Halt and Catch Fire Season 1 Review “Close to the Metal”

Halt and Catch Fire (AMC) Episode 4 Close to the Metal (3)

On the latest episode of “Halt and Catch Fire,” Joe’s line of bull finally came back to haunt him, karmic justice-style, as he was pulled over and beaten by some cops for no good reason, really. However, it was after pulling another of his secret schemes intended to cause a particular result amongst his team- namely instilling panic so that they did their jobs that much better, and faster.

It worked like a charm until Joe met a formidable opponent- none other than Donna, Gordon’s wife, who was brought in to help rectify the situation at hand. It seems Cameron’s hard drive had been erased by means of her own- the speakers that blasted her particular brand of awesome music were discovered to be magnetized, causing the disrupt. And Cameron hadn’t backed up a thing, even on floppy disks. Except that it wasn’t her speakers, it was Joe who erased the files- after backing them up for safekeeping, of course.

There was one thing Joe didn’t count on, and that was wild card Donna, who was brought in hopes of retrieving some of the data. Proving smarter than the average “Speak N’ Spell” operator, she not only recovered a lot of the damaged files, she puzzled out that Cameron didn’t cause it, which left Joe, who freely admitted what he’d done, but asked her to keep quiet about it. Donna did not, though, and told Gordon, who has yet to do anything with the information, as of yet. But will he later on? That’s the real question.

Meanwhile, Cameron went on a downward spiral that would do Trent Reznor proud. Okay, she looks to have drawn the line at spray painting Gordon’s house, as was her original plan, but she did steal Donna’s car, break into her house and abandon her kids after showing them how to use a lighter and a spray can as a flamethrower. The sad thing was, she was unexpectedly great with the kids up until she discovered Gordon had dubbed her “white trash.”

Then it was on. In the end, ironically, it was the nutty next-door neighbor that Gordon had fired last week that talked her out of it by trying to talk her into it. Not sure what else actually went down there, but when Gordon and Donna and the kids got home, it looked relatively damage-free to me. Smooth move of Cam to absolve herself of what she’d done by serendipitously dropping the keys she stole by putting them on the ground out of Donna’s sight and claiming to have just found them there. No harm, no foul, I guess.

Beyond that, there was a reporter from the “Wall Street Quarterly” there to profile Cardiff Industries, but who found the place in a state of perpetual disarray and about to go down in flames. Joe managed to talk him out of a negative article, but I suspect that the reporter would betray them in a heartbeat, given the right ammo to work with. He almost had it here, until Donna saved the day- sadly somewhat anonymously, as she had to do it under a different name. No respect, the ladies on this show, am I right?

Some great moments here and there scattered throughout the episode: Joe rallying the troops and setting fire to the IBM specs; John getting dressed down by Cardiff and Gordon getting the same from his wife; anything with Cam and the kids; John returning the threats to the reporter after his own incident; and, of course, Donna calling Joe on his crap for once, then urging Gordon to do the same. Well done scenes, all.

This maybe wasn’t the show’s finest hour, but it wasn’t bad, and still moved along at a decent pace despite being largely expository and jargon-heavy at times. I may not have had a clue about most of what was being talked about, computer-wise, but the show was engaging enough that I didn’t mind it as much. The cast is getting better all the time, and there was a lot of conflict to keep things interesting, lest your interest wane during the tech talk parts. So, overall, a win.

What did you think of “Halt and Catch Fire”? Is it a can’t-miss show in the AMC tradition? Or is it a bit too verbose and Über-nerdy for your tastes? What will Gordon do about Joe, if anything? What went down between Cam and the neighbor after we left the scene with them engaging over their mutual disrespect over Gordon and his family? Let me know what you think down below and I’ll see you next week!