carefreeness of that image! It ain’t gonna happen, though.

    It was lovely to see Roger and Don back together, a pitching team again, but it’s a fleeting image most likely. Too bad.

    Here’s to hoping that Episode 12 was the darkness of Good Friday, and Episode 13 (or maybe Season 6) will bring us the rebirth of Easter. The storyline of Sally and Glen can give some hope for that, but ultimately not likely, I think. We’ve been watching that falling man since Season 1 and he’s not going away. Still, at the end of the title sequence he’s sitting nonchalantly on the couch in his usual pose, so maybe there’s hope he’ll land comfortably.

    • Spectacular insights! WOW! This should be its own post! GREAT! Thank you!!!!

    • VERY well done! Wow. I completely agree with the falling man assessment. You wrote it beautifully and I think you are right on. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  58. …… an Observation

    I had to tell you guys that I actually drove a Jaguar this weekend at a Classic car cruise on Route 66. I asked my friend who owns the car if these cars were unreliable and had a hard time starting? My friend told me that he has owned 2 new Jaguars and has owned his (the one I drove) 1952 Jag from 1960 to this very day! He told me that he has never had issue with it starting! He did say that the electrical system may perform better in our Texas climate.

    I had been thinking of the last weeks episode when I asked my friend about the reliability of the Jaguar and how it related to a television show that I watched! He understood about the similarity of this car and a mistress! He said to me that his Jaguar is very much his mistress. He then said something relevant to this episode! He said that if you can’t afford to own a (Classic or New) Jaguar don’t get one…… He said you will work 3 or 4 jobs to keep her running, and adorn her with gifts and bodywork. If you can’t afford one you will end up killing yourself! WOW!!

  59. I just rewatched this episode. I was so engrossed in Lane’s story, I did not fully take in Sally’s story. I wanted to know if anone caught the line that Salley said to Glen in the musem. Sally remarked that Henry used to get picked on and now he runs the city. Did Sally say that she wonderd why Henry did not leave her mother? And did Glen say that she could not make that happen?

    • Big Red, I think Sally said she felt guilty because she was trying to get her mother to leave Henry, and Glen advised her not to try to make it happen.

    • sally feels guilty for wishing Henry would leave Betty, and Glen says she doesn’t have to feel guilty because she can’t really make that happen by wishing it.

  60. Lane didn’t leave a suicide note. Instead, he left what Roger described as a “boilerplate” resignation letter. Roger and Bert were stunned by Lane’s death. Joan seemed inconsolable. Only Don had any idea of the actual circumstances that were behind what Lane did.

    I wonder if he left any kind of note for Rebecca, at their home. And if he did, I can’t imagine that it would reveal much more than the letter they found in his office.

    Hopefully Don will help her out financially, if Lane made no provision for her. I also hope Don will be able to give her some words of comfort, though I doubt that he’ll be at all forthcoming about the actual circumstances that led to the suicide.

    • It was speculated above that the resignation letter might sever the life insurer’s obligation to pay on Lane death. I speculated that the partners might therefore destory the letter.

      First, however, they would be well advised to suss out what note (if any) Lane left for Rebecca.

  61. a plot question regarding when Don suggests that they fire Ken if he stands in the way of the pitch to Dow Chemical. wouldn’t his father inlaw be furious if Ken had been unjustifiably fired and refuse to work with SCDP?

    • I have to wonder if Ken’s father-in-law is even capable of outrage over the poor treatment of someone, given his position at Dow Chemical, They manufactured Napalm and Agent Orange. Thousands of tons of both substances were dropped on Vietnam, randomly raining death and destruction, maiming and killing untold numbers of civilians and scores of American troops.

      • I thought the history of napalm dating back to WWII was really interesting. Having come of age during the Vietnam War, I never knew it had a longer history.

    • I don’t think Ken’s father-in-law is like Pete’s. Pete went for Clearasil with no hesitation not long after getting married. I think in Ken’s family, the business stays separate, which is why Ken didn’t want SCDP to go for Dow and he indicated that they should “force” him onto Dow rather than leave him out of the loop entirely. He doesn’t want to bring business into the home life; but if it must be there, he wants it in his hand to take responsibility for what happens. Pete’s involvement would jeopardize that and probably involve more immorality than he wants to answer for.

  62. After watching the episode yet again, it strikes me how much Roger is somewhat indirectly responsible for both Lane’s suicide and Joan’s situation last week. Think about it–if Roger had not lost the Lucky Strikes account, then the firm would not have needed an infusion of money from each partner. It was this $50k bailout that got Lane in tax trouble. And for Joan, if they had not had that one night stand, Joan would not have gotten pregnant and now find herself as a single mother. It is hard to say if she would have agreed to her liasion last week were it not for her circumtance as a the sole breadwinner.

