Yes, we still have one episode left of the emotional free fall that has been Mad Men‘s fifth season. That doesn’t mean Matthew Weiner & Co. have saved all their shockers for the end.
Our beloved characters, not to mention us viewers, have been through a lot these twelve episodes. But I don’t think anything — not even Joan prostituting herself into a Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce partnership — has been as devastating as one SCDP partner’s tragic suicide in the latest ep, “Commissions and Fees,” even if with hindsight we definitely could see it coming. Read on to find out who met their fate. (UPDATE: You can read Adam B. Vary’s full recap of the episode here.)
MAJOR SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT
Lane Pryce, the stuffy fussbudget played by Jared Harris who helped free Sterling Cooper from its one-time British overlords and earned a partnership for his efforts, hanged himself after being fired by Don Draper. The past few episodes documented Lane’s difficulty meeting burdensome back taxes he owed to Her Majesty. If he couldn’t pay up, Lane risked having his visa revoked, which meant deportation and possible criminal charges awaiting him on his return to Britain. So he took out a “13 Day Loan” from SCDP…without telling anyone. Don found out and demanded his resignation on the spot.
To make matters worse, Lane’s wife had just bought him a Jaguar — to celebrate landing the car company’s account. That was exactly what his finances needed. Facing absolute disgrace, he first tried to kill himself by attaching a garden hose to his new car. Except the Jaguar wouldn’t start. So much for that British engineering! It was sad, comical, and a whole spectrum of emotions in between that we’d probably need a French existentialist to identify. Finally, he hanged himself in his office.
Rich Sommer, who plays Harry Crane, one of Lane’s SCDP colleagues who discovered his body, joined us on EW.com for a live chat during the episode. I asked Sommer what the mood was like on set when everyone learned Lane was marked for death, and he said, “Awful. It was sad and awful.” However, don’t worry about Jared Harris. When asked if Harris felt it was a fitting end for his character Sommer said, “I think so, yes. We all did. As hard as it was to lose him, it was one hell of an arc. We are lucky to have had him around as long as we did.”
Are you as emotionally drained as I am? Sound off about this latest shocker below and be sure to check out Adam B. Vary’s full recap.