For the first three episodes of “Halt and Catch Fire,” we had definite concern over whether or not this show was going to be an amazing series, or just a very good one that is on par with “Turn” or some of the other AMC series that have never risen to the level of “Breaking Bad.”
Luckily, “Close to the Metal” was an episode that brought this series much closer to “amazing” than it has been so far. The writing in here was great, the surprises were frequent, and most importantly, the show finally made good use of the Donna character rather than just having her be the unhappy wife. She’s brilliant in her own way, and the only thing that differentiates her from Cameron is that she has traded in being exceptional for being a functioning human being.
Unfortunately, she is one that is starting to fall apart at the seams. Her children are being pawned off at times on Cameron of all people, she’s exhausted, and she at risk of losing her job over at Texas Instruments all so that she could help revive the code at Cardiff following some sort of “outage,” and also save them from the wrath of a reporter on the scene.
Wouldn’t you know it, though? This was all an elaborate setup from the get-go in an effort for Joe to create an emotional environment for a piece to be written about the company. He faked the outage, made sure he had the original code the whole time, and put everyone through the wringer to get the recovery done. His manipulation may be good for Cameron so that she is more careful, but Donna found out about it quickly, and she in turn told Gordon despite Joe telling her not to.
In the end, all of this will create a fantastic dynamic moving forward, especially since Joe’s carelessness has clearly led to someone (maybe IBM?) sending the big guns on him and roughing him up. Of course, he doesn’t have the common decency to tell the truth about that, either.
This episode was fully gripping from start to finish, and finally showed some maturity on Cameron’s part as well for the first time. “Halt and Catch Fire” still has a ways to go to get to greatness, but we finally feel that the show is heading in the right direction again. Grade: A-.
What did you think about this episode? Let us know in the comments.