The Love Song of One Lane Price

Duana Posted by Duana at April 16, 2012 18:50:20 April 16, 2012 18:50:20

Mad Men Season 5 Episode 5 recap

ItΓÇÖs always been a weird thing, having Lane in the office.  It never bothered me or felt like it didnΓÇÖt fit ΓÇô but then, it didnΓÇÖt exactly ΓÇ£matchΓÇ¥, either.  Lane has these antiquated ideas of professionalism and growing a business, and at times his attitude at Sterling Cooper (both before and after his name was added to the masthead) was that of a college professor who was unexpectedly given a summer camp instead.   

But itΓÇÖs not hard to see what he gets out of it.  The glamour of  being around the bustle of exciting people is exciting in itself, you know?  Your breath starts to come a little quicker just hearing about adventures.  And for Lane, who has spent so  much fruitless time trying to tell his wife why itΓÇÖs beneficial for them to live in New York, it must be such a relief to drink it in.  What kills me about him, though, is that with his bunny last year and the Girl In The Wallet and, to exactly nobodyΓÇÖs surprise, Joan (who is still being referred to as Mrs. Harris, I notice, and is still wearing her rings),-  Lane is hoping very, very hard to fall in love.  To be rescued?    

Lane has such hopes that if he falls in love with a woman all the questions he has ΓÇô those ones everyone else already has the answers to ΓÇô will be answered.   Something about the American way of doing things is lost on him, and he desperately wants to be clued in; somehow only an American-as-apple-pie Suzie Q will give him the key to what heΓÇÖs looking for.  He treats women with a measure of respect, sort of, and hopes it hides his fervent heavy breathing.  IΓÇÖm  not the only one who thought beaten, glasses-less Lane looked kind of hot when he was on his office couch, I know that; we just might be in the minority.   

ThatΓÇÖs all beside the reality of his marriage, though.  LaneΓÇÖs not actually going to leave his wife, not after a caning from his father made him rethink that  folly.  He canΓÇÖt understand why none of his colleagues see the utter humiliation that is his by association, now that the Jaguar head has had ΓÇ£chewing gum on his pubisΓÇ¥.  This is a British thing, a European thing.  Even though Lane was nowhere near the event, heΓÇÖs guilty by proxy for remaining in the company of those who could be conducive to such a thing existing.  ItΓÇÖs heavy stuff.

This is the great part of Lane: heΓÇÖs for us.  HeΓÇÖs an outsider who doesnΓÇÖt understand how these things can go un-commented-upon, un-gasped-about.  HeΓÇÖll never be one of these men,  at three different places on the path of what looks like a fairly eventual path to being Roger: cranky, bitchy, and resentful of othersΓÇÖ success.  (You go, Ken Cosgrove/Ben Hargrove!  You keep writing in the dead of night!)

I loved watching Pete, this episode.  I mean, I hated it and I hated him but thatΓÇÖs by design, right? He has this ability to pause and seem deliberate as he thinks to himself ΓÇ£now, how much of an asshole can I get away with being?ΓÇ¥  What kills me about him is that there are two levels.  ThereΓÇÖs the Pete who is just a dick-by-the-numbers, calling Lane a homo and his continuing resentment of Ken ΓÇô and then thereΓÇÖs the Pete who looks around with wonder, touching everything in his life and going ΓÇ£Wait, why arenΓÇÖt I happy?  What should I have to be happy?ΓÇ¥  HeΓÇÖs long been in DonΓÇÖs shadow and struggled between trying to take the man down and to emulate him.   It frustrates him that he canΓÇÖt break free of the pattern, and frustrates him more that when he thinks heΓÇÖs got it right ΓÇô even whores have to work for his attention! ΓÇô heΓÇÖs not in the same company he once was.  Don isnΓÇÖt playing the same game anymore.

I can appreciate that Don sees himself in Pete, that he knows whatever Pete thinks is better-looking than his family in the burbs, it isnΓÇÖt worth it (and that was reinforced by the charming charm that is Alison Brie in this episode, no?  They really get their TrudyΓÇÖs worth when they get her).  That his incessant struggles to figure out, like Lane, what and who will finally satiate his appetite will never really be over.

But I think I have a problem with Don knowing this because of Megan.  I donΓÇÖt know why, exactly, I just havenΓÇÖt seen the combination of the two of them be quite as therapeutic as whatΓÇÖs being implied.  Certainly Don is milder, and I sat up straighter as not one but two nods to his old life ΓÇô that he grew up in a brothel, and the easy correction of killer Charles ΓÇ£WhitmanΓÇ¥ - failed to shake him at all.  ThatΓÇÖs impressive.   But the admonishment to Pete, when he was trying not to be holier-than-thou but somehow did come off that way, just a little, of (pardon my paraphrase) ΓÇ£If IΓÇÖd met [Megan] the first time around IΓÇÖd have known not to mess it upΓÇ¥  -- well, thatΓÇÖs a convoluted thought.  On the one hand, heΓÇÖs acknowledging that he had a hand in the ruin of his first marriage, and that he regrets it.   ThatΓÇÖs interesting to hear, and totally foreign to the Don we knew five years ago ΓÇô at least in his ability to articulate it.  I believe it though, if only because I think Don feels genuine longing when heΓÇÖs on the phone with the daughter he doesnΓÇÖt see enough.  On the other hand, heΓÇÖs implying that Megan is a better wifeΓǪ?  Or that he wouldΓÇÖve never been a cheater had he met herΓǪ?  Both of which seem pretty rich to me, and which come back around to blaming Betty for what wasnΓÇÖt her fault.  And then thereΓÇÖs a third eyebrow raise that comes from assuming Pete and Trudy will necessarily fall down the same rabbit hole the Drapers (version one) did.

But I guess one manΓÇÖs nursery school teacher is another manΓÇÖs driving school classmate is another manΓÇÖs buxom office manager.  One of these women must have the key to happiness ΓÇô right?

Courtesy AMC

Tags: Mad Men
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