Halt and Catch Fire Dehydrates Viewers With Its Penultimate Episode

halt-and-catch-fire-episode-408-joe-pace-2-935-640x450

If you’re anything like me, you love Halt and Catch Fire because the characters are so human and realistic and we feel them like they’re in the world with us. After Gordon’s death last week, I knew all along that this episode would be really sad, but I should have known that it would feel real just like everything else in this show.

I don’t have nearly as much to say this week simply because the amount of grief the characters are suffering this episode was so palpable that I feel like I’ve lost a friend, too. Gordon was a friend to us all. Watching these characters we’ve come to know and love all this time suffer is just heartbreaking. The worst part of all of it was the girls. Everything with the girls was so gut-wrenching. Joe’s pain was terrible, but the way the girls reacted to things was so realistic and painful. Seeing Hailey and Joe hacf_408_tr_0627_0552-rttogether was beautiful and yet so sad, too. And the way that Joanie and Donna used Gordon against one another was just so hard to see. The part where Hailey and Joanie hugged and lay together in the bed and Hailey asked, “You’re not gonna go away, too, are you?” just broke me. That’s basically all I can say about this episode, honestly. My heart is broken. I cried so much watching this episode that every time I about stopped, something made me start up again.

If you had asked me in season 1 if Gordon dying would do this to me, I would have never imagined the answer would be yes.

Since I did a really terrible job reviewing this week, please feel free to comment with things you want to talk about, either here or on twitter, because I feel really bad about being too sad to really give a solid post to you guys.

Halt and Catch Fire’s Long Awaited Tragedy Finally Happens

hcf_s4_407_sp-800x450

I’ve been expecting this to come since… hell, the season Gordon got diagnosed. I really expected it after the episode where there were all the lens flares while Gordon burned his symptom journals. That said, I never thought this episode would be the one where it finally happened. Yes, my dear readers and fellow Halt views, the tragedy we all knew would come sooner or later has finally happened.

Gordon Clarke is dead.

In a lot of ways, I feel like, looking back, I should’ve known this episode was going to end this way. This whole episode felt to me like one of the episodes that gives us a ‘so this is where everybody is at’ rundown before a big shift. Viewing the episode through, I thought the big shift was going to be Comet’s big re-design/re-launch, because we kept talking about all the characters and where they are right now in their lives and in proximity to each other. But after it’s over, I feel like I understand better now that this was a snapshot of Gordon Clarke’s last day on earth with of all those he cares about most.

We started out with Gordon and his daughters, dealing with the fact that he and Haley had this falling out, him knowing that Haley is gay now but her not knowing he knows, and with Joanie trying to talk to him about her sister in that ‘I know her better than you’ halt-and-catch-fire-episode-407-donna-bishe-3-935way that sisters have (we do, trust me). The nostalgia with which he goes around Haley’s room later on to return her test to her helped remind us how much of their lives we’ve seen so far. We viewers have watched the Clarke family grow up and change for over a decade now, and this is another change that is a forever change the family is now facing. It’s so hard to see Gordon’s last interactions with his children be something so tense, but at least we got the sweet moment where Joe called Haley to ask her to come back, and to have her tell her dad “I’ll see you tonight” even though, crushingly, it wasn’t true. My mother lost her dad when she was a teenager, and to have a real understanding of how much Haley and Joanie won’t get with their dad is so upsetting. (Yes, it’s fiction, but in that context, they are still ‘people’.) It’s just good that they didn’t have a fight be their last interaction, however indirect. It still hurts to think that Haley won’t ever get to hear from Gordon that he knows she’s gay and accepts her for it.

Beyond the children, there were a lot of allusions to the past this episode that should have made me realize where it was going. Bos getting married at the start should’ve really given me a clue, because Halt and Catch Fire is the type of show that would balance a beginning with an ending, and the only real ending that was coming down thehalt-and-catch-fire-episode-407-donna-bishe-2-935 pipe all along was the ending of Gordon’s life. We had a lot of talk about the people they used to be versus the people they’ve become as well. Cameron mentioning her and Joe both having failed marriages in the past (I had forgotten he was married before, actually), Alexa bringing up Cameron’s time at Mutiny and her rivalry with Donna and how their visions changed along the way, Joe talking to Donna about knowing what it’s like to have people think of you as ruthless, all of these things were ways of bringing the past into the present in such a skillful way that we viewers are reminded of who these people used to be and where they are now. It forces you to think about their stories and their lives and how naturally all of this progression has gone, and it puts you in a mood of caring more about them before it ultimately pulled the rug out from under us and took one of them away.

