Just when you think Mad Men may have lost the edge by airing a boring episode, the wheels fall off. Here is a brief breakdown on the major players in Season 5, Episode 5, Signal 30.
Lane Pryce – Lane takes his turn in the rotation as the major player in Signal 30. (Signal 30 is a kind of scared-straight movie played at driver’s education classes during high school. The short documentary is a recording of brutal car crashes using real footage that is meant to put the fear of God into teenagers.) Lane befriends a British expatriate at a tavern while watching the World Cup. After the Brits beat Germany, the two experience a liquor induced euphoria that has Lane’s new friend offering him the Jaguar account. When he brings the information to the firm, the partners decide that they should entertain the potential client minus Mr. Pryce.
Roger Sterling: Since Roger is “director of benders” he is in charge of activities. When the client suggest that he would like to party after having dinner in the city, Roger goes into overdrive and brings the gang to high priced brothel.
Don Draper: In a total reversal of character, Don sits out the activities and is on the sideline for most of the episode.
Pete Campbell: Pete is as obnoxious as ever. Even though he has good job, a nice wife, and a house in the suburbs, he is far from happy. Since Pete lives in the suburbs he decides that he must learn how to drive and begins attending driver’s ed classes (thus the Signal 30 connotation). He tries to hit on a young girl in the class, but is blown off in favor of another young man also taking the class.
Ken Cosgrove: Ken continues to pursue his writing career by scribbling some nonsense science fiction about robots blowing up bridges.
The firm together: In what maybe the highlight of the season (possibly the highlight of the entire show), a red-faced Lane breaks into the office for the morning meeting and tells Don, Roger, and Pete, that they have blown the account because his clients wife had found out about the extracurricular activities. When Don asks how the wife found out, Lane responds that she found chewing gum in his pelvic region. The partners all have a good laugh at Lane’s expense but when Pete insinuates that Lane is a homo, they duke it out right in the office with Lane coming out on top.
Reviewers note: I taped this episode and watched it Monday Morning. The fight scene literally had me rolling on the floor and choking on my donut. Good thing I had my coffee nearby or my wife would have found me dead. Can’t wait to see what the firm conjures up this weekend.
My Rating: 5 of 5 Fisticuffs.