As Sally Draper enters womanhood, things come to a head at SCDP as Lane Pryce makes an “elegant exit” on Mad Men.

Mad Men, Season 5, Episode 12, “Commissions and Fees”—Well, it’s coming to an end, and things are changing at SCDP. All of the hints of death we’ve had this season—from Pete’s experience watching car crashes in driver’s Ed class to Don’s near death experience down an elevator shaft—things finally came to a head. In the last few episodes, the writers seemed to be honing in on Lane Pryce. With his pressure of not being part of the team to his financial troubles that led to him to embezzle money from the company, you knew something was going to blow. Also, remember when Don was doodling a noose on his memo pad? It was a clear indication that someone was going to hang, one way or another. Sadly, it was Lane.

It was a hard scene watching Don confront Lane in his office about a bonus cheque Lane forged and cashed. But once again, Don showed class and care with Lane by giving him the chance to confess and bow out without harm or incident. So after Lane downs what appears to be half a glass of Canadian Club he tells Don he feels lightheaded. Don tells him “it’s relief.” But at that moment you couldn’t help but know that it wasn’t relief for Lane or simply that moment where “when one hits rock bottom you can only to go up from there.”

After Don gives Lane the weekend to think of an “elegant exist” he goes home to find his daughter Sally at his place and Megan not pleased that she’s there. Constantly bashing her mom, Betty, all season it was both interesting and pleasant to see that a girl needs a mother and not a girlfriend to take care of her. It seems Megan has no rules for Sally and as Sally mentions in the episode, let’s her do whatever she wants.

After she calls her old friend Glen (Matthew Weiner’s son) to come visit the two sneak off to the Museum of Natural History and have an awkward date. But when Sally suddenly feels ill, she goes to the bathroom to find that’s she’s just had her period. In a panic she runs home to Betty. In the end, “a girl just needs her mother,” Betty happily tells Megan over the phone.

Back to Lane. When he goes home to think of his elegant exist he gets a major surprise from his wife, a new Jaguar. Another European import, like Lane, who’s not quite fitting in. This big purchase by his wife causes an already drunken Lane to hurl and at that moment, I couldn’t help but think Lane would die in that car. He tried, later that night to commit suicide by plugging the gas pipe but that damn jag wouldn’t start. Later, we see him in his office at SCDP typing a letter. In the morning, Lane’s secretary tells Joan she can’t get into Lane’s office, so she tries to barge in. Next door, she tells Pete, Ken and Harry to look in Lane’s office where they see that he’s hanged himself.

When Don and Roger get back from a meeting, they find Burt, Pete and Joan together in an empty office. It was heart wrenching to see Don’s reaction to Lane’s suicide knowing that he felt somewhat responsible to urging it on. It was even harder to watch Don, who after he finds out that Lane is still hanging in his office tells everyone that “they can’t leave him like that,” go into Lane’s office and cut him down.

In the end, when Don goes home to find Glen there he gets reminded by Sally’s young friend that “everything always turns to crap.” Offering to drive Glen home, Don asks Glen, “if he could do anything what would it be? Apparently it’s something as simple as driving, and Don lets him drive home with a little steering guidance.

So will the agency change their name Sterling Cooper Draper? Or, will they add a Campbell or Harris to the name? It remains to be seen on next’s week’s season finale.

Mad Men airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.


—Toni-Marie Ippolito

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