Signal 30, the fifth episode of Mad Men Season saw Pete Campbell back in the spotlight, only to get knocked down, or really punched down, again by that good ol' toothy Brit, Lane Pyrce. It appears to me that this fight wasn't just a business meeting gone horribly wrong, but the writers presenting to us a very possible likelihood that either Pete or Lane will be gone before the season is out. So who would you rather stay standing? The Brit or the baby?
Before taking your bets, let me assure you that these hallowed pages have had their success in guessing what will happen in Mad Men before, even to the extent of predicting bizarre turns of events, as proven by this week's episode where, we did actually see a lengthy celebration of England beating West Germany to win the World Cup. Alright, so everyone didn't get wasted on Pimms and Joan didn't bake a Rule Britannia cake as I'd hoped, but details, dear readers, details!
Now back to the matter in hand, the contestants!
In the red white and blue corner...Lane Pryce
Attributes - Toothy grin, penchant for lusting over strange females, is married to Miss Honey
Special Move - The Stiff Upper Punch
Why he should stay - The melodrama that can be created by a simple trip to the pub once heightened British accents are used is spectacular as proved by this week's episode. Lane Pryce may have remarked to Joan that he does nothing at SCDP (and then kissed her, to add insult to injury), but this simply isn't true. With a name like Lane, Mr Pryce was always going to be the odd one out in the office and his spectacular proposal to go mano a mano with Pete Campbell was an idea of true British inspiration. Why hadn't anyone thought of it earlier than this? Quite frankly anyone who is able to come up with such fantastic insults such as "you grimy little pimp" is alright in my book.
Why he should leave - Perhaps some new drama will be added by Lane's spontaneous decision to kiss Joan but it seems that for now we've seen Mr Pryce at his most charged and it might be a long time coming before anything more remarkable happens to him. Just as he is an archetypal Brit stuck in America, so too is his character stuck in a quagmire of behaviour not quite perverse enough to make him an entertaining Roger Sterling, and not quite demure enough to turn him into...well any character outside of the SCDP office. Is being British really a strong enough character point for his stay to be welcome?
In the yellow-bellied corner...Pete Campbell
Attributes - Bitter stare, hurt slump, penchant for lusting over any females
Special Move - The Dick Whitman Stab In The Back
Why he should stay - If there was no more Pete Campbell in the office, there wouldn't be anyone to sneer as someone managed to do well in their lives. And who on earth would handle the Mohawk Airlines account? The SCDP office needs an Iago (of the Othello rather than Aladdin variety - enough characters get attributed with bird names already in this programme), and without Pete Roger Sterling would have to be the chief mischief maker, and there's only so many women he can knock up around the office before he has another heart attack.
Why he should leave - From the change between telling Don "I have it all" to slumping in the escalator whining "I have nothing" all in one episode, it's clear that Pete Campbell is heading for a breakdown. What better way to end a dramatic season finale then to have him, in a fit of fury and jealousy, take Lane Pryce hostage in the boardroom of SCDP with the hunting gun he was supposed to have disposed of, cackling and shouting "NOW WHO'S THE PIMP?!" I'd rather see our beloved creep go out in a blaze of madness rather than drip over, like a particularly symbolic tap.
So who do you think should leave this season? With the gloves now off, will everyone be rounding up to give Pete a beating, or had Lane better watch his back?
What this episode should have been called - The Tale of the Grimy Little Pimp
What I'd like to see happen next time (but probably won't) - Pete Campbell joins up with a new tag team partner to give Lane a beating - Fat Betty, Ken Cosgrove's story writing take a fourth wall twist as he starts to write a screenplay about people working in an an advertising office and changes his nom de plume to Matthew Weinberg, and Don Draper takes Pete's statement of similarity to a nun literally and signs up to live in a convent.