Ok it was called “Commissions and Fees” and if you still haven’t seen it yet, go count to 4400 in the corner and the rest of us will scoot our chairs closer together so you don’t overhear us.
Zomg this episode. Last week, the week before it, and this week really felt like a return to Weiner Form. Not that I don’t love a good foreshadowy digression into ominous times they are a’changin’ land (“You can say whatever you want, but I’m not sure that’s the way I like you.”), but sometimes you just want to see a show that’s comfortable in its skin do some strutting.
So Lane. Lane Pryce. He had to pay taxes on his portfolio, and what with running away to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce camp, and kicking in the extra 50K to see them through the Lucky Strike disaster, and moving his family back, and spending money at the Playboy Club…he was broke. Soooo he did some embezzling. Under the guise of bonuses! That were then cancelled. So it was just regular stealing. We’ve known all season that somebody wasn’t going to hold up under the strain. There was some feinting that it might be Pete, that it might be Don without Megan as his rudder, or even Roger in his post-LSD momentary humanity. But nope. Lane. His fancy Jaguar wouldn’t start, so he betook himself to work and gave them a big ol’ eff you (but a polite, understated letter of resignation to go with it) by hanging himself in his office. Which was horrific. I loved the set up though – first, the knocked-over table through the barely-open door, then Pete, Harry and Ken peeking over through the high windows (which was harkening back to the absent Miss Peggy Olson who similarly peeked into a different office just last season….). And finally through Don, who is the one to say “You can’t just leave him like that” and force his way into the office, the grisly reveal. (SCDP claims another life! RIP Ms. Blankenship!)
I don’t think Don liked Lane, their uncomfortable prostitute and porn bonding experience aside. But when he heard that someone who came to him asking for help had died, after he turned them away, I don’t think he thought of Lane. When Don took that staggering sideways step into the nearest chair and covered his face, he was thinking of Adam.
He was thinking of his brother.
Don knew that Adam hung himself, and that is what that gut check was all about. With Adam, Don’s old “that’s what the money is for” method of problemsolving backfired, because what Adam needed was compassion and family. With Lane, Don wouldn’t offer the money or offer compassion. And now even though Lane’s mess was his own fault, that echo is going to haunt Don. The associate with whom I watched this episode was convinced it was going to send Don into a hate-shame spiral; I came to the opposite conclusion, and felt vindicated by his immediate offer to drive Glen Bishop (i.e. little brother surrogate) home. Same way he offered to drive Suzanne Farrell’s brother home.
But that aside, Sally Draper’s a woman now! Raise your hand if you knew that of course as soon as she had a boy over, snuck out to the museum, and had a stomach ache…that she was definitely about to get her MONTHLY BILL. i.e. fee or commission. My aforementioned associate was all “I thought she was just nervous!” because my associate is a dude. If I can stop to overshare for a moment, I suffered through part of my first …woman-becoming…at the Met, so I feel a deep kinship for Sally while also being jealous of those fabulous boots. And as soon as it happened, she didn’t want to be a woman in the city, on the prowl with Megan and her redheaded friend, sneaking boys over. She wanted to be a little girl at home, and Betty was so startled she could barely get her arms around for a hug. Love the instinctual confederacy of Betty and Megan, though, to keep from embarrassing Sally any further. I also loved the little details like the way the perfect curl in her hair started falling out as they walked through the museum – she did it by herself and in a hurry, of course it wouldn’t stay.
Betty’s face as she curled up behind Sally was interesting too–maybe she’s pregnant again (dun dun DUN?!) or maybe she’s just remembering why at one point she was happy to have a daughter.
Her exchange with Don at the beginning was priceless, oh and SUPER FORESHADOWY — remember when she was all “Would you have any problem with me strangling Sally”? Add that to the very Hitchcock-shaped shadow that went past Lane’s window when he was sitting in the diner getting his 4-H award thingy and you have quite a few nods and winks to Lane’s impending doom.
Did Lane deserve a second chance from Don? I dunno. I’ve been told I take a pretty hard line with people–liars, cheaters, stealers, general demonstraters of assholery….they don’t get a whole lot of lengthy shrift from me. I think Lane seems like Mark McKinney’s character from Slings and Arrows. He came so close to being a person. He was a proud man, sure, and at times a kind one, though he also was a gross drunk and an unfaithful husband. As a Mets fan he knew an underdog worth backing when he saw one. He knew how to do a thing that nobody else knew how to do, and he probably deserved more appreciation than he got. I’ll always remember him on the phone wishing Mr. Sheffield a “Happy Christmas” in the season 3 finale– the man knew how to burn a bridge as well as finance one.