Halt and Catch Fire: Season 3

First, I’m relieved to have found out that there will be a fourth and final season of this drama that is quietly one of the best on television. However, given the end of this season, I am a bit anxious about where it may be headed.

SPOILERS

This season, like the second, wisely continues the emphasis on Donna and Cameron’s joint business venture, but there are some fun scenes with Cameron (who’s living at the Clarks’ for much of the season) and Gordon, and Cameron and the kids, as well. There are hints of Joe that become more prominent as the season goes on, which is just about right, as far as I’m concerned. Although there’s still a Joe-related tragedy, it’s still the least dickish we’ve seen him, IMO.

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Then Donna lies to Cameron about a business decision, and everything falls apart. By season’s end I wondered, is Donna supposed to be the new Joe? The toxic element who is not to be trusted?

I struggled to understand and therefore buy Donna’s decision to lie to Cameron. I understand that she feels Cameron gets in her own (and the company’s way) with her maverick attitude. Cameron is often treated like a wayward child by those around her, including Bos and Donna. For her part, Donna is tired of being “the mom,” the business lady while Cameron is the brilliant prodigy. But the two have overcome and dealt with disagreements before. Why lie now? Is Cameron right about Donna abandoning people who get in her way?

I can’t say that rings true. When Donna suggests they could do without Joe, I read that as protecting Cameron as well as the venture. Donna has never liked Joe much; the two were never close. And the end of her marriage felt like a long time coming.

Perhaps upon a rewatch, Donna’s lie and the timing of it will make sense. But it just didn’t as I watched week to week.

What I liked this season:

  • The smoothly handled and exciting time jumps, whether months or years
  • Donna and Cameron’s relationship through the first half of the season
  • Gordon and Cameron’s friendship (e.g. beating Super Mario Brothers, playing with the ham radio)
  • Cameron’s relationship with Donna and Gordon’s daughters
  • Diane Gould
  • 1990 Cameron
  • Cameron going to Japan and working at Atari
  • Cameron and Bos’s relationship

What I didn’t like:

  • Ryan, tbh. Kind of a jerk
  • Joe’s AIDS scare. It felt like a throwaway dramatic tactic.
  • Cameron marrying Tom
  • Donna’s arc

Worries about the next, final season:

  • That there will be too much focus on Cameron and Joe drama
  • Donna’s role–Is she going to become a rival or will it turn out she’s doing something to prove herself?

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Questions:

  • Why is everyone forgiving Joe so easily, especially Gordon, when he keeps burning them? Even if the others weren’t totally innocent, Joe is consistently toxic.
  • Was Gordon’s ham radio working all the time, or was he hallucinating as part of his illness?
  • Has the depiction of Donna and Cameron’s personal and working relationships with one another been sexist in some way?

Hopes and dreams for season four:

  • Donna/Cameron because c’mon. When Donna was tripping I thought for sure a kiss was coming. This is like being a fan of male slash ships; I feel baited at this point.
  • That there won’t be too much Joe/Cameron or that ship as endgame.
  • That Donna and Gordon don’t reunited and become endgame.
  • Bos becomes involved in the World Wide Web venture.
  • The coders/ex-Mutiny staff return.
  • No more Cameron/Tom.
  • Donna does not become a business rival.

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Halt and Catch Fire: Season 3

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