This episode is, and I highly suspect next week’s episode will also be, a huge reminder that this show is made so perfect by its writing. Yes, the acting is impeccable, the cinematography is the stuff that would win film DP’s Oscars, and the sound work is mind-blowing. But this show? It’s always been about the writing. The writers of this show are one of the main reasons that Halt and Catch Fire deserves to be on everybody’s top 10 shows of all time list. It’s truly worth of AMC giving it the full four seasons in spite of absolutely shit ratings. There are episodes of this show that have only had 100,000 viewers. That’s how low the ratings for Halt are. But it’s always worthy of not being canceled and I’m so grateful that AMC recognized this and finished it. I’ll be heartbroken when it’s gone, but the writing of this show is possibly the best I’ve ever seen.

halt-and-catch-fire-episode-407-gordon-mcnairy-935I’m going to miss Gordon Clarke – or Weirdy McBeardy as my friend and I started calling him way back in season 1 – more than I have most any character on TV, not because I thought he was ever perfect or someone to admire, but because he’s written and developed in a way that’s so human that it hurts. Halt and Catch Fire is something so special, and to have a lead character die is just so painful and yet, the way it was done, with his last dying moments being a hallucination of the lives of his children, was so fair to him, and I like to think that, as tragic as it is, Gordon Clarke got the ending he deserved.

There’s only two weeks of this show left and I’m sure all of you are just as devastated by that thought as I am, so please, feel free to comment or tweet me about Halt and Catch Fire while we still can.

 

Halt and Catch Fire Creeps Closer To A Close and Still Kills It

halt-and-catch-fire-season-4-episode-6

The one thing I keep talking about this season is how much the characters have grown from where we began at the start of season 1 and how naturally that transition has gone. Nothing exemplifies that better than the way in which we find that Gordon, Haley, Cam, and Joe have become this little family together. The episode opens with such a wonderful family moment and I feel like this entire episode has been about growth in some way or another and yet how change doesn’t always mean that nothing remains the same.

To start with, can you believe that Cameron and Gordon are the friends they are today remembering how much they were at each other’s throats in the beginning? Cameron and Gordon’s rivalry was so bitter when they first met, and now, even after Gordon found out about Cameron writing the algorithm for Bos that gave Rover the ability to crush Comet, they’re able to sit and chat all friendly. It’s a mark of how both of them have grown as people. They’re able to put things behind them that, once upon a time, they would’ve never even dreamed of letting go, choosing instead to cling to that bitterness until it dragged them both down. Season 3 was when their friendship really began to formulate, but these days, they’re very at peace with each other. They have a healthy friendship, really. There is no better way to describe that.

Joe talks to Bos when they meet up about how it is crazy even to him to think that the person he used to be is the same person as he is now, and it is to us viewers too, except the transition has been so believable and realistic. Joe MacMillan in season 1 was a cold, hard, desperate man who had been forced by life to become an island of one, focusing only on himself and his own success. Joe even says to Bos that that Joe “Wanted everything, and didn’t care who he had to go through to get it”, which is absolutely true. The Joe we have now is a person who has seen what that does, hacf_406_tr_0602_0310-rt_1multiple times, and as he’s grown as a person and come to accept himself better, he just doesn’t want what he once did.

He mentions wanting children, and I think that we’ve seen a very natural progression from Joe being all about me, me, me to being a person who wants to stop running at the next big thing and just stop and enjoy what he has. The way he treats people is enough of an example of how he wants these people in his life and wants to keep them now, he doesn’t just want to use them up and go on to the next ones. It’s such a really interesting move to have him and Haley bond so much, especially after the big reveal that Haley’s issues relate to her being queer just like he is. I love that Joe sees her for who she is and immediately recognizes himself. I think that now that Gordon has also gotten a glimpse at Haley being queer after realizing the bird tattoos are the drawings from Haley’s rocket, he’s going to understand her a lot better, too.

While all this positive growth has been going on, over on Donna’s side of the fence, things aren’t going so well, and we get a glimpse at what I think this whole season has been building to, and that’s Donna realizing that the person he has become isn’t necessarily one she likes. Her life is so career oriented, and everything in her life is focused on being the biggest and baddest boss bitch of all, and she’s great at it. But at the same time, we constantly get shown how her big, modern, fancy house is empty, she drinks a lot, and even at work, she’s pushing people. She has so much pride and refuses1506098420417to budge, and now it’s costing her at work as well.

