Two shocking things happened Sunday on “Mad Men”: One agency partner stole money from the company, and a former ad writer turned up in full Hare Krishna regalia.
It was the former plot development that would seem to have more far-reaching consequences for the show, particularly for the offending partner — if he gets caught.
The culprit was the expatriate English executive Lane Pryce (Jared Harris) — who desperately needed money (2,500 English pounds, or $8,000 in American 1966 dollars) to pay the British tax man — a lot of money in that era.
As a result, he devised a scheme to procure a $50,000 loan for the agency from Chemical Bank (now JP Morgan Chase), and then deceive the other partners by telling them the sum was pure profit. Lane then proposed that they all take year-end bonuses from the money, but they were in favor of waiting a few weeks on that.
Well, Lane couldn’t wait, so he made a late-night visit to the office and wrote out a check to himself. He then painstakingly forged Don Draper’s signature on it. By the end of Sunday night’s “Mad Men” episode on AMC, there were no consequences for Lane’s larceny, but we predict there soon will be.
Sunday night’s episode was the 10th (ninth week) of the show’s ongoing fifth season, so the end is coming in just a few weeks. Here’s what else happened Sunday in the episode, which was set in December 1966 and titled “Christmas Waltz”:
1) Harry Crane and the Hare Krishna: In the Krishna subplot, the former pipe-smoking copy writer from seasons past, Paul Kinsey (Michael Gladis), got in touch with Harry (Rich Sommer) and asked him to get together. Paul then seemed to try and recruit Harry into the Krishna cult, with the help of a comely companion (guest-star Anna Wood).
The companion even seduced Harry in his office, but in the end, it was Harry who generously gave Paul a way out of the group, giving him money and advising him to leave quickly for California, where tired East coasters went in the 1960s to reinvent themselves. Whether Paul will succeed in that effort is anybody’s guess; he wrote a spec script for “Star Trek” that Harry deemed unreadable, though he didn’t discourage Paul by telling him that.
2) Joan got served: With divorce papers, that is. When this happened, Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks) threw a fit in the office lobby and Don Draper (Jon Hamm) tactfully walked her out of the office and into a nearby bar (after first test-driving a Jaguar, just in case the agency landed the car maker as a new client).
He and Joan spent a boozy, revealing afternoon together, but they didn’t get together in any other way, as Don wisely decided to depart and go home to Megan (Jessica Pare). Certainly, an affair between these two would have felt very wrong, and we were glad to see the show’s writers didn’t take these two characters there. Instead, Joan found someone else at the bar, who managed to restore her self-confidence, at least temporarily.
“Mad Men” airs Sunday nights at 10/9c on AMC.