Notes On Halt and Catch Fire Season 3

Minor spoilers

This past week I finally caught up on Halt and Catch Fire Season 3. I’ve been a fan of the shows first two seasons, but I was a bit worried about the direction of the show after season 2. Surprisingly, one of the things I really like about the show is that I don’t know anyone else who watches it. It doesn’t seem too popular evidence by the number and it’s not talked about in any of the circles I run in (both TV and technical) but it seems to consistently get quality reviews. After watching Season 3, I’ve gained a level of love for the show that before was a mere curiosity. The writers and director have managed to elevate the show and I’m thoroughly excited for season 4!

Things I Loved

I loved the emotion displayed in the show this season. Both Donna and Cameron had a great deal of emotion on display, and not in a cliche “girls like to cry” kind of way. With the growth and investor interest in their company, the test of their partnership was on full display and Donna failed in the worst way possible. With Donna sacrificing her friendship with Cameron for financial gain there are a lot of tears and screaming and I liked it. 

Joe was not insufferable for once. Joe is a horribly insufferable character and has very few redeeming qualities until this season. He finally endured some tragedy that made him a better person rather than a worse one. 

Joe is a product visionary? Joe has always played this kind of role, but with technological advances into the modern computing age he is able to play the role much more. I watched Steve Jobs and Joe seemed kind of like a poor mans Steve Jobs with his beard and pontification. 

All the technology. One of the best features of Halt and Catch Fire is the technology it references. From the machines people are using to the internet protocols it’s just a fascinating listen. The last episode where they talking about HTML and HTTP is a treat. 

Things I Didn’t Like

I felt like the last 2-3 episodes of the show were a bit rushed. The writers needed to push the show forward for the last season and they did it in a way that really felt out of place. The pace of the season was very slow and methodical and then at the end of episode 8 we flash forward 4 years in time, and major changes happened in the characters lives. Fortunately, the next 2 episodes were incredible and cleaned things up a bit. 

Gordon’s role. Gordon really took a back seat this season in favor of more screen time for Joe, which is a bummer because he’s my favorite character on the show. It looks like he will be much more involved in season 4 which should be a great change of pace.

Season 4

I can’t wait for season 4 and how this fun story will finally come to an end. With the way things are set up, it’ll be a ton of drama and few laughs to come in the final act. As long as I get more references to 90s computer culture, the beginnings of the World Wide Web and video games, I’ll be a happy camper.