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Mad Men Review: It Turns To Crap

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Well that makes two straight episodes down the stretch of Mad Men's fifth season that gave the audience an absolute bomb.  Last week it was the combination of Joan deciding to sleep her way to partner and Peggy quitting SCDP, and in "Commissions and Fees" it was the death of Lane Pryce.

Wow, did that seriously just happen?  When he failed to get the job done in that brand new Jaguar, I thought it was just a fake out.  I figured it was going to be one of those deals where he made the attempt and then somebody helped him to stop round two.  No, no, no.  Lane was seriously motivated to end it.

Donny D.

His final push to get out of the money trouble, and the embarrassment that would come with losing his job, was a horrific one.  Not only for the man who lost his life, but also for the individuals who found him like that.  That had to be the most tragic moment in each of their lives, and the make-up people did such a good job that I bet it was even pretty troublesome for the viewers.

Am I sad to see Lane part ways with the world like that?  Absolutely.  Will I miss the boring plots he has been giving Mad Men this season?  Not at all.  I enjoyed the Brit last year, but in 2012 he has been lulling me to sleep with all of his troubles.  Although his act may not have been good for anyone on screen, it may have been a positive for those of us watching off screen.

Before Lane ruined everyone's day, over on the other side of the park, things were happening.  Glen made jokes about the animals, he and Sally agreed they didn't like each other in a certain kind of way, and Sally, yes little Sally, became a woman.

As the only Betty Draper fan on the face of the earth, I couldn't have been happier to see her smile, hold her daughter in her arms, and be there for Sally the way she needed to be comforted.  I felt bad for Megan, though, who obviously felt awful about how everything went down.  Darn Mother Nature!  If Sally hadn't gotten her first period right then and there, none of that craziness would have happened!

Not that I expect it out of Don, nor should he have done it, but if he had spent the time with Sally on Monday, she probably would have been better off.  Don had important things to do, though.  How about getting his swag back?  The man, like Lane, was on a mission in "Commissions and Fees."

Fortunately for all, his wasn't also suicidal.  No, he wants to bring SCDP back to the promise land.  He wants to get Dow Chemical.  He wants to steal Firestone.  He wants to land American Airlines.  The man is confident, he's motivated, and he was even getting me all fired up in both his discussion with Roger and his pitch to Ken's father-in-law.

The penultimate Mad Men of the season also had a nice gesture by Don to let Glen drive himself home at the end the hour, and a couple of awesome guest appearances to begin the episode (Ellis Dewald from Beverly Hills Cop 3, and I think the heckler from Happy Gilmore).

What did you all think of "Commissions and Fees," TV Fanatics?  Did it even come close to comparing to last week's outing?  Were you surprised by Lane's success?  Are you handling it well?  What about Sally?  Are you glad she was comforted by Betty?

Check out some of the more memorable lines in the Mad Men Quotes section, and then sound off in the comments!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
  • 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (88 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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(Part 2) OK, the reason for this idiotic plot that Lane doesn't borrow the money openly from the firm is is extreme pride -- that's why he wanted to marry a black playboy bunny. He's so stuck up. Why would he be embarrassed -- he incurred the tax liability raising 50K for SCDP! It's just asinine! OH, and when Don threatens to "fire/resign" him -- if Lane feels it is so wrong -- why didn't he say, "Gee, maybe I should drop a dime on your being a war deserter and fraud. And Don Draper of all people, a closeted fugitive, who ran away from Korea when others had to return to battle, LIED about it to his exwife, is saying "I can't trust you", and being so high and mighty. It's ridiculous and rather disgusting. Oh... the writing's been bad this year... and the Don Draper character going beyond anti-hero to pure scumbag borderline sociopath.

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MORONIC Writing this season! OK. Lane is a PARTNER? Yet his salary/share is so low he can't afford 7K in back taxes? He cannot get a bank loan for it? He cannot borrow it from his father? He's a CFO, yet too stupid to realize he owed capital gains taxes on selling his portfolio? He owed the 7K because he SOLD his portfolio to fund 50K into SCDP? And as a financial professional didn't realize he owed taxes, yet along have just given them 42,500? HE GAVE them 50K to keep them floating and yet he cannot just GO to them and say, oops doing that caused me a tax problem -- I need to company loan of 7K for a few months? And did he get the 50K back? Don't they OWE that back to him? He invested it for more share? The it is 100% unbelievable he wouldn't borrow it from the firm/richer partners! He's a CFO and his wife WRITES huge CHECKS for cars without checking the balance? He's a CFO but can't put his family on a budget or share the financials with his wife? Right -- the answer is extreme pride and ego -- that's why he wanted to marry a black playboy bunny. He's so stuck up. Why would he be embarrassed -- he incurred the tax liability raising 50K for SCDP! It's just asinine! OH, and when Don threatens to "fire/resign" him -- if Lane feels it is so wrong -- why didn't he say, "Gee, maybe I should drop a dime on your being a war deserter and fraud. And Don Draper of all people, a closeted fugitive, who ran away from Korea when others had to return to battle, LIED about it to his exwife, is saying "I can't trust you", and being so high and mighty. It's ridiculous and rather disgusting. Oh... the writing's been bad this year... and the Don Draper character going beyond anti-hero to pure scumbag borderline sociopath.

