Halt And Catch Fire

All posts tagged Halt And Catch Fire

Photo Courtesy Of AMC

Photo Courtesy Of AMC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Life’s far from perfect, just when you’ve won a battle you realize that you’ve still got to fight another three, before you can finally take a breath and relax. The characters on the AMC Network Original Series”Halt And Catch Fire,” constantly battle, whether fighting the demons within themselves, or those around them. Even when they find happiness and contentment, it never lasts for long. They don’t believe they deserve to have it all, so they find a way to sabotage relationships and then become saddened when they examine the bridges they napalmed.

The second season finale concluded with the characters embarking on a new adventure and what they hoped to be a fresh start, however things weren’t rosy for all as the episode and season ended. An unexpected move by one of the characters, didn’t conclude with the desired results. And although we shouldn’t have felt surprised, one of the characters reverted back to form, taking advantage of a helpful gesture by a friend, for their own financial gain.

Our first image is that of Joe MacMillan driving through Dallas in an old pick-up truck. Then we quickly move over to Western-Group Industries, where Jesse Evans’ informs Jacob Wheeler of all the damage caused by Sinorous. Wheeler barks out to just give him the numbers and Evans tells him the company’s stock’s lost 8% and the company stands to lose millions. Jacob asks what about Joe and Evans says the board believes he’s responsible for the damage, but don’t feel it’s prudent to press criminal charges against him. Wheeler realizes what that means and says to Evans that they’ll need a scapegoat.

MacMillan walks into a lawyer’s conference room and the woman who shows him in, says that they’ll be right with him. Joe says he’d like to talk to his wife before the proceedings and the woman says as soon as she arrives she’ll bring her into the conference room. He sees some magazines on a countertop and the one on top’s Business Trade and their cover story says Wheeler’s Out At Western-Group.

Over at Mutiny, they’re playing around with a new videogame they created, where the user can create their character to look any way the player chooses. One of the Coder-Monkeys, whose now in charge of accounting asks Cameron if he can take over Tom Rendon’s old desk, as it has two drawers. We see that Yo-Yo’s back at Mutiny and he tells Donna and Cameron that he just signed up two more markets for Mutiny.

Back at the attorney’s office, the lawyer walks in with the dissolution of marriage papers for Joe to sign. MacMillan says he hoped to speak to his wife first, but the lawyer says Sara was already there earlier that morning. With her signature already on the paper he adds his. He gets into his truck and starts pushing the accelerator to the floor, then closes his eyes and lifts his hands off the wheel. The sound of a car horn brings him back and he slows down and starts driving again.

Cameron’s exploding because their new network’s hiking their rates. Donna says that’s the way the game’s played when you’re leasing space on a third-party network. Clark says she can do the dance and try to get the new network to lower the increase, but Cameron says she doesn’t want to do the dance, she wants to change the music. Donna tells Cameron she has to pick Gordon up from his group-therapy session.

Gordon’s attending a stress management session and we can see by the expression on his face, that this is the last place he wants to be. The counselor asks Joe to perform an exercise in front of the group and although he seems to open up to the counselor for a second, he then shuts right down and shows his contempt. He doesn’t realize that Donna’s watched the whole incident from outside the door.

Donna’s in the unfamiliar role of serving herb two daughters breakfast and she’s lost in her own kitchen, as Gordon’s reorganized everything since he’s become Mr. Mom. Joni, the oldest daughter says her waffle’s frozen in the middle and Donna blows off the complaint, so Joni picks up the waffle and flings it across the kitchen floor. Donna’s shocked and asks her daughter what’s going on and Joni asks why can’t Gordon serve them breakfast, as she sucks at this.

Donna takes a breath and says we all need to work together, your father got upset and the little one asks like he did in California? Joni tells her younger sister to shut-up and Donna then asks Joni what happened in California? Her daughter tells her that Gordon and his brother Henry got into a scream-fest and they had to spend a night in a motel. Donna asks what the fight was about and Joni runs to her room.

Joe meets with three executives from Stokes Capital and tries to pitch them a concept of a nationwide network, that could connect a user to any city in the nation. The spokesman for the trio Timothy Bondham, interrupts MacMillan at that point and asks if he was the guy that brought networking to Western-Group? Joe responds that he came up with the concept to lease their mainframe to third-party companies and Bondham asks him why he destroyed it? MacMillan says he didn’t destroy it, but Bondham says despite what the word out on the street is, he has good friends at Western-Group and they all say Joe’s responsible.

He then says they’re not going to give him a dime, they just took the meeting out of morbid curiosity. Bondham says he did some digging on MacMillan and brings up Joe torching the Cardiff Electric truck filled with 100 computers. He says he’s blown away, he’s never met a legitimate psychopath before. Joe gets up and walks out of the meeting as the three guys smile like fifth-graders.

Cameron comes up to Donna at Mutiny and says we should buy this, it’s an ad for IBM 30/30 mainframe, the machine’s ten-years-old and is old-school even for 1985. It would cost Mutiny every bit of liquid capital they had, plus their projected earnings for the next year. Also it’s located in Daly City, California and might be too big or costly to ship to Texas. Donna says it’s a reach even for them and Cameron says okay, but we can tell she’s not giving up on this yet.

