What is the legacy of one Ryan Ray on “Halt and Catch Fire“? Through much of Tuesday night’s new episode, it felt like his intention was to instill questions of doubt and of fear in the technology that we are starting to trust. Ryan made his play last week to do what he thought at the time was helping his friend Joe MacMillan, only to instead further cause some trouble within his world. The FBI was suddenly present, and he had to make the move as to where to go from here.
Where did that go? With and ending, but then also possibly a beginning. Ryan’s message of “we are not safe” actually was meant to be much more than just a proclamation of the lack of security in an ever-changing world — it was a suicide note in fact. He was presented tonight with choices, but many of them included being away from the world for a long time. Being away from change. Joe’s final stand at the end of the episode represented a loss of a friend, but also a loss of opportunity.
In the midst of the chaos and the end to Ryan’s story, Donna is experiencing the highs and lows of a more-public company, given the dichotomy between them and the feeling of being adrift that is elsewhere. Joe MacMillan, knowing both the importance of Ryan and the risk associated with the network plan, seems lost in a sea of his own thought. Cameron is in a very different position now than she was when she was a more direct part of the company.
While we’re not going to say that Tuesday’s episode contained any stunning leaps forward in terms of the business, Ryan’s suicide marks a stark personal change, and a shift in the foundation for the series and how these people perceive their own lives. They’re not safe within society, but they’re also not safe within themselves. It was almost a reminder of the show’s heartbeat at a time when everything had become so corporate-focused.
There were a series of emotional conversations that proved poignant. For example, Gordon questioning Joe about the relationship between him and Ryan further echoed the spirit of closeness that he felt; meanwhile, Bosworth stating that he voted under duress further reflected his uncertainty, and reminded us that there is a part of him that probably wants to keep some loyalty to Cameron, who he views as a daughter. These are the moments that could carry through to the finale, but the same goes for Ryan’s legacy.
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