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I love watching Mad Men and am a big fan. I think the finale is going to be great ending in a big cliff hanger for Don. The clues are there, his wife is drifting away, he will blame himself for Lane's death, the letter in the paper is starting to haunt him. He has lost Peggy, his little girl is growing up and is starting to feel guilty about Joan, even though he tried to say it was not him.

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How could people be saying Mad Men is in stride. Lane's wife buying him a jaguar on the day he is fired is just a stupid, overdramatic plot typical of many many other shows. Mad Men used to be better than this contrived crap. Anyway as for the comment about Don not being able to fire Lane, he didn't fire him - he made him resign. Lane could have gone to jail for forging the check and stealing money, Don forced Lane's hand.

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Wowwy wow! What an episode. Megan made a deal when she married Don and is now going back on it. This is the irritating thing. She's backing out of the deal. Game change in the middle and Don is like huh?
Lane's death had to happen. He was always baggage.
Pete's a creep but he did cut lane down and every once in a while he does have a redeeing moment. Not many but enough to keep the character interesting.
Last scene was genius.

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cont'd again-- It is kind of shame that we've lost two great actors from MM (Moss and Harris) and yet Jessica Pare will remain. She's fine as Megan but definitely not up to the caliber of the rest of the cast. @Zmilch- I don't think we will see Megan depart yet. I believe they'll be dragging her into the next season, tbh. @Queen Bee I really don't get how Megan is being selfish by pursuing a career either. What is she supposed to do? Sit around the penthouse and wait for Don? I've enjoyed this season except for the episode with Harry and Don at the Stones concert and the OOC actions in last weeks events. Can't wait to see what happens next week and how Lane's suicide, Joan's promotion and Peggy's departure reverberate throughout the office!

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cont'd-- I was shocked that they showed Lane's corpse yet glad they did. I love that they didn't back down from showing the reality of death, especially given how much TV glamorizes violence. I think it's insane that some people are more horrified to see a little dab of blood on Sally's panties than a hanging dead body! I don't think Don is responsible for Lane's death at all. Don offered Lane a compassionate way out and there was really no way of knowing, unlike us viewers, the depth of Lane's despair. I do think going forward that Don will feel a sense of culpability, just because it is human to wonder what one did or could have done to make a difference in these circumstances. I love Sally, don't dislike Megan and have never subscribed to the "creepy Glen" memo (the kid is simply a horrible actor) but I do think there could've been less time devoted to them. I was dying (no pun intended!) to get back to Lane and Roger/Don at Dow. It is kind of shame that we've lost two great actors from MM and yet Jessica Pare will remain. She's fine as Megan but definitely not up to the caliber of the rest of the cast. I've really enjoyed this season. Can't wait to see what happens next week and how Lane's suicide, Joan's promotion and Peggy's departure reverberate throughout the office!

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Can I be included in the Betty fan club? She's not my favorite character but I still like her! The scene with her and Sally on the bed was really great. Perfectly played and touching. I worked out a while ago that Lane would be the one to die this season so once the "previously on"s ran I was like "oh sh*t, here we go". Unlike Dan, I've always liked the character and the perspective he brought to the show. Jared Harris is so great and I actually wish we had seen him more this season! In "the Other Woman" I thought there were a lot of terribly out of character actions but not in this episode. However, like with the prior episode, I wanted more build-up to such a big event. I wish we had known more about Lane's financial situation earlier. Maybe cut out a little Megan to make room for both Lane and Joan's stories? Wouldn't have taken much, really. Still, the episode itself was solid and Harris/the rest of the actors hit it out of park. I was shocked that they showed Lane's corpse yet glad they did. I love that they didn't back down from the reality of death, especially because TV glamorizes violence (even in death). This is exemplified by how some have reacted more to a little blood on a panties to a hanging dead body!

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So the show is back on form and the next in the finale. I for one will be waiting impatiently for the next series. I didn't think so, only two weeks ago, when the whole thing seemed to be drifting aimlessly. The Jaguar failing to start was hilarious (they rarely started easily, so the story goes). The irony of finding him dead in the front seat of the Jag! But it wasn't to be. Breaking those damned specs was also a great touch. If only he had shrugged off that British reserve and explained the situation to Don in the first place. But the envy and resentment of all Don's co-workers is cleverly portrayed. It is going to be difficult working in that office in the presence of Lane's ghost with thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls. We are in for a furious, defiant and unforgiving Megan in the final episode. She'll throw Don out, take the apartment and he really will have to start over again. With fire in his belly. Won't bring him happiness, however.
Can't wait ...