Gordon goes into his garage cranks up his boom-box and opens the garage door and starts checking out these model trains he has stored on a shelf. Then Joe walks in, he says he rang the doorbell then he heard the music. He says he just stopped by to give Gordon a small present, it’s a piece from the IBM PC that they first rebuilt. He says he kept it as a Talisman and now he wants to give it to Gordon. It’s as if he’s planning to kill himself. Clark says he heard about what happened at Western-Group and he offers to help fix things. Joe says to him that Gordon looks great, Clark asks what about Sara and Joe says it was good seeing him and drives off.

That evening, things go from bad to worse rapidly at the Clark house. Donna comes home from Mutiny and Gordon’s in bed reading the article in Business Trade Magazine about Western-Group. Gordon says he feels bad for Joe and asks Donna if she has any misgivings of how Cameron destroyed Joe’s life? Things get nasty very quickly, as Donna tells Gordon that she was in on the plan to sabotage Western-Group. (Although in reality, I don’t believe she knew beforehand.)

This escalates the argument to dangerous levels as Gordon asks his wife what’s she’s become. She then asks him the same question and brings up the fact that he doesn’t take his therapy seriously. He asks her if she’s spying on him and she then asks why he didn’t tell her about the shouting-match between Henry and himself and Gordon spits out cause he had an affair. He says when he got sick, he looked for his marriage and couldn’t find it. He says she never was there and that’s why he held off telling her for two-months that he was sick. He then says perhaps their marriage is broken and they’re the only ones who don’t know it. Donna sees Joni outside their bedroom door, but Joni runs back in her room and locks the door.

Cameron attempts to make herself a cup of coffee, but the coffeemaker’s broken. She then heads into the living room and sees Donna sitting at her desk. Cameron remarks that Donna’s there early and Donna unloads her burden.

I don’t if Gordon and I love each other anymore. I don’t know if we can fix it. And I don’t know if I really want to fix it.

Howe grabs a chair and pulls it next to Donna, then she says she doesn’t know anything about marriage. She says what Gordon and her have, or don’t have is up to them to figure out. However, she says she believes that life gives us signs that lead us in the right direction. If she never worked for Cardiff, then Mutiny wouldn’t exist. If not for Gordon Clark the two of them would still be strangers. She then says sometimes you need a fresh start, how about we move to California?

She then says if Mutiny can’t bring the mainframe to Texas, then Mutiny should move to California. She says it’s a new life and a fresh start, something they both could use. Donna’s face’s a mixture of excitement and dread, she’s tempted by the project, but she’s not sure she’s ready to give up her marriage.

We move to a restaurant, the setting for a business luncheon held by the company that John Bosworth and his son James work for. Boz hold’s court among the senior management team, cracking them up with a bunch of his stories. The company’s CEO tells John he’s done great work so far, which is the reason that he’s been invited to this luncheon. He’s only middle-management right now, but he values Bosworth’s input. He then tells a joke to the group, but we can see that Boz suddenly feels out of place.

Gordon heads over to Joe’s apartment and he sees his former co-worker’s living a Spartan existence, a box-spring and mattress on the floor in the corner and a 15 inch TV set with a VCR on top of it. Gordon then tells Joe he feels terrible about what happened at Western-Group and MacMillan says it’s not Gordon’s fault. Clark says it’s not Joe’s fault either. He then says that MacMillan makes it tough for people to realize, but he’s actually a good man. He then pulls out a floppy-disc labeled Tabula Rosa and says that it’s the fix for the damage that Sinorous caused Western-Group.

Gordon says perhaps he can use it to win Sara back, then says what they had was something special and you have to hold onto that. Then he says he’s not sure it lasts even if you do hold on. He then hugs Joe, who hugs him back and Gordon leaves the apartment, while MacMillan’s fighting back the tears.

Donna’s standing in the backyard of Mutiny and she’s also fighting back tears, when Gordon enters Mutiny through the front door and keeps asking is she here. Cameron tries to tell Gordon he needs to leave when Donna hears the commotion and comes back in the house. He asks if Joni’s with her, that her younger sister says she ran away.

The couple head back to their house and Donna calls every friend of Joni’s she can think of. Gordon comes in and says he scoured the entire neighborhood. Donna says their daughter took her backpack, her lunchbox and her sleeping bag, suddenly their younger daughter calls them to the window. They see their camping lantern in the window of their toolshed and realize that Joni’s hiding in there.

When they go to talk to her, Joni says she had to run away as she told a secret and now Gordon and Donna don’t love each other anymore. They both tell her she did nothing wrong and then Joni asks if they’re getting divorced. Donna says Mommy and Daddy love each other very much, but they have some things they need to work out. They tell her to head in the house and that she and her sister should think of what kind of pizza they want.

Donna and Gordon start to talk things over and she says she doesn’t want to be the wife to leave a sick husband, but she’ll do it if she has to. She then says that Gordon’s going to write a check for almost every penny they have to buy a mainframe and she and he are going to repair it together. She then says that they’re moving to California and Cameron’s going to offer him a position at Mutiny and he’s going to accept it so they can work together.

