Mad Men has been on a steady course to run the gamut of water cooler topics this season, and in their penultimate Season 5 episode, they checked off a big one: suicide.
We’ve been watching for weeks as Lane Pryce self-destructs over owed back taxes.
It was only a matter of time before the truth came out, and as Lane’s luck would have it, the unexpected revealed his secret.
Enter Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Harris’ Bert Cooper, who has no office, and no seemingly important role at the agency other than having second billing on the marquee.
But, when new client Jaguar proposes an alternate pay structure, Bert does some work and actually looks at the company’s books.
And, he discovers that Don Draper has written Lane Pryce a check for $7500.
There’s only one problem: Don knows he didn’t write that check.
Bert assumes that Don gave Lane a Christmas bonus, and for the first time in what seems like forever, he acts like he has a real stake in the business.
He lays into Don Draper:
You know, you can’t keep being the good little boy while the adults run this business.
Don says he will handle it, and this seems to satisfy Cooper.
When Don confronts Lane about the check, Lane tries to tell Don that he did sign the check. But, this is Don Draper, the man who knows a thing or two about assuming someone’s identity.
Don tells Lane he must resign because they can not risk a client knowing that a partner has embezzled money from the company.
Lane begs for another chance, but Don won’t budge.
I feel a bit light headed.
Lane knows that Don is right, and proceeds to get drunk.
He stops by Joan’s office, scotch glass in had.
Joan is happy to see the man who advised her on asking for a 5% stake in the company. She tells him she’s planning an Easter vacation and asks if there is a difference between Bermuda and Hawaii.
Well, neither is suitable for commemorating the death and resurrection of our Lord.
Can you imagine me locked in a hotel room with a baby and my mother?
Lane is now buzzed:
I suppose you’d rather I imagine you bouncing in the sand in some obscene bikini.
I think you should take your party elsewhere.
Lane continues to self-pity party into a drunken stupor.
When he finally gets home, he meets the ultimate irony: His wife has bought him a new Jaguar.
At his end, Lane attempts suicide by placing a hose from the Jaguar’s exhaust into the car.
But, the Jaguar won’t start.
So, Lane heads to his office, types up a resignation letter, and hangs himself.
The next day, his secretary leaves the company’s books in Joan’s office. She tells Joan that Lane hasn’t arrived, and something is blocking his door.
Joan tries to enter Lane’s office, but the door won’t move, and she smells something awful.
She goes into the office next door and tells Pete, Harry Crane and Ken Cosgrove that she’s worried something is wrong in Lane’s office.
As a jubilant Don Draper and Roger Sterling return from a hard pitch meeting with Dow Chemical, they find the partners alone in the office.
And once again, Don is confronted by a suicide seemingly at his own hands.