Halt and Catch Fire: The Threshold
September 27, 2016 9:26 PM - Season 3, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Joe and Ryan face the consequences of Joe's decision. Gordon experiences a crisis of conscience. Donna and Cameron fight about the future.
posted by Pong74LS (8 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
That was intense.

Cameron along this season broke one of the cardinal rules of office politics - don't piss everyone off at the same time. Also, I don't get the logic behind her decision to push the IPO. She never seemed that interested in money as long as Mutiny paid their bills and she could come up with the next big feature, and being bought would mean a large influx of cash to make sure everything went smoothly as well as capital to explore new ideas. Of course that Donna trying to out-manouver her was a dick move, and even if Cameron proved to be an unreliable partner, trying force the IPO through was... mean. And the show made a perfect good example on how nobody was completely wrong and nobody was completely right.

I'm surprised that Gordon is interested in working on Joe, but he might have seen what is happening with Mutiny and is re-evaluating his working relationship with him. Plus, he's feeling this is something so big not even Joe could tank it.
posted by lmfsilva at 6:38 AM on September 28, 2016

The boardroom scene was positively spectacular. Everything about it just clicked into place.

And Kerry Bishe and Mackenzie Davis kill it. Every time. Davis in particular... that breakdown.....
posted by theartandsound at 8:14 AM on September 28, 2016

I love that the wardrobe team have been styling Donna to be more polished and more like an 80s powerful woman. She's even eclipsing Diane in the boardroom scene. I remember thinking last episode that she looked almost like a Dynasty villain in one scene.

The boardroom scene was devastating; the tension ratcheting up so slowly. It's really good writing that when each of those characters lays out her vision, I get what she wants. Watching their relationship come apart was heartbreaking. The little moments that have been building between Cameron and Gordon, right up until she comes to him saying, "CQ, CQ," and he has to tell her about the IPO were also really good story-telling. I really like the way the stories of MacMillan and Mutiny are being told side by side, with Gordon connecting the two of them.

I was expecting Joe to do something to Ryan that would leave him wrecked like Gordon. I didn't expect Ryan's loyalty to be the undoing of their relationship.
posted by gladly at 10:47 AM on September 28, 2016

Another thing worth thinking about is why Cameron decided to force a vote knowing it would be likely she would lose. Donna and Diane were obviously the ones pushing for the IPO. Gordon is going to side with Donna even if she has became closer to him and he's quick to understand the backstabbing involved. Bos is still hurt over Texas, and has never been willing to take any shit when decisions were on the line. Unless she totally overplayed her hand and got burned, in practice she voted herself out of company instead of letting tempers calm down and hope Gordon and Bos could smooth things in search of a middle ground.

But the boardroom meeting just makes me more furious it wasn't nominated for an Emmy.
posted by lmfsilva at 12:30 PM on September 28, 2016

Everyone on this show has needed a hug since like, what, S01E04? I can't remember feeling this heartbroken for characters I've liked since my Buffy days.
posted by wheek wheek wheek at 5:29 PM on September 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Well, HCF kind of writes characters like people instead of pure archetypes. Even Donna, that was more or less the moral core of the show has took a bit of a dark side turn in this episode.
And that's what made the boardroom meeting so powerful. Those were not characters that were airdropped into the plot to become a convenient villain the audience. Those are 4 of the main characters in the show and a season 3 regular struggling to make some sense of a very shitty situation that was caused solely by them, and even their inconsistencies are in character.
posted by lmfsilva at 3:15 AM on October 1, 2016

Donna took a dark turn earlier this season, which was kind of inexplicable to me. (Why would she lie about what Diane said when it's not like Diane was going anywhere? And the truth would be so easy to get at down the road? Donna is smarter than that.)

I still love the show but I can't help feeling like the partnership between Cameron & Donna, what I adored so much about Season 2, has been tweaked (along with the omission of a lot of the technical activity - we've hardly seen the tech team this season...or maybe because the tech focus is more on Ryan?) to make the show more palatable to a general audience for Season 3. Which I kind of understand, because this show is not getting the audience it deserves and I'm worried it's going to be cancelled.
posted by wheek wheek wheek at 4:51 AM on October 1, 2016

I think her mistakes are explained by her evolution from an unassuming techie to a corporate head - she has to make some decisions in SF that on Texas either fell on Cam or Bos, and with those come some growing pains. Her mistakes were the fruit of having to deal with an unreliable partner, while having all her money (and marriage) balancing on that company. She lied because she thought sacking the SwapMeet guys was a mistake and trying to delay and hope to change Cam's mind was what made sense to her at that moment. Unfortunately she couldn't set the record straight before the ruse was up, and by then, some bad blood was already brewing.

In a way, I think the each season focus can be split a bit Wire-ish - season 1 is about engineering, season 2 about programming and sales, and season 3 is about boardroom politics. Even Ryan and Joe's story is more focused on finding Joe's next big thing while navigating the larger structure of MacMillan Corp.
But, yeah, I think this might be the end of the road. It's getting critical acclaim, but it failed to make the point that it wasn't just about computers, like FNL had to make some effort to remind people it wasn't a show about HS football. Then again, season 3 was already highly unlikely. AMC needs to have more than zombies and talking about zombies, I guess.
posted by lmfsilva at 6:14 AM on October 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

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