Gordon asks her if that’s extortion and she says it’s an investment. From now on it’s not going to be one of them holding the kite strings, while the other soars, they’ll soar together. Gordon asks if Donna believes moving to California will solve all their problems and she says she hopes so. However she knows that the relationship’s doomed if they stay there.

MacMillan’s shown up again at Stokes Capitol without an appointment and he’s waited three hours when Timothy Bondham emerges from his office and says he just wanted to se how long Joe would wait. Joe has a face of stone and walks past Bondham and enters the office first and puts a floppy-disk into Bondham’s terminal at his desk. It’s got Sinorous on it and it soon infects the terminal and MacMillan tells him this is the same virus that destroyed Western-Group and soon it will infect their entire network.

Bondham says he’s calling security and picks up the phone, but Joe hangs it up and says that’s not the security he wants. He then says to Bondham that the exec doesn’t know what Joe will do next, hence the lack of trust. He says you have to build a wall around your system so you don’t have to rely on trust. He then takes out the first floppy and inserts Tabula Rosa and the virus disappears. Bondham asks him what he did to get rid of the virus and Joe smiles and says this is the vaccine and after what happened to Western-Group, companies are going to want this vaccine.

Pizza arrives at the Clark house when the phone rings and Gordon picks it up and it’s Joe. He’s ecstatic and says create the sickness sell the cure. Gordon says he’s got to go and MacMillan says hear me out, you just came up with this incredible product and we need to partner up and sell it. Clark says they’re moving to California and Joe says we can do this from California. Gordon says he has to start concentrating more on his family and he’s going to work for Mutiny. MacMillan slams down the phone.

A graphic appears that says 30 days later and Cameron goes to Tom Rendon’s house to tell him they’re moving to California and they want him on board. If he wants to do it meet them at DFW Airport that evening for the flight to San Francisco. Tom says that it’s awfully short notice and Cameron says look at it as not to long to over think it.

We’re on the plane as the Coder-Monkeys start boarding, Carl and Bodie are having a discussion and Bodie tells Carl to shut-up. We see the Clark girls sitting together coloring and Gordon and Donna are across the aisle from them. She says their such good girls and Gordon says maybe when we get settled we can have another. Donna smiles and then says she needs to go to the restroom. When she gets inside, she starts crying over the child she aborted a few months before.

Cameron’s looking for Tom but he has yet to show. Suddenly the Coder-Monkeys start cheering as Boz comes on the plane wearing a cowboy hat. He says he never thought he’d say it but time to move to the left coast. The bulkhead door gets closed and Tom never arrived, we see the sadness in Cameron’s eyes.

Waiting for Donna to return from the restroom, Gordon starts thumbing through a computer magazine, when an article nearly takes his breath away. The headline of the article reads “MacMillan Utility Nets Ten Million Backing For ‘Anti-Virus’ Software Venture.” Gordon quietly says son of a, then cuts himself off and puts his head in his hands.

Our final scene’s Joe being shown some prime San Francisco office space. The realtor tells him that he’s have the whole floor which can handle 100 desks. She says because of the view of the Bay there are other bids out there, MacMillan says get the papers and lets sign, he doesn’t care about the price. He stares at the skyline from his window as the realtor goes to get the paperwork.

Photo Courtesy Of AMC

Photo Courtesy Of AMC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Nobody puts Cameron Howe in the corner. The creator of Mutiny took control of her destiny on the penultimate episode of season two for the AMC Network’s Original Series  “Halt And Catch Fire,” and she created quite a mess in the process. The good news, she got vengeance on those who were out to do her wrong, but she lost some key allies along the way. There’s also a burning question that got left on the table, were the feelings she showed for Joe MacMillan sincere, or was she in fact just manipulating him?

Giving a nod to the fact the show takes place in Texas, the episode opens with Donna Clark and Cameron working off their angst on a firing range. The women are trying to come to grips with the fact that Western-Group Industries hijacked Mutiny’s chat-network Community. The guy who replaced Joe at Western-Group Jesse Evans, took control of Mutiny’s network. He replaced the Mutiny logo with one reading West-Net and cut Mutiny off from receiving any revenue.

Donna tells Cameron they’ve got six grand in the  bank, which would be enough to buy time on a new network, if they stop paying the Coder-Monkeys again. Howe says they can’t stop paying them again and suggests they try selling  their new game Extract And Defend, to a game manufacturer.

Sara and Joe are asleep in bed fully clothed, after their drug-filled night, when the phone rings. It’s Gordon asking if  Joe would come down and pick him up from jail and drive Clark to his car. We witness the last few seconds of the car ride, as  the two men are silent. Joe pulls up and asks Gordon if he’s okay and Clark thanks him for his help. Joe tells Gordon to head straight home and clean himself up. Gordon shakes his hand and tells MacMillan to get on that plane to California, without looking back.

Tom Rendon walks into Cameron’s room and asks if it’s true, that she’s selling defend and extract? She says they need to in order for the company to survive. She then tells him to go get breakfast for anyone whose awake and he responds sarcastically and leaves the room.

Gordon shaved off his beard and drives to a parking garage, clutching the ad from JGL Computers. He gets to the building and rings the bell, a security guard  comes to the door asking if he can help him. Gordon asks if this is the location of JGL Computers and the guard asks who wants to know? Gordon says his name’s Jim Clark and he’s looking for a job. The guard tells them, they went out of business and left the building the previous Friday. Gordon thanks him and heads back to the garage.

