Halt and Catch Fire’s episode 4 crapped out on me about five to ten minutes in. The next thing I know the company is scrambling to recover the lost BIOS after Cameron’s machine apparently fried.
It did matter, but it doesn’t matter because they spelled it all out for me later.
So, what’s happening in this show?
Joe continues to be a mystery with more layers than Shrek – I mean an onion (or a parfait) He also takes quite a beating (that can’t be an accident). Cameron is becoming more human as she struggles against her own downcast image. Gordon is balancing a new tightrope as Donna (his wife) steps up and saves the day. We’re also seeing just a peep more of the company’s Wozniak look-alike, who I think might actually be named Steve(?) as he works on getting the hardware up to snuff to run their BIOS*.
The gist is, they have to make this computer. And it needs to be light, and fast, and portable (under 15 lbs). And it needs to be a life raft for all of these people listed above, so they can all break free of the insecurities they’ve been carting around as baggage for the past X years. Joe needs some sort of validation that we can’t understand yet. Cameron wants to prove that she’s not just white trash. Joe needs the financial lift to let him relax in his relationship with Donna, and she’s waking up to her own need to prove that she’s not second fiddle.
Like any story, the story’s just there to give the characters something to do while they struggle to make something of themselves. I want the story to be something too, but I’m constantly nervous about what it can deliver – after all, I was there in the early 80s. I know what happened. Are they willing to break from history and deliver us a machine that never was? This would give the story some life too. Set it free so we can be free to fear the worst and hope for the best. But if history keeps the story of this company and their computer in bounds, I don’t think it can ever evolve into being a character in its own right.
That’s what my fingers are crossed for now.
*What is all this BIOS crap anyway? If you know what Firmware is, then you’re solid. Otherwise, it’s the program that starts up the computer and gets the operating system to run. It stands for Basic Input/Output System and is just that: the actual software through which the hardware receives input and gives output.