Mad Men
Commissions And Fees

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A+ | 7 USERS: A+
Birth and Death In The Same Episode

In her office, Joan looks up to see Lane in her doorway, an inscrutable expression on his face. Noting one of the glasses from Don's bar in his hand, she asks if they were celebrating the 4A's news, but it's clear from his reaction that little development already seems like it happened a million years ago. Lane clearly hasn't gotten over his, well, "light-headedness" and although at first they exchange some comfortable banter about Joan's upcoming vacation plans, which suggests Joan's gratitude for his advice is untempered, he soon makes a lewd comment that's most unappreciated and results in her requesting in no uncertain terms that he vacate her office. Unbowed, he lurches his way out and she rolls her eyes at his uncharacteristic loutishness...

...but when he reaches his office, any bravado has gone from him as he looks out at the snow falling liberally in front of his window and then sits and looks around the place, at the New York Mets banner and the little replica of the Statue Of Liberty, again looking like a frightened animal. It's as good a time to say it as any: Joan had it right when she told him he needed to stop being so afraid. If only he could have taken her advice. He spins in his chair and regards the view one more time...

...while Don, not exactly calmed down either, marches into Roger's office and pours himself a drink without waiting for his partner to get off the phone with his latest, as Bertram would call her, trollop. Don, of course, has bigger matters on his mind than Roger's love life and I will say, as rough a day as it's been, it's a mitigating factor that his preoccupation allowed him not to hear a word Roger said about his latest squeeze. Don launches into a complaint about how they've just been chasing "piddly shit," and he wants to move into the big leagues in their industry and not be a partner in a firm that can't even give Christmas bonuses. I suppose he's motivated by the idea that if they make a lot more money, there will be no need for their employees and partners to engage in prostitution, forgery and felony theft. It's noble enough, but in the end it's a more complex example of Don just throwing money at a problem, although at least the problem isn't flinching this time. Roger brightly asks what happened to Don's big inspirational speech and admits that although he doesn't like Pete, he's turned things around for them. Don, however, feels that Pete thinks too small: "I don't want Jaguar, I want Chevy. I don't want Mohawk, I want American. I don't want Dunlop, I want Firestone." Well, I'm glad he's being honest, although I wonder how he'll take it if he has to fire Mohawk a second time. Roger, with some heat, points out that he spent the whole American Cancer Society dinner "with [his] hand in Jim Barton's pocket," which would have been really awkward for Jim Barton given what we saw Julia Ormond doing and then Don told him he was wasting his time, so Don has to come clean about what Ed Baxter revealed about the Lucky Strike letter killing their chances. Roger is aghast that Don let "that wax figurine" (sorry Ray Wise, but hee) discourage him, but Don thinks he might have been right. Roger, however, tells him what he needs to hear: "You used to love 'no'. 'No' used to make you hard." And that second gives us a title for our next Roger/Don fanfic. Roger redeems himself from puerile jokes both his and mine, however, when he tells Don that things have changed -- he just beat out two huge firms "for that shitty car account." In the future, I can imagine Don's grandkids asking him to retell the story about the time Roger Sterling put things in perspective for him. Roger buzzes for Caroline to get the Firestone guy on the phone, but Don, emboldened by Roger's words and a moment's consideration, tells Roger to get Ed Baxter himself. Roger thinks that's both unnecessary and unwise and while he thinks Ed would meet with Don "even if it's just to watch you eat shit," it's complicated -- what about Ken and his reluctance to work with his family? It's interesting that Roger seems to have a soft spot for Ken on this point, especially after he chewed him out a few episodes for his apparent lack of commitment to the job, but Don's too busy being unimpressed to notice: "Then fire him." Even Roger looks thrown by that one, which is another thing you don't see every day.

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Mad Men




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