Warning: This post contains HUGE spoilers about tonight’s episode of Mad Men. Read spoilers at your own risk! For more on Wetpaint Entertainment's philosophy on spoilers, click here.

On tonight’s episode of Mad Men (Season 5, Episode 12: “Commissions and Fees”) there was a huge moment that will change Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce forever. After getting caught stealing money from the company by Don, Lane was forced to resign as partner of the agency and began a downward spiral that eventually led to him killing himself in his office. Yep, Pryce killed himself.

It isn’t that we didn’t see this death coming -- Lane had been struggling with his financial troubles since Season 4 -- but his sudden suicide was definitely a shock to fans. A suicide was always looming over this season of Mad Men, but most fans were betting on someone like Pete killing themselves, not Lane.

Lane’s death solidified the slow decay of the agency, which we learned was the catalyst that sent him into financial ruin. (Lane and the rest of the partners were forced to put up $50,000 towards the company back in Season 4 after they lost Lucy Strike. He later revealed that he had to liquidate his stock portfolio and was forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars in taxes on the assets.) Don was already seeing the destruction of the agency before Lane killed himself, but his death, which was discovered by the partners, was the final piece of evidence that we needed to know that this isn’t the little agency that could anymore.

How will Lane’s death affect the agency? Joan was destroyed when she discovered Lane’s body. Don was clearly distraught. Roger was finally so shocked that he couldn’t even let out a joke. And Pete stepped up to be the big parent who broke the news to everyone. Next week’s finale episode will surely deal with the aftermath for everyone else.

Did you think Lane's death was too dark, even for Mad Men? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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