Before it got eaten by the Giant Server Crash of Doom, there was a great post on BoK by Roberta (?) about some holes in the timeline determining when Dick Whitman (DickDon) went off to fight in Korea and switched his dog tags with the original Don Draper (Real!Don!) and how old Adam and Don are actually supposed to be. I came late to this post and appended a long comment adding my own embellishments, and even if Roberta’s old post gets restored, the comments probably won’t be. So, being the ego monster that I am, I thought I’d republish what I said (or at least can remember) here.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love brain teasers. I like (and I’m actually good at) those LSAT-type questions like, “There are six seats at the table, one is at the head of the table, Graham can never sit at the head of the table, Graham must always be to Jim’s left, Jim and Karen must always have someone sitting in between them, so how many are drinking tea?”
But in trying to piece together Don’s flashback sequences and line them up with the present, all I get is a headache. Usually this show is impeccable when it comes to putting all the historically-related pieces together, but unless I’m missing something, these pieces just…don’t…fit.
Now, I’m going strictly from what made it to air, because if you take into consideration little doodads like, “AMC’s official site said Adam was supposed to be 25,” you’ll have to take to your bed with a bag of frozen succotash plastered to your forehead. This should not happen to a bag of succotash — or, for that matter, to your trigeminal nerve. So here goes:
These are all from S1 episodes, taking place in 1960.
– Adam tells Don that he knew DickDon was still alive, because when he was 8 years old he spotted DickDon on the train coming back from Korea that allegedly had DickDon’s coffin in it (but didn’t because DickDon, unbeknownst to anyone yet, switched the tags). This means Adam is now…18 years old? Boy, he sure doesn’t look (or, for that matter, sound) that young, does he? Sorry I don’t have audio for this post, but here’s a photo.
– In the flashback to Adam’s birth, a prepubescent DickDon denies that Adam is his “brother.” Uncle Mac tells him, “Of course he is, you’ve got the same daddy.” This may or may not be true, but in order for Uncle Mac to make that statement and have anyone believe it (much less for Adam to still believe it in adulthood), it must be physically plausible that they are both Archie’s sons. Therefore, Adam has to have been born within 9 months of Archie Whitman’s death (give or take a few weeks).
From Long Weekend:
– Don tells Rachel that his father died when DickDon was 10 years old. This means he was around 11 years old when Adam was born. So Don is now…29? He sure doesn’t look that young…or sound it. (Do you and your melting succotash notice a theme here?)
From Nixon vs. Kennedy:
– Pete, who has intercepted the box of photos Adam sent Don before hanging himself, tells Don he has done his research, and knows that Real!Don! died in 1950 and that Don is an impostor.
– In flashback to what Adam was talking about in 5G, we are shown Adam (who does indeed appear to be 8 years old) trying in vain to convince Uncle Mac and Abigail that it really is DickDon on the train.
– One of the photos in the box Adam sent Don before hanging himself was of himself on a horse as a child with a young adult DickDon standing alongside him. The back of the photo has “Adam and Dick, 1944” written on it. However, Adam looks not much younger than age he was in the NvK flashback, which was supposed to take place 6 years later.
And then what happens at the beginning of S2, in For Those Who Think Young, when we find out that Don is 36 in February 1962? That would make him 34 or 35 at the time of 5G, right?
So if he’s 34 or 35, then Adam is 23 or 24, and that means he would have had to be 13 or 14 when he saw DickDon on the train, not 8. In fact, the entire mess could have been salvaged by changing that one little detail, Adam’s age when he spotted DickDon on the train. Then the photo of “Adam and Dick, 1944” would actually have made sense, instead of making me think, “Zuh? That little boy on the horse is 2 years old? What is he, some one-in-a-billion genetic fluke who looks 7?” (And we’ve seen both sides of that photo over and over again, in multiple episodes, up to and including some in S3, so it’s no accident.)
And all that is without getting into the issue of whether Don has added a few years to his age so that his theft of the identity of the considerably-older Real!Don! would be less likely to raise suspicion.
But even if we bought that both Adam and Don are younger than they look because of their hardscrabble upbringing (and Don’s subsequent hard living), that doesn’t explain the fact that DickDon doesn’t look 19 in the Korea flashbacks (or sound it, even with the digital voice altering). Or that he doesn’t look 13 in the “Adam and Dick, 1944” photo (especially considering that he would have been only 2 years older than, and had markedly different facial features from, that kid we saw at Adam’s birth with the sad bowl haircut!). Or that Adam only aged about a year between 1944 and 1950. Oy.
In the immortal words of George Clinton, “NO COMPUTE.”