Mad Men Season 5, Episode 10
Wow. It seems that Lane Pryce has skyrocketed near the top of the Suicide Sweepstakes, what with his embezzlement scheme gone awry. He desperately needed that Christmas bonus to pay off the money he stole from the company, and now that he hasn’t, his (seemingly) random choice of forging Don’s signature instead of Bert or Roger’s, may spell doom. Not for him, but for Don a.k.a. Dick, who might come under scrutiny by the taxman, the most scrupulous investigator around.
This review/recap/word vomit will be short because I have things to do, and this episode seemed mostly like groundwork for future plot developments. Don and Megan’s marital problems will probably come to a head soon, but for this week they both just bite their tongues—Megan when Don makes a snide remark about her stand against advertising after seeing an anti-consumerist play, Don when Megan indignantly throws a plate against the wall after he stayed out late and didn’t call. Roger’s depression at the end of last week continued here, exacerbated when Joan refuses his offers to help their baby financially, and will likely remain with him unless perhaps his only friend Don goes carousing with him.
But that seems unlikely, because Don finally woke the fuck up at work. Maybe all it took was a little seed of unhappiness; why go to the office on weekends when you have the perfect wife at home? But as that speeding session in the Jaguar was clearly meant to show, Don yearns for something, probably Joan. Apathy is the cousin of contentedness, and Don’s declaration at the end of the episode serves three primary purposes: to keep him away from Megan, to get him closer to Joan and to fill the void he just found in himself.
Finally, Harry Crane gets some screen time, with old friend Paul Kinsey. Kinsey has awoken in Krishna consciousness but isn’t as fulfilled as he expected to be. He wants to write teleplays for the nascent Star Trek, and he thinks Harry—with all his Hollywood connects—may be able to help. (Finally, someone respects Harry’s status and connections! I’m sure that padded his fragile ego.) Harry reads “The Negron Complex” and pities the author, who, Harry knows, is a man near the end of his rope. Because of that, he can’t plainly tell him that his script is hogwash, as callous Peggy suggests. A sexy Krishna member has doggy-style sex with Harry in exchange for his word that he won’t pull Kinsey out of the cult, since he is their best recruiter. (Again, it’s better for selling when you are personally unhappy.) Silly woman! Harry’s word means pretty much nothing, and he gives Kinsey 500 large to try to make it on the west coast. Who knows what Harry tries to achieve with this move, since he seems decided that Kinsey is not a good scriptwriter. I’d like to hear your opinion on this in the comments.
Other Mad Men features that I like to read after I write this:
Mad Men Power Rankings at Grantland
Molly Lambert’s weekly recap at Grantland
Jezebel’s weekly recap
Deer in the Xenon-Arc Lights: Mad Men – Christmas Waltz
Polentical: Matthew’s recap, whenever it comes out.