Precocious Glenn Bishop really nails the theme of this week's episode of Mad Men when he asks Don, "Why does everything turn out crappy?" It's a question both Lane and Don come face-to-face with, as Lane's financial issues are coming to a breaking point, and Don becomes increasingly disillusioned with his work life at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.
Sally's also experiencing some growing pains, as she takes one big step closer to adulthood even though she's clearly still a little girl in many ways. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's still reeling from this episode, so let's break down the night's biggest moments when you read more.
- Nowhere to run: Cooper finds Lane's check forged with Don's signature, and he confronts Don about doing shady things with the Christmas bonuses. Don covers for Lane, but is anything but forgiving when Lane comes into his office to discuss the matter. Lane tries to deny it at first, but ultimately comes clean to Don, and still seems to believe that what he did wasn't really all that terrible. Don doesn't share Lane's view, and demands Lane's resignation for embezzling from the company. Lane pleads with Don (and even weeps), but Don doesn't budge, though it's obvious that Don doesn't really want to fire Lane, especially when Lane laments that he's never been properly compensated for his work. Don vows to keep mum and gives Lane the weekend to resign, but Lane prefers to take one last opportunity to make a creepy comment to Joan and then starts drinking heavily.
- RIP: When Lane gets home from his horrible day, his wife only wants to celebrate his 4As chairmanship — with a brand-new Jaguar, no less. At first I thought Lane was going to get behind the wheel in his drunken state, but the sight of the car only makes him vomit. Mrs. Pryce encourages Lane to bask in the happiness of his achievement, but that's far from what happens. Lane tries to commit suicide in the car, but in a cruel twist of irony, the car won't start. Poor Lane then tries to figure out the problem with one half of his glasses, but ultimately decides on an even more fitting (if not disturbing) way to go: he hangs himself in his office. Matthew Weiner has been teasing death all season long, with hints in every single episode, but he still managed to pull the wool over my eyes. I wouldn't have been surprised to see Pete take his own life, or even a freak accident involving Megan, but I was shocked to see Lane's final episode. It's made even more horrific when his partners find him in the office and we actually have to look on as they take him down from the door and set him on his couch.
- Sassy Sally: Sally Draper is definitely ready for her teenage years, already mouthing off to her mother like a champ. She refuses to go on the Francis family ski trip, and you can't blame her for literally turning her nose up at those stinky ski boots. Betty foists Sally on Megan and Don, who are really both too busy to watch her. Once again, Sally is a little too exposed to adult life, as she gossips with Megan's friend about her love life and orders coffee like a pro.
- Not a girl, not yet a woman: When Sally learns that she'll have the house to herself, she invites Glenn to come visit her from boarding school. They take a trip to the museum together, where Sally gets all gussied up, though Glenn doesn't bother to shave his new mustache. It's a sweet, poignant moment that really shows the actual age of these two; though they've been acting like adults for years, they're still a couple of kids playing house. Glenn admits that he told his friends he was coming to the city to "do it" with Sally, and though Sally had called Glenn her boyfriend earlier, she says that she doesn't know if she has feelings for him. Their day trip takes an even more adult turn when Sally unexpected starts her period and flees for home. Betty is delighted that Sally still needs her mother, and they share a genuine mother-daughter moment (that actually made me feel happy for Betty for once).
- The new deal: After Don fires Lane, he vents to Roger about how unhappy he is at the company. He wants to land bigger accounts, and Ed Baxter's smug comment is still bugging him. Roger agrees to set up a meeting between Ed and Don, though he forewarns that Ken can't get involved with his father-in-law. When Ken hears of the news, he agrees to turn a blind eye, but wants full control of the account — without Pete — once they land it. Don heads into the meeting with guns blazing and gives a most convincing performance explaining why Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce should get his business.
With the season finale ahead next week, were you shocked by this week's episode? How do you think Lane's death will affect SCDP? (Or is it just Sterling Cooper Draper now? Sterling Cooper Draper Campbell?) Chime in below in the comments!
Photo courtesy of AMC