Mar 17, 2015

Mad Cap: "Commissions and Fees"

Top to bottom: January Jones and Kiernan Shipka
Welcome to Mad Cap: a daily rundown of every episode of the acclaimed AMC series Mad Men. During this time, I will be compiling my thoughts and highlights as we travel through every moment and season of the Emmy-award winning drama that has come to define modern TV. The goal is to be a refresher on every moment for Don Draper and his band of advertisement executives leading up to the final season. Stay for all of the shocking moments and the brilliant acting performances, and make sure to chime in with your thoughts and criticisms on why the show means something to you.

Season 5, Episode 12
"Commissions and Fees"

"Everything you think's gonna make 
you happy, just turns to crap."
- Glenn Bishop (Marten Holden Weiner)


Betty Francis (January Jones) is going out skiing with the family. Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka) doesn't want to go, so she decides to stay with Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Megan Draper (Jessica Pare). Since nobody can take her to school on Monday, she decides to have a free day running around the town with Glenn Bishop (Marten Holden Weiner). Meanwhile, there's problems at work when it is discovered that Don's name has been forged on a check for a bonus to Lane Pryce (Jared Harris). He also has trouble at a meeting with a client that throws his mood off. Pryce admits to it immediately, but is in so much regret about it that with his wife buying luxurious objects, he wants to end it all. During their time out on the town, Sally gets her first period and wants to go straight home. Meanwhile, Glenn returns to the Draper residence because he forgot his bag. Pryce ends up hanging himself in his office, causing a big stir at the office. Don, grief stricken, promises to drive Glenn home. Betty teaches Sally all about periods. 

Rating: 5 out of 5

Jared Harris
Lane Pryce (Jared Harris)

It is one of the most notorious episodes in Mad Men's run. It is the one where Pryce hangs himself in his office. While the cues leading up actually take away some of the surprise, it's still heart breaking to see him gone. Yes, he was a desperate character who wanted to be liked by his peers. However, nobody would think that he would actually go through with what he did. In his final episode, the brooding force comes out as he observes his lifestyle and dreams of having something better. He has already messed up too much to have everything he wants. Sadly, it is a charismatic performance that overshadows an also excellent Sally story that makes this easily one of the best, if not the top of the top, episode of the season so far.

Left to right: John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser and Jon Hamm
Best Scene

Death doesn't stop by Mad Men too often. Of the many deaths, this is probably one of the more prominent because Pryce seemed like the comic folly that we all could love and trust. He may have problems, but he was always there. As the slow revelations appear starting with Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks) not being able to open the door, the somberness builds to the reveal in which Don, Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) and Roger Sterling (John Slattery) end up discovering his body. It is a haunting sight and one that plays out slowly to let the trauma of it all sink in. What is to come of Sterling Cooper Draper now that their fourth billed name is gone? Oh boy.

UP NEXT: "The Phantom"

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