Apr 012014

peggy-the-better-halfAnother Mad Men timing glitch.

I have to agree with those who have found Season 6 to be somewhat sloppy. Although there are always little problems, and that’s perfectly normal, there are more problems in timing in Season 6 than in any previous two seasons combined; perhaps more than in all combined.

Anyway, Episode 6.09: The Better Half. I fudged up the recap, but I’m not satisfied.

Day 1: Definitely Thursday. Megan says it’s Thursday.

Day 2: Is it Friday or Saturday? Scenes at SCDP/CGC show a fully-staffed office with everyone in business attire. Weekends at the office look different. (Check out this and this.)

On Day 2, Don travels to Bobby’s camp. Betty says Henry is coming “tomorrow.” It’s normal for an executive to take a day off, particularly Don, and particularly any exec on a summertime Friday. It’s less normal, though, for a camp to have “parents weekend” on a Friday.

Day 3: Here’s where it gets sticky. It’s definitely the next day, because Don sees that Henry has arrived and they greet each other. You know they don’t speak again for the rest of that weekend! Also, it’s the day following Roger’s day with Ellery; he had nightmares the night before.

This also appears to be the same day that Peggy stabs Abe. If it’s not the same day, if everything else I’ve got as Day 3 was Saturday and this is Sunday, then the scene with Peggy and Abe is the first scene on Sunday, and it’s late at night (it’s full dark in July). We also have Don coming home in the next scene, and you come home from a weekend away on Sunday night, don’t you?

Day 4: Gives us the illustrated scene, Peggy arriving at work looking like she hasn’t slept since the ambulance ride. So the ambulance really seems like Sunday.

So, it’s all blurry about the length of this weekend and what happens when. I know that Matt Weiner has never cared all that much about making clear dividing lines between days on the show. I also know that the first major continuity glitch was Season 1. I just want to emphasize that this makes writing recaps unnecessarily hard, and I really feel that the writing staff should be worried about us recap writers. Just saying.


  12 Responses to “The Better Half Continuity Goof”

  1. You referred to the timeline on this episode as being problematic before, so I’ve since watched it with that in mind. However, I really don’t see any discrepancies. One can easily assume the scene with Peggy stabbing Abe is Sunday night or early Monday morning. I see nothing that contradicts that.

    • Also, “normal” or not for a camp to have a parents weekend on a Friday, it’s pretty clear to me that the day of Don’s arrival to the camp is on a Friday. If that’s a compromise to reality, I can easily live with it.

  2. Is there an easy way to find your original discussions of the various episodes of season 6 (plus any later reconsiderations too, if that’s also doable)? I’m re-watching the season now, and would like to read what you had to say about the episodes. It’s not the recaps I need at this moment, but the analyses and thoughts. Maybe some way using the “season 6” tag, or something like that, that I’m not familiar with?

    • OK, so I had tried clicking the Season 6 tag before, and hadn’t quite taken in that the usual reverse (newest first) pertained. By following that up by clicking Older Entries at the bottom over and over again (there are an *enormous* number of posts) I do eventually get back to April 8, 2013 and the first review of episode 1 (and an earlier preview of the season on April 2). OK, I’m all set now!

      • Even without the tags and links that Deborah cited, the “engine” that runs this blog is nicely organized. You need not keep clicking on “previous page” instead click once and get this URL:


        You may then place the “2” with any whole number (up to 300-something these days) and skip pages. For instance try replacing “2” with “30”:


        This takes you back to April 2013.

        For Mad Men go to Episode Guide – which lists dates-of-first-broadcast for a guide on your dates-of-interest and you’ll get commentary contemporaneous with each show (sometimes a dozen or more posts and thousands of comments – with literary disection to burn).

        Whatta Blog!

    • Use the search box for episode titles. You’ll get more than one result that doesn’t necessarily apply, as well as applicable results. Once you find any one applicable result, you can click on the tag, for example, “The Better Half,” and bring up everything with that tag.

  3. I have to agree that there appears to be a bit of a slip in the attention to continuity of timing in S6. We all know the show runner loves attention to detail but also likes to balance that against things like tone and mood and “art” such that the viewer gets an experience that can’t be measured with a timepiece.

    I guess I have mixed feelings. I just finished my annual “pre-watch, re-watch” of S6 and I LOVED The Better Half. It may be in my top 5 episodes. It hits a lot of the theme and tone stuff just right but Deb is right about the weird timeline

    • Oh yeah – and I agree that those writers needing to consider the
      hard working recap writers – as long as they are as cool and hard working as you guys!

    • Have to agree, it’s a GREAT episode. During my rewatch, I made a promise to myself to write at least one additional post per episode, and I stuck with that. Obviously, I was recapping as I rewatched, so timeline issues loomed large. My original review was more passionate about what I actually saw.

  4. Here’s what I believe the timeline to be: It begins on Thursday. Don’s arrival to the camp and the subsequent trist with Betty is on Friday. The scene with Henry and Betty having breakfast at the restaurant, as well as the scene with Roger waking up in bed is on Saturday. Peggy stabbing Abe, and Don coming home, is on Sunday. The scene with Bob Bunson and Joan at her apartment could be either Saturday or Sunday.

  5. IMHO – yep, we have all picked up ‘precise’ timing glitches across all seasons, however, if you can determine the week (or month) that the episode is occuring, then i will go with it.

    MW dramatic license is ok with me, it just fun playing ‘smarty pants’ with the timeline sometimes!?!?

    I think we all appreciate you meticulous efforts Deb!

  6. Which show was it that Don got that vitamin B12 shot in the office and was obsessed about getting Sylvia back? I ask because the timeline on that show seemed funny to me. I was never quite sure what day it was and how long he was actually in the office

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