    I am not implying that Joan and Lane are not also responsibile for their roles in these situation, just curious that Roger’s immature behavior is at the core of both scenarios.

    And, I still miss Lane. Stunning performance by Jared Harris.

    • Yes, I don’t disagree–but by that token, there were a lot of other slip-ups by many other members that also could have helped the financial bottom line sooner.

      If Don had paid attention to Heinz (and business generally) from the beginning, they may have made money sooner. Instead, Don spent a lot of season 4 drinking and in a funk as a result of his divorce. Then when he married Megan, Don was so distracted by getting Megan to flash him, getting her to leave work, taking Megan to the HJ, fighting with her, and then leaving her there. And then yelling at Peggy.

      If Rodger and Pete hadn’t had such petty jealousy, maybe they could have worked as a more effective team — instead of against one another.

      Rodger is so strange to me–he and Don had never discussed why Don didn’t think they could get meetings with certain people. Then–when Don tells Rodger what Ed said–snap! Roger says not to take it too seriously and suddenly Rodger comes up with all of these meetings. Was there no real communication at all?

      Bert finally stepped in and called Don about being on “love leave” –but maybe he waited too long? Yet, the partners seemed to be having meetings without Bert–maybe it wasn’t all his fault.

      Lane actually tried to go out and get Jaguar himself–way out of his skill set. Maybe if he had let one of the others handle Jag from the beginning? And what if there hadn’t been the ridiculous incident of the gum?

      And is there any truth to Ed Baxter’s comment to Don? About businesses avoiding them because of the big tobacco letter? Did the letter help or hurt the firm overall?

      In the beginning of the new firm, it seemed like everyone understood they all needed to work hard and pitch in to make the new firm work. Somewhere along the line –pettiness crept in and people got too distracted with other things.

      The others could afford the distractions–Lane couldn’t. Perhaps they should have asked more questions–undoubtable Lane should have found a better way to handle his needs.

      Just as an afterthought—how much money did Rodger throw at Peggy to help him one weekend? And then how much did he throw at Harry to switch offices? And we know Rodger also got Ginsberg to help him another weekend. And he offered money to Joan for Kevin.

      And Don had money to lend. He’d already helped Pete.

      I wish Lane could have found a way to ask–and to ask a long time ago. He seemed to know–when he was talking to Joan–that on some level he should have asked for more. He advised her to ask for more. But somehow he could not do it himself.


  63. I am surprised at how little has been discussed about Sally. It seems that this episode was about death and renewal. Lane’s death and Sally becoming a woman. I thought it interesting that Betty did not hug Sally when she came back home as a scared “child” but did snuggle next to her when she had become a “woman”.

  64. This week marks 40 year anniversary of the AP photo of the little Vietnamese girl running naked after a Napalm attack. MM writers are so great with historical accuracy.!

  65. I was very impressed by Ken this week, when he said that he did not want Pete on an eventually account, I knew Pete had got himself a powerfull enemy.

  66. Watching Lane methodically attempt suicide in the Jaguar was so profoundly sad to me. All credit to Jared Harris and the MM writers for his character development over the years; I really felt like I was watching a real person commit suicide.

    I’m starting to think that suicide is 90% due to a person’s psychological makeup and only 10% (or less) due to adverse life circumstances. There really are people like Lane who would seem to have it all (loving spouse, children, wealth, etc.) and yet still apparently live with such gut-wrenching sadness and hopelessness that they feel the need to end their lives. Meanwhile, there are people who survive homelessness for years, still seized with the optimism to live life and keep trying.

    Others have said that they will never be able to see the show the same way again due to the prostitution of Joan or the departure of Peggy; for me, it’s Lane’s suicide. How can they even continue to work in that office?

    On the plus side, I think Lane’s death makes it virtually certain that Pete won’t die/commit suicide, as you couldn’t really have two such incidents with major characters on a show like this.

  67. So far there have been two “unattended” deaths in the SCDP offices. The State of New York has specific laws and regulations dealing with such events.

    Of course Mad Men uses its own logic, so we need to suspend disbelief and follow the story, only later considering the way it actually would have gone down.

    Perhaps Ida Blankenship regularly was under the care of a physician, but since her own doctor was not with her when she died, her death required an investigation by the Medical Examiner (not coroner) of the City of New York. Besides an autopsy, witnesses would need to be interviewed. Until a death is ruled natural or accidental, the investigation is similar to that for any other crime. This means that before anyone could remove the body the offices would have been secured by police.

