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Mad Men Rundown: Episode 10, "The Inheritance"

Mad Men Rundown: Episode 10, "The Inheritance"

As is often the case with Mad Men, the title of the episode is perfect. This week's installment has little Sterling-Cooper stuff and tons of richly layered, sad, prickly family issues dealing with difficult moms, sick dads, unknown heirs and lonely little boys. We don't see too much of our main man, Don Draper, this week, and I longed for more Joan, Roger and Peggy, but this episode is just as sad, disturbing and well-written as any of them.

To talk about this week's new developments,


Betty Draper: Betty's whole storyline this week is so fascinating and layered. She basically has issues with all three of the male characters in her life this episode. Her father, Gene (who actually bears a resemblance to McCain, in my opinion), has suffered a stroke and is starting to mix things up, mistaking Betty for her mother. The scene at the dining room table when he grabs Betty's breast is staggeringly sad, but Betty doesn't even miss a beat. She's shaken, but doesn't react negatively toward her father at all. She and Don go to see her father together, and she decides to sleep with Don while they're there, but kicks him out again once they return home ("Nothing's changed. We were just pretending."). It seems like all Betty craves sometimes is a little truthfulness. When Viola states simply that Gene is "very, very sick," Betty is relieved that someone is finally admitting it. Later, the boy with the crush on Betty, Glen Bishop, shows up in the Draper kids' playhouse and Betty brings him inside, where he takes Betty's hand and says he came there to rescue her. When Betty calls his mother to pick him up, he glares at Betty and says, "I hate you." As Sally Draper stared at her mother, I couldn't help but wonder what she's learning from Betty, and what Betty learned from her family.

Pete Campbell: Speaking of inheriting things, Pete and his brother Bud are sifting through what their father left them (or, more accurately, what he didn't leave them), while Pete and Trudy discuss adoption. Pete and Bud talk about kids and toast to "the end of the line," but of course, they're not the end of the line because Pete actually does have a child. I look forward to the scene when Pete discovers that Peggy had his kid. Pete can be such a prick ("Why do you insist on making me angry before I go to bed?"), but seeing the way his mother treats him certainly explains a lot. Again, what he "inherited" from that family has seriously informed the person he is now. When his mother snidely dismisses adoption ("You're pulling from the discards"), it almost seems like Pete becomes more sold on the idea because his mother disapproves of it.

Some more thoughts:

  • More heirs/inheritance stuff: Harry Crane's baby shower! During which he wears a giant yellow bonnet. I love that the cake reads "Congratulations! It's a Crane!" and I find it hilarious that they give him Lucky Strikes as a gift to celebrate the birth of a baby. Oh, and Mr. Cooper poking his head in to just say "happy birthday"? Priceless.
  • Trudy's line to Pete completely melted my heart: "We're not related by blood and you love me." It struck me as the sweetest, most beautiful argument for adoption there is.
  • So Kinsey is going down South to register voters, taking a stand with Sheila and waxing philosophic on the bus ride there: "Advertising, if anything, helps bring on change. Consumer has no color." I am loving this Sheila. She is no-nonsense and strong, calling Kinsey out when the need arises.
  • When Don scoffs at Kinsey and Pete for not having read Peggy's write-up about their trip to L.A., he jokes, "Maybe I should send her." For a moment Peggy looks so hopeful! Also, I love that her outfits are getting cuter. That fitted, black-and-white number is fantastic.
  • At one point Gene snaps at Don that he has everything and acts like it's nothing. "My daughter's a princess, you know that?" It makes me wonder if this is what's going on with Betty, that she was a princess to her father, and a perfect wife to her husband. But now her father is starting to slip away, and she's realizing her husband was not so perfect. Helen Bishop's comment to Betty seems significant: "The hardest part is realizing you're in charge."
  • Fun fact: The boy playing Glen is Marten Holden Weiner, the son of Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner.
  • It made me laugh when Pete told Bud to get back the money their father gave to Lincoln Center. Bud: "You can't take a donation back!"
  • Pete seems like such a little boy sometimes; he just has no filter. Like when he says to Peggy, "I hate my mother. What do you think of that?"
  • I like that Betty confides in Helen Bishop, finally telling another woman that Don's not living in the house anymore. It's good that Betty can talk to a female her own age about these things.
  • Smoking on planes! I forgot that this was ever something people did. This episode included little of Don's story, but I liked that it ends with him gazing out the airplane window, sunlight gliding up his face.

