Lane Pryce is a character we don’t spend a lot of time with on Mad Men. He’s the dear Uncle we loathe to talk to, if we were to represent the office as a family, because we know he’s always going to say no. So when we see him suffering some personal trials through an expatriate taxation from his homeland that causes him to seek desperate measures do we ever feel sorry for him? While I dare not call him reprehensible, like Pete Campbell, he definitely never truly becomes endearing at any point throughout the show’s history. So to watch him embezzle money from the firm barely helps his image with us.
I do want to give him credit as a criminal though. While I thought it odd at first for him to need only $8000 and to ask for $50K from a creditor, it was smart of him to attempt to hide the money as a Christmas bonus. Sadly – like most plans – something goes wrong when the rest of the partners want to delay bonuses for a short while, which is still too late for Lane to get himself out of trouble.
I may have knocked myself on the head recently but I feel I may be the only one who was pretty much unaware of this Lane having trouble with the law in England storyline. Was there any mention of it in previous episodes? We’ve always had the odd mention here and there of Lane not being in the best of shape financially and/or socially, in relation to his marriage, but I don’t believe we’ve ever really seen him in danger of loss of his liberty over one thing or another. So this story, while pushing one of our major partners into a precarious situation which I expect to reap horrendous results for him and the firm, comes at the end of the season.
Harry Krane and Paul Kinsey meet up again in a weird circumstance. Kinsey has taken up Hare Krishna (queue up The Muppet Movie clip) and has become all zen. However, he seems to need Harry Krane – do you get it? – in order to try and see if he will be any good as a screenwriter. Having written a spec script for Star Trek titled “The Negron Complex” he needs to know if this path is worth traversing at all. Harry claims to think it’s the worst thing he’s ever read. However after some sex with his best friends’ woman and a lot of thinking, Harry decides to warn Paul off from seeking work with Star Trek but to keep going with the writing and bank his move to Los Angeles. Is this the move of a great friend or a man trying to delude a poor man he doesn’t want to have to deal with anymore? Did he give him the ticket because he truly felt Paul was a great writer? Because he knew Paul and Lakshmi would be a bad fit and it would be better if he just went? Or did he do it because he felt it would make Paul feel special, if only just for a month/week/day? I honestly don’t know and that what makes it weird.
Don and Joan leave work one afternoon to go to and have a day out to pick Joan up after receiving papers for divorce from her now estranged husband. Joan at this point is unable to contain herself and Don sees it best to take her away from it all.
What I loved so much about this moment is the exchanges and how much they meant deep down. We see the two of them looking over at a lone man at the other end of the bar and hear them positing what he’s doing there, who he is and probably who’s at home. Joan says, “the only sin she’s committed is being familiar”, and Don replies, “he doesn’t know what he wants.” So much of Mad Men, while being in a male ruled time and world, is about perspectives. The woman will always blame the man, and the man will excuse him. While these facts are obvious the manner in which we have these made aware to us is so lovely and poignant that we can’t help but smile just as Joan does as she hears Don make admissions of his thoughts during his early days working at the firm and such other small anecdotes of the somewhat old days.