    Considering that the death of Lane Pryce was an apparent suicide, which is a crime under NY law, it makes no sense that the NYPD was not already on scene and securing physical evidence before Roger and Don returned from the Dow meeting. In the criminal justice system think about the reaction of homicide detectives, the Medical Examiner and the Manhattan District Attorney? The un-witnessed boiler plate letter of resignation would be vital physical evidence.

    Back in Season 4 “Beautiful Girls” Bert Cooper ordered the body of Ida to be taken to “Campbell’s” which implies he was referring to a leading Upper East Side funeral home. In Mad Men logic that was possible. Did Bert intend that the body of Lane would be handled the same way? Does Bert have that much influence? It would make more sense for Bert to be using his influence to get a judge to place any findings of the NYPD and ME under seal.

  68. Just a thought about the season as a whole. It’s about Don’s evolution from where he was at the beginning of the series (dishonest, closed, reckless.) . Each of the partners represents a possible “future for Don (Kind of like A Christmas Carole) if he doesn’t change his ways. He could end up like Roger–Sleeping with a string of empty women/girls and not even really enjoying it–and nobody really takes him seriously, or Pete–mean spirited, angry, dissatisfied playing a role in a life he was pushed into or Lane–and we all know what happened to him. Or he can choose to live a “Chevy” life rather than a “Jaguar” life. Chevys may not be flashy but they are reliable and get you where you want to go. Jaguars are superficial–look nice on the outside but kind of useless and you pay a high price. You may impress others but at the end of the day you’re not going anywhere. Helping bring happiness to Glen a the end of the show could be the beginning of the “new Don” who cares about others.

  69. I dont remember what the circumstances were but there was a moment when Pete was complaining to Ken that they did not have larger clients. And Ken told him the way it works is that we start with Topaz, a small client and then slowly build up to the larger ones. Now we see Don complaining to Roger about Topaz and the other small clients and it is just ironic that the person they go to for the solution is Ken’s father in law.

  70. The season is basically over (save the finale), yet two things JH and MW have said have not yet materialized.

    First, JH said in an interview to Total Film magazine,

    “There’s a lot of his (Don’s) past still to be mined, and a lot of that is revealed and explored this season.”

    Excuse me? Unless the finale is going to be pure flashbacks I don’t see how that’s going to happen. Here’s the link to the article.

    Second, MW spoke to the NYT about the Season 5 promo poster and said,

    “By the end of the season I guarantee you’ll know what it is about.”

    Excuse me again. The most I can get from the S5 promo 12 episodes into the season is a “My Fair Lady” parallel w/Don and Peggy. Here’s the poster.

    What the store behind Don (St.Nicholas)? The whole store front concept? The idea of reflections? I can see themes (viewing from the outside, prostitution, etc), but not the kind of certainty MW seems to assure. Also, Don looks haggard and worn in the promo. Yet in S5 we’ve seen “happy/insipid” Don. The promo poster and S5 don’t seem to “click” the way MW guarantees.

    • Sorry typo, What the (about) store behind Don (St.Nicholas)?

    • Poster: Naked woman is Joan, man in chair is Jag exec. Don is pained–catching his reflection and wondering “when did our firm become a team of pimps?” He let us know how he felt about whorehouses earlier. He was helpless — he couldn’t protect his mother or Joan. Hopefully it will occur to him to at least try to protect Sally.

      • LadyK,

        I agree w/your points. I was just hoping for something in the season which dealt with the outside of the case.

  71. I didn’t know Lane would commit suicide, but the foreboding music, as he forged Don’s signature (“Christmas Waltz”) and the image of him stepping in front of Roger’s Riley facsmilie….made me worried.

    Lane almost dissolves into the abyss, as he stands in front of this painting, pouring himself a drink (“The Other Woman”)….It was one of those shots that really made me pause- I knew it was rife with meaning, but didn’t know at the time why.

  72. What really strikes me is that–with the “every man/woman for him/herself” attitude that has come to the fore this season–there has been a total breakdown in trust. Peggy can’ t trust Don to show up and pay attention-nor can she trust him not to throw money in her face. Don cannot trust that Peggy will smile and support him. Ken can’t trust the firm to ignore Dow, nor Peggy to honor the pact. Sally cannot be trusted to be upfront about grandmas accident, nor can she be expected to stay home. Granny Francis cannot be trusted with kids. Rodger and Marie cannot be trusted to be appropriately discreet. Lane cannot be trusted with the books. Lane couldn’t be trusted to land Jag. Lane couldn’t trust the firm to get it’s financial act together in time. Megan couldn’t trust Don not to drive off on her. Joan couldn’t trust the partners to avoid asking for certain favors. Joan couldn’t trust Greg to support her- and he couldn’t trust her to support him. Pete is not trustworthy when it comes to Trudy, Rodger, and his train buddy. Betty cannot trust her body.
    Anyway- with all of this as background- to what extent will people like Bert and Pete trust Don when they want answers about Lane?

