Credit: Tina Rowden/AMC

Talk about a system reboot! When AMC’s ‘80s tech-savvy series Halt and Catch Fire returns Tuesday, expect to see some major changes. For starters, the show picks up six months after Donna Clarke (Kerry Bishé) and Cameron Howe’s (Mackenzie Davis) big move to Silicon Valley, where they’ve relocated in hopes of expanding their computer gaming company.

“We’re doing pretty well at the top of the season,” says Davis of the female-led tech business. “It’s exciting.”

But, as it turns out, big checks and the bright allure of success might not be enough.

“I think, for some of us, it feeds this desire for more power and more ambition, and for others, the reality of the life you dreamt of is less powerful than the dream was,” says Davis. “Cameron can no longer abandon the project or go and do something else if this no longer stimulates her. I think the weight of this responsibility is welcome, and feels like important growth, but it’s also deeply uncomfortable.”

Even Donna – calm, cool, collected mother hen as she is – might have a come-to-Jesus moment as she settles into her own as a boss.

“In season 3, she uses all of her capacities, and sometimes it’s with successful results, and sometimes not so much,” says Bishé of her character. “I love that we get to see her try and fail.”

With a season that promises to embrace more of the conflict around its female leads “playing with the big boys,” as Bishé puts it, episodes ahead will continue to revolve around the professional and personal challenges both Donna and Cameron face – messy kids and even messier romantic lives included.

Explains Davis: “The weight of Donna dealing with her family, and Cameron maturing – it all feels like really important growth.”

Halt and Catch Fire season 3 kicks off Tuesday, Aug. 23. at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.

A version of this story appeared in Entertainment Weekly issue #1427/1428, on newsstands now or available digitally here. Don’t forget to subscribe for exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

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Halt and Catch Fire
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