Halt and Catch Fire Season Premiere Review: Desperate Connection

at .

When you think about it, 1994 doesn't seem that long ago. 

It was a mere 23 years ago that companies like CalNect were trying to be the leader, breaking through the pack to deliver a browser for the internet as depicted on Halt and Catch Fire Season 4 Episode 1 and Halt and Catch Fire Season 4 Episode 2.

Not only was it the beginning of browsers, but at the time, "three or four" users were wreaking havoc when they stayed online for 24 hours straight. There wasn't enough bandwidth.

Defiant As Always - Halt and Catch Fire Season 4 Episode 2

It's hard to imagine what those three or four users were doing since there wasn't even an index of what was available on the net. No search! You had to know exactly where you were going to get there.

Think about what was ahead. People like Joe, Cameron, Gordon, and Donna were going to change the world in 23 years. They were going to change the way we communicate forever.

It's so fascinating, and I have to wonder if they realized that at some point we'd lose the great art of communicating we'd had up to then.

The premiere focused a lot on communication and its importance in our lives. 

A New Venture - Halt and Catch Fire

Donna has become a mover and shaker in the IT world, breaking through the boys' club with her talent to pick up on what's next. As Kerry Bishé said in our interview, she's been emulating Joe's past management style, and it worked for her.

But when a golden boy steps into the ring right beside her, she's going to find herself challenged again. Will she be able to hold her own using another man's style of communication when faced with such fierce competition?

Her first move was to compromise, and it was on a project she's not 100% sure of and wasn't her initial idea. She stole it from a dinner conversation with Gordon. That cannot end well.

Heated Discussion - Halt and Catch Fire Season 4 Episode 2

As the season begins, Gordon is better than we've ever seen him before. He's happy. He's proud of what he's accomplished, and he's an amazing father and friend. 

Gordon doesn't let too much get him down, and even when faced with potential disaster at the office, he can still see the wondrous work his youngest daughter, Hayley, pulled together from Joe's URL Post-Its. 

Scoot McNairy talked with us before the season began and suggested it's Gordon's year to help everyone else through their rough waters while it was once Gordon who needed the hand up. So far, that seems to be on par.

A Long Conversation - Halt and Catch Fire Season 4 Episode 2

The best example of the lost art of communication came by way of Cameron and Joe, who finally connected on the deepest level we've seen from them maybe ever. In a telephone conversation that began during the first hour and lasted an entire 24 hours show time, they shared everything.

When I was speaking with Lee Pace, we talked about how intimate those conversations are because while you're given the opportunity to genuinely express how you feel, you aren't hiding behind gifs and emojis.

The discussion is real and raw, but you're free to be yourself, too, without overexposing or gussying up as you would on Facetime or via Skype.

An old-fashioned telephone conversation is something that allows your heart to flutter and for you to shout unseen excitement to the sky, but still maintain your cool keep the conversation going. You can still make a mistake, and your inflection adds to the conversation.

Looking at the Moon - Halt and Catch Fire Season 4 Episode 2

Cameron and Joe were sharing something very real, and they needed that connection to correct years of past missteps.

Joe: Like he decides right then and there that no God who would give so much beauty to such a useless creature would fail to let him to live forever. Like his faith was restored.
Cameron: Is that what you believe?
Joe: I don't know. I guess I...I hope there's something more.

When the two of them are together in the same room, they let so much get between them. With the safety of the telephone, they shared information about themselves they'd never consider allowing the other "see" because they're both such stubborn and tough people.

On the Phone - Halt and Catch Fire

I never imagined we might see a season in which the two of them found a way to walk in step, but in the world's last beautiful marathon phone call, they might have pulled it off.

What comes next is casting aside the quest for the best browser and the race to index the web. 

While Donna's company has the backbone to scour the internet and find living breathing sites as the populate, Hayley has already indexed every site up to the point of entry thanks to Joe's diligence in collecting them.

His fascination with seeing every new thing on the internet has paid off. 

Does anyone but me remember the very first time they fully realized the capabilities of the internet and what it really was? When Joe was watching the coffee pot life from Cambridge University, I identified with him completely.

When I was a little girl, I had pen pals all over the world. Because, hello, the world! Then I had email pals, and geez. Seeing webcams of streaming stuff?

That was like traveling. It was intensely fascinating that I was looking at SOMETHING that was live at the same time as me somewhere else. The telephone had nothing on that.

On Halt and Catch Fire Season 4 Episode 3, all of these stories break wide open. There is more to come like the intensity found when Cameron wondered if she was cruel as Doll Parts played in the background. 

Donna and Cameron have come off very strong storylines, and we'll see them receiving a bit of push back from the world. Will it be enough to push them toward each other?

The season premiere is a strong beginning for the end of Halt and Catch Fire. Cameron, Joe, Donna, and Gordon have created the world they live in, and now they're going to shape it for future generations.  

The cast is at their very best. They know their characters so well it feels less like watch TV than peering into history itself. These are the people I wish had been responsible for bringing us into the modern technical age.

Let me know what you thought of the premiere below in the comments.

Don't forget that you can watch Halt and Catch Fire online right here via TV Fanatic.

So It Goes Review

Editor Rating: 4.75 / 5.0
  • 4.8 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (72 Votes)

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

Show Comments
Tags: ,

Halt and Catch Fire Season 4 Episode 1 Quotes

This isn't a game you play, it's a game you live.


Gordon: Listen, Joe, you've been down here three years, and it's still just you, an ergonomic chair and 5,000 Post-Its. I'll say it again. You did it. You and Ryan called it. You said the Internet would be the next great public utility. Well, guess what? We did it. We're here. We are Thomas Edison. We built the power company. So why don't you come upstairs and run the power company with me?
Joe: Gordon, nobody remembers the power company.