Donna meets with Jesse Evans in a function room at Western-Group and gives him Mutiny’s financial proposal to not take Western-Group to court. Evans doesn’t even pretend to show her any respect and basically laughs at her and tells her good luck. Clark says she’ll contact all the tech writers and Evans tells her they’ll all soon be there, as West-Net called them for this unveiling announcement, two weeks earlier. He says they’ll just look at anything Donna says as sour-grapes. She says that holding hands with Joe MacMillan always leads to bad-things, Evans asks her why she believes that Joe was involved in taking over their network?

Gordon’s feeling great after learning that JGL, no longer exists. However that feeling of happiness soon dissipates as he can’t find his car in the garage. He goes from floor to floor, but he doesn’t see it anywhere and then he starts to panic and he gets confused.

Jacob Wheeler arrives at Joe and Sara’s apartment, with a bon-voyage present. Sara tells him it’s beautiful and he says they’ll love California, it’s the land of second chances. He then asks if he can have a word with Joe and they head to where Wheeler’s parked his car. Joe says he hopes Jacob doesn’t think his present will keep Joe silent that he stole intellectual property. Wheeler says of course he realizes that, Joe’s far too emotional to be easily placated.

MacMillan threatens to go public, saying ten words from him could cause Western-Group’s stock to drop like a stone. Jacob says that Joe doesn’t want to do that, without Western-Group  on his resume, it looks like Swiss-Cheese. MacMillan says he’s willing to take the chance and Wheeler asks him what about Sara? He then invites Joe to attend the share-holders meeting, he can make new connections and part friends. MacMillan says they’re not friends they’re related and Jacob will be a stranger to his grandchildren.

John comes into Cameron’s room wearing a suit, she says he’s looking sharp. He asks her what the drawings on her desk are and she gets very animated and tells Bosworth it’s her design for the new Community Network. John says he’s got to take off, Cameron asks if he wanted to discuss something. The look in his eyes says yes, but he tells her no.

Gordon’s still looking for his car and somehow he’s ended up in a restricted area. A janitor tells him he’s not allowed there and Gordon says he’s having trouble finding his car. The maintenance-worker asks what section he parked in and Clark responds he thinks it was 5-F. The man says it must be 5-E and tells him the stairwell’s right where Gordon’s heading. Clark just stands there, until the man asks if he’s okay, then Gordon says he’s fine and starts walking away.

Cameron, Donna and Bosworth are sitting in the lobby of a startup game manufacturer named Funtime. Clark asks why they’re meeting with these people and Cameron says out of all the cold-calls they made, they’re the only company that called them back. A young nerdy guy comes out to meet them, there are two older guys sitting at a conference table, but the guy ushers them into this cramped little office.

Sara tells Joe she thinks that he should attend the shareholders meeting. She says her father will never expect him to accept the invitation and it could help him in his future in California. She says perhaps something good will come out of this horrible situation.

The trio from Mutiny are presenting the game to the nerdy guy and this young red-headed woman. The guy loves the game, but the woman says that production costs maybe too high for them. We then realize their just gophers, as the guy’s summoned to get coffee for the two guys at the table while the woman answers the phone in Japanese. Donna quietly suggests they leave, but Boz looks over at the guys at the table and tells them to give him a minute.

John walks over to the table and asks the nerdy guy to give them some alone time and one of the guy’s nods. Bosworth says it looks like they’ve got a strong operation, but one thing their backers in Japan are going to want to do, is to put some games made in this country into their inventory. He then brings up the fact that Toyota produces cars in Fremont, California, so they can say made in the USA.

The trio walk back into Mutiny headquarters with sullen faces, until Donna shows the Coder-Monkeys the check for 50-grand. She says that’s enough to get them a new network and keep everybody getting paid. The Coder-Monkeys are ecstatic, they chant Mutiny and pick up the chair Donna’s sitting in and carry her around the room. Cameron just walks to her room and shuts the door.

Gordon’s still looking for his car and he heads down a stairwell, but trips on the first step and falls down the cement stairs in a heap. His right leg’s hurt, he tries to stand up but can’t put any pressure on the leg, so he sits down on the floor and starts screaming for help.

Tom heads into Cameron’s room and he asks her if she’s upset, but she says she feels more clear-headed than she’s felt in a while. She then basically tells him their romantic relationship’s over, that she got too happy and complacent and she let her guard down and it hurt Mutiny. Rendon tells her that happiness isn’t a side-effect, it’s what everybody’s shooting for.

She says it’s her fault and she caused this, he responds it’s Joe MacMillan that caused this, not her. He then says she used him, she made him believe in what they were doing and she made him believe that what they had was real. He says he thinks that she’s a lot more like Joe than she cares to admit.

MacMillan’s on the stage at the shareholder’s meeting, checking out one of the terminals when Jesse Evans walks up and sarcastically asks if Joe needs some help, as the program’s real technical. He then says scoring the keynote address at the shareholder’s meeting’s a great wedding gift. Joe tells him to get off the stage before he pushes him off. Evans tells him that a reporter wanted to have a word with him, she  says she’s an old friend, it’s Cameron and the two head into one of the offices.

