Sunday, June 8, 2014

Commissions and Fees – Mad Men Episode Summary 5.12

Lane Pryce commits suicideSynopsis: Don Draper learns of the forged check Lane Pryce made to himself and demands him to resign.  Lane pleads Don for reconsideration to no avail.  Lane’s desperation for money due to their agency’s dire financial situation in the past three years fueled Don to seek bigger accounts and eyes Dow Chemical.  Meanwhile, Sally Draper eludes joining her family on a ski trip and manages to convince her mother to allow her to stay with her father instead.  Her unplanned visit allowed her to meet with Glen Bishop.

Episode Summary: Don Draper is at his barber getting a haircut when Jed Covington of Dancer arrives early for his appointment and informs the barber that Don is the man who won Jaguar, the unreliable luxury car.  Covington is all praises for Don and Pete Campbell whose names have become commendable in the advertising world after winning Jaguar.  Doing business with a carmaker does put an agency in the limelight, because Lane Pryce has received some attention as well.  The 4As offers Lane the position as head of their fiscal control committee believing that his expertise in finance had kept Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce afloat.Continue reading...

Pete Campbell begins the partners meeting with a request from Jaguar to go with a fee structure as opposed to straight commission.  Jaguar wants to pay only for the work done.  It is in addition to the negotiated one-and-a-half to 2% profit instead of the 15% commission included in media purchases and the markup on production costs.  The partners are not keen in agreeing to the terms afraid that other clients will demand a fee structure as well.  Pete segues to Dunlop Tyres who had called and asked for a meeting.  He supposes that the company that manufactures tires for Jaguar would want a fee structure as well should they decide to have Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce handle their advertising.  Don votes against a fee structure, while Bert recommends informing the client that they are considering the proposal.  Bert evaluates the fee structure and examines the agency’s books where he finds a canceled check payable to Lane Pryce with Don’s signature on it.  It is a check that gave Lane Pryce the bonus they all agreed to forego.  Don allows Bert to reproach him despite the realization that the check is forged.

Don calls Lane to his office and confronts him about the check.  Lane denies its forgery, but Don is certain of it.  Don demands to know whether the check Bert found is the only one Lane had forged.  Lane explains that it was supposed to be a 13-day loan if not for the cancelation of the partners’ bonuses.  He needed the money for taxes he owed after liquidating $50,000 of his assets, money necessary to keep the agency afloat after they lost Lucky Strike.  Lane was too proud to ask for money disinclined to suffer the humiliation of begging.  He claims that the money is rightfully his.  Don asks for Lane’s resignation.  Lane finds himself pleading for his job and promising to repay the money he embezzled from the agency even if it means pulling his son out of school in order to do so.  Despite his pleas, Don demands Lane’s resignation believing that it is the most decent alternative he could offer him.  Lane erupts with his protestation with claims of not being compensated for his contributions to the agency including his vital role in its existence.  He adds that he introduced them to Jaguar and he kept them afloat despite operating on a loss for three years.  Don apologizes, but he maintains that Lane’s resignation is the only solution.  He offers to cover the money Lane owes.  Lane derides Don for his limitless source of income.  Don argues that Lane could not continue to work for the agency, because it will be their ruin when a client finds out.  Lane breaks down in tears for the humiliation of having to return to England a ruined man.  Don consoles Lane that there will be better opportunities and advises that he think of an elegant exit for no one else knows of his crime.

Lane drops by Joan Holloway Harris’ office with a glass of Canadian Club whisky causing the woman to presume that Lane had been celebrating his 4A’s chairmanship with Don.  Without her noticing, Lane had been staring at her as she ponders spending Easter in a tropical destination.  Their friendly conversation turns when Lane shares his fantasy of seeing her at a beach in an obscene bikini prompting Joan to send him out of her office.  Lane returns to his office and swigs the last of the whisky.  Don, on the other hand, is clearly disturbed with the knowledge of Lane’s debasement.  He confides to Roger Sterling without revealing the cause of his rants.  Don is averse to the fact that the agency continues to chase marginal accounts.  He expresses his desire to get Firestone instead of Dunlop, a statement that surprised Roger after Don had told him at the American Cancer Society awards that wooing Firestone is pointless.  Roger learns that Don had thought so at the time, because Ed Baxter told him that the Lucky Strike letter poisoned Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.  There is no way companies of stature would ever go to business with their agency.  Roger is shocked that Don was easily discouraged.  He promises him a meeting with Firestone, but Don decides to have a meeting with Ed Baxter instead.  Roger dissuades him from chasing after Ed Baxter adding that the man’s son-in-law who is under they employ had vehemently declared his refusal to use his connection to gain the business.  Don eyes Dow Chemical as their new client nonetheless.

