That will haunt her

 Posted by on May 20, 2015 at 12:39 pm  Mad Men, Season 7
May 202015
Mad Men, The Milk and Honey Route: Sally Draper covers her ears

Photo Credit:Courtesy of AMC

Sally Draper: I’d stay here ‘til 1975 if I thought I could get Betty in the ground.
Mad Men Episode 7.02: A Day’s Work

Betty is studying Freud, and knows what “magical thinking” is. Most of the time, when people say things like this, they don’t mean them, but when they come true, the guilt is staggering.

Sally will never forget she said it. Never.


  60 Responses to “That will haunt her”

  1. Darling Sally’s time for being a punk teenager toward her mom has come to a crashing halt.
    She can still aim her sneer at Don.
    She can’t look back when she is 35, 40 years old and think, ‘Wow, mom was right about a lot of things, if only I’d have listened’.
    The process of facing her death speeds up that regret, and forces her to become an adult in this aspect way before her time.
    She might turn her anger inward, or she can try to be Nordic, but she will be resentful.
    For a time.
    Betts’ grace while facing the abyss will be her greatest gift to her.
    A sharp, intuitive kid like Sally will get that sooner, rather than later.
    Forgiveness is the ultimate kindness.
    That comment will not be reduced to a throwaway in her mind, but it won’t shatter her.
    Her mom, in the end, forgave her.

    • in some ways, and this is a sad thing to think, this will make Sally love her more. Because chances are the bad stuff of her will be forgotten, and everyone will remember the nicer things. Don, however, will be around to get the moods and snark.

      For a lot of people, the ones who are dead are more fondly remembered.

  2. I remember that feeling. Very much a “be careful what you wish for” kind of thing.

    Paging Dr. Edna!

  3. Yes it will haunt her….Her remarks seemed at the time so darkly over the top, kind of the way peer bonding turns into an extreme sport especially in boarding school environments. It was the death of her roommate Sara’s mother that brought Sally to these words. The same Sara- , I think, who flirts with Don in “The Forecast” so upsetting Sally. Does the future hold acting out like this for Sally, or will she be grounded by her brothers needs, her mother’s note, the good work of Dr. Edna? Matthew Weiner lays down many tracks to take. Thank you to the Lipp sisters and all the Basketcases for enriching the trip.

  4. I don’t know if it will or not. Betty said some pretty uncaring things to her through her young life. I think if a kid has developed a caustic wit, you don’t have to look far to identify the source. I speak from personal experience.

    • And Betty’s negative interactions with Sally weren’t just verbal. She smacked her full across the face after she’d cut her own hair, going for the Hayley Mills look. I believe there were other implied physical threats too, something about cutting Sally’s fingers off, after she was caught paying with herself at the sleep over.

      It’s always about Betty and how it will make her look, never about Sally – except maybe, in terms of the impact of what Sally does or doesn’t do, on Betty. Offhand, about the only times Betty did something positive, were when she bought her the Barbie and got her riding boots. The Barbie, supposedly from Baby Gene & The Fairies, was intended to modify Sally’s behavior. The boots were said to have been a gift because Sally was becoming a big girl. Of course, we all know they were purely utilitarian – so Sally would be better equipped to wade through Betty’s constant bullshit.

      I think Sally will be fine. I’m rather surprised she has turned out as well as she has, given what she’s been up against.

      • Makes me wonder what Betty’s mother was like, because so often we open our mouths and our mother’s voice comes out — unless there is a vigilant effort to change it.

        • We got some hints when Gene and Sally shared the chocolate ice cream, also when Betty was giving birth to Baby Gene. Of course, it was during a drug induced fog, for delivery, so who knows – though I believe her Mother’s line was something like: “See what happens when you speak up?”

          I’ve found it interesting that Dick’s natural mother was essentially missing in the show, as was Betty’s. All we had was a sense of them, but even with just that, some important blanks were filled in for the viewers. That, and Dick/Don’s behavior and Betty’s.

          • Don/Dick’s mother died during childbirth — and his stepmother always reminded him that he was a “whore child”. No wonder he was messed up, because he was always reminded that he wasn’t welcome at home.

    • I think what Sally is doing now is less for Betty than for her little brothers, she has always been a considerate big sister. But I doubt she forgets she said that to her friends. I hope that she eventually comes to the understanding that while Betty wasn’t the ideal mother, she did the best with what she had. And resolves to do better with her own kids, like most of us do, or at least to try to do better.

    • I had the same thought White T Jim B. Betty was a bit of a narcissistic mother — more worried about herself than Sally’s feelings. But there was no doubt, to me, that Sally was genuinely devastated when Henry gave her the news. From Betty she will inherit her good looks and grace and for that she will be grateful. Sally will grow up remembering both the good and the bad. Families are complicated like that. Life is bittersweet and full of irony.

