"Then again, it didn't matter, did it?"
What's the meaning of "then again" here?
Is it the same as "thinking better"?
"Then again" is used to introduce an afterthought or second thought to a previous statement. Depending on the tone of the speaker, it can mean "thinking better of it..." or "on the other hand." The latter usage elicits a spoken emphasis on the verb (especially a modal).
I didn't want Larry to see what happened... then again I figured as a doctor, maybe he could help me. (= thinking better of it)
I don't want Larry to see what happened. Then again he is a doctor. (=on the other hand)
"Then again" would only be synonymous with "thinking better [of...]" when the prior thought was negative. "On the other hand" (or "then again") could be used in either circumstance.
[Something negative]; thinking better of it, [something positive].
[Something positive or negative]; on the other hand, [something opposite].
In both cases, the second statement opposes the first, but the inclusion of "better" implies a positive meaning to the second statement.
Then again mean "however" or "on the other hand"