Final score: Don Draper wins the night by asking for Lane Pryce’s resignation. In Season 5, Don is Mr. Integrity, which is a perplexing byproduct of marrying Megan. Don is responsible for SCDP and not responsible for how Lane reacted to getting fired. While Don may feel sadness about Lane’s death, he should feel no liability.
[You can page down for the play-by-play or read my review of the night starting here.]
With Lane’s departure, the biggest question in the season finale next week is who takes Lane’s place at the agency. Joan can probably handle most of the finance and accounting of the firm, and she is now a partner, so does SCDP become SCDH? Even that acronym sounds like a better fit for the show.
Lane was a vestige of the British invasion story line from Seasons 2-3. That plot line was contrived, as was Lane’s decision to jump to the new company. He extended himself without redefining himself, and he paid the price.
Lane Pryce’s character was weak. He won’t be missed. His departure is the right move for Mad Men heading into the Season 5 finale.
Thanks for joining me! See you next week for Mad Men‘s Season 5 finale.
11:03pm: While taking Matthew Weiner’s creepy son back to school, Don asks him what he’d do if he could do anything. The answer: drive Don’s car. Given Lane’s attempt to drive drunk earlier, Glen is the safest driver in tonight’s episode.
11:00pm: The SCDP crew, despite being told by the police not to disturb Lane’s body, have disturbed Lane’s body. They also take a note on his body, which is just a simple resignation letter. Lane can’t even do goodbyes right.
10:59pm: Don, Roger, and Pete break into Lane’s office and see his body hanging from the ceiling. Considering Sally’s maturation into womanhood earlier, this is the second-worst visual on Mad Men tonight.
10:58pm: Bert Cooper informs Don and Roger that Lane Pryce hanged himself.
10:57pm: JJ and Sally Draper, something, something. Lane’s dead!
10:56pm: Lane appears to have died. So who gets his racing green Jaguar?
10:55pm: Joan: “I think something’s terribly wrong in Mr. Pryce’s office.” A little understated, but she’s not a copy editor, so…
10:54pm: Joan attempts to get in Lane’s office, but it’s blocked by a chair.
10:53pm: Another Mad Men commercial break observation: We’re getting a Foxwoods ad in New England, and it sure makes gambling seem like the avocation of young, pretty people. That’s exactly how I remember Foxwoods at 11am on a Monday morning.
10:51pm: Off-topic during the commercial break: Bing search is now positioned as how “search goes social.” But what if my group of friends all use Google for search and Facebook for social? Do we really want another layer in between us and information?
10:49pm: JJ triumphantly calls Megan and celebrates Sally’s period, stating that “she just needed her mother.” Actually, JJ, Sally needed any female authority figure, and Megan was out at auditions, so you continue to be her second choice.
10:48pm: Sally heads back to JJ and Henry Francis after getting her period. She takes a cab back from Manhattan at a $25 fare, which is $171.48 in 2012 dollars per Dollar Times, my favorite inflation calculator.
10:47pm: Don to Dow Corning: “What is happiness? It’s a moment before you need more happiness.” So…why be happy?
10:46pm: Don to Dow Corning: success is temporary. As evidence, he cites the Vietnam War. This is a good start at a pitch meeting.
10:45pm: Ken’s father-in-law is taking Don to the woodshed in his Dow Corning meeting for his anti-tobacco letter.
10:42pm: Hey, it’s an Audi commercial. I’m guessing Jaguar didn’t want to advertise after Lane’s failed effort to start the car.
10:40pm: Sally is becoming a lady in the museum’s ladies’ room, and AMC decided we should see visual evidence of her maturation. Not necessary.
10:39pm: Matthew Weiner’s creepy son is less creepy and more boring. He just called Sally a “little sister.” Borrrrr-innnnng.
10:38pm: So Sally and Matthew Weiner’s creepy son, two teenagers interested in each other, alone in an apartment, decide to leave and go to a museum. Courtship was different in the 1960s.
10:37pm: It’s Monday morning and everyone’s getting ready for meetings. Sally’s meeting Matthew Weiner’s creepy son, Don and Roger are meeting Dow Corning, and Megan is meeting rejection at her next audition.
10:36pm: Lane goes into the office late on Sunday night to type a letter. Perhaps it’s his suicide note?
10:35pm: Sally Draper invites Matthew Weiner’s creepy son to Don and Megan’s apartment in the city. I sense an educational opportunity.
10:34pm: Lane’s trying to off himself inside his Jaguar through carbon monoxide poisoning, but he can’t get the Jaguar to start. He can’t even succeed in killing himself.
10:33pm: Sally Draper just poured a metric ton of sugar into her coffee.
10:32pm: Laura on Megan’s makeup: “She doesn’t look good with a skin-tone lipstick.” I confirm.
10:31pm: Lane is sober now on Sunday morning after getting drunk two days in a row. I think it’s Sunday. I’m as sure as Lane is of the date.
10:30pm: Commercial break. John Malkovich loves Portuguese sausage. This and many other insights, courtesy of Siri.
