Mad Men Season 5, Episode 12: The Last Act of a Desperate Man
After Don forces Lane to resign, he goes to Roger, tired of all this piddly shit, to get some fucking deals done. Pete gets calls but he thinks small, probably because he’s the only one doing anything, and small calls are enough to get a nice pat on the back from Bert Cooper, which is all he wants really. Maybe Don realized that the piddly shit only worked when the accounting whiz was there to operate the books on a loss for three years. No one understood or cared about Lane’s value to the company before then; his speech about commissions and fees gets a sarcastic “That is interesting” from Roger.
Ah, those commissions and fees: Jaguar’s knockout blow to the late Lane Pryce. Let’s not overlook Jaguar’s role in his demise. He was the unlikely partner who found the business, basking in the glow of a World Cup victory with a fellow expat. When Lane couldn’t seal the deal with that fellow over dinner, the other partners take over the business and win the Briton over with a comely prostitute. But she was forgetful and left a wad of chewing gum in his pubis for his wife to find. The business was on hold for a while, until persistent Pete learned through the contacts he cultivated that the Briton was out and someone else was in change. Jaguar was holding a competition for their account, and SCDP* eventually got it, but not in time for the Christmas bonuses. Lane of course needed those to pay off the funds he stole from the company, but no one else understood or cared about the books, so no one else would have even noticed the embezzlement unless there was a good reason to look—and now we’ve come back to the commissions and fees.
*What now? Sterling Cooper Draper Campbell? If everyone wants to piss Pete off, they can do Sterling Cooper Draper Holloway (I don’t see why she would keep Harris as her last name other than it’s the 1960s). Or maybe they keep it Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce out of respect.
Jaguar the company may have had a hand in killing Lane, but not Jaguar the gift-from-his-wife. Lane set his affairs in order over a cup of cognac before seeking an “elegant exit” in the car from the company that had plagued him. It would have been a poetic finish, but those cars are notoriously troublesome. I found that scene somehow funny, also fitting. Sure, Jaguar provided him with some unfortunate circumstances, but Lane still had to destroy himself. He did so twice: when he forged Don’s signature instead of asking him or Roger, and when he hung himself in his office.
So this is a final farewell to Lane Pryce, who, in his heyday, was great to watch. Here’s Lane learning that handjobs take place in movie theatres, there he is punching Pete in the face—oh look, he’s over there, calling a busty girl like a nervous schoolboy.
Only Don knows the real reason behind Lane’s suicide, but Bert knows about the check at least. Will that be brought up? It’s a storyline worth looking out for I think. Next Sunday, in the afternoon before the episode, I will go over all the storylines that may be resolved in the finale, which you may read.
Sally got the screen time that wasn’t devoted to Lane or Don. She marches closer to womanhood. She is good at manipulating Glen’s feelings, but she is a good manipulator overall. Glen clearly wanted to do something with Sally, and he thought his moustache would impress her.
Some other Mad Men things I read after writing this:
Grantland – Recap
Grantland – Power rankings