Mad Men
The Other Woman

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A- | 5 USERS: B-
Company Woman

Oh goody, Lane is turning up to see Joan. Just to frame this encounter, she thinks she's made a clear denial of any interest in this horrible errand with Gross Pig, while Lane thinks she's seriously considering it. So when he tells her they don't need the account that badly, he's being sincere, but she takes understandable offense. Of course, he's got his own ass to cover here, so he tells her that when the company is thinking of spending fifty grand there needs to be a discussion about it. Joan, given the social propriety that's always refined her sex appeal, is aghast that there was any discussion among the partners about it at all, adding that she didn't want anyone to know she was even asked and you'd think this would bring some realization to Lane about her actual feelings on the matter. Whether that's true or not, Joan goes on to wonder in her most seething tone if Roger was involved in the discussion and Lane has to tell her that yes he was, although he does point out that Roger is a partner. Joan, understandably without the complete control she normally exudes, asks why Lane mentioned the number if he's against the idea and in response, Lane comes up with a mixture of truth and lies saying that the number might be enough to turn her head (the obvious implication being that someone was going to approach her with it eventually) and he wanted a chance to dissuade her. Joan bites out that it is a lot of money -- four times what she makes in a year -- and supposes Lane wouldn't even be tempted. Given how important it's ended up being to the season's plotline, it's a fairly grave flaw that we haven't gotten any insight into how Lane let his personal financial mismanagement get so dire, but he doesn't give that the chance to hit him in his own financial misdeeds, instead telling her that if he were, he wouldn't make the mistake of being shy about asking what he wanted. Joan unwillingly plays along, asking what he would want, so he says he settled for too little when the company was formed (it does sound like his equity stake is far less than the other partners' -- whether that's fair is another question) and if he were her, instead of taking the cash he'd ask to be a partner to the tune of five percent. Even if he weren't covering his own ass, I'm not sure I'd agree - five percent of a company that's been hanging on by a thread could turn out to be nothing, while fifty grand in the bank is not.

Of course, the result of all these machinations should be to land Jaguar, in which case the five percent could amount to quite a lot indeed. The point I need to not overlook is that Lane adds that the partnership equity could "take care of a woman and a child for a lifetime" and indeed, the justifications people make for their behavior -- both good and bad -- in the name of providing for family is one of the season's themes that's coming to a head in this episode and that theme is seen in Lane's actions as well as Joan's. Joan, less emotionally, says she thought he was trying to stop this because of his feelings for her and surely those are just making this scene even more complex as Lane haltingly offers that that's why he's looking out for her best interests even over the company's. Joan has no response to that but to gaze at him, undoubtedly trying to figure out whether to take him at his word. And again, trying to figure out the worst things about the events of this episode could scar you for life even in the context of this show, but it's not just that Joan is being pressured into this decision by not only the partners and loyalty to SCDP but by her home situation -- it's that no one is being honest and giving her all the facts. I wish she'd known to talk to Ken, so she could at least get some information from a reliable witness, but as much as I don't want to see her go through with this, I could live with it a little better if she went into it with her eyes truly open. Of course, knowing all the facts isn't making me any happier, so maybe I should just tell you that Lane does not look particularly proud of himself as he pauses for a moment outside Joan's door. It's not much, but it's got to be better than that grimy little pimp.

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