He asks if she came there to embarrass him in front of the shareholders and she replies she sees there’s no need. He says he’s heading to California, she asks with his fiancée and he says with my wife. Cameron then says that she knows that Joe didn’t have anything to do with hijacking Community and she wanted to make sure he knew that before he left.

She says somebody close to her asked why she thinks that Joe’s still part of her life? She then asks if he ever thought about what would have happened if instead of obsessively going after their separate projects they had held onto each other? She then walks over to him and says that she must be mental, cause part of her wants him to stay. He starts to say you have no idea, when she puts her hands on his face and kisses him. They start passionately kissing, when Joe stops and says I can’t do this Cameron. She giggles and says you can do what ever you want, you’re Joe MacMillan. He gently pushes her off him and she says she’s sorry.

She starts to walk out of the office, when she stops and takes a floppy-disc out of her raincoat pocket. She hesitates at first but then walks over to the desk he’s sitting at, puts down the disc and says this is what could have been, then  she walks out. Evans walks into the office and asks Joe if he’s ready for a final run-through and MacMillan asks him to give him a minute. He inserts the floppy into one of the terminals and the landing page shows up on his monitor, with the Mutiny logo on it. Below the display’s a message that reads For Joe, Always C. MacMillan smiles and tells Evans he’s ready.

The hall’s now filled with all the shareholders and Jacob Wheeler welcomes them all and says he hopes they all got a chance to check out the terminals. He then says their likely asking why an energy company’s fooling around with computers? He says he wants to introduce the man that conceived their grand plan, a man whose passion and excitement even convinced an old fossil like himself. My son-in-law Joe MacMillan.

Joe gets up from his seat in the audience next to Sara and takes the stage with confidence, coming off like an actor presenting a category on the Oscars telecast. From cave drawings to the funny pages, from stone tablets to the telephone, man’s desire to communicate with each other has existed throughout history. Now welcome to the printing-press, the newspaper and the telephone of tomorrow. With just a few keystrokes, we’ll be able to communicate with friends across the country. We’ll also make new friends based on shared interests.

The key of course is the  interface, that……. At that point Joe lost it, struggling to find the words. When he finally found his voice he said that all started with a  young programmer named Cameron Howe. I didn’t invent this or own this,  or does anybody in this room.  If we look past this fact we’re committing an injustice. Miss Howe couldn’t be  here this evening, but her genius surrounds us. I’m sure it will continue to for many years to come. He walked back to  his seat in silence and took Sara’s hand. Finally a voice said thank you Joe.

Gordon crawls backwards up the steps, makes it back to the floor he was on and crawls over to a truck and slams on  the side. The janitor’s driving the truck. We then see Gordon carried out on a gurney, as he’s being wheeled out he finally finds his car.

Back at the shareholder’s meeting, Jesse’s about to demonstrate West-Net’s chat-rooms when suddenly each terminal starts emanating this extremely loud alt-rock. Jacob asks Evans what’s wrong and Jesse says he doesn’t know, suddenly the interface disappears, replaced by code.

We then see the word Sinorous starting to appear repeatedly on the screen and suddenly things start to become clear. Cameron destroyed the network with Gordon’ s Sinorous disc. The disc she gave to Joe contained the program and once it got inserted into a terminal, the process started. Joe suddenly realizes that Cameron set him up, seconds later Gabriel starts glaring at MacMillan.

Gordon’s in the ambulance and the EMT tells Clark to try to keep his ankle still and they’re almost at the hospital. All the fear and grief Gordon’s felt since he was told about his brain damage overtakes him and he starts crying in the ambulance.

Back at Joe’s apartment Donna and MacMillan are having a bad argument. She tells him she thought he  was a genius and she was his second chance. But now she realizes, he’s an accident that becomes part of people’s lives that deserve better. He says he’s not an accident, he deserves better and he deserves her. She loses it, starts pounding on his chest in frustration. She says she just wishes he knew what she’s experiencing, that she dies a little each time he says Cameron’s name, because of the way his face looks. She then tells him to say her name and he can’t, she tells him he’s lost and leaves.

Gordon and Donna are in the hospital room when Clark’s doctor comes in and asks to speak to Donna. Dr. Semel tells Donna, that it wasn’t Gordon’s brain-damage that caused this incident. He’s having psychological problems handling his diagnosis. Donna goes back to the bed and tells her husband he’ll be spending the night in the hospital, he says he knows he needs help.

Cameron finds out from the young woman at Funtime that Tom set everything up for Mutiny to meet with them, they know each other from way-back and she says Rendon nearly broke her arm to get the meeting. Tom’s about to leave when Cameron asks him why he didn’t say anything and he says she already made her decision. She says he’ll come back tomorrow and they’ll start working on a new project, but he just leaves.

The Season Finale Airs Next Sunday Night at 10:00 pm on AMC.

Photo Courtesy Of AMC

Photo Courtesy Of AMC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

This time it really seems that Joe MacMillan has his priority’s in order and he’s finally ready to follow what’s in his heart and do the right thing. So why did I finish the latest episode of the AMC Original Series “Halt And Catch Fire,” with the nagging suspicion, that Joe will once again screw things up? Perhaps because we’ve witnessed the self-destructive streak in MacMillan, that seems to pop-up anytime his horizons look rosy.

