Halt and Catch Fire: “Landfall” Review
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
After five episodes of engineering and innovating, the team at Cardiff finally has a working PC on there hands. There were points in this season where it felt like nothing was getting done, and the stalemates and setbacks were irritating. Finally, “Landfall” gives us the result and aftermath of the hard work put in. And who’s the man who gets the credit and the honor of giving the machine power? Joe Mac… John Bosworth(?), apparently. Sure we knew that Joe isn’t the most liked guy and isn’t one to identify with the people, but from what the show has presented to us, neither is John, and I think that’s a narrative fault the show hasn’t worked out.
Cameron and Joe’s relationship was actually interesting this episode. It started off with him being elusive and evading as usual, but ended with him opening up to Cameron. We knew the first story Joe told about his scars was a lie, so seeing (what I hope is) the truth come out was a nice way to build on that foundation and move character development forward.
With solo Cameron this week, we got a glimpse of what could be the hook of the PC Cardiff will ultimately put on store shelves. Inspired by Yo-Yo’s hacked version of Adventure, and her “stuffed thing” from her dad, Cameron developed the idea of giving the computer the ability to talk back to you and do what you want. This all doesn’t go over well with Gordon of course given that this fresh inspiration would require more kilobytes of RAM and a redesign of the PC that’s nearly complete. Joe seems to be keen on the idea at the episode’s end, let’s just hope we aren’t moving back to square one plot-wise. Cameron also continues to have the standout actions on this show be it for forward momentum or just pure laughs. After being question about banging Joe, she takes control of the situation by publicly kissing Gordon and complimenting him for “last night.”
Donna’s scenes this week mainly revolved around her getting to know Joe. She as well as the audience got to see a side of Joe that’s rarely seen, and that’s one of care and compassion. While this was nice to see, all throughout this episode in fact, I can’t help but feel like this is a plot device for Halt and Catch Fire’s characters and its audience to sympathize with Joe. At least for me, it’s hard to do that seeing as I saw how low he stoops for very selfish reasons.
Gordon had very little to do, which has become a common statement in these reviews. We see him struggle to complete even the simplest of tasks as he spends a large portion of the episode hunting down the all too demanded Cabbage Patch doll. This all solidified how helpless and dependent he is. Even Donna is proving to be a stronger character. I’m not saying that because of anything regarding gender, but because the show presents Joe, Cameron, and Gordon as the three leads and saddles Donna in a more supporting role, and I find her role often outshines that of her husband’s. It’s also worth mentioning that things are slowly but surely escalating between Donna and her boss at work, with the two set to go on a business trip together. An affair seems like a cliche drama point to hit, so if it does happen, let’s hope for something unique.
“Landfall” kept with the quality of last week delivering a great episode. Joe proved to be something more than a manipulative control-freak with his scenes with Cameron and Donna. Cameron AGAIN proves to be a smart character and a valuable part of the cast externally and part of Cardiff internally. On the other hand, Gordon displays the exact opposite. Every scene this week just poured it on thick that he can’t hold his own. I feel like the writers are doing this to justify the brewing affair between Donna and her boss. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.
Did this episode change your feelings about Joe? What would you do for a Cabbage Patch doll? Let us know in the comments below.
*We do not comment on anything relating to previews for the next episode and beyond.
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