      • Sally’s “Betty in the ground” line, didn’t carry much significance when I saw it. Now, given what we know about Betty’s fate, it made me think back to Don’s visit in the diner with Adam. When he revealed that Uncle Mack and Abigail had died, I believe Don’s response was, “Good.” It’s true that Sally has inherited many of Betty’s positive traits, I just hope she doesn’t end up with Don’s lingering bitterness. If Sally remembers her remark at all, I’m sure she’ll feel a real twinge of regret for having said it, but I don’t think it will haunt her. My take on her has been that she learns and grows, and moves forward.

        • Don may have thunk it, but I seriously doubt he said that stepmom and uncle’s death was “good”. It’s fairly clear that Adam felt much closer to Dick than the converse, but Don wasn’t cruel like that.

          • S1-E5 “5G”

            Don Draper: What happened to her?
            Adam Whitman: Mom?
            Don: She wasn’t my mother. She never let me forget that.
            Adam: She’s gone. Stomach cancer.
            Don: Good.

            • This has probably been mentioned elsewhere but does everyone agree that Stephanie’s rejection of Don paralleled Don’s rejection of Adam as a family member?

            • I don’t see it as the same. Adam lived with Dick as his brother for years, and not so good years. Stephanie saw Don maybe twice? And knew him as a fake husband of her Aunt, very different dynamics. After Anna died I doubt Stephanie thought about Don very often, and saw him maybe once after that, when he was married to Megan.

            • Thanks Smiler, I knew I didn’t have to go check!

      • “Betty was a bit of a narcissistic mother — more worried about herself than Sally’s feelings.”
        Absolutely. We have to go no farther than our first encounter with Sally to see that this is true. She walks into the kitchen with a dry cleaning bag over her head (This bag is NOT a toy) and Betty is more concerned with the clothes that were in the bag than the safety of what is in the bag now.

        I think Sally will be fine. Witness her conversation to Don:
        “Listen to me. I have thought about these things more than you have.”
        At some point Don replies, “Grown-ups make these decisions!” You are correct, Don– a grown-up has made the decision. That grown-up is Sally.
        This is not to minimize the amount of trauma that Sally is experiencing or that she will experience as she travels on this journey at the end of her mother’s life, but Sally appears to be facing the pain. She has cancelled her trip to Madrid– she is not running away to Spain to avoid what is happening to her family. It seems that she is learning to incorporate the better parts of her parents into herself as she forges forward in life.
        My greatest regret regarding the end of Mad Men is that we won’t see Sally’s growth into the remarkable woman I’m certain she will become.

        • Well, parenting styles have changed radically in the past 50 years. As someone on this forum said, parents then were apt to react to things gong wrong like “Oh look, Tommy has caught himself on fire after playing with matches. Good thing the Johnsons’ sprinkler is on.”

          Also, I always thought that little thing with the dry cleaning bag was more of a “wow, look how things have changed” kind of thing. The one thing Betty did that was unforgiveable was smack Sally (and pretty hard) for cutting her hair. Little kids do these things. Betty should understand that. In that moment, she was only thinking about herself and how she wanted to have long hair as a child. Also, the thing with Bobby giving away her sandwich was ridiculous. It reminded me of how one of my parents would behave: Taking an innocent mistake and blowing it up into a much bigger thing. Totally narcissistic behavior.

          But, in Betty’s defense, she was the one taking care of the kids day in and day out: Making sure they were fed, clothed, got to school on time, … all of those countless things that even half-way decent mothers do. Yes, they did get on her nerves sometimes. I doubt there’s anyone whose nerves would not have been gotten on. She was there.

        • Betty may have been guilty of other transgressions, but let’s lay the dry cleaning bag meme to rest.

          So much is made of the dry cleaning bag incident– people act as if Betty told Sally to drink poison.

          Sorry, no one thought dry cleaning bags were death traps until infants suffocated when the bags were used to “waterproof” crib mattresses. No healthy six-year old was ever in any danger from putting a dry cleaning bag over her head.

        • For a six year old a bag like that IS a toy – an impromptu space suit. For a one year old – it’s not even fun and occasionally deadly – hence the warnings.

          Mine were infants about 18-20 years ago (my youngest graduated Wednesday and came out in his speech – old news within the school – a surprise to many in audience – including my brother).

          Back to 1995 – we must have been idiots back then – the warning labels on the infant products left no doubt of that. I ALWAYS microwaved the formula – see how idiotic?

    • My prediction for one of the Draper kids:

      Los Angeles 2019
      Tyrell Corporation

      Holden: Describe in single words only the good things that come to mind about . . . your mother.

      Bobby Draper: My mother?

      Holden: Yeah.

      Bobby Draper: Let me tell you about my mother.

      (Bobby blasts Holden with his gun he pulls out under the table).

      • Good, not a replicant then.

