I was fully used to AMC's Halt and Catch Fire's main dramatic triangle. It wasn't a love triangle, per se, but that's what made it all the more interesting. Joe MacMillan (Lee Pace), Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy), and Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis) were locked together at their company, Cardiff Electric. Joe could lead a company and sell anyone on his vision, but he had no technical know-how. Gordon was great at engineering, but terrible with people. And Cameron was an innovative programmer, but kept getting sucked into a toxic relationship with Joe. The first season of the show was all about how they leaned on each other's strengths and weaknesses to get ahead personally, dragging the company up or down with them as they went along. It was a perfect, No Exit-style drama. So imagine my surprise when a totally new love interest for Joe popped up in the season premiere of the show on May 31. So who is Sara Wheeler, the new lady of Halt and Catch Fire?
After the season premiere, there's still plenty to find out about Sara. But that first episode does give us some key clues into her personality. Here's what we know about her so far.
She's Not Actually A Techie
In a world full of engineers, programmers, and IBM-cloners, it's hard to think of a character on Halt and Catch Fire who's not involved in computing in some way. So far, the only characters I can think of who weren't in tech were Gordon's young daughters. Until now, thanks to Sara. She's a writer, which totally endears her to me. And she mentions running into Joe while on an assignment for Texas Monthly, so she must be a good writer at that.
She Has An Open Mind
That Texas Monthly assignment? It was a profile of SETI, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. She didn't exactly say she believed in aliens, but she didn't talk about debunking the group, either. She must believe the truth is out there (cue the theme from The X-Files).
She Has A Lot In Common With Joe
We already know that Joe came from a pretty privileged background. According to Variety, so does Sara. The casting announcement says the character is a "well-traveled and highly educated freelance journalist...who comes from a wealthy background, but is self-reliant and responsible." Sara also mentions that she knew Joe previously in college, so they have that in common as well. Sounds like a perfect match, but...
...She's Got Some Baggage
Here's the Big Question Mark hanging over Sara's head. She mentions in the episode that she had a "rough year" the year previously, and the fallout from that makes her wary of rushing into a new relationship. But despite the cautiousness, she seems really into Joe; she wasn't destroyed by that "rough year" or anything. But there's definitely more to the story there.
"The past is the past," is something Sara says multiple times in the series premiere, meaning she can forgive Joe for all his flaws and not judge him by the way he treated people in the past (meaning Season 1). This probably ties in to her own secret drama — she probably has done a few things she'd rather leave in the past as well — but it's clear she knows what a jerk Joe's been and doesn't care. If only all the jerks in the world were so lucky.
She's Played by Aleksa Palladino
Palladino is no stranger to playing the beleaguered love interest of tough, stubborn, not-very-nice men. She was Angela Darmody, Jimmy Darmody's wife and baby mama, on Boardwalk Empire before this. Let's just hope her Halt and Catch Fire character has a nicer end.
She's Totally Doomed
This is just my prediction. But Sara is patient, forgiving, loving, open-minded, and not competitive with Joe at all — seems almost too perfect for him, right? I see Joe as the type of guy who likes to blow up his life. That's why his messy relationship with Cameron made sense. Sara is just too perfect; I don't see this lasting.
Hopefully, something better will come along for her, and we'll get to see her end up happy on Halt and Catch Fire, even if Joe doesn't.
Images: Richard DuCree/AMC; Giphy (7)