What really makes it the most obvious how empty her life is even though she is at her most successful is the way that, when she gets stopped for drunk driving, the only person who she can call to come get her is Gordon, her ex-husband. Her little speech about how she was imagining herself crushing 22 year old Donna was heartbreaking, because you see that she’s finally starting to break under the weight of her own success. I also really enjoy the way that, though their marriage wasn’t successful, Gordon and Donna are still each other’s rock when times get tough. You’ve seen it a few times before, but Gordon and Donna have so much history that even now, years after they’ve been split up, they still get each other better than anybody else. It’s just another one of those examples of how they’ve each grown as people and yet are still the same person they always were deep down.

I’m really excited to see where this all goes. Cameron is starting on a new adventure and I’m eager to see what that is. Donna causes a rift between Joe and Gordon in some way, or so the previews show, and I’m eager to see what that is. I want to see what they do with the news that Haley has a secret crush/girlfriend and this is why she has been acting so strangely. I wonder if the “Joe wants kids” thing is going to go anywhere. I wonder if Bos and Diane are gonna get married. There’s just so much left to look forward to and so little time left! I’m going to miss everything about this show once it’s finished, but I will spend the rest of my days hyping it until everybody I know has given in and watched it and regretted not watching it while it was airing.

What did you guys think? Any comments you want to make? Any thoughts you want to share? I’m always eager to see what others have to say!

 

So I Watched A Few Episodes of Fortitude Without Stopping To Review Them…

26049iC225770BD1284A8F

I’m now on episode…. 7? I think? The last one was the one where they found *SPOILER*’s body and WOW was it emotional. Man, when *SPOILER* was in that *SPOILER* and *SPOILER* was holding them, I really thought *SPOILER* was going to talk *SPOILER* into not doing what they did, but DAMN they went there.

I’m suspicious of this girl that Runar likes, too. I feel something really messed up about her. Maybe she’s just a dick, but it seems like it might be deeper than that. Also, DAMN Dan(iel okay I’ll stop with 3 year old memes now sorry), was that really necessary? This show is getting ever more creepy and I’m not sure what the fuck is gonna happen next, but I bet it’s gonna be a plot twist from hell and I’ll be absolutely shocked and pretty damn terrified.

I wish I could give more details but this is such a big spoiler that, even though I’ve given pretty serious spoilers in the other post, I just can’t here. Just wow. Who would’ve thought that person would die?

Not me.

Fortitude Season 2 Episode 5: Still Scary As Hell

tumblr_okaee5x2dg1uf2eawo2_540

Tonight’s episode involves discovering who is making the ‘reindeer juice’, who the dead girl is, and a little bit more about what’s happening with the Scary Parka Guy.

I’m really getting sick of the new governor dude. He’s one of those “NOTHING IS GOING ON HERE LA LA LA *fingers in the ears*” kind of dicks who knows bad things are happening and just wants to pretend it’s not so he doesn’t have to deal with it. They’re the worst kind of people. Also, I’m really sick of Sheriff Erik. Seriously, dude, you were cheating on your wife with his best friend for months last season and now you freak out and attack someone she PLATONICLY shared a hotel room with while trying to figure out what all kind of shit is going on? Erik is the worst kind of asshole.

Psycho Dan is def onto the Evil Dr. Lady who I’m pretty sure is def a serial killer back on the mainland. However, he’s being scary as hell right about now and it’s really freaking me out. Also, Petra is becoming a hardcore alcoholic and it’s kinda frightening. Just go be gay with Ingrid! (I hope I didn’t mix their names up, lol)

Also, there’s this really beautiful guy hanging around the Dying Lady and I’m not sure if she’s a lover or a secret son maybe? They have similar (freaking beautiful) eyes, but that could always be coincidence. Very interested to see where Pretty Shaman Guy goes in the story.

It’s late but I think I’ll watch one more episode tonight. Not sure if I’ll write the review, but I’ll see!

Fortitude Season 2: WAY Scarier Than Season 1

58773c011200002d00ad7236

 

So, while I suspect these reviews will continue to be really short, since there are more questions than answers with each episode, I have come to the conclusion that while season 1 was freaky, it was more of a mystery.

This is straight up horror.

I’m scared shitless after finishing episode 3. I shouldn’t have watched this so late at night. I’m lucky my cat is sitting in my lap or I would probably be pissing myself.