      • Can I just say I’m very slight peeved with MW for not letting Bobby grow into a boy only a year or two younger than his sister? In that scene in the kitchen where he’s just burnt the toast trying to make grilled cheese, he doesn’t look as though he’s grown much since season 1 for gosh sakes.

        And why is it in the pre-1989 world no one with XY chromosomes can handle the rigors of a domestic kitchen? Will Sally have to miss a semester of school to cook for her hapless brothers or will Henry hire help?

        • Let me say that – observing my teenaged (18 and 19) roommates – both male – that cluelessness in general (not just the kitchen) is part of being young (my 20-yr-old daughter is better in the kitchen but still clueless – more later).

          It’s comical to watch them change a tire (and I make sure they don’t let the car drop off the jack on them).

          The first time I handed my daughter a credit card at the gas pump I watched her try the same wrong way several times – I said there are four ways to stick it in – only one works.

          (and she’s beyond competent – in film making, sketches, prose fiction, singing….)

          • You should see them do something really challenging like parallel parking or ask someone for a date.

  5. Maybe I’m of the minority, but saying things like that isn’t unusual. Thinking them isn’t unusual. Speaking before thought is as common as breathing. Children have no concept of death. Hoping a good player from an opposing team gets hurt. And in this context, she was bantering with her pals. It didn’t strike me as something she gave a lot of thought, so out the mouth and forgotten. I’m betting she wouldn’t have remembered a week later. A friend would have had to remind her.

    • No, it’s not unusual. But saying it mere months before your mother dies is haunting, particularly to a teenager who doesn’t understand how normal it is.

      • How normal what is? For someone to die or for a teenager to say something thoughtless?

        I trust you to know the timeline much better than I do but has it been mere months? I thought it’s been a least a year and probably more like two.

  6. Just re watched and notice that Don went to Stephanie right after Betty told him he couldn’t have the kids because she wants them in a normal family situation with a woman. I wonder if Don went to Stephanie because she’s a mother and he expected her to be there with her baby and maybe if he was with Stephane (a mother) Betty would allow him to have the kids. At first I was annoyed/disappointed that he went to California instead of going back home to his kids. Now I wonder if the reason he went to California was so that he could have his kids and friends know Betty’s wishes.

    • I think he tried that Megan, she was good with the kids, but that didn’t work out so well in the end. I think if you need a provider for children, better to hire one rather than marry someone. It is a little more honest.

      • I thought Don would have hired a live in nanny to care for the children. Then he could have kept them with him and kept his job.

        • I know. Why wasn’t that suggested? Maybe that wasn’t a “normal family” enough for Betty. Also wonder why the kids are cooking and cleaning when they have always had a housekeeper when Betty was healthy. Now that she’s sick and could really use the help there is none snd the kids are left to fend for themselves.

        • I don’t remember anything about nannies in 1970, but that could be regional. Too bad Lane isn’t around to tell Don about British nannies and housekeepers, Dowton Abbey, NYC style.

          • I doubt Lane had a nanny; most upper middle class children in Britain didn’t. Lane was, I suspect, sent at age seven to a boarding school where he will have little direct contact with either parent during the school year which went from September to July. The most important people in Lane’s life at school would have been his housemaster and matron; the woman that got the children up in the morning and put them to bed each night. Matron was not a nice lady. British children who attended boarding school remember Matron like US Marines remember their DI.

            Betty Draper I think showed her concern for Sally when she wanted her boys to live with their Aunt Judy. If Don got custody of the boys, Sally, not a nanny, would be raising them and Betty knew it. He would want all the children together. Don would not enter into another marriage after Megan. Betty’s decision gave Sally her independence. She will be a loving and caring sister. She can deal with issues with her dad as an adult.

          • Roger had a nanny, Betty had the housekeeper, Don had in essence no one.

            • Don had the whore who would give him a percentage of what he was able to steal from her customers.

        • I think Betty’s concern with the kids living with Don full time is that he is not reliable. He’s a workaholic that was never around. She says as much on the phone with him.

    • Yes, as he left Utah with those guys, I was under the impression he was going to Los Angeles because it would be easier to catch a plane back to New York there. It’s difficult to know whether to respect a dying woman’s wishes or to do what you think best. I guess he chose the former.

      Has there been any discussion of that envelope of money Don was carrying from place to place? If Meagan did cash the $1,000,000 check he wrote to her and he walked away from the money McCann Erickson would have owed him, perhaps all the money he has left is in that envelope?

      • I doubt that, I think that was just traveling money so to speak. Remember Merideth gave him the envelope as they were moving into his new office at ME. It had money, SS card, what looked like a few other forms of ID, and the engagement ring. I’m not sure how much money was in there and I guess he could have added to the sum total as he was traveling, but a million dollars, especially in small bills would have taken up an enormous space, like maybe a suitcase. Don has money, and lots of it, but I bet the majority of it is in a bank somewhere.

