Halt and Catch Fire: The 214s
July 21, 2014 7:42 AM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

The team plans their trip to ComDex.
posted by drezdn (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
This really seems like the high point of the show so far.
posted by drezdn at 7:48 AM on July 21, 2014


The AV Club review (linked over there --> ) makes the excellent point that this is "An episode that works best in spite of most of what’s come before...". By ignoring a lot of the stupid stuff, the writers manage to make a good, realistic, honest portrayal of people who are dealing with their own bad choices.

Two episodes left -- if they can keep up the momentum, this show will succeed despite itself.
posted by Etrigan at 8:08 AM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah the infinite monkeys on infinite typewriters finally stumbled into exactly the kind of 80s wacky genius science caper movie plot I was craving but probably a little too late to save the show.
posted by SharkParty at 8:43 AM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I got retweeted by the Halt and Catch Fire Twitter account last night, so that was fun.
posted by Small Dollar at 5:57 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I really liked this episode a lot. Although, strangely, I just read a romance novel with the same "I thought my mother was dead but actually my father sent her away because she was disreputable" trope. Which I don't think is all that common a trope; I just came up against two instances of it in short order.

I loved that Gordon was the one who came up with a way to hide the Giant in plain sight, stole it back, AND got the gang back together. He even used a little of Joe's schtick to do it!

I also loved the bit about the decoder key engagement ring. That entire bonding scene between him and Cameron was great.

John Bosworth masterminding a computized bank heist? They've shown us just enough of his relationship with Cameron to believe that he'd get her to do it, and just enough to make that scene with them toward the end believable. And boy, when Cameron explains that she helped steal the money it suddenly makes sense why he would shout at her in his office and pretend not to know her name. I like that, in some cases, this show has given us little bits and allowed us to figure out the rest on our own.

The moment Donna turned on the Giant I knew that she was going to Comdex.

And I love how, in the past few episodes, Joe's veneer has been slowly collapsing. The scene where he explains that he has nothing except for the clothes and the car - it was like finally getting down to who he is behind the act. Beautiful.
posted by rednikki at 11:31 PM on July 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


This week in kludgy metaphors: Joe breaking his smashing-bat represents him not wanting to smash things anymore, when he decides not to throw away the Giant project to go back to IBM.

Also, did the Clark family station wagon remind anyone else of the Family Truckster from National Lampoon's Vacation?
posted by Small Dollar at 12:09 AM on July 22, 2014


I loved that Gordon was the one who came up with a way to hide the Giant in plain sight, stole it back, AND got the gang back together.

This may go along with your point about how the show lets us piece things together, but why was he even hiding it? Was it just because he figured "They're gonna take any computer they find, so let's make this look like not-a-computer"? Because to me, it looked like he just saw some cops and immediately knew what was going on much more than he should have.
posted by Etrigan at 5:01 AM on July 22, 2014


I don't know... I think flickering lights or a slamming door would probably send him running for that room because it's the only thing on his mind.

The 414s are a central concept of this episode which means that the real world's computer pop culture has to exist inside the show... which means that even non-computery people have seen WarGames and know what it means when a sudden room full of dudes in suits are barking orders and yanking terminals up off of desks.

His particular computer is also fantastically seizable! A feature!
posted by SharkParty at 6:27 AM on July 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


His particular computer is also fantastically seizable! A feature!

I could see Apple's marketing sith-lords seizing on that.
"The Macintosh Portable: fantastically seizable!"
posted by The Legit Republic of Blanketsburg at 8:46 AM on July 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Fantastically Seizable will be the name of my chiptune ska cover band.
posted by Etrigan at 9:15 AM on July 22, 2014 [5 favorites]


Gordon probably assumed that the cops were there in response to IBM and the BIOS-stealing, which was his own little guilty crime. Either way it involves seizing evidence, and his prototype is his baby.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 11:00 AM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Gordon probably assumed that the cops were there in response to IBM and the BIOS-stealing, which was his own little guilty crime.

I can buy that he was paranoid about that, but that raises another question: did they actually stick to the Chinese Wall and let Cameron write her own OS? There were hints in both directions, but I feel like she really did it on her own.
posted by Etrigan at 11:19 AM on July 22, 2014


Fantastically Seizable will be the name of my chiptune ska cover band.

Fantastically Seizskable
posted by drezdn at 11:59 AM on July 22, 2014


It may be due to the fact that we're watching this several weeks after the last episode, but Dad and I were both a little confused when they started talking embezzlement. It was non-obvious to us that Bosworth had talked Cameron into shady dealings.

I see where y'all are coming from about letting the viewer fill in the blanks. God knows I've complained about filmmakers beating audiences over the head with symbolism in the past. I'm not asking for flares and landing-lights but maybe something more than vaguely waving in the direction of the plot would have helped in this case.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:44 PM on August 4, 2014


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