Roger acquiesces and meets with Ken Cosgrove at the Hemisphere Club to inform him that the agency has decided to go after his father-in-law.  Ken maintains his refusal to become involved in persuading his father-in-law in going into business with Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce only to learn that Roger had already begun the process of wooing Ed Baxter without his knowledge.  Ken extorts Roger into having him handle the account and has the senior partner promise to exclude Pete in any meetings with Dow Chemical in exchange for his vow not to jeopardize the agency’s efforts in winning the business.  Don chances upon Roger at the elevator and learns that Ed Baxter agreed to meet with him on Monday morning giving him only the weekend to prepare for the meeting.

Betty and Henry Francis decide to go skiing with their reluctant children who would rather stay home.  Sally Draper suggests leaving her at her father’s house instead and Betty complies not wanting her daughter to ruin their ski trip.  Sally arrives at Don’s apartment much to Megan’s surprise and consternation.  Megan confronts Don for the absence of notice for it underscored her availability at a moment’s notice due to her lack of work.  She learns that Don truly had just forgotten given the discovery he uncovered earlier that day.  His explanation turned Megan’s anger into understanding.  Meanwhile, Lane Pryce arrives at home on time despite having spent the whole day drowning his sorrows in liquor.  He finds Rebecca all dressed and rearing to celebrate her husband’s success.  Lane could never refuse his wife that he accedes to her wishes and soon learns that the woman had bought him a racing green Jaguar.  Rebecca argues that Lane had always allowed her extravagance at his expense that she thought it best to buy the luxury car for him, because he would never purchase one for himself.  The amalgamation of circumstances resulted in Lane retching at the garage.  His inebriation saved him from going to dinner with his wife, but his wife continues to persuade him into driving the sports car the following day.  Lane buries himself in work only he has no job to return to.

Don is hard at work as well preparing for the meeting with Ed Baxter that he foregoes spending the day with his wife and daughter.  Megan and Sally decide to go see a movie with Megan’s friend Julia.  Julia speaks of nothing but her plan to ensnare an actor she has been seducing.  Julia’s lack of substance emphasized Sally’s maturity over Megan’s friend.  Even Sally’s concept of a relationship is more profound than Julia for the woman defines a boyfriend as merely a sexual partner.  The revelation of Sally having a boyfriend did not upset Megan, but it did surprise her.  Nevertheless, Megan supports Sally’s concept of a boyfriend and defines it as someone who knows you enough to make you feel special.  By that definition, Glen Bishop does sound like Sally’s boyfriend.  Sally calls him in the middle of the night to share the success of her rebellion and invites him to her father’s apartment on Monday morning where she will be alone, because no one is available to drive her to school.  Glen is hesitant given the lengths he has to go through not to mention the consequences of his skipping school.  He, however, agrees to meet after some slight persuasion from Sally.  Meanwhile, Lane wakes up in the middle of the night and meticulously prepares his deathbed.  He had chosen to take his life through carbon monoxide poisoning inside the brand new Jaguar his wife bought for him.  It turned out to be the poorest choice, because the unreliable Jaguar would not start.  Lane makes his way to his office instead where he starts typing a letter.