This is the man after all that left IBM, by flooding their computer center. Last season we watched him destroy his romance with Cameron Howe, by dumping her vision of the personal computer she designed, then ended his relationship with Cardiff Electric, by setting a truckload of their new computers on fire.

Life suddenly got real for all the characters in this episode. Even the Coder-Monkeys got serious, as one of their own got badly injured and financial matters caused dissension in the ranks. Some of these young techies showed they can get quite capitalistic, when talk of big money arises.

We start the hour in the home of Donna and Gordon Clark, we realize something’s wrong as we hear a clock ticking quite loudly, which then morphs into a voice that sounds like it’s emanating from under water. We realize it’s Gordon’s voice when he tells Donna his medical condition isn’t a death sentence. Clark’s arrived back in Dallas after visiting his brother Henry in California and finally tells his wife his doctor informed him that he’s suffered brain-damage.

Donna volunteers to resign from Mutiny and stay home and take care of him, but he says that would break his heart. He tells her that he’s already contacted four of his former engineers from Cardiff for his new venture, his office will be just 23-feet from his bed and he won’t have to drive. It appears he’s come to grips with his medical situation and he’s overcome his fear and found direction.

Jacob Wheeler and MacMillan are discussing the offer that they’re about to make to purchase Mutiny, Wheeler suggests building them an office complex away from Western-Group Industries. Joe suggests that Western-Group purchase the house that Mutiny occupies, as well as the block to give them plenty of room for expansion. Jacob says he loves the idea and tells MacMillan to close the deal.

Tom Rendon brings his mother Karen over to Mutiny to meet Cameron, she tells Howe that it’s been a long time since she’s seen her son this happy. She thanks Cameron for that and then she thanks her for lunch and says goodbye. Tom kisses Cameron and thanks for having his mother over, when the phone rings. It’s Joe telling Cameron that Western-Group wants to acquire Mutiny, then he says this is good Cameron. She stands there silently while Joe asks if she’s still on the line.

MacMillan arrives the next morning and meets with Howe, John Bosworth and Donna, he hands a one page proposal to Cameron. She looks at it for a minute, then passes it to Clark, whose eyes grow large when she looks at the document. Bosworth has pretty much the same reaction that Donna has and they start discussing details with Joe.

Cameron starts to freak and says we’re not taking the deal, but MacMillan interrupts her and asks that they leave the past behind. He says the proposal’s great for her and her employees. He then says that she’ll run things and he’ll stay out of her way. That inspires her to present the deal to the Coder-Monkeys, however the way she describes the new situation sound terrible. They’ll be working for an oil-conglomerate and have to wear ties and jackets and punch a time-clock, all of which was untrue. However the Coder-Monkeys show their support by chanting Mutiny and she tears up the proposal and Joe walks out.

The four engineers come over to Gordon’s house and he tells them his plan’s to build a personal computer line, with the base model selling for an affordable $800, but the consumer could add all the buttons and whistles they wanted for an additional cost. He then tells the four engineers to bring in their most recent pay-stubs and he’ll match their salaries.

MacMillan has Bosworth in for a meeting at Western-Group and John tells Joe upfront, that what ever they discuss John’s going to tell Cameron. Joe says that’s exactly the reason he contacted Bosworth, as he believes in Cameron and in Mutiny and he realizes it’s a good deal. Jacob Wheeler pops in to introduce himself and tells Bosworth he’s looking forward to having him on board. Joe says to Bosworth that he’s got Cameron’s ear, but he shakes his head and says the girl’s in love.

Donna takes a couple of days off from Mutiny to spend time with Gordon, but the engineers are in the zone. She asks one of the engineers Larry, how her husband’s doing and she said he’s doing great. She then asks him to watch out for Gordon and make sure he’s alright, leaving Larry looking puzzled.

Rendon then shows up at Western-Group and tells Joe that his mother cried when she saw the proposal of what Tom would get if Western-Group acquires Mutiny and cried again when her son told her he wasn’t getting the money. Joe asks Tom why he came down to the office to tell him he was upset, when he could have just called. Rendon responds since MacMillan invaded his space, he wanted to return the favor, but Joe says that Tom came because he realizes it’s a great deal.

Back at Mutiny, the Coder-Monkeys are attempting to piece the proposal together, to find out what Cameron turned down. Each employee was to receive one percent of the purchase price along with a weekly salary, Howe comes out and tells them the offer was for five million dollars. Bodie demands a vote. He and Arky both vote to sell.

Wonderboy, Carl and Bosworth all vote not to sell and Cameron asks Tom his vote, when the phone rings. Lev’s in the hospital, he was set-up by some homophobes in Community and the guy he thought he had started a relationship didn’t exist. Instead they beat him bloody when he showed up for what he thought was a date.

Unfortunately the fake account also used a phony-address, so there’s no way of tracking who beat up Lev. Donna, Cameron, Tom and John go to the hospital, but Lev’s unconscious. Cameron of course blames the police for not acting, even though they are without any clues.

Sara Wheeler has lunch with Joe and her father and she tries to tell Jacob that she’s decided to break-up with Joe. Wheeler says she’s never had any patience and because of changing dynamics, she’s throwing away a relationship with a man who loves her and has her best interests at heart. MacMillan chastises his boss for talking to his daughter like that and says Sara sees the best in everyone.

