Heartbreaking. Stunning. Award worthy.
Those are a few things that come to mind after watching Halt and Catch Fire Season 3 Episode 8, in addition to my ability to be surprised as this complex look at adult relationships continues to unfold.
"You Are Not Safe" jumped back and forth within a three month window of time so that we were able to fully explore the fallout of Ryan's actions, as well as voting Cameron out of Mutiny and for the IPO. It worked fabulously.
Halt and Catch fire has never shied away from the realities of this world, which is full of winners and losers and all of those in between. As we've watched Joe, Cameron, Gordon and Donna progress both personally and professionally, they've been both uplifted and slaughtered by their hits and misses.
What we might consider a win, they see differently and vice versa. That's kept the conversation alive and the introspection going long after an episode is finished airing.
On Halt and Catch Fire Season 3 Episode 7, the rift between Donna and Cameron came to a head and under duress the "board" (such as it is) voted for the IPO, and in protest, Cameron quit the company she founded.
It turns out she makes a pretty decent stay-at-home housewife. She didn't seem too put out about emotionally supporting Tom while he was out working and scenes in which she was doing the normal unemployed persons activities, like watching The $25,000 Pyramid (back on TV!!) didn't phase her at all. Even better, she was being creative.
If she stayed at Mutiny, she would have never come up with the game she programmed, which featured a female capturing "powers" of essentials such as humor and self confidence, a game you never win, but continue to play as you slay. Hello female-empowered World of Warcraft!
Still, seeing what she created, or what was left of it, rejected couldn't have been easy. What went live the day of the IPO looked like nothing we had seen before. Commodore 64 taking a hit was noted, and probably had some impact. But given the year was 1986 and the projections Cam had outlined, that should have all been in the prospectus, and part of Donna's talking points.
Why the IPO tanked, opening at less than half and crashing beyond that is a mystery for now, and now Mutiny is open to public scrutiny. The lack of faith in the IPO doesn't mean the business is bust, but they didn't raise the capital they wanted and all their dirty laundry is airing.
It took far less time than I anticipated for Ryan to be caught. He should have done some homework with fellow online hackers about what the FBI might do to track your footprint before actually making his move.
But doing what he did finally put to rest any notion that Joe is a truly awful person. Oddly, I don't think he would do most of the things he did to Gordon to anyone else, because the deep connection and competitive nature of their relationship wouldn't exist.
Gordon: Look me in the eye and tell me you had nothing to do with the leak.
Joe: I had nothing to do with it.
Gordon: Alright. Then I'm all in. We'll figure this out. Together.
Now that Joe has grown up, Gordon didn't hesitate to trust him. Ryan didn't benefit from the type of person Joe is now because he's too young to understand Joe. He was still viewing Joe as his reputation. Joe was completely honest in his relationship with Ryan, but Joe's persona had become legend.
Ryan: But you would have done the same thing. You're a master at this move. It's classic Joe MacMillan.
Joe: I can't work with Joe MacMillan anymore.
It's heartbreaking to look back at the errors Ryan made. The steps he took that he couldn't retract that dug his hole deeper. He was looking for respect from Joe in a form that Joe wasn't giving it. But he had it all along.
Even making terrible decisions didn't cause Joe to abandon Ryan, and I suppose that's what finally forced Ryan over the ledge. That was something he didn't think he could deal with. Of course, anything can be dealt with, if you only give it time. He won't get the opportunity to find that out.
Joe can't work with himself anymore, and wants to let Gordon go it alone, even after learning Gordon isn't physically fit and feels incapable of doing it without Joe. The scene when Joe learned Gordon was sick featured amazing work by Lee Pace and Scoot McNairy. Just one more time when I found it hard to believe those two men aren't actually their characters.
There are two episodes left to Halt and Catch Fire Season 3. This season was a gift from the AMC gods. It feels as if the writers were given notice there won't be another. Or, I'm being hysterical at the thought it could be the end.
Cameron was ready to move to Japan. The logical side of me says, OK, they're shoring up her future away from the gang. But then she went for groceries after the next-to-nothing IPO launch and she and Donna locked eyes.
They are as entangled in their personal and professional lives as are Gordon and Joe. Hell, all four of them belong together. Is there anything that would make me (and can something be all about me for a change??) happier than for the swan song of HACF to feature the four of them leaning toward a future together? Add Tom. Make it five.
Joe is ready to give up. He can't work with himself. But if he had the support of the people he loves at his side, I think that would change. This world the four of them jumped into, helped create and can sometimes leave them absolutely breathless, gasping for air for the difficulties it presents and for how alone they feel functions better when they are together.
There were several times during "You Are Not Safe" when my eyes were clouded with tears. It's during the moments when the four principal characters come the closest to realizing they are not alone, and if they would just reach out, they would realize they never have been, not for a second.
And that's what Ryan promised in his mini manifesto setting Joe free.
I, Ryan Ray, released the MacMillan source code. I acted alone and nobody told me to do it. I did this because security is a myth. Contrary to what you might have heard, my friend, you are not safe. Safety is a story, it's something we teach our kids so they can sleep at night, but we know it's not real. Beware baffled humans, beware false prophets who will sell you a fake future of bad teachers, corrupt leaders and dirty corporations. Beware of cops and robbers, the kinds that rob your dreams. But most of all, beware of each other. The world is going to crack wide open. There is something on the horizon. A massive connectivity. The barriers between us will disappear, and we're not ready. We'll hurt each other in new ways, we'll sell and be sold, we'll share our most tender selves only to be mocked and destroyed. We'll be so vulnerable, and we'll pay the price. We won't be able to pretend that we can protect ourselves anymore. It's a huge danger, a gigantic risk, but it's worth it, if only we can learn to take care of each other, then this awesome new connection won't isolate us. It won't leave us in the end so totally alone.Ryan
Another astounding hour of Halt and Catch Fire. I'm out of words on this one, but I hope you check out my interview with Manish Dayal to find out what he thinks about Ryan's actions and how it will affect the story going forward.
You won't let me down. Let's talk about this!!
If you need to see more of this amazing series, don't hesitate to watch Halt and Catch Fire online to relive it in its entirety.
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.