Halt and Catch Fire Season 3 Episode 5 Review: Yerba Buena

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Is Mutiny about to get a taste of its name?

There's little doubt after watching Halt and Catch Fire Season 3 Episode 5 that things at Mutiny will never be the same again. 

They are already very, very different than the tiny company Cameron believes is still part and parcel of her very soul. But the harder she tries to keep as much as she can wound tight inside her, the more of a mess she creates.

Not Again - Halt and Catch Fire Season 3 Episode 5

So trading stuff online wasn't going to last long. We knew monetary transactions were coming. It was also an easy guess which of the Mutiny partners would support the decision to take them and which wouldn't.

Jumping forward to the end of this conversation, even before communication broke down again, when Donna thought she had agreed to Cameron's method, there was no way in the world I believed her.

No transaction fee? What's the point then, from a business perspective? 

Anyway. Jumping ahead of myself there. This is the point on Halt and Catch Fire where we have to halt and pick a side. Is it entirely possible to support both Donna and Cameron? My decision as a viewer is no. How Gordon, Boz and the rest of them settle in is out of the realm of understanding.

As a viewer, I simply cannot wrap my head around Cameron's way of thinking. I have never been that kind of emotional person. I'm too logical. I'm a Donna. I may be a Joe, who thinks he's a Donna, but inside he's a Cameron. Things are getting confusing with the feels on HACF, if we're being honest.

Donna sees a lucrative and growing business in Mutiny. Cameron sees her baby. Not just her baby, but a baby still gestating in her womb. To give any more of it away is like aborting her child. Yet Cameron is still so much of a child herself, maybe it's closer to sawing off pieces of herself. It depends upon how much she can allow herself to grow.

Donna: When we moved here, we knew that there'd be times that we'd have to adapt quickly. This is one of those times.
Cameron: Donna, we're all alone. There's no other company that is even attempting to do the things that Swap Meet is doing. I don't want to rush in and just screw it up all at once. Can we talk about it when I get back Monday?

That conversation was worrisome. The first reason was because anytime you slough something off like that, you can almost feel the fire nipping at your heels as you walk. It's disconcerting. 

The other reason is because it's such a laissez-faire attitude to take about the business you are sharing with the other person in the room. It was insulting for Cameron to speak that way, and it gave rise to the reasoning for Donna to make her move when she couldn't track down Cameron.

In Cameron's mind, Donna doesn't understand the importance of Mutiny to Cameron or that she knows all things. In Donna's mind, Cameron doesn't see the importance of moving forward and the urgency with which they need to meet customer demands. Those two attitudes don't mix well.

It's also difficult to imagine either of these women are going to change any time soon.

Sexy Time - Halt and Catch Fire Season 3 Episode 5

On the plus side for Donna, she has Gordon to ground her a bit.

Gordon: Was that totally hot sex worth burning the steaks or what?
Donna: Oh my God a billion times yes.

But even after their staycation and having sex not once, but TWO TIMES in one day (something they hadn't done since the Ford administration), something turned off Gordon's switch so fast that by the July 5th, he had called off the brunch for which he was so excited and wanted to go it alone with his ham radio.

Donna can't count on Gordon. Their marriage isn't as solid as it needs to be, and they are not on the same page. Their awkward conversation that was only healed by their first sexual encounter proved that. They're talking over each other, the same subjects but with very different meanings.

It's kind of what's happening with Donna and Cameron, too, but they're just so different they may not be able to find firm footing again. 

Cameron's trip back home to get her dad's belongings went oddly. Boz went, too, to get a look at his grandson. That went terribly. Nothing was going well, least of all the relationship between Cam and Boz. 

Cam needs to grow up. As it turned out, she didn't go back to get her dad's motorcycle, and happened to appear right in front of her mother's house as it was sold while she and Boz watched. Boz was stunned. It hurt him to see it happening knowing she could never take back that moment.

But instead of talking to him, she fussed and whined and acted like she was ten years old, reminding him he's not her father. No, but she sure could benefit from one and could do a lot worse than John Bosworth. 

A Vacation At Home  - Halt and Catch Fire

Spending a week with Tom without any communication with Mutiny, Donna or Boz was another part of the problem. Cameron just doesn't get it. She thinks she can work in a vacuum. She came up with a solution to their transactional problem. Great. They just wasted a week's worth of manhours on it, as well, because she was being childish.

And while she did kind of create Paypal, even Paypal lets you use credit cards, and also allows for a percentage of the transaction to go to Ebay and themselves. Duh, Cameron. You're in this for profit. 

So...what was the ring in Cameron's pocket? Either it was her father's wedding ring or Cameron and Tom got married. While the first thought could make sense, trading a motorcycle for a smaller token of her dad's memory, the smile on her face and the length of time spent in Texas have me leaning toward the latter.

Plus, Tom gave Cam quite the pep talk about Donna. Could it be because she shaved off yet another portion of herself and her company to offer to Tom – without notifying her partner and investors first?

I'm not sure I've got another next in me. You should know that.


And finally...we have Joe. Joe is diving into the NSFNET, as the arpanet is already old news. I don't know enough about it (despite reading three web pages to try to "get it") to comment on his brilliance on that matter.

There are more important fish to fry. Yes, Joe has been having a relationship with a young man who has HIV or even full blown AIDS. This devastated Joe. This may have devastated Joe because he cares for the young man and/or because he himself might have HIV now, as well.

Joe did get the test, but we didn't hear the results. Even though he went out to the balcony and gave Yerba Buena a massive grin, I honestly don't know whether that means he's positive or negative. That's the kind of character we have with Joe MacMillan.

Joe has not been happy. At least not outwardly. He's incredibly private and even in his words, he's in the process of reinventing himself again. In the past, I would have said Joe had a zest for life. Now I'm not so sure.

But after that call, something did change. He had some swerve back in his step. But the one thing that stood out to me was a comment he made to Ryan as they looked at the NSFNET string map, something like "I'm no longer interested in making money."

Does that sound right to you? Could that be an indication of the results revealed over the phone? Would a positive result be freeing for someone like Joe MacMillan?

Alright. Come on, guys. Talk to me. I need conversation about this. CERTAINLY you didn't think this episode was boring. Nope. I don't believe you. Let's chat it out in the comments!!! 

If you missed any of this season so far, watch Halt and Catch Fire online. You don't want to miss out on this gem. I promise you!

Yerba Buena Review

Editor Rating: 4.75 / 5.0
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Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (24 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Halt and Catch Fire Season 3 Episode 5 Quotes

Donna: When we moved here, we knew that there'd be times that we'd have to adapt quickly. This is one of those times.
Cameron: Donna, we're all alone. There's no other company that is even attempting to do the things that Swap Meet is doing. I don't want to rush in and just screw it up all at once. Can we talk about it when I get back Monday?

We don't need the perfect solution. If we have to temp something together now and fix it later, fine. A Band-Aid is better than bleeding to death.