Jacob decides that they’ll meet again at the same restaurant in a week and continue the discussion. MacMillan asks Sara what he has to do to win her back. She says he needs to get away from her father and start his own company. She then gets in her car and drives away.

At the hospital Cameron asks Tom how he was going to vote. He tells her he loves Mutiny and wants to be there for a long time, but he loves her and wants to be with her for a long time as well. He then says to her, Mutiny is her company and the decision’s hers to make. She says that Mutiny belongs to them all and says she’ll call Joe and take the offer.

MacMillan and Wheeler have a celebratory drink after Joe gets the call and MacMillan starts talking about the big rollout they need to have for Mutiny’s new game. However Wheeler disagrees with him and says the games are going to fade away while Community becomes the big draw. Joe says he promised them complete creative control and Wheeler says that was smart.

The engineers build the new computer in two days, one of them boasts that it took them a year to build the Giant, six-months to build the Giant-Pro and this time just two-days. Gordon tells his engineers how proud he is of them and how Joe’s going to be excited about their accomplishments. One of the engineers asks Gordon if he’s referring to MacMillan and Gordon’s clueless as to what the engineer’s talking about. The brain-damage playing games with his memory.

Cameron’s shocked to see Joe at the hospital, he says they told him at the house what happened. He then says to Howe not to sell Mutiny to Jacob Wheeler, he’ll ruin it. He won’t mean to, but he’ll take away everything that’s special about it. He then tells Cameron he’s removing himself from the equation.

MacMillan goes to see Sara and tells her he’s giving Western-Group, his two-weeks notice. He then asks her what she wants and she says she wants to get married that day and in two weeks, move to California. He smiles at her and says you got it.

The final scene takes place at Mutiny as Cameron walks back into the house. She says that Mutiny’s hers and she’s not selling.

The Story Continues Next Sunday Night at 10:00 pm on AMC.

Photo Courtesy Of AMC

Photo Courtesy Of AMC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The most important goal for the characters on the AMC Network’s Original Series “Halt And Catch Fire,” is to establish a connection on a myriad of levels. Although they’ve attained success making those connections electronically, they’ve each failed to secure those connections with the people they most care about. The episode entitled “10Broad36,” illustrated that point throughout the hour, making for painful yet compelling television.

I truly believe that Joe MacMillan, Cameron Howe, Donna and Gordon Clark, are good people who strive to do the right thing, however they approach Grand-Master level when it comes to self-destruction. Sometimes ego’s behind their bad decisions, although anger and fear, figure prominently in each character’s mind-set. So these four visionaries that want to advance global communications, find their biggest problem’s a failure to communicate with each other.

MacMillan’s embraced the “Miami Vice Look,” over the past couple of episodes, switching from suit and ties, to unstructured jackets and t-shirts. He’s eating breakfast, while going over notes when he glances up and notices an empty beer-bottle on his counter. He goes into the closet holding Sara’s clothes and realizes she was there the night before getting some of her stuff.

Joe calls his fiancée, but gets her answering machine. He leaves a message saying he knows she was there and he keeps leaving messages, but she’s yet to return one. He says it’s been a week, that he loves her and for her to please call him. He puts the phone into the cradle and it rings, he thinks it’s Sara but it’s her father, telling him he wants to meet with him.

Jacob tells Joe that his financial people have tweaked the deal they want to sign with Mutiny, chiefly raising their rate for renting the mainframe from three to five dollars an hour. MacMillan says that upping the rate that high will hamstring Mutiny and restrict their chance for growth. He says there’s a lot of talent over there, but it’s raw. However once it’s developed Mutiny could become an advantageous ally for Western-Group Industries.

Wheeler softens his stance, telling Joe to ask for five, but he’ll go as low as $3.50 an hour. Jacob says if they don’t jump at that offer, then MacMillan should move on and they’ll find new clients. Joe can now go marching over to Mutiny and come off as a hero, for offering the $3.50 an hour rate, but things are never that smooth and simple with MacMillan.

Joe and his daughters arrive at Clark’s brother Henry’s house in California. Henry’s portrayed by Kevin Rankin, whose last few roles (Gracepoint, The Newsroom) have been troubled characters and Gordon’s brother has plenty of flaws as we soon find out. However the reception’s warm as Henry gives Gordon a strong hug and his children help Gordon’s daughters get settled. Gordon tells his brother that they’ll talk about what’s troubling him later on.

Donna takes the morning off from work and has her mother over at the house and her mother tells Clark she looks tired and has bags under her eyes. She asks her daughter if everything’s alright and Donna says she had a miscarriage, she says that she didn’t even get a chance to tell Gordon she was pregnant. Her mother offers her sympathy and Donna says perhaps it was for the best.

Lev tells the Coder-Monkeys that he’s figured out that Tom Rendon and Cameron are sleeping with each other and says Rendon’s in her room right now. He runs to Cameron’s bedroom door and yells that the network got hacked and someone’s giving out free memberships.