        • And of course, he left 2 million dollars on the desk according to Duck, that is he didn’t get it from ME because he did not stay for the remaining 4 years to collect it, neither did Pete, Joan took the cash buyout, so only Roger ended up actually planning on staying and getting the money.

          • Based on proportions (Don’s partnership share about 4X Joan’s), the two-million squares with Joan’s half-million.

            It follows that he already collected six-million from McCann (makes my head spin).

            Don also has a competent financial advisor (whom Megan invited to Don’s birthday party) – so the (I hope) The Man didn’t get too damn much of it.

            • Yeah, $6 million in 1971 dollars is worth at least $27 million in 2013 dollars. (I love doing these calculations!) But he said something to Megan (when she called him on the phone asking him for money) about his finances being a mess since the merger. Did the merger cause a restriction in his cash flow? Did he have to invest some of the proceeds into a tax shelter? (Pete mentioned having to do this.) I’ve lost track of all the ins and outs of Don Draper’s money. I can only guess MW doesn’t mean for us to take it all so literally but then again that envelope of cash seemed to be featured pretty prominently during the last episodes.

            • @Boop,

              Bert and Roger threw all kinds of money at Don – then PP&L, then “Satan”.

              It’s all pretty vague (as it should be) but real estate was a great tax shelter then. Typical deal (at least for residences) was 20% down. Even if Don wanted to be “conservative” he’d put 40% down for non-residence.

              He “doubled his money” on Anna’s bugalow (chump change) – so said his advisor. No way he lost money on his Park Ave. Penthouse (if he did he should fired that agent).

              As many have said his bad habits aren’t that costly.

              Don was reflexively indignant when accused of stealing a mere $500 – he doesn’t have cash flow problems.

              Besides, he didn’t pay for the room!

            • And another thing. Every contractor I’ve ever dealt with on a construction project is “losing money” (BOO HOO).

              “My finances are a mess” is the same thing (SNIFF, wheeze).

        • I also wonder whether Don has credit cards. I certainly think his does. Credit Cards, however, leave a trail and Don carried just enough cash to get by. I saw that the motel in Alva Oklahoma took Bank America and Master Charge. I have always thought Don understands money even if it is not important to him. Don, of course, is secretive. He will never let anyone know his net worth.

          He would have had no problem getting back to New York from Utah. United Airlines flew non-stop flights from Salt Lake City in 1970 flying the same DC-8’s they used on their flights from LAX on many of their flights.

  7. I didn’t see it as foreshadowing at the time, but I remember wincing at the comment when I first watched that episode, and disliking Sally for saying it.

  8. Some of you out there in Basketland may have experienced (endured?) a bothersome trend, sometime during high school: the English assignment where you write a letter to your future self, with the expectation that it will be mailed to you some arbitrary number of years later, so you can laugh at it compare your predictions for adult life to how things actually turned out.

    I have no idea when the trend started, or who to blame for inventing it. Maybe it was only relatively new when I was in school, maybe it started decades before that. Maybe they did it at Miss Porter’s, in 1971. Maybe Sally would have been obliged to write such a letter herself, to herself.

    I’d be curious to read that letter.

    • Whenever Sally writes, mails and gets that letter, I hope she views it as having more relevance and importance than she did with the subpoena she was sent, to testify about Grandma Ida’s visit to the Draper pad in “The Crash!”

  9. sally and henry are sitting on the bed; tammy is put to bed; don is in bed in Kansas, Utah, California; betty and don talk as each is sitting on his/ her own bed respectively….don is dragged from bed; last episode, andy the hustler was pushed on the bed; don was beaten by a phonebook in a bed…lost of bed imagery…things being put to rest…people waking up to reality…peaceful, restless…dreams, nightmares…

    to sleep, perchance to dream.

  10. Every freeze-frame tells a story within the story– love the Lucy and Linus calendar hanging over Sally. While Lucy could be horrible to her brother, there were moments where her love for Linus shone through like in “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”.

    • And remember, Lucy & Linus have a much younger brother, Rerun. Even more fitting.

  11. Everyone can be narcissist on one level or the other. Just about every character on the show – including Don, Betty and Sally – have displayed this trait. I never demanded that Betty be a perfect parent. I really never saw how she or Don could be perfect. And I have strong doubts that Sally will be a perfect parent. These people may be fictional characters, but they are also human beings with virtues and flaws. Don had his virtues and flaws. Betty had them. So did Sally and the rest of the show’s characters. And these set of virtues and flaws will remain with them to the end.

    I hope that in the end, Sally will not only realize that despite their virtues and flaws, her parents were human beings who loved her. I hope she comes to this realization if she ever has kids. And I hope that her kids – if she has any – will realize this as well.

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