Profound Sadness: Halt and Catch Fire Season 4 Episode 7 (AMC)
Halt and Catch Fire: Season 4 Episode 7 “Who Needs A Guy”
This week was about investing and new ideas, re-launching friendships and connections and facing the often unexpected profound sadness of life.
It kind of pisses me off that the episode started off with one of my top 10 favorite songs of all-time and ended….well, we will get to that in a second.
As usual, if you haven’t seen Halt and Catch Fire Season 4 Episode 5 *Spoiler Alert*
Goodbye Old Friend
Without a doubt the saddest ever episode of Halt and Catch Fire.
Last season, when Ryan Ray committed suicide it was devastating. However, as I have said for several years now, Halt and Catch Fire is a show about a non-nuclear family of five people (Gordon, Donna, Cameron, Joe, and Bos) and this is the first time we have lost a member of that family.
Gordon was a sweetheart of a person. Even when he had bad moments, it was impossible to stay mad at him (even as a fan).
Here is what I wrote last week:
“I started to suggest in several discussions after last week’s episode, that Gordon burning his books might be a tip-off that he knows that he is dying.
If you look carefully at his face throughout “A Connection Is Made” you can see subtle makeup that suggests deterioration. I could be wrong, but I suspect this was what the El Gordo reference (it means “Handsome” - it actually means fat) was about.
This also explains his tense reaction to Haley when she fights back against him on catching up on her schoolwork before coming back to work and his brutal response to Joe’s beautifully tender attempt to let him know about Haley’s sexual orientation struggles (“you don’t give a shit about her <Haley>”...’”That’s why you are not a parent and never will be.’”
I can’t fully express how much I wish I had been wrong
Gordon made Joe a better person (and arguably saved him after Ryan died), he made Cameron a better person, and he loved Donna enough to let her go (despite still deeply loving her).
Everyone on Halt and Catch Fire “needed a guy” like Gordon and everyone on Halt and Catch Fire will never be the same without Gordon around to continually expect the best from them.
Chris Cantwell and Christopher Rogers could not have possibly demonstrated how much Gordon loved Donna better than how they handled it in Gordon’s dying dream.
The absolute BEST thing about this happening was that he reconciled with Haley before he passed. I am so glad that they did not leave her with that unresolved anger between them.
Kudos to Scoot McNairy for building, and to Cantwell and Rogers for writing, such a complex but decent and wonderful character. I guess we will lose all of these wonderful characters in just a few weeks but, I suspect, we can imagine that the rest of them will still be alive and be enjoying their lives somewhere in the Halt and Catch Fire parallel universe.
Believe it or not, I do have a few more things to say about “Who Needs A Guy” (some of them might even prove to be meaningful).
Virtual vs. Real Families
One of the really low-key subplots of this season has been the one about Joe trying to come to grips with his belief that Cameron doesn’t want to have children.
At first, he dealt with it by being withholding and frustration but now he is just trying to love her no matter what (mature Joe is turning out to be pretty amazing as a human being).
I am now fully convinced that the counterpoint to Gordon’s passing will be Joe and Cameron becoming parents.
1. Donna truly solved Cameron’s Atari game and the very last scene of the game is the main character reuniting with their child before going home.
2. Cameron’s intelligent AI characters were two parents and a kid.
There were several other tips earlier in the season, but these two hints were very overt.
So, the problem isn’t that Cameron doesn’t want kids, her subconscious is dreaming up kids everywhere. The problem is that Cameron has massive trust issues. Joe is finally really trying to be understanding and compassionate in ways that he has never even approached before. Joe and Cameron are going to figure this out.
And Joe really has matured. When he confronted Donna he was standing up to her for all of the right reasons. Once the drama ended he was able to open his heart to her and be a good friend to her as well.
It was also great to see Bos and Diane get married (and invite Cameron to attend). Seeing Bos so proud to have Cameron as his witness at the ceremony was pretty amazing too.
I could probably say a few other small things, like about Cam’s new game or Donna's possible promotion, but I am going to leave that for next week.
Adios Gordon Clark (everyone's favorite human paintbrush ham radio and laser tag enthusiast) thanks for all the great memories!