‘Halt and Catch Fire’ season 3, episode 3 review: Mutiny meets anarchy

After spending two episodes of “Halt and Catch Fire” thinking that Joe MacMillan had become a mustache-twirling villain within the world of Silicon Valley, we came to the end of Tuesday night’s new episode to realize that this was not exactly the case. It is actually much more complicated than that.

As it turns out, the character (still played wonderfully by Lee Pace) is stuck in a spot between idealism and capitalism, and actually had purer intentions when he first hired Ryan Ray to his team: He wanted a voice of that inner optimist to tell him that he was doing the right thing in keeping his software free. He didn’t want to go against it, but the realist in him, the same one that saw the Giant fundamentally changed in season 1, understood that they needed to make money.

Now, he’s devised a workaround, or at least a hopeful one: Using Ryan to devise a new form of monetization. Another fun reveal came in learning that Joe is still trying to improve some of his own capabilities beyond just a typical salesperson. His new “status” led to an impromptu meeting between him and Cameron, which did have occasional fun notes in the midst of all the bitterness.

While there was good news on the Mutiny front over the course of this episode (the company got a much better deal than planned thanks to John Bosworth and Diane Gould sniffing around), the bad news came in that there is a clear dissension in the ranks at the moment. Tension within Gordon and Donna’s home life is bleeding over to the workplace, and he cannot handle being ignored for ideas that he feels are right. In part, this is why we’re in a situation now where he wants to look elsewhere if need be, but more than anything, he needs value and validation. He just doesn’t know how to go about finding it, which is why he is such an interesting, well-written character.

Do we wish there was more progress on the Mutiny front this week? Absolutely, but the stuff with Joe and Ryan, a character we’re already starting to love, was fantastic and that has us hopeful for where the remainder of the season could go. Grade: B+.

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