'Mad Men' Review: "Commissions and Fees"

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Mad Men’ Season 5 hangs up its twelfth episode of the year, as Lane's embezzlement from the company is found out, while Don makes a pitch to Dow and Sally plays hooky for a museum date with Glenn Bishop.

Last week’s ‘Mad Men’ episode “The Other Woman” saw the decision with Jaguar coming down to a lurid proposition for Joan, while Peggy wrestled with a difficult position in light of being unappreciated at work, so what will the latest episode bring?  Could they possibly top Fat Betty and Hare Krishna Kinsey?  Let's just say what people will be talking about isn't quite so hilarious.

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Mad Men’ episode twelve “Commissions and Fees!”

Getting a haircut, don receives praise for the company’s victory in scoring Jaguar, though it seems hollow if Pete is the one getting all the attention.  But speaking of little victories, Lane finds himself happily inducted into the American Association of Advertising Agencies at another meeting cross town!  Meanwhile, it’s back to business as usual at SDCP, Joan’s replacement Scarlett bringing to the group’s attention that Jaguar wants to implement a risky new policy of a fee structure in place of a commission for the company.

On a simpler front, Sally worms her way out of a ski trip with the Francis family, instead opting to spend the weekend with Megan and Don, angering Betty.  Before Don can even react to the news over the phone, Cooper enters his office with a confusion: it seems in his poking around, he’s found a large check to Lane for bonuses that Don appears to have signed, in spite of their agreement not to.  Realizing whats happened without telling Cooper, Don calls Lane into his office and immediately lays out that he knows what Lane did.  In spite of any please of mercy or pity that he’ll lose his Visa, Don insists that Lane tender a letter of resignation, a fate at least better than being fired from the office in disgrace.  Trust is trust, and even if Lane returned the money, Don’s trust is broken.  Dejected, Lane sulks around the office drinking, even putting in a few lewd remarks to Joan.

Over in Roger’s office, Don enters feeling dejected about the stare of the company, that they're not going for the big name companies, which might be his fault considering the Lucky Strike letter hurt their reputation.  Roger insists that they could still take a meeting with the head of Dow Chemicals, Kenny Cosgrove’s father-in-law Ed Baxter, even if only to be chewed out.  Across town, Sally arrives to Megan’s door, Megan not having been told of this plan.

After Roger distracts Kenny from the plan to take a meeting with Ed Baxter, Kenny only agreeing if they keep Pete away from the account, Don bumps into him on the elevator, Roger reminding him that he liked the fire in Don he glimpsed earlier.  When Don arrives home, he quickly brushes off Megan’s complaints about Sally by explaining how he had to fire Lane, but taking the meeting with Ed Baxter means that Sally will have to skip school on Monday.

Lane arrives home rather drunk, while his wife insists they go out to dinner to celebrate his AAAA induction, revealing in the process that she splurged on a gift for him: a brand new Jaguar!  Horrified at the further financial blow, Lane pukes right there in the garage.  Even days later, he refuses to drive the car, claiming to be sick instead.  One day, after Megan takes Sally out to lunch and dishes on boyfriends, Lane lies awake at night.  He heads downstairs to the garage, and vents the exhaust from his Jaguar into the car itself, with intent to commit suicide!  Only one problem: the crappy car won’t start!

With a day off from school, Sally pressures Glenn into coming to visit her in the morning, while Lane takes his pity party into the SDCP office and begins typing.  The next morning, Sally prepares her illicit little affair by dressing for Glenn, while Don and Roger ready themselves for the meeting with Ed Baxter.  Glenn finally arrives at the apartment, but rather than simply hang out the two opt to spend the day at the museum together.  As the two observe the animals and swap regrets, Glenn admits that he told some of his bullying school chums that he and (a presumably older) Sally were going to do it.  Agreeing that there isn’t a lot of romance between the two, Sally begins feeling sick, and rushes to the bathroom to discover blood in her underwear!  Thanks, cable TV.

When Baxter finally invites Don and Roger into the meeting, Don insists that Dow shouldn’t simply be happy with owning the majority of the market with their ad agency McManus, but rather impresses the judgmental executives with his claim that he’d work tirelessly to see they had it all.  After all, what’s happiness, if not the moment before you need more happiness?  Meanwhile, Megan arrives home to find Glenn’s bag, while Sally herself took a cab all the way back to Rye to be with her mother, whose icy exterior seems to melt a bit for her newly-womanized daughter.  Of course, she can’t resist calling Megan to rub it in her face a bit.

Later, Glenn arrives at the apartment to pick up his bag, explaining to Megan that he had no idea she’d even left the museum, when Megan invites him to wait for his train in the apartment.  Back at the office, Joan attempts to enter Lane’s office, but finds the door blocked, then going next door to explain that something must be wrong.  Peering through the window atop their office, Pete’s look of horror only confirms the truth to everyone.  Betty comforts Sally by explaining she too will one day have to tell her daughter about becoming a woman, while a gleeful Don and Roger arrive to find the office empty.

Sitting in the lounge, the partners explain that Lane has hung himself, but the entire office was sent home under the pretense of a fire issue.  Realizing he’s still hung, Don insists on cutting him down, forcing his way into the office with Roger and Pete to view the horrible sight.  They cut Lane down, and step out, picking up a note from Lane that Roger reveals to be a notice of resignation.  Nice one, Don.

Don arrives home, uncertain of Glenn’s identity until a reminder, but offers to drive Glenn home to take his own mind off of things.  On the elevator down, Glenn starts getting depressed that things that make you happy eventually turn to crap, and to cheer him up, Don allows Glenn to drive while he supervises.

Pour one out for Lane Pryce, y'all.  We've all been looking for someone to bite the big one this season on 'Mad Men' but it couldn't have happened to a nicer person.  With one episode remaining, what might the fallout of Lane's suicide be?  Will anyone else head off to that big advertising agency in the sky?  And who might Sally have her eyes on next, if not Glenn?

Did you get your fill of swingin’ ‘Mad Men’ action?  What did you think about the episode? Join us next week for an all-new episode recap of ‘Mad Men’s season 5 finale“The Phantom” on AMC!

Huh.  Guess we know who "The Phantom" is now.

Filed Under: AMC, Mad Men
Categories: TV News, TV Reviews
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