Halt and Catch Fire was a fascinating look at the rise of the PC era.
While it never quite exploded onto the screen, the 10 episodes of the freshman season explored the difficulties of bringing a computer to market, and the emotional toils and victories for its characters in the roller coaster process.
And ultimately, the ragtag team of the visionary, prodigy and engineer did succeed in their endeavor. The Giant was created and would be out in stores in March of 1984. But in the process, ripping the very innovation and soul right from their project was the catalyst that ultimately sent the characters apart again.
Joe, the uber ambitious salesman that brought the team together and was so upbeat about the entire process and his dreams of making this legendary computer, slowly transformed over the season. But his sacrifice for the computer cost him that dream and it cost him Cameron.
Seeing him plead with Cameron was a far charge from the man who manipulated and lied his way into Cardiff Electric in Halt and Catch Fire Season 1 Episode 1. Lee Pace was truly the right actor for this character, delivering a mesmerizing performance.
So to see him symbolically burn the truck full of Giant computers, especially after trying to right his wrongs and respark that uniqueness the computer once had, was that true turning point for his character. Even the shedding of his clothes and sports car added to that change.
He was someone who seemed so cold, and even more depressed by what to him was ultimately a failure, that the walk to the observatory, the mussed hair and big genuine smile was a look towards getting deeper into a new version of Joe.
As for Gordon, it was a bit sad to see him take the throne of Cardiff Electric, shave the beard and buy the Porsche, while winding up alone with his average but sellable computer. He found his success, got out of the rut he was in, but it was bittersweet. And that innovation and imagination spark Joe brought was gone. And his “what’s next” question? I can only hope that he too finds a way to keep pushing Cardiff Electric forward, but he didn’t get the same walk into the sunset as Joe.
Though, I did enjoy that the two women, Cameron and Donna, look to be leading the charge as they veer off towards a new technological innovation: the Internet and networked gaming through it.
Because there’s something to be said about their breakout, their continued desire to change the world and be the “future.” And that’s the beauty of that process, in that even today, computers and technology continue to grow and shift towards the next best thing. Even with certain successes, without those who keep pushing for the what’s next, we wouldn’t have iPhones and lightweight laptops or Wi-Fi.
I’d be curious to see where Mutiny goes, especially with the two women breaking away from the male-dominated computer culture.
I think it was rather interesting to see how Halt and Catch Fire Season 1 Episode 10 didn’t end on that super victory of champagne and high fives. The road to get to the Giant was a tumultuous one and creativity, even with its added difficulties, would wind up being the thing that truly progressed forward.
Go find that 1984 Apple commercial Joe showed Gordon. Not only does the woman in it resemble Cameron, but it feels like what the trio really wanted to do all along. Break out and be that memorable thing. After all, today we all know exactly what a Mac and the various Apple products are.
I was a bit disappointed John Bosworth seemed to all bit disappear, and the carjacking felt so random. But those didn’t really detract from watching the team separate and prepare for the next leg of their journey.
I never thought I'd find watching a show about computers to be interesting, but even with its hiccups and tehcno jargon, Halt and Catch Fire found its success with some solid leads and a glimpse into the Mad Men-like world of PCs. I can only hope we get a chance to boot up again.
Are you surprised that Joe, Gordon and Cameron went their separate ways?
Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.