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14 June 2012 @ 04:55 am
Mad Men: Season 5  
Does anyone on my flist watch Mad Men? I've watched the series pretty faithfully but never in a major fannish sort of way. I'd fallen way behind for season 5 but recently caught up on it during my sleepless jet lagged nights.

My ramble below is mainly an excuse for me to talk about Jared Harris who I was reminded of recently while reading Newman's book. Harris physically looks nothing like the Moriarty described by ACD or Newman but I still heard and saw him in my mind whenever Moriarty popped up.

Anyway, he plays a completely different character on Mad Men.

I'd always associated Harris with villains. Maybe it's because he's British and I first found out who he was from watching him play the evil David Robert Jones on Fringe. Him playing Moriarty didn't really help lessen that image. But on Mad Men he played the deeply repressed, awkward, but strangely endearing Lane Pryce, in charge of finance. A man whom I initially suspected as being a villain in season 3 when he first came to Sterling Cooper but then rapidly became an ally in helping Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce come into being.

His character was a bit of an enigma to some extent. You knew he came from a top echelon family back in the England, though it was clear in that one episode with his father that the elder Pryce was pretty abusive. He had an English wife and son who seemed to love him despite his early attempts to forge a new life in America with a new woman. By season 4 he was a partner at the new ad agency and was doing a good job in keeping SCDP solvent. Unlike his American coworkers, Lane was largely quiet, unassuming, compliant and gentle by nature. He was like the quintessential polite Englishman in an office of hedonistic, ambitious go getters. It could be awkward sometimes to see Lane be out of sync both in his personality and culture within the office and maybe he seemed a bit pathetic when he tried to be more ambitious, but overall, I liked having a character around who wasn't always drinking, smoking, having wanton sex, or going crazy double backstabbing people to get clients.

But then things took a dark turn in the last half of season 5.

As much as I liked Lane, I kind of saw him as a lovely side character. Which was why I was a little surprised at how much I was affected by his rapid downfall and suicide in the second to last episode. It apparently only took one scene wherein Lane gets caught in having forged Don Draper's signature in order to write himself a desperately needed check that suddenly made me invest all my emotions onto his character. Harris really should get at the very least an Emmy nomination for his phenomenal performance as Lane goes from defensive to bitter to apologetic to desperate to flat out tears when Draper demands he resign. I kept watching that scene thinking, "Jesus, he can't get fired! He can't! Oh my god, he can't!!" I was so affected by Lane's panic. As much as I understood Draper's reasoning for firing him (the man did embezzle), I also sort of hated him for making Lane a pleading, sobbing mess.

Of course, then the show just took it one step further and had Lane kill himself in the office. And even the suicide couldn't be a clean exit (he originally tried to kill himself in a Jaguar but the car wouldn't start. Story of his life) although I was glad that the rest of the company really were completely bowled over by it. The follow up finale with Draper's conversation with Lane's widow was excellently done with Mrs. Pryce not letting Draper off the hook regarding the latter's own guilt. I maybe harsh but yeah, Don was a large component to Lane's suicide and frankly, it's not Mrs. Pryce's job at this time to absolve him of it. I was kind of glad she called him out on visiting her mainly for that before kicking him out.

Anyway, it's a sad sad farewell to Lane Pryce. The only thing that cheered me up about his demise was reading an interview with Harris who was asked if he tried to get the creator, Matthew Weiner, to change his mind about Lane's fate: "There was no way to talk him out of it. The season had been structured for this. They had been building this since the beginning. I tried to persuade him that Lane had a brother, Blaine Pryce."

BAHAHA! Blaine Pryce! If such a twin existed with such a name, it would only confirm just how abusive elder Pryce truly is.