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Mad Men “Commissions and Fees” review: “Who would’ve ever dreamt of the word Jaguar?” [SPOILER]

Oh my God. It’s been almost 24 hours and we’re still hungover from last night’s Mad Men (could it have been anymore depressing?). “Commissions and Fees,” the second last episode of the 5th season, left us with the bone-dry feeling of winter on the brink of summertime. Between the killing off of Lane due to his forged “13-day loan” that had Don all riled up (then regretful towards the end) and everyone’s cynicism at the office (after all that happened in “The Other Woman,” it’d be pretty hard to stay positive; also, we miss Peggy), SCDP has been hit hard; with the cold wintertime comes forces to be dealt.

Don: Don remains grounded, both at work and home–dealing with an unexpected drop-in from his unknowingly PMS-ing daughter, who didn’t want to go on a family ski trip–oh, and then going to take down the body of his longtime co-worker and dear friend Lane after he committed suicide, hanging himself from the door of his work space. Him and Megan’s relationship has begun to take an interesting turn, Don sort of “commanding” her to take Sally to school without having considered that she too might have something going on, and thus resulting in Sally’s adventurous day on her own. He really pulls through at the end though, with the overzealous Dow pitch, showing his positive traits and true inner-character: a smart businessman. When Sally’s friend Glen insists he needs a ride, you see Don sort of live vicariously through him, letting him drive his car after asking him “If you could do anything, what would you do?”, like a dad would to his son.

Sally: Making light of all the terrible things going on, we got to enter a little bit into Sally’s world on her “day off” that turned into her entering womanhood (all that prepping and getting ready for Glen went to shit quick). But before alll that chaos we got to dine with Megan and her acting friend Julia, where Megan gave an invaluable piece of advice about boyfriends (Sally got quite a bit of advice this episode): “A lot of great romances start as friendships,” and “holding hands is plenty.” Later on when we got to see Glen and her visit to the neighborhood museum, that whole sequence really took us back to the innocence of teen romance. Their conversations were nothing short of hilarious, and you could really tell that Glen had definitely matured both mentally and physically compared to Sally–him joking, “you don’t look that different,” later saying, “you’re like my little sister, except smart.”

Betty: Betty went from not wanting Sally’s “sourpuss ruin [their] trip,” to forgetting all the teen drama Sally creates and remembering that we’re for one second human beings–with her little two cents at the end, that “there’s a lot of responsibilities, but that’s what being a woman is,” kind of hopefully saying, “maybe you’ll have a beautiful girl, and you can tell her all of this.” Sally was silently appreciative, quite the opposite of her saying  she “would have rather gone to school and come home to find you all gone.”

Lane: What’s rough about business is there is a fine line when it comes to monetary issues. What might be considered a friendly favor to one could be seen as betrayal to another, bringing us to the Lane situation of “borrowing” company money as a temporary $7,500 loan. Don, “letting him resign,” told him he had but only the weekend to come up with a resignation letter. So considering the fact Lane hasn’t been the most positive of people (or the soberist), this couldn’t be of any help to the situation. And when his wife surprises him with a brand new car, he’s hesitant to feel good about anything materialistic, let alone finding a way to break the news to his wife that he got caught stealing from the company. Which then leads to the unpredicted move of his first failed attempt at suicide, and then the ultimatum of his chosen exit–discovered first by Joan–a very grim and disturbing end scene to “Commissions and Fees.”

We don’t know what to expect from the season finale, as the previews are always a mash up of unpredictable snips of conversation and moments, but we do know one thing: it can only be as good.


    • “Also there should be Danish.” –Joan  
    • “Or, should I leave so you all can do whatever you want?” –Don 
    • Back to ongoing business. Do we have any birthdays?” –Pete
    • I’m old enough that I can stay alone while you go laugh your heads off” –Sally 
    • “You can’t keep being the good little boy, while the adults run this business” –Bert
    • Who would’ve ever dreamt of the word Jaguar?  –Lane
    • “I feel a bit light headed.” –Lane “That’s relief” –Don
    • Do you think theres a difference between Bermuda and Hawaii?” –Joan
    • 26-year old coat check girl from Long Island. Or Rhode Island. She’s never had room service before.” –Roger
    • You don’t even call me. Do you know how insulting it is, the assumption that I have nothing else to do?”  –Megan 
    • Carter likes me. Do you know what he said to me? He asked if I was a redhead everywhere.”  –Julia 
    • “A lot of great romances start as friendships.” –Megan 
    • Howd they get all these animals?” –Sally “Teddy Roosevelt killed them.” –Glen 
    • “We don’t go across the park there’s bums on the other side.” –Sally
    • “I didn’t say urgent, I said imminent.” – Roger 
    • “What is happiness? It’s a moment before you need more happiness.” Don
    • “Why does everything turn out crappy?” –Glen “I dunno.” –Don “Everything you want to do, everything you think is going to make you happy, just turns to crap.” –Glen “You’re too young to talk that way.” –Don

(photo via Indie Wire)

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Kaitlin Duffy is a writer from Cleveland. When she's not blogging or pondering the great complexities of the world and outer space, she is finding rare vinyl steals, visiting new places, laughing often, Instagramming everything in sight, watching movies, or working on her first feature Port de Cleve.