10:28pm: Lane vomits in the parking garage, due to some combination of alcohol abuse and financial abuse. Lane’s wife appears to still give him the keys.
10:27pm: Lane’s wife bought a Jaguar? And she’s giving her clearly inebriated husband the keys to the car?
10:26pm: Lane returns home to see his wife waiting on him for dinner. Can Lane even afford to go to dinner?
10:25pm: Megan complains to Don about how awful a person he is. Don responds by telling Megan that he had to fire Lane, mainly because Lane is a worse person than Don is.
10:24pm: Don arrives home to Sally on his couch, watching TV. Why does Don work? Does he even care about his family? He just let Sally cancel school because his meeting’s more important. Again, parenting in the 1960s is complicated.
10:23pm: Ken to Roger: “I don’t want a partnership. I’ve seen what’s involved with it.” But beyond that, he won’t stand in the way of SCDP getting the business of Ken’s father-in-law.
10:22pm: In lieu of firing Ken, Roger attempts to get him out of the way by asking him not to pick up the phone when his father-in-law picks up the phone.
10:21pm: Sally lands on Megan’s doorstep. Megan is nervous.
10:20pm: Don tells Roger to fire Ken Cosgrove if he won’t leverage his family for SCDP’s benefit.
10:19pm: Roger to Don: “You used to love “no.” “No” used to get you…[motivated?].”
10:18pm: Don to Roger: “I don’t want Jaguar, I want Chevy.” I prefer Ford.
10:17pm: Hey, it’s http://keepamc.com right before the Mad Men break. Interesting.
10:15pm: Is Lane going to jump out the window? I’ve always wanted to use “defenestrate” in a entertainment context.
10:14pm: Lane makes a lewd comment to Joan, because now he can.
10:13pm: Wow, no commercial break? That was too tense.
10:12pm: Don to Lane: “I’ve started over a lot.” It’s easier to start over when you invent a storyline, of course.
10:11pm: Lane to Don: “What will I tell my wife?” Well, hold on now — doesn’t Lane’s wife hate America and want to return to England? This works well for everyone! And Don will cover the amount that Lane embezzled. This is a tidy bow.
10:10pm: Lane to Don, angrily: “I have operated on a loss for three years!” Don to Lane: “I can’t trust you.”
10:09pm: Don asks for Lane’s resignation. Don to Lane: “You embezzled funds and you forged my signature.” Well…yep. Lane is now crying.
10:08pm: Don and Lane are now speaking about the embezzlement. Lane denies that he embezzled it initially, but Don is a good liar and therefore knows a good liar. Don asks Lane repeatedly if the check is the only one, and Lane fires back by stating that the Christmas bonus cancellation “was his money.”
10:07pm: The bomb drops! Bert Cooper, of all people, discovers Lane’s embezzlement and assumes that Don gave him a Christmas bonus. Here we go!
10:05pm: Sally Draper is arguing with January Jones about wearing sweaty boots. JJ threatens to lock Sally in a trunk, then calls Don and asks for permission to strangle her. Parenting in the 60s was complicated.
10:04pm: The SCDP partners are meeting sans danish, then start discussing whether they’re willing to switch their payment structure. The danish would have made the discussion more interesting.
10:03pm: Lane is about to get an unpaid position as the financial lead for a professional association (the 4 As?). He’s successfully embezzled before, so here’s another chance!
10:01pm: Don meets a rival at the barbershop. The rival praises Don for winning the Jaguar account, but fails to mention the real winner – Don’s hair.
10:00pm: It’s time for Mad Men! Let’s see who sells out this week.
9:57pm: In more predictions about The Killing, I bet the killer is the Canadian who was on Tilt, ESPN’s hit poker drama in 2005. Tilt‘s tagline: “You’re playing poker. They’re playing you.” I usually play blackjack.
9:54pm: I’ve now been briefed on the plot of The Killing and I’ve learned that Duck Phillips did the right thing by letting Detectives Mr. and Mrs. Killing check in the key evidence. This makes up for the his behavior at the Clios.
9:50pm: Duck Phillips is on The Killing! He’s gone from being an alcoholic ad man in New York to a police lieutenant in Seattle. Is that an upgrade?
9:41pm: The shark jumps back in the water this week on Mad Men. Joan Harris has returned back to the office, with gossip abounding about why she received her partnership. Of course, if someone else were on the receiving end of a partnership, Joan would lead the gossip hounds, which is exactly why it’s still odd that she would sell herself into the role. Maybe she felt vulnerable financially, maybe she felt her youth slipping away, or maybe she felt that an abrupt 180-degree turn on her character made sense. If so, then I wish she (or the writers) would explain her motivation, because absent that, last week still seems like it’s non-canon.
This week’s episode promises genuine character development, as Sally Draper will be “going out.” If she’s going out like a regular teenager in the 1960s, it’ll be a pleasant night of movies and milkshakes. If her shark jumps like Joan’s did, she’ll probably drop acid and swim to Manhattan. Anything can happen now on Mad Men.
See you at 10:00pm Eastern!