The Pryce of Dignity

Photo by Ron Jaffe/AMC

By now the death of Lane Pryce has been talked to death at all the blog sites devoted to Mad Men. But I just have a few thoughts and I didn’t want to leave readers hanging. (Okay, I’ll stop there.) So does Don Draper bottle this up? He’s a man of secrets, after all—but can he keep it together in front of Lane’s wife and son? This is, after all, the second death by hanging he has inadvertently caused (the first being his younger brother Adam, whom Draper shunned). I don’t blame Don for the suicide—embezzlement and forgery are unforgivable. But notice how Don is the one who physically embraces Lane’s contorted body. (Having read enough about hangings, the office set up is not one that lends itself to a clean neck break—the poor chap must have suffered some before expiring.)

It will also be interesting to see if Lane Pryce (portrayed by Jared Harris, the son of the late Richard Harris) will make cameos in future episodes. Weiner and others are Sopranos alumni and that long ago show had the dead appearing in dreams and elsewhere, so why not? In fact, two writers sort of hint at this in a recent comment to Slate. “Jared Harris has been, and indeed still is, a beloved member of our Mad Men family. He is an incomparable actor and friend,” write André and Maria Jacquemetton. “In the end, all we can say is that the experience is not over. There is still one more episode to digest and consider. And what a brilliant one it is from Matthew Weiner. A season-finale glimpse into Lane’s (and Don’s) tortured soul awaits.”

I just hope that’s the last we glimpse of Sally’s underwear.

UPDATE: Dave Itzkoff at the New York Times interviews Jared Harris about his character’s demise. The interview is short and worth reading. Of note is the set-up for the death scene. Says Harris,

They wanted the reaction from those guys in the room, so I was made up in the makeup trailer, snuck in through the back, hung up on the harness, hung from behind the door, and then they did some run-throughs to make sure they could open it with some other people. Then they brought the cast guys up and they knew I was hanging on the other side of the door, but when they came into the room they saw that for the first time.

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