Review: ‘Halt and Catch Fire’ heads to Silicon Valley at the start of season 3

08.23.16 7 months ago 14 Comments

AMC

Halt and Catch Fire is back for its third season. I published my review yesterday, and I have some spoiler-y thoughts on the season's first two episodes coming up just as soon as I laugh at your robot butler…

“What makes you think I know what I'm looking for?” -Joe

This is a busy week for me, but since I'm off altogether next week, I wanted to weigh in on the premiere even briefly, so let's go straight to the bullet points:

* As mentioned in the earlier review, Joe MacMillan, complicated villain works so much better than Joe MacMillan, complicated anti-hero. There's still some sense of humanity and maybe even remorse for the things he's done, but he's embraced the fact that everyone who knows him well assumes the worst about him and gone heel, and Lee Pace plays that side of the character exceptionally well. In particular, the scene in the second hour where Joe crashes Gordon's deposition to make him an offer he knows he'll refuse – a majority stake in the company, provided Gordon is willing to work with him again – was some great super-villain svengali work, and Gordon's refusal to work with Joe again contrasted nicely with Ryan's desperation to do exactly that.

* Speaking of Ryan, I'm not getting quite the awkward intensity out of Manish Dayal's performance that seems to be there on the page. Ryan is useful as a bridge between Joe's world and the Mutiny one, and as someone with whom Joe will apparently be candid, but not loving him yet as a character in his own right.

* Bos sings Sinatra! Bos doesn't take any crap from Ryan! John Bosworth is the best – unless, that is, you happen to be related to him, and then he's kind of distant and only occasionally useful.

* Cameron living with Donna, Gordon, and the kids seems like the next logical step in the intermingling of everyone's work and home life, and while neither that home nor the new Mutiny headquarters instantly feels as alive as the Mutiny house in Texas, and creates some new tensions between the two partners even as the business seems to be going well overall.

* Donna and Cameron trying to contain their glee at what they think is a real offer sheet from Harper Capital was charming, which only set us up for the awful moment when we discover that Tim thinks they're up to mix business with pleasure. We know that they're onto something given how huge online commerce has become, 

* Annabeth Gish seems to do best these days playing cold customers very much like the role she has here as Mutiny's would-be benefactor (and mom to Joanie Clark's frenemy) Diane. With this kind of character (whether here or on Silicon Valley) the question is whether she'll ultimately screw over our heroes or stick by them. Wait and see.

What did everybody else think? How do you feel about the new characters and status quo?
 

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