What did you think about "The Inheritance"?

Photos courtesy of AMC

Brendelwoman Brendelwoman 9 years
I am not creeped out by Glen anymore. Once Betty talked to him last season about how lonely she is, I got less creeped out by his wanting a piece of her hair. They both seem lonely. Which makes me wonder why two lonely people married to eachother cannot connect. Don is lonely, too, but doesn't find comfort in Betty. Last season I could see why he didn't want her - she seemed immature - but this season she is changing.
Taadie Taadie 9 years
I think January Jones is such an incredible actress. The looks on her face in these scenes. Like when her father touches her breast and when she is talking to her maid, I could have cried myself. In last weeks episode when she invited that guy to lunch how she puts on that smile and drops it just as quickly. She should have an Emmy sitting on her desk right now. I too am rooting for Don and Betty. Neither of them is perfect. Betty has the mind of a 14yr old and Don literally is not who he says he is, but I think he truly cares for her. He just doesnt really know how to have a real loving relationship. Glen is super creepy and I thought he was seriously gonna grab her boob too. Vincent Kartheiser is a genius because I serious hate Pete. I cant wait for more new episodes. This show is perfect.
ineedcaffeine ineedcaffeine 9 years
kwikwit...i thought the EXACT same thing about betty being molested when she was younger, it would explain SO much, right? Also, the dress Betty was wearing during that scene was gorgeous...i think this show has the best wardrobe. Call me a romantic, but I am really pulling for Betty and Don, neither one is perfect (Don obviously more so), but I think there are genuine feelings there. The scene when they returned to the house, I just wished Don would have said something other then "you need me here", something like he wanted to be there..but ah, that is not Don. I used to find Trudy so irksome, but I love her now, that line about not being blood related was perfect. Another great episode, as the season goes on it seems that each episode gets better!
kwikwit kwikwit 9 years
Hausfrau, that kid is the creator's (Matt Weiner) son! Extra freaky now, right?
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
The kid who plays Glen scares the hell out of me! Seriously! I want to dress up like him on Halloween he's so freaky! Great actor though, esp for being so young. I was sad that Betty didn't take Don back, I know he's not perfect and their marriage isn't perfect either. But at least he was trying, and she doesn't seem to really care if they fix it at all. I felt for Don when he asked her what she wanted from him. Kinsey don't get, is he just trying to play like he's all enlightened? I get the feeling that he's just putting it all on but he's just as chauvanistic as the rest deep down inside.
pinky-tuscadero pinky-tuscadero 9 years
Buzz, wonderful recap! Love, loved this episode. It's funny that Don told Joan to write a memo to Kinsey to let him know that he wasn't going California and she went in front of everyone at the party to tell him. Also, I felt sorry for Don, but I always do. Very well written episode.
lylpookie lylpookie 9 years
I do think that Don cares about Betty...maybe he doesn't love her, but I think he does care. Sure he treats her like a child still, but you could see how he quickly came to her side and put his hand on her back to show how protective he is of her when her dad accidentally groped her. He knew that she was upset, and he was quick to respond to reassure her that he was there. I'm not saying he's perfect, but I do think there are sentiments there. I also found the scene where Peggy gives Pete the cake very symbolic. And I love the scene where they're talking together at the end. It's such an interesting relationship that they have with each other...with him treating her like he's better than her at times, but also as though she's his only friend that he can confide in as well. Unlike Don, she doesn't brush him off because she doesn't care. Glen...I was wondering when they would bring him back. I'm glad that Betty can finally talk to someone about what she's going through...and not worry that Don's going to call them up and find out what she said.
Lysa1237 Lysa1237 9 years