In tonight’s episode, Governor Lady and Dennis Quaid go to a Russian village because of a strange call from the mayor of the town. While they’re gone, Not-Sheriff Erik and Maybe Gay For Each Other Cops Ingrid and Petra arrest and question the taxidermist, who had the dead guy’s head in his fridge. Ingrid also has to arrest her brother because his belt was found at the home of the dead guy. All the while, Dan is awake and wandering around town in a hospital gown which nobody seems to find as worrisome as a normal person would, and Dr. Creepy Lady is def experimenting on Elena in the research lab.

It gets really scary when Vince and Lady Whose Name I Forget find a fucking reindeer eating a polar bear, what the hell, and then at night, when another body is found while the ‘killer’ is locked up, the SCARY GOGGLES DUDE SHOWS UP AGAIN!

I’m terrified and it’s nearly midnight but I have to watch one more. I have to! May not write the next review tonight, but another episode is necessary!

I Take A Second Dip Into Fortitude Season 2

1000

Episode 2 of Fortitude is fucking mental. That’s all there is to it. I’m not sure what the hell is going on but I’m kinda terrified. In this episode, the Governor has been de-governored, the Sheriff was drinking antifreeze, the headless guy was into some hardcore drugs, and there’s a motherfucking bear in the school.

I’m really interesting about this scary doctor lady at the research lab. I’m pretty sure she’s evil and I’m excited to see what comes out of that.

I would write more, since this is like 100 words only, but I still don’t really know what the hell is going on in this season. Hopefully, we’re gonna find out who that scary show suit and goggles guy is. I’m so scared of that dude. It’s not even slightly cool. Straight up terrified. Next episode will probably make me pee myself, so tune in for that!

Halt and Catch Fire’s Long-Expected Train Wreck Finally Hits Head On

hcf_s4_405_sp-800x450

On this weeks Halt and Catch Fire the building tangle of lies and secrets finally collides in a way that very few of us could’ve seen coming. With the lies getting more complicated to hide behind, Bos and the chief programmer of Rover are under Donna’s scrutiny and she knows that there is no way that they’re telling her the truth about the algorithm that Cameron actually wrote in secret. Joe and Cameron are fighting over Cameron trying to deal with the guilt of what she did when put in the position of supporting her surrogate father or her boyfriend, and because of it, Joe starts to question his place in life, which is never what you want Joe to do. Gordon is left to deal with Joe’s prickly attitude as he gets all existential on him, and on top of that, his budding relationship is tested by the ‘girlfriend vs daughters’ experiment.

The real focus I want to put my thoughts into this week is about Cameron. She is just having a very rough time right now, and as a character that was once annoying to the point I was sick of her, I find myself wanting so badly for things to go right for her for once. The situation she’s gotten into between Bos and Joe is so hard. I don’t think I can really fault her for what she did to Comet (potentially) when she did so out of her love and loyalty to Bos.

Cameron and Bos’s relationship from the beginning to now is one of my favorites to have watched unfold, because from the very start, their lives are so different and their personalities are so different, and yet I’ve rarely seen a more convincing father/daughter bond in television. They both have made a lot of mistakes in conjunction with their halt-and-catch-fire-season-4-episode-5relationship over the years, which is very realistic. No family is fully absent of problems, and to Cameron, Bos is the most permanent family she’s ever had. Their lives are so separate and yet the love they have and that father/daughter bond is something that never fades, even when they have little to do with each other.  It’s really easy to understand why she would betray her friends/boyfriend to help Bos when he needs her. I’ve seen a lot of people (among the few who watch this show) berating her for doing this, but honestly? I get it. It’s really good writing, because it’s so human of her to want to help her family even though she knows it’s ‘wrong’.

Her situation with Joe is so hard. Her life is in such a rough place right now with Atari and with her divorce, and through it all, for once in their decade long ‘thing’, she and Joe are in a place where they aren’t bad for each other, and in hurting Comet she hurt him at a time when they finally aren’t in that type of toxic relationship. Joe and Cameron have hacf_405_tr_0522_0022-rt-e1498600705919always loved each other, but they’re finally older and mature enough to really do that without holding back, and I love that she confessed. I figured she would after the scene with Tom when they talked without animosity and she found out that he and his new lady are having a baby. She’s ready to move on fully and to do that, and to really love Joe, she had to tell him what she did. Though Bos’s heart attack and Donna confronting her might have been a catalyst, I think she was planning on it at some point already. She just wanted to go ahead and do it while she was already hurting, which is so painfully human that it made my chest tight with the emotions from it. There’s something about how much faith she’s putting in Joe Macmillan after so long of not really trusting him that makes me want to find these writers and hug them for developing such a brilliantly done relationship.

