Review: What’s next for ‘Halt and Catch Fire’

My review of the season finale of Halt and Catch Fire is coming up, but first, permission to come aboard your driveway boat?

One of the things Halt has done well over the last three seasons (and will undoubtedly do for its fourth and final season next year) is immerse us into the tech boom of the 80’s, and they’ve done that mostly by putting the characters at the forefront of the innovations. Mutiny brought up the idea of an online community and chat program. Then Mutiny bought a struggling online marketplace company. Last season, Cameron inadvertently invented broadband internet.

In last night’s excellent two-hour finale, we jump ahead four years to 1990. Everyone has been on different trajectories since then, but they all come back together to come up with one more big innovation of the time: the World Wide Web.

Based on the work with NSFNET and the networking experience of the characters, it was inevitable that they would get here, but the biggest struggle was getting everyone on board. Joe is caught up in the potential of such a network and the big picture (as well as coming up with a cogent metaphor). Gordon is worried that they’re too early with this and that it won’t catch on. Cameron is worried that she won’t be able to work with Joe at first, then Donna. And Tom, well, he just wants to crap on everything everyone says, and might be just a little jealous or suspicious of Joe.

The bombshell comes at the end of the episode when Cameron kicks Donna out of her own project (sound familiar?). Donna counters with a brief freak out in her car, then a calm and calculated phone call to her office to get her on a plane to CERN. This is going to set up a fun final season next year as Donna and Cameron race to create the Internet as we know it today.

Some other thoughts:

  • When we didn’t see Bos until halfway through the first hour, and given the time jump, I was very concerned that he had gone to that big Texas in the sky. I was relieved to see him on a boat in a driveway, playing the Andy Dufresne to Cameron’s Red. I supposed John Bosworth may still meet his demise next season, being that it’s the last season, and I’m not sure I’m ready for that.
  • It was sad to see the Clark family torn asunder, but it seems Gordon and Donna are happier now. I would like to see some flashbacks next season to show us exactly what happened from 1987 to 1989.
  • Joanie has become the typical teenage girl, trying to rebel and not really knowing how to do it. But it was nice to see that she cares about Gordon and is willing to do anything to help him as his condition worsens.

What did everyone else think about the season finale and the third season in general?