Glen and Sally finally meet again after numerous phone conversations and over a year of not seeing each other.  Glen suggests they spend their time together at the American Museum of Natural History.  Glen confides the bullying he endures from the senior lacrosse players at his boarding school and Sally provides consolation with a statement that her stepfather was bullied as well as a child, but he now runs the city.  Sally divulges her desire for Henry to leave her undeserving mother and Glen assuages her guilt feelings.  Glen confesses to have made his schoolmates believe that he is coming to see Sally to have sexual intercourse with her.  Sally is not upset of Glen lying about his supposed conquest, but becomes a bit annoyed at Glen confessing of seeing her as his little sister despite her intimation that she is not sexually attracted to him.  Sally excuses herself to attend to the stomachache she has been experiencing and learns that she had just gotten her first menstruation.  Megan returns home from an audition and finds Glen’s bag in the living room.  She becomes troubled at what it insinuated and soon meets the owner of the bag.  Glen drops by the Don’s apartment and finds Megan at the door.  He explains that he and Sally had spent the morning at the museum until the young woman excused herself and never came back.  Glen had spent the whole time looking for her to no avail.  Meanwhile, Sally arrives at their house in Rye, New York accruing a $25 cab fare.  She rushes to the bathroom without a word to her mother or Henry.  Befuddled at her unexpected arrival, Betty speaks to her daughter only to learn that the shock of getting her first period caused her to come running home to her mother. Betty is astonished at Sally’s need to be with her at a turning point in her life.  She calls Megan to inform her that Sally made her way home and explains with pride the circumstance that made her return.  Betty finds comfort in comforting her daughter explaining that despite the monthly displeasure that comes with menstruating, the fact that she has her period is one that should be cherished for it indicates that she is now a woman, one who can bear children when she is ready.

Ed Baxter makes Roger and Don wait an hour and forty-five minutes before receiving them.  Accompanying Ed in the meeting are his heads of marketing and household, Tom Schafer and Jack Schmidt.  Tom insists that the company is very happy with their current ad agency, MacManus.  His statement gave fodder to Don’s argument that MacManus is in fact very satisfied with Dow Chemical as well for they are content with recycled creative work oblivious to the fact that it is them who are paying for the costs of acquiring new business.  Tom argues that their ad campaigns are effective given the 50% market share in almost all of their products, but Don contends that their market share is a credit to the products they manufacture.  Don, however, believes that Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce can deliver more and cites their success with London Fog where they made it possible for London Fog to sell 81% of the raincoats in the United States.  Moreover, Don claims that their agency was not content with 81% and aimed for more.  Jack asks them about napalm and is pleased that Don had done his research, but Ed Baxter insists that Dow Chemical is happy with their ad agency.  His resolve riles Don, who does not believe that Dow Chemical is happy with having only half of the market share knowing that the company can have more and would want more.  Don abruptly ends the meeting after he loses his composure despite Roger’s constant reminder of keeping his cool before they went into the meeting.

Lane’s secretary, Scarlett, asks if she can leave the company’s records in Joan’s office, since Lane has not arrived at the office and his door is locked.  Joan uses her key to get inside Lane’s office only something is barring the door.  She catches sight of an upturned chair and shrewdly guesses its meaning.  She barges inside the office next door and informs Pete of her concern.  Pete climbs the couch to look over the wall that separated his office from Lane’s and exclaims in shock at his discovery.  Harry and Ken who was meeting with him does the same confirming what Joan knew, but hoped against.  Roger and Don arrive at the office to find it devoid of employees except for Bert, Joan, and Pete, who are waiting for them in the creative lounge.  Bert Cooper bluntly informs them of Lane’s suicide by means of hanging.  The news of Lane’s suicide knocked Don hard enough to cause him to seek a chair, but the news of Lane still hanging in his office caused him to take action.  Don goes against the coroner’s instruction not to disturb the scene and forces the door open that he, Roger, and Pete can enter to allow them to lay his body to rest.  Don and Roger carry the body as Pete cuts the cord and they lay him on his couch.  Roger finds lying on the floor an envelope addressed to the partners a boilerplate of a resignation letter.

Don arrives home and finds Glen in his living room not remembering who he is until the young man introduces himself as Helen Bishop’s son.  Don offers to drive Glen to Hotchkiss, the boarding school up in Lakeville, Connecticut.  On their way down the building, Glen intimates his morose view of life.  Glen comes to a realization that everything a person believes will make him happy will fail to fulfill its promise.  Don finds that Glen is too young to uncover the misery of life that he asks the young man of his dream.  As it turns out, Glen had always wanted to drive a car.  It is a dream simple enough that Don fulfills it.  Glen drives the car all the way to Hotchkiss.

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