Though I mostly wanted to talk about Cameron, I also have to give a shout out to the cinematographic choices once again, and especially in the final scene. Set to Hailey hcf_s4_405_inside-800x450listening to PJ Harvey’s ‘Rid of Me’ while she goes to bed, the crosscutting between Donna playing Cameron’s game and Gordon burning his journals about his symptoms is full of lens flares that are absent from the rest of the episode, and it really helps give this feeling of jarring anticipation of what sort of tumultuous events are coming next. I really have feared all along that Gordon is going to die at the end of all of this, and him tossing out his journals only makes that fear worse. I know that’s probably not what was intended to be conveyed there, but the violence of the music and the way it was highlighted by these lens flares really gives that impression and it scares the hell out of me.

I cannot wait to see what happens next, and I hope you guys are all just as excited as I am.

 

 

Kicking Off My Season 2 of Fortitude Viewing

FortitudeIn the last post, I talked about how I had rewatched Fortitude season 1 finally in hopes of getting through season 2. Tonight, after a delay caused by Hurricane Irma skull-fucking the electricity in my area, I got my start by watching episode 1 of season 2.

…. it’s fucking weird, y’all.

The episode opens with like historic cannibalism? Not sure what the time period is, but it’s implied it’s a long time ago I think. It’s hard to pay that much attention when a dude is eating a baby. Anyways, that set the tone for what I guess is a season of cannibalism. Gone are the Zombie Murder Wasps and enter Weird Cannibalism Demons or something? I think it’s related to the “blood aurora” but we’ll find out I guess. The town has obviously fallen on hard times, so why not have Blood Aurora Cannibals?

The one thing that stands out in this show is how there’s more important black people in this TV show set in the arctic than in shows set in places where the demographics aren’t 99.5% white. I really dig this. Also, I like that the two (current) police officers are both women. I really like that they kinda seem to have a gay thing for each other.

Please make the two lady cops a gay thing, Fortitude. I have my fingers crossed!

Dennis Quaid’s accent is unidentifiable and pretty terrible.

That is all for now. Stay tuned for my reactions to the next episode of Fortitude whenever I get around to it!

Fortitude: Season 1

fortitude-s01e01

I recently (and by ‘recently’ I mean within the past 2 days) rewatched all of season 1 of Fortitude so that I can watch the rest (?) on Amazon and I have to give a little mini-review of season 1 for the uninitiated before I start working on season 2!

Season 1 of Fortitude is a very strange beast. Shown on a channel that no longer exists and based around basically ‘global warming will kill us all’ as a general idea, Fortitude tells the story of a mining colony (territory?) in the Arctic that I assume exists on Svalbard? Never quite sure. But anyways, that’s unimportant, it’s an ice town of 700ish people in the Arctic Ocean and, one horrible day, a horrible thing takes place: the town’s first ever murder.

I won’t try to explain the plot of Fortitude season 1, because it’s crazy, but I will say it involves global warming melting the glacier and exposing stuff that has caused some weird environmental issues with the animals in the area, such as reindeer having miscarriages en masse and polar bears turning cannibal, and the man researching this phenomenon gets hacked apart in his house by an unknown assailant.

It ends up being WAAAAAYYYY weirder and more ‘oh fuck’ than just reindeer miscarriages and polar bear cannibalism.

Fortitude is a show that’s pretty boring right up until it’s really not. There’s a fair amount of this show that, for a few episodes, is just a bunch of people living in a frozen hellscape and acting out because of it. There are 700 people in this town and yet somehow everybody’s able to fuck around on their spouses and nobody ever gets caught or found out through the gossip mill. There might not be any crime, but there’s a hell of a lot of banging folks you shouldn’t be banging, that’s for sure. For a while, that’s about all the excitement there is. Even when Mr. Dude gets murdered, you don’t really get anywhere in the investigation for quite a while. Because of that, it’s pretty difficult to stick with it until it gets good, but once it gets good, it gets good!

The characters are all pretty easy to follow, which is different for me, because often shows with a wide variety of characters we go between means I can’t remember who is who. However, with Fortitude I never have that problem. It does a great job making the characters very individual and all important enough for you to remember them. Some shows don’t even do that with their main characters. It’s a good show if you like suspense, science fiction, and great character work. The acting is all pretty great, too.

And if you’re like me and loooove the cold, bleak, snowy setting for dramas, you’re gonna be sooo happy with how intensely atmospheric this one is.

I’m going to begin my season 2 reviews hopefully on a per-episode basis, so you have that to look forward to! I’m trying my best to put more content on this site since I’ve really neglected it, so stay tuned and let’s see what happens!