Towards the end of this quiet though affective episode, Glen Bishop asks Don, "Why does everything turn out crappy?" Yikes, the kid is right. Well, in this hour anyway.
First things first: Saddled by severe money woes, a perceived failure in business and general unhappiness with his life, Lane Pryce hangs himself behind the door of his SCDP office.
It was a disturbing scene, clearly. But made even more so by the look in Don's face when he urges the group to cut him down instead of wait for the coroner.
Don doesn't show much emotion -- a flash of anger, a furrowed brow -- but earlier he's the one who tells Lane he must submit his letter of resignation after Bert Cooper finds the check Lane wrote himself earlier this season and forged Don's signature on.
"I will make good by Easter," a desperate Lane tells Don.
"I'm sorry. I can't trust you," Don simply says.
As much as I never really liked Lane, it was tough watching him cry and look up at Don like a bad puppy.
"I feel light-headed," Lane ultimately says.
"That's relief," Don says, urging Lane that the best is yet to come.
Clearly not. We'd been building up to Lane being discovered all season. We'd been expecting him to be fired, but I'm not sure we expected him to kill himself.
He tries it one time earlier in the episode -- opting for a carbon monoxide suicide inside the new Jaguar his clueless wife gives him. The engine doesn't start, so I'm sure Jaguar will not have some kind words for the "Mad Men" writers. Despite all the name-dropping, all last episode was spent calling the car unreliable and now "Mad Men" stages a failed suicide in one? Ouch.
It's Joan who discovers something's wrong with Lane when she tries to enter his office and smells something. She goes and tells Pete, Harry and Ken, laughing it up in Pete's office next door. And when Pete peeks over to see Lane, he covers his mouth and, without saying a word, Joan bursts into tears in a very powerful scene that really didn't need words.
Don and Roger find out when they head back to the office after a fantastic pitch to Dow Corning (subtitle: Don Draper gets his groove back) to offer their services. Earlier this season, the company executive Ed Baxter, who just happens to be Ken Cosgrove's father-in-law, told Don that his Lucky Strike ad made him persona non grata among the big names in business.
Don, wanting to show that he's still got it, makes an impassioned speech about getting Dow to the top (he's even OK with them making napalm), which makes the juxtaposition between this moment and the discovery of Lane even more jarring.
"He hanged himself," Bert simply tells Don.
When Pete says they're waiting for the coroner to come, Don angrily says, "We can't leave him like that!"
Roger discovers a letter. "To my fellow partners," it's addressed.
"It's a resignation letter," Roger says. "Boiler plate."
Don doesn't say a word (he likely wont), just looks away.
Sad stuff. Sadder: One of Lane's last meals was an English muffin.