‘Halt and Catch Fire’ season 3 finale review: Ctrl+Alt+Del on life

Joe -In following up the first part of tonight’s two-hour finale, “Halt and Catch Fire” Tuesday had quite a challenge in finishing things off: That episode (entitled “NIM”) could easily have served as the proper way to end the season, and tied up the entirety of loose ends on the night.

What we were left with in the finale “NeXT” was a very good episode to close things out, and one that easily could have functioned as a series finale if the producers really had to make it so — though it would not have been a satisfying one for all characters. The relationship between Cameron and Tom is on the brink, and that’s without her coming clean on sleeping with Joe. She, Gordon, and Joe are now together working on the new internet project, but without Donna after Cameron told her that she couldn’t work with her anymore.

Sending Donna away is the great tragedy of this story, especially as Cameron seemed to create a narrative of her firmly as the villain, despite her admitting the night before that she played a part in the demise of Mutiny — and she did. She was unreachable at times and completely inflexible at others. Donna was far from perfect and she did some traitorous things, but it seems wrong to establish her as sole culprit in everything that’s gone wrong.

Our read on Cameron’s action is this: She’s holding in the guilt she feels over being with Joe, and channeling that into her reactions towards Donna. Kicking her out is a way to at least have something that she wants, or at least what she thinks she wants.

Much of the finale was about setting up the process and function of said internet, which everyone seems to now be committed to among the core three. We had brief sightings of other characters, including a retired John Bosworth, but this story as a whole was a reflection of not only the speed of technology, but the speed of life and how it takes you to unexpected places. Donna’s realizes that she cannot reestablish any relationship she once had (even with Gordon), Joe’s reminded of how far he can go with his ambition, and Cameron has a fire that she hasn’t in years of developing video games in Japan.

Grade: A-. While we don’t quite feel that “NeXT” had the same emotional resonance of the hour before it, it was a wonderful reset for many of the characters, their lives, and their mission. Now that we know there is a fourth season ahead, it sets the stage rather nicely.

The first review – You can check that out over at our show archive. (Photo: AMC.)

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