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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
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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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Ava-mila

@MadMenfan welcome to the club then :) every Betty fan is more then welcomed.. Sadly I think we saw the last of her for this season though, since the finale again looks like a Megan heavy episode :( At least her story ended on a good note..
Kenny surprised me as well, I think he's trying to kick Pete out of the agency.
And I still think Joan is way too smart to be fooled by one Pete Campbell, she should have known that he would play dirty and she should have kicked his ass at his first speech about Cleopatra. In the end it was her choice, nobody forced her. Now that she's lost Lane, another friend after Peggy she is going to have a even harder time.

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*continuation of previous message* When Don came to her apartment to tell her she should not do it, it made a huge impact on her. But as we all saw, it was too late.
Anyhow, as I really like Joan, I think this way we'll get to see more scenes with her from now on. Kenny's and Roger's scenes together in this week's episode were really powerful. I hope Peggy won't be M.I.A. next season.. I still feel so sorry for Lane, but all in all another amazing episode. Mad Men really is one of the best tv shows ever made.

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Poor Lane, I can't believe he's gone. He must have been really desperate.
And although I understand Don felt like he couldn't trust him anymore, I still wish he handled the whole situation differently.
I'm really going to miss Lane, I enjoyed all story lines involving him. I'm a Betty fan too and I hope we get to see more of her next season.
I really liked Betty's scenes with Sally this week, especially because sometimes Sally can be so obnoxious, even mean.
Betty really loves her children, she just doesn't know how to show it. I have to say, I'm starting to slightly dislike Megan, she's so obsessed with becoming an actress, everything else has to come second because of it.
She's been acting more and more selfish lately.
There's more to life than just a career. And I still believe Joan slept with that Jaguar guy last week because she thought everyone was ok with it. Even Roger and Don.
I think it made her feel very cheap, so she went ahead and slept with that guy.
When Don came to her apartment to tell her she should not do it, it made a huge impact on her. But as we all saw, it was too late.
Anyhow, as I really like Joan, I think this way we'll get to see more scenes with her from now on. Kenny's and Roger's scenes together in this week's episode were really powerful. I hope Peggy won't be M.I.A. next season.. I still feel so sorry for Lane, but all in all another amazing episode. Mad Men really is one of the best tv shows ever made.

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I didn't think Lane was acting out of character at all by forging Don's name and then committing suicide. He was facing financial ruin; the prospect of having to face his abusive father as a failure; the loss of his British pride--makes it easy for me to understand. When you're young, it's easy to bounce back. Lane was a settled, middle-aged man. He had more to lose. Also, he was the sensitive type. Don commented that he had had to start over lots of times, but Don is a different kind of guy. To Lane, the prospect of starting all over again was akin to climbing Mount Everest in his bare feet (dumb analogy, I know, but you get my drift). I love Don, but I do think he could have handled the discovery of the check differently. Everything Lane said was true. None of them would be sitting there if not for him, and he never did get the accolades that the bigger personalities got. I felt he deserved some consideration. Anything but having the rug pulled out from under his whole life.

Ava-mila

I liked that Don took care of Glenn. This kid seems really lost and unhappy, he is being bullied and his mother never really cared. It was a big gesture of Don to let him drive and make him happy even though Sally did a mistake by inviting him over without asking first.
Oh Lane, poor Lane. I felt so sorry for him, I knew it was going to happen as soon as Don fired him. First I was angry at Don, but it really wasn't his fault. He was even willing to pay for him and to not tell the others. It was a bit too much that he hung himself just like Don's half brother did. Don seems to be cursed or something.

Ava-mila

Hey Queen, I'm here :)
I was just writing that Dan Forcella (the reviewer) isn't the only Betty fan, we are too! We can make a Betty fan club, it would have 3 members but hey, that's a start!
I'm so glad Sally finally saw who her real mother is. I mean Megan is great, but more like a fun older sister. Betty is her mother, the one she will fight with as loud as she can but also the only one who understands and be there for her in times like this. A mother isn't supposed to be your best friend, she is supposed to love, care and raise you up. I had my problems with Betty's ways sometimes but I think her children always come first no matter what. She would never have left Sally alone the whole day like Megan did, she would cancel the audition and stayed with her daughter even if they only screamed at each other.

Queenbeethegreat

clearly it cut my previous post again ... I begin to think that putting Joan through the pimping-out last episode was the excuse to bring her in as partner (and with that give her a bigger role with more screentime?). I think they could have done that differently instead of letting her and almost every other character act totally out of themselves but well, probably they have some bigger picture in mind that we can't see yet ;)

Queenbeethegreat

At first you could see Betty could hardly put her arms around Sally...Is she that afraid to show her daughter affection? She has to be the worst TV Mom out there Really, that's what you're going with? She was clearly surprised that Sally finally needed her again as her mum without acting like the spoiled brat she is and not pretending to be an adult. I guess it had been a while since Sally had put her arms around Betty or shown any affection whatsoever so I guess why she was surprised and therefore hesitant at first. When she comforted her while Sally was lying in bed one could clearly see how much she loves Sally and is thankful for that brief moment when she got her little girl back.

Queenbeethegreat

@Betty Draper, where are you? I want to talk with you about MM! ;) I didn't think that anyone would die bc I didn't really see it have an impact like it would have on a show like Grey's Anatomy or any other show that is mostly focused on the relationships between characters but in the course of the episode I did expect Lane to kill himself. Tbh I never liked his character so I am not really sad about it but I see why they did it: Bc Don was the one who found out about his embezzlement and fired him. So he's going to be the one feeling responsible for his suicide. I guess it's either going to be another downward spiral with him going back to his usual ways (cheating) and his relationship with Megan is going to be not like it was before. I also think that the Business-Don we've all known from previous seasons is coming back again. I begin to think that putting Joan through the pimping-out last episode was the excuse to bring her in as partner (and with that give her a bigger role with more screentime?). I think they could have done that differently instead of letting her and almost every other character act totally out of themselves but well, probably they have some bigger picture in mind that we can't see yet ;)

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The last 2 episodes have been excellent! I too would've preferred not watching the stained undies. But Sally's attitude is all part of the teenage rebellion. I prefer to watching MadMen kids then The Good wife brats any day!

Mad Men Season 5 Episode 12 Quotes

I already said no, or should I leave so you all can do whatever you want?

Don

This is a big win for your little agency.

Jed
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