Mad Men is a man down after Sunday’s penultimate episode. “Commissions and Fees” brought a resolution to a piece of plot that’s been up in the air for quite some time. But the solution may not be to every fans liking. Proceed with caution, there are spoilers ahead.

Check out our full review below…      

The Players:

  • Director: Chris Manley
  • Writers: Andre Jaquemetton & Maria Jacquemetton
  • Cast: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Aaron Staton, Rich Sommer, John Slattery, Kiernan Shipka, Robert Morse, Jared Harris, Jessica Parè, Marten Holden Weiner, Ray Wise

Episode Title: “Commissions and Fees”

Don searches for higher ladders to climb in the advertising world as Lane tries to cope with the consequences of his actions. Meanwhile, Sally goes out on a date.

The Good:

  • The Pitch: Roger’s right, the fight in Don has been absent for most of the season. He used to enter meetings telling clients what they were going to do, instead of bending to their every complaint and whim. He seemed to enjoy taking a campaign a client detested and finding a way to force it down their throats. How refreshing was it to see him in the meeting with Ed Baxter, sticking it to the man that made him question his tobacco letter? The resurgence of Don’s desire to brawl for success is wonderful, even though it took this long to return.
  • Mommy Dearest: In the beginning it looked like the audience would be treated to Betty’s usual brand of acidic parenting. When Sally runs to her for comfort in the throes of her first trip down the torturous road known as a woman’s monthly, Betty manages to dig a bit of nurture-like mothering from the depths of her character. The scene held no real weight, other than giving Betty a moment to feel superior to Megan. All the same, it was a sweet glimpse into the mother/daughter relationship.
  • What Do You Want To Do?: He might have begun as a slightly creepy little boy, but Glen is growing into an introspective young man. His firm grasp of the disappointments of life may be true, but are quite disheartening to hear from a boy his age. Don’s quick assessment of the situation and decision to do whatever it took to bring some joy into Glen’s life was great to watch. Will letting Glen drive make all the problems in his world disappear? Certainly not, but it restored his hope for life and gave the episode a beautiful final scene.

The So-So:

  • Anything Else: Another week of bickering followed by a quick resolution for the Drapers. Don and Megan seem to be functioning as a couple, but it’s hard not to feel uneasy about the strength of their union. More than anything, their future seems unclear and that can’t be a good thing a week before the finale.
  • Jaguar: Things were always going to go bad for Lane, but it’s doubtful many predicted this end. The discovery of his deception didn’t go as deep as it could have; neither Don nor Bert learned that he asked for the line of credit that made the bonuses possible. It seemed that a quiet resignation was the fairest thing Don could demand of Lane.  He could’ve offered to help or cover it up but trust is a serious issue for Don. And who can truly blame him for becoming weary of someone who stole money? It seems Lane’s suicide might weigh hard on Don, though that guilt doesn’t seem deserved. It’s too early to tell what this stress will do to him, but chances are it’s nothing good.

The Bad:

  • Sans Peggy: ‘Tis true that in the workplace people are here today and gone tomorrow. While a departure rarely stirs up genuine displeasure, it usually births a tad bit of idle gossip. Last week’s scandal with Joan was referenced briefly, with Don’s snide comment in the partners meeting and her seat on the other side of the partners table. Why doesn’t the departure of one of Sterling Cooper Draper Price’s most beloved characters garner a momentary mention?

The Quotable:

  • “You know you can’t keep being the good little boy while the adults run this business.”
  • “You used to love no. No used to make you hard.”
  • “But what is happiness? It’s a moment before you need more happiness.”

Overall:

Maybe every episode can’t seem as fast paced as last week’s.  A few startling things occurred, but the show still dragged in certain places. There seems to be very little build up to next week’s season finale.

Rating: 7/10

Mad Men airs Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on AMC.

What did you think of the episode?