Hopefully fans weren’t planning on using their hearts after watching tonight’s episode of AMC’s Mad Men because creator Matthew Weiner single handedly ripped them out of our chests and then stomped on them for good measure. This season has been a real doosey, with back to back insanity from one week to the next. But nothing compared to this cluster cuss.
Bert Cooper looks over the financials for SCDP, probably while meditating barefoot in his office, and finds that Lane received a Christmas bonus check with Don’s signature. When he tells Don (Jon Hamm), our favorite handsome devil decides to handle the problem in private and calls Lane into his office. Queue the saddest bastard in the history of AMC television. Give Lane (Jared Harris) all the major awards!
Lane admits that he forged the check because he owes back taxes to the Brits. But because he lied, hid the lie, and then used Don’s signature, Draper feels that he cannot trust him and he fires Professor Moriarty. Lane bawls like a baby and begs for his job, but Don won’t budge and as a small favor decides to keep it on the down low to preserve Lane’s reputation. He just needs to submit a resignation in two days, Monday morning.
The problem is, that Lane has been hinting at his sad bastard syndrome since clear back in season three when Ken made the mistake of letting Lois drive the lawnmower through an office door and then cut off a British dude’s foot, essentially causing the company to split over the incident. “I feel like I just attended my own funeral. I didn’t like the eulogy,” says Lane who was quoting Tom Sawyer. Another episode earlier this season showed Lane doodling a noose on his to do list while bored at work. Matthew Wiener has been hinting about Lane’s impending doom for awhile and even though he was a bit gross, he was the guy who sucker punched Pete Campbell in the face. And that makes him one of my absolute favorite people.
Lane’s wife buys him a Jaguar to celebrate SDCP snagging their account, which is terribly ironic. They’ve been talking about the bad ignition in those cars this whole season and when Lane tries to gas himself in the car, it doesn’t work. He resorts to writing his resignation letter at work and hanging himself in the office. Poor Joan Holloway tries to deliver paperwork to him and realizes something is terribly wrong . . . and smelly.
Lane and Joan had a cute little friendship throughout the show because Lane really respected and needed Joan, but she was able keep him in check. He suggested she become a partner when the guys prostituted her out to Jaguar and he made fun of Zu Bisou Megan as well as Pete Campbell with Joan. So when the red headed beauty realizes that Lane is dead, Christina Hendricks’ reaction was like watching the Titanic sink, only within five seconds and with all the pain of Jack Dawson’s hypothermic snot icicles encompassed into one single moment. And you’d have to be a heartless bastard not to let that mess your shit up hardcore. Lane is the first real death we’ve had to deal with outside of Anna or the elderly secretary and those people were mere catalysts into another character’s sorrow. Lane not only punched Pete Campbell in the face, but he also punched the audience to the core of their souls.
Meanwhile, Sally is turning into a mini Betty and just like all women, she resents her mother because she knows that someday she will become her. She goes to stay with Megan, who is the most adaptable, chill human being on the show. Megan takes her to get coffee, they talk about boys, and she lets her do pretty much whatever she wants. So Sally invites creepy Glenn (played by Weiner’s own son Marten) over from prep school and they go to the museum. Glenn casually brings up the idea that they “do it” and Sally shoots that down faster than Glenn’s pansy-ass mustache. But also, she gets her period and it freaks her right the hell out. She bails on Glenn and takes a cab back to her mother in order to deal with the total mind cluster that becoming a woman entails.
It was certainly surprising that Sally went to Betty for support over her period. Betty’s reaction was also slightly surprising. Even though Betty is the most emotionally disconnected mother of all time, she does understand a few things about life and one of those is the shit storm that it is to be a girl. And even though Megan connects with Sally very well, no one understands the weird stuff you’re going through like your own mother, who has seemed to pave the way for you merely by biologically relating to your plight.
So what does all this mean for Don? He already has issues with his happiness, his desires, as well as his ambition. After getting a meeting with Ken’s big time executive father-in-law and going for the advertising jugular, Don was almost completely back on his game. Then Lane kicked the bucket and he is back to questioning everything again. If we know our Don Draper, this means next season his psyche is going to be really messed up. Don only told Megan about firing Lane and none of the partners know. Thank God Megan is still around because stable Peggy isn’t there anymore either.
In their own way, everyone has sacrificed their essential integrity to make sure SCDP is a success and Don may not be able to carry that kind of weight much longer. His usual reaction to any weighty situation is to leave, run, and get the hell out of there. But now he has too much invested. Luckily for us it means there will be much more Mad Men shenanigans to come forth. This problem isn’t going to solve itself anytime soon.