POSTED BY STUART LEVINE (Cynthia’s thoughts below)
In this "Mad Men" episode titled “The Inheritance,” it isn’t so much the money that’s been left from generation to generation, but the mental trauma and screwed up parenting that leaves a lasting legacy.
For the first time, To start we get a very revealing glimpse of Betty’s family as her father, Gene, has suffered a second stroke — though, it turns out, Betty didn’t even know about the earlier one. Upon hearing the news in a latenight phone conversation, Don convinces Betty to be with her when she visits her family, but once they arrive it’s obvious why they would never come to visit on a regular basis.
While Betty’s mother died a while back, her stepmom is a cold, emotionless fish who doesn’t even attempt to have a relationship with her stepkids. Don looks at this family and finds it hard to imagine how someone could’ve grown up in a house so sterile and without feeling, though her mom was probably much more nurturing. It forces Don to have a better sense of who Betty is and how’s she gotten there.