  73. Betty’s talk about Sally’s period meaning good – and healthy – things about Sally’s body was something else. I bet this is not the discussion Betty got from her own mother, and that anything relating to womanhood and sexuality probably was fraught with shaming and scare tactics. For all the bad parenting that Betty pulls, she really stepped up as a mother here.

  74. I think the suicide attempt in the Jaguar is a goof on the audience, not a nod towards the mechanical problems with Jaguars. You cannot start the car if the tailpipe is blocked. Lane should have run a hose from the tailpipe into the car. Instead, he blocked the tailpipe and therefore the car couldn’t start. See Beverly Hills Cop and the banana in the tailpipe scene. The audience apparently believes this was a goof on Jaguar – it was a misunderstood goof on Lane, and hence a goof on the audience that misunderstood the goof.

    Also, Don had no choice but to fire Lane. When the person in charge of your money steals your money, no matter the reason, he has to go immediately. No ifs, ands, or buts. This is especially true in the advertising business. When clients place buy orders, the agency buys the spots and the money is all run through the agency. The client pays the agency, the agency then deducts the commission and pays the newspaper, tv network, magazine, etc. where the ad is run. If the client pays the agency and the money is embezzled from the agency, the client could end up having to pay for the same ad twice. This has, in fact, happened with ad agency embezzlements. So he had to go. This is why Don mentioned the fact that clients could not know about the situation. Lane also did not help things with his stream of excuses/rationalizations (you made more $ than me from the SC acquisition by the english ad firm, you make more $ than me, my tax issues were from selling stock to pay capital to you, etc.). If he can rationalize it, he will always find a reason to steal. He has to go immediately. The other partners would have agreed and probably would have called the police as well.

    I have read hundreds of comments about the show and as far as I know, no one has mentioned the fact that the car won’t start with neckties stuffed in the tailpipes. The four strokes (intake, compression, ignition, exhaust) cannot work if the exhaust stroke is blocked.

    • Brilliant catch.

      Yeah we are more about menses than mechanics around here.

      • I meant “Yeah we are more about menarche than mechanics ”


      • Don’t you usually find more menses than womenses in mechanics?

        • (ever wonder why it’s not called “womenstruating”?)

          • I’m almost–ALMOST–forced to go to that old joke about Menstruating, MENopause, MENtal breakdown…

            but I won’t go down the bashing road no more…

    • I briefly wondered about the blocked exhaust issue myself – but went ahead and laughed at the Jag goof anyway. I desparately wanted Lane to see it as a sign that he was fated to live and suffer.

      Don made the most of a bad situation vis a vis Lane.

      However, I imagine that an ad firm would (in the large majority of cases) pay for embezzlement out of its commission – not by double charging a client for ad purchases. Such would be fraud and is the reason for audits.

    • The car has dual exhaust tailpipes. Lane shoved the cloth in around the hose in one tailpipe for a snug fit and then stuffed the other end of the cloth into the other tailpipe. Presumably the car would be able to start with only one serviceable tailpipe.

    • Either way, the fact that the unreliable Jaguar thwarted Lane’s suicide attempt was sady ironic for all the reasons the other brilliant posters have discussed above.

      One thing I must add is, even though a man can “finally own” this thing of beauty, she still has a mind of her own!

  75. Not too much has been said about Betty & Sally’s touching scenes (understandably overshadowed by poor Lane), but I just want to say how deeply happy I was to see the two of them together hugging and truly bonding. As someone did wisely mention above, these scenes are shot more from Betty’s point of view, showing how very fulfilling it is to her to have her daughter (finally?) coming to her in her hour of need, which I think every mother hopes she will raise her daughter to want to do.

    As a new mom myself of a 16-month old daughter, I was brought to tears by those scenes. I felt so happy for Betty and what tragic sadness it was for her and Sally that she’d be so surprised and hesitant when Sally hugged her for comfort. But I was so glad that Sally did, that she wasn’t afraid to. It made me feel so hopeful for the two of them, after all the difficult times they’ve had. Such a beautiful scene of mother-daughter bonding and coming of age.

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