Halt and Catch Fire: Landfall
July 7, 2014 7:44 AM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

A hurricane spurs personal revelations.
posted by drezdn (15 comments total)
 
Don't everybody jump in at once. It's not that bad.
posted by scalefree at 11:25 AM on July 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


I thought it was better than other eps. Things actually happened.
posted by Madamina at 7:59 PM on July 7, 2014


Hey, I liked it a ton. But then again, unlike everyone else on MeFi, I love this show. I like that Joe is potentially a sociopath, but he doesn't have all the answers and sometimes does things that blow up in his face. I know people talk about Cameron as a stereotype, but she reminds me of actual people I have known. I also like Donna; they are showing rather than telling that there were a lot more women on the tech side in those days. And Gordon reminds me of a lot of guys I've known, in all the ways that made me want to strangle them.
posted by rednikki at 8:01 PM on July 7, 2014 [7 favorites]


In addition to all that other stuff - I really liked Cameron's idea and the way that Joe wound up seeing it was a good idea. And, ironically, if Gordon had gotten those Cabbage Patch dolls in the legitimate way, he might have understood why it was a good idea too, since the whole key with the Cabbage Patch dolls was that they were personalized and individual, with their own names and so forth. And I really like the slowly growing relationship between Cameron and Bosworth.
posted by rednikki at 8:03 PM on July 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


I loved the detail from a couple of episodes back that Bosworth played football at Southern Methodist back in the day and now is one of the alumni funneling booster money to SMU players.

I also loved the look on Joe's face this episode when the engineers and coders wanted "Boz" to start up the prototype instead of him.
posted by Ranucci at 9:47 PM on July 7, 2014


Is Joe actually the decent human being he seems to be in this episode, or is this a Decent Human Being act he's putting on because Cameron told him that people want their leaders to be "authentic"? Joe the talking stuffed animal, Joe the simple conversational program, Joe the Cabbage Patch Kid -- and yet the trick works, it engenders love, even with Cameron who knows the hack because she taught it to him.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 12:22 AM on July 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Cameron is Sherry Turkle. Joe is ELIZA.

I wonder if there was an early draft of the episode that included Joseph Weizenbaum's cautionary tale of how he saw some of the programmers implementing his simplistic psychotherapist chatbot (who knew perfectly well how it worked) nonetheless confide their feelings into ELIZA as though it were a person who cared about them.

Somebody involved in writing this series knows their computer history very, very well. (The whole series is named after an assembly-language programmer's in-joke about imaginary IBM/360 opcodes!) But they don't know how to turn the vision of the story they want to tell, the ideas they want to portray, into a believable human drama. I feel like it's slowly getting better on that front, and I think the actors are doing a good job bashing these ciphers into characters.

I actually like the cinematography, the soundtrack, the story-arc, the high-level vision and low-level details of HCF -- I think all its problems are down to shitty scriptwriting.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 1:05 AM on July 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


I also love the Halt and Catch Fire soundtrack. So many songs that fit into my tastes that I've never heard before.
posted by drezdn at 9:06 AM on July 8, 2014


This show does seem to be improving, slowly, but in my house we are still rooting for Cameron and Donna to ditch everyone else and go start their own company and the show can just be about them.

My partner has almost stopped yelling at the bad un-compilable code, which either means they're getting better about real code, or that he's just been worn down and doesn't have the energy to fact-check the tech details anymore.
posted by Stacey at 12:18 PM on July 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


I also love the Halt and Catch Fire soundtrack.

Oh my god, I've been researching the songs after they started getting stuck in my head, and some of them are obscure deep cuts from Texas Punk Rock acts in the early '80s, stuff that's coming off of vintage vinyl. These are tracks that would have marked you as "deep into the local Punk scene" even at the time of the story.

My partner has almost stopped yelling at the bad un-compilable code, which either means they're getting better about real code

Cameron's half-finished function from this episode looks like part of a lexical analyzer, which would be the first stage of a language recognizer. What other show would go to the trouble of writing real tokenization code for a one-second shot?!?
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 6:53 PM on July 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


These are tracks that would have marked you as "deep into the local Punk scene" even at the time of the story.

...which is a little weird since meeting up with actual local PUNXXX kind of caught her by surprise!

I'm worried because as I said in the last thread, the stiff unnatural style of acting and the truly bizarre story choices are kind of growing on me like some Wargames / Electric Dreams influenced experimental theater and this episode almost tiptoed into genuine competence. Very worried.
posted by SharkParty at 5:33 AM on July 9, 2014


Texas Punk Rock acts in the early '80s, stuff that's coming off of vintage vinyl.

I hope this leads to the Big Boys "Sound on Sound."
posted by drezdn at 6:24 AM on July 9, 2014


This is the episode where I realized that Lee Pace is a phenomenal actor. There is not a single mannerism, echo, or glimpse of Ned the Piemaker anywhere in Joe. Even when he's being charming and almost normal, I get Joe attempting to be normal rather than a twinge of Ned.

It's a beautiful thing.

The show itself, man, it's growing on me unfortunately my hate for Gordon grows as well.
posted by teleri025 at 8:41 AM on July 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


The show itself, man, it's growing on me unfortunately my hate for Gordon grows as well.

You think they're setting Gordon up as a Wozniak-esque, and while he's talented, he's just such at putz! And his brilliant wife! I really appreciated (maybe it was a bit ham-fisted, I don't care) how when we first meet her she's trying to make house, and we can tell she works, but you don't assume on that first meeting she's an engineer at T.I. She's the brilliant one. But she's stuck with not just her own job, but more than her fair share of the kids and house works, AND she's gotta save Gordon's butt all the time?

Also, I think someone already mentioned it, but I'm really enjoying the "unlikely buds" dynamic between Cameron and John Bosworth. Looking forward to more "kid, if you're gonna go around pissing in people's eyes, at least tell them its rainin' first" wisdom and whisky exchanges between those two.

The last two episodes have felt sensibly paced, and not left me questioning every characters motivation for their strange strange actions. this is progress. I am hopeful.
posted by The Legit Republic of Blanketsburg at 3:58 PM on July 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Legit Republic of Blanketsburg: “The last two episodes have felt sensibly paced, and not left me questioning every characters motivation for their strange strange actions.”
Except for the fact that Captain Pocket Protector would be about as likely to throw a brick through a window and steal as he would wade into an electrified puddle.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:07 AM on July 14, 2014


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