In Mad Men 6.12 “The Quality of Mercy,” we see the fallout from Sally’s discovery about Don begin to unfold. I was surprised, however, that it came in the form of a request to go to boarding school. Betty senses that something’s up, but assumes it’s something more run of the mill than walking in on your father having an affair. As she talks to Don, she blithely references Jackie Kennedy’s boarding school days and Sally’s chances of marrying well. Oh, Betty.
I think it’s pretty funny the way Betty has just leaned into her tense relationship with Sally. She tells Don that Sally has “good manners with everyone but me” and tells Sally about her friend who went to boarding school and hated her mother.
Once at the school, we see Sally come head to head with some resident mean girls. As the Queen Bees inform Sally that they are important to her admission and she has displeased them by not bringing booze and cigarettes. I don’t know who they thought they were dealing with. This is Sally Draper, daughter of Betty, shooter of pigeons, and Don effing Draper.
So Sally calls Glen who comes to the rescue, bringing a handsy friend in tow. I think what’s really interesting about this episode is seeing how Sally handles boys. Last week she was having an embarrassed fit over a crush. In the past, however, we’ve seen her pretty confidently interact with Glen. When Glen’s friend tries to force her to make out we see a mixture of both. She looks painfully awkward as she keeps trying to change the subject, but when the guy tries to push the issue, she pretty forcefully shuts it down. Go, Sally. Then she gets a kick out of seeing Glen fight his friend. Sally seems somewhere between her mother’s ideas about the sexes and the more modern girl Sally’s becoming.
Then, the episode ends with Betty giving Sally a cigarette. When she smiles and says that Don’s probably been giving them to her for years, Sally replies, “My father’s never given me anything.” Now are you seeing the warning sign, Betty? Yeesh.