Halt and Catch Fire: So It Goes + Signal to Noise
August 21, 2017 1:05 PM - Season 4, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Gordon and Joe fight for their place in the internet. Donna rules hers. Cameron designs a new adventure game in the age of Mortal Kombat. [two episode premiere]
posted by lmfsilva (13 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I liked it. I'm going to miss this show. They keep putting these characters that I've hated in the past into really humanizing and familiar situations that makes me feel their hope even though I know they'll screw it up again.
posted by destructive cactus at 12:11 AM on August 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

The trick is in the casting. They couldn't have pulled this one off if the leads weren't so good at adapting to the new direction for the roles and a complete overhaul of the show.
posted by lmfsilva at 9:07 AM on August 22, 2017 [5 favorites]

I love this show so much, and my heart is breaking that after watching everyone shifting among the various fields of early computers and networking for the early seasons, that this final season will obviously see everyone in two hostile camps more or less at war with one another.

I really enjoyed this/these episode(s). I like that I expected this season to all be about the "browser wars," but Mosaic drops in the first episode and everyone shifts gears and scrambles. I thought all of the character's crises - and where they ended up after the jump - felt pretty authentic.
posted by absalom at 3:00 PM on August 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

I love this show so much. I jumped right back into it this episode. And yes, the casting is exactly right. I will go back and watch the entire thing again, I know this already.

I worked in the internet business in the early 90's, and so so much of this show is my own personal history. We were making it up as we went along, there was no real business model for that sort of thing. The bit in this episode where their telecom provider won't give them any more bandwidth because they're getting into the business themselves...yeah, hello Bell Canada...

I love how Gordon is the good parent now and how Donna is a shark.

I love how at 45 years old Joe is finally becoming human.

I love the looooong phone conversation between Joe and Cameron.

Boz being desperate and broke and with a relationship on the rocks broke my heart.

And I LOVE that Haley is her father's daughter and can code like a motherfucker ("it's not like it's C++") and Gordon didn't know.
posted by biscotti at 1:32 PM on August 23, 2017 [8 favorites]

I ended up watching the episode twice (once for myself, and again so my sister could catch up), and I loved it both times.

- Excellent time-lapse montage and in the end finding out that the browser wars petered-out (post-it notes are so in right now). Pretty sure they won't be the next Google, but I hope it will be something successful... (will one of them create AskJeeves? Cam did always want to create something with a personality lol. Maybe she created Clippy...).

- The night/day/night long phone call between Cam and Joe was really lovely ("You didn't hang up?" "I had to tell you what my Hawaiian name was" and "I really have to piss" "oh my god, me too!"), and I totally might of teared up during both viewings when Joe finally comes to her hotel room.


- I'm still kind of sad that Donna and Gordon are divorced. I secretly hope they somehow get back together.

- Did Gordon sign a waver before he was slammed against that canvas by the Blue Man Group?. I was half-terrified he was going to have a seizure or something lol.

Basically I want them all to be happy and successful and ride off into the sunset with sweet, sweet internet money (and not lose it when the internet bubble eventually bursts).
posted by littlesq at 7:28 PM on August 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

I liked more than I expected. I never liked Joe, nor Cameron/Joe, and part of me was shouting at the screen "what are you two doing? It won't/can't work! Idiots!".

But now I'm rooting for everyone. Except for the Obvious Villain The Third Venture Capital guy, and Donna, maybe you didn't have any other exit, but that was an excellent shit sandwich now on Tanya's desk.
posted by kandinski at 3:02 AM on August 25, 2017

I forget that I like the chemistry (platonic, not romantic) between Cameron and Gordon. I love their scenes together, and I think those two understand one another in a way that their respective romantic partners never quite get. I also forgot how Janey and Haley grew up with Cameron and love her too.

Donna's change makes perfect sense within the story, but I miss earlier Donna. She might have been my favorite character in earlier seasons. And, boy, I miss her friendship with Cameron. I can't see a way to reconcile those characters, but I would love to see the show pull it off.

In case I missed something, was the end of Cameron's game returning to the beginning? Because I would hate that too.

I am still rooting for all of them too!
posted by gladly at 6:48 AM on August 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

I think Cameron's game is more or less like Myst - very abstract puzzles the player might not have a clue what they do. Of course, not even telling the player the game was over is taking the concept a bit too far. Then again, doing the right things only messing them up enough to prevent them from being a runaway success is more or less what HCF has done since season one.
posted by lmfsilva at 8:54 AM on August 25, 2017

I was worried what this show would do with the time jump but this was great. I was sad to see Donna and Gordon split up. They surely had issues but I always liked that they were both independently strong and smart but also needed each other and worked together. The restaurant scene helped a lot to show that they're able to be civil.

I love that the kids are back as actual characters that are people instead of plot devices only when needed. I really liked that about the early episodes but then they kind of disappeared. I shouldn't get my hopes up because they might be off at camp or something next week. It's even easier with the split because much of the time we can just assume they're with the other parent.

I also figured the game was essentially Myst from the descriptions and even the video - though the character was visible which is very un-Myst-like.

I don't think they're building Google, but more of an index like Yahoo started, though Webcrawler (the original, not the aggregator they turned into) was the first thing that came to mind for me.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 9:51 AM on August 25, 2017

The game seems like to be attempting to be Myst with kinda- Alone In The Dark graphics. If Mosaic was just out, it means the show is now early in 1993, so AITD had been in the market for a few months, but Myst was still some months before going on sale. Both games were kinda on the cutting edge of technology: AITD was one of the first adventures (or even pc games) using polygons for characters, and Myst was the backbone of the early multimedia revolution of the time.
posted by lmfsilva at 12:14 PM on August 25, 2017

I watched the first three seasons a couple months ago and fell in love with this show. So excited it's back! Loved the Cameron/Joe phone conversation, loved Gordon/Donna at dinner, loved seeing Haley and her coding skills (hope this thread goes somewhere interesting!).

Intrigued by Donna's watch -- does anyone know more about how that worked? She seemed to flip it before starting meetings, was it some sort of timer?

As to Cameron's game taking players back to the beginning -- perhaps a foreshadowing to the series ending with the characters in a similar place to where they started? I would really like to see Cameron and Donna reconcile, if nothing else.

(I just started re-watching from the beginning already!)
posted by wsquared at 12:59 PM on August 25, 2017

perhaps a foreshadowing to the series ending with the characters in a similar place to where they started?

And not knowing they won? I'll buy that.
posted by lmfsilva at 1:09 PM on August 25, 2017

"I'm personally going to drive down to MCI and put my goddamn face through his goddamn fist!"
posted by Pronoiac at 2:32 AM on March 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

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