I loved this episode. I'm not a fan of Betty per se but I'm glad to see her character develop in every episode. Poor thing she needs therapy, first Don then her Father and in the end with Glen. Glad she told Don they were "only pretending" after they had sex, Don probably thought he was in her good graces, but I have to admit Don pulled thru, I would like to think that Don does care about Birdie, they definitely have things they need to work out before they move on, with each other or separately . Being there for betty sure made Don hotter in my eyes LoL Can't imagine there are a few episodes left before the season's over. Pete, what can I say, I still love to hate him. He did get my sympathy vote in this episode, I can see why he turned out the way he did, his mom is a BITCH. I was hoping for Pete's couch to make a comeback, Am I the only one who wants Pete and Peggy to end up together? oh well, glad to see them in a conversation that was not work related. The kid thing was creepy, glad to see they brought his mom (the divorced one ) LoL back on the show. Best scene on the episode was Don and Pete on the plane, specially don gazing outside the window, kudos to the writers on that one.
kwikwit kwikwit 9 years
And did anyone notice differently Betty treats Glen versus Bobby? She is absolutely horrific towards poor little Bobby. It's as though she's taking out all of her anger towards Don on the poor kid. And then she pointed out that Glen's mom isn't giving him what he needs? What a hippocrite. I'll give her a break though. She's been having a rough time of it lately.
kwikwit kwikwit 9 years
I thought last night was my favorite episode of the season thus far. I absolutely love what Weiner is doing with Betty's character. However, I really don't think she's "in control" of anything. She's like a child - needs to feel like a princess, needs approval from her father, sleeps with Don and then dumps him without thinking about his feelings, treats Glen like a grade school crush instead of a child. She's almost inbalanced. Did anyone wonder if she was molested as a child after her dad pulled that stunt? It would explain a lot - especially since she seems to be a 7 year-old in a woman's body. Maybe it was just me.
bittersweet411 bittersweet411 9 years
Where do I begin? This episode gave me chills. Betty Draper has done her best to please the men in her life (e.g. as Don's arm candy, her father's "princess," etc.). She is the ultimate polished housewife. When she made love to Don at her father's house, I thought, "That's it, she wants her old life back." But in retrospect, that scene was really illustrating Betty's assertiveness. They were in her domain, literally and figuratively. She approached Don and laid on top of him -- contrary to the "rules" of missionary. And he woke up alone and naked. Her father's illness made her realize she had to grow up. Betty told Glen, no. She didn't care if he hated her -- she didn't need to be rescued (anymore). I still can't figure out the nature of Pete and Peggy's relationship. Is she indifferent to him? The apathetic treatment of her child must stem from her resentment, which she hasn't readily acknowledged. Does he like her? Admire her? He wasn't too pleased to see her join the Greek chorus at the burlesque show. Vincent Kartheiser plays the character pitch-perfect: at once immature schoolboy and insecure wreck. I also can't wait to see their stories intersect.
skiwi skiwi 9 years
this was such a beautiful and tragically sad episode. I really wish they would bring in the story of Peggy's baby soon, its like the writers are ignoring the fact that Peggy had a child! And where was Jane this episode?? Are her and Roger together now?
CocoChic CocoChic 9 years
Glen creeps me out. Just saying. This week's episode hit me pretty hard. My dad has had several strokes and is great in comparison to Betty's father but it showed me how lucky my family has been. I love Sheila. She's not afraid to call Kinsey out on his crap. Too bad more women weren't like that in the 60s! Peggy handing Pete a piece of baby cake was awfully symbolic. I can't wait until he finds out.
em1282 em1282 9 years
I loved the episode and I love that we are getting a peek at Betty's life away from her role as Don's wife. I also just love Pete. He reminds me so much of a guy I know--slimy, conniving, does anything to ingratiate himself to the right people--but he's still complicated, and I think Vincent Kartheiser does such a great job with this role.
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