The second episode of a series is more often than not the one that we worry about the most. It is far easier for a show to make a good pilot when you have a bigger budget and a good bit of time in order to make something happen. If you can pull off a success without some of those resources, then you are proving that you have a plan, and the potentially to really make something great.
Two episodes in to “Half and Catch Fire,” and we are starting to feel like there really is a shot for this to be the next great AMC series. Lee Pace kills it in this episode, as we start to realize that as good as Joe’s plan was, he is not some sort of all-knowing man who was a step ahead constantly of the IBM machine.
The problem that the series faces still is that there are an occasional moment or two that just don’t make sense. For example, why in the world would Gordon lie to his wife about Cameron’s gender? It just makes no sense, given that she was going to find out anyway.
When that is the only major gripe of the entire episode, though, we cannot be that upset at all. Pace had a brilliant monologue at the end after he revealed that he was scarred and beaten thanks to his past, and despite the company being nearly overtaken, he was not going to give up on his plan. There was a sense of idealism in this moment, as Cameron decided to continue working with him despite an offer of a bigger salary elsewhere, and despite just having watched him get into an altercation with Gordon over the company debacle.
Then, you have the kicker: This entire sentimental story may have been a complete lie, as Cameron pointed out with the timeline. Is Joe the Joker with his “do you want to know how I got these scars?” stories? He’s certainly shrewd, if nothing else.
The show still has work to do in establishing Cameron as more than just a brilliant rebel, but we consider this episode to be a small victory. The story is going somewhere, and that is in the right direction. Grade: B+.
What did you think about this episode of “Halt and Catch Fire”? Sound off in the comments.