The couple scramble to get dressed, while Cameron yells she’ll be right there. Tom sneaks out her bedroom window, but the Coder-Monkeys are standing there waiting for him. Rendon smiles sheepishly, as he realizes that they weren’t fooling anybody.

At the same moment, Cameron comes out of her room and starts yelling what’s happened, when she’s unpleasantly surprised at who she sees walking through the house’s front door. It’s MacMillan, who takes off his sunglasses when he’s right in front of Howe and exclaims well this is Mutiny.

Donna, Cameron and Joe enter Cameron’s room and Donna starts looking over the contract, then her eyes wide as she sees the rate’s been changed from three to five dollars an hour. Howe reacts angrily and starts saying this is bait-and-switch, Clark asks her to join her in another room to talk privately.

She tells Cameron that if she can keep her emotions in check, Donna will negotiate a better deal. She says he’s just posturing and that the mainframe’s the reason why their business has expanded, so calm down and Clark will get them a better rate.

Joe and Tom meet in the kitchen and they chat uncomfortably, each sizing the other guy up and making sure they don’t divulge too much information to one another. Joe thanks Rendon for the coffee and heads back to meet with Donna and Cameron.

Clark attempts to be the voice of reason in this second round of negotiations and she does a good job of it, saying to MacMillan the exact reasons that he told Wheeler, Mutiny couldn’t afford the rate increase. He smiles back at her and says the rate’s $5.00 per hour and if Mutiny can’t ante up, some other client will take their place. Donna says to Joe, this is the part where I offer $3.50 then you counter with $4.50 per hour and we settle for four dollars an hour, which is fair. Joe smiles again and says the rate’s $5.00 an hour.

Donna looses it, she starts to cry and throws the contract at MacMillan and says he’s playing dirty. MacMillan calmly stands up and walks out of the room and the house. Donna says he’s bluffing, within three-hours he’ll call back with a counter-offer. However, less than an hour later the plug’s pulled and the network goes offline. Cameron starts freaking out on Donna, until Bosworth tells Cameron to stop. Clark says she’ll fix the problem.

Gordon and Henry go to a local bar and Gordon tells his brother about his medical condition. However instead of Henry being the strong one for Gordon, Clark has to tell his brother his situation’s not that bad and he’s sorry he laid all his troubles on Henry.

Doesn’t take long before Henry’s three-sheets to the wind, while Gordon seems relatively sober. Clark asks Henry about the auto-shop started by their father, that Henry now runs and his brother says his father wants to sell the shop to Midas. Gordon suggests that he speak to their father on Henry’s behalf, but the brother says Clark’s got enough on his plate.

Henry notices the time and says they need to get back home, he asks Gordon to settle the tab while he uses the restroom. The waitress smiles as she walks over to the table, she’s Henry’s girlfriend from high school Jules Duffy. The two joke with each other for a bit, before she puts down the bill and tells Clark she expects a big tip.

Donna meets with Joe at Western-Group and apologizes for over-reacting and being unprofessional. She says she’s not leaving without a deal, so she asks Joe to tell her what she has to do. He says he’s willing to give them discounts on the rate, if they’d be willing to make some changes. The first two are simple, he wants the landing page to be multi-functional, he says he wants a news-feed or a stock-ticker on the page. His second desire’s for Mutiny to have a mail-service, aside from the chat-pages.

The third request’s the tough one, Mutiny currently only operates on Commodore 64 computers. He tells Donna that Commodore will be extinct within five years and he wants Mutiny to be able to run on the AT&T system Unix. He says that if they can make all three changes, he’ll cut their rate to $3.50 per hour.

Donna goes back to Mutiny and meets with Howe, Bosworth and Rendon and tells them Joe’s demands. The first two they have no problem with, but Cameron’s against building a new operating system for Unix. Rendon says that he doesn’t think MacMillan’s tech-savvy and says they could likely fool him by putting the guts of a Commodore inside the housing of an AT&T machine.

The next day Gordon asks Henry to borrow his truck and says he’ll drive to Sacramento to visit their father and try to talk him into keeping the shop. However Clark calls his father instead and finds out that Henry’s got the shop leveraged to the hilt. He also tells Gordon, his brother has a drinking problem, so he goes to talk to Jules Duffy about Henry instead.

The Coder-Monkeys have found that the AT&T housing’s far too small for the guts of the Commodore to fit inside. So they decide to fake the machine completely, using coaxial cable to connect one of the Commodore’s to the fake AT&T computer, they even put a mini-tape recorder inside it, so it sounds like there’s a modem and a connection.

Gordon and Jewels drive out to a scenic spot and she tells Clark that Henry’s usually in the bar at least three days a week, sometimes coming in as early as noon. Gordon asks how Henry messed up the front of his truck, Jewels tells him that his brother stayed until the bar closed one night, the week before. The next day he said he swerved to avoid a deer, Gordon responds that he told their father it was a rabbit.

The pair smoke a joint in the bed of the truck and start talking flirtatiously. They kiss, then quickly stop they start kissing again and start taking each other’s clothes off.

MacMillan arrives at Mutiny and he sits down in front of the phony AT&T computer. He’s impressed with the new landing page as well as their mail-system. Then he starts playing the games and quickly realizes the set-up’s phony. He says the unit’s melting their table, then he pries it apart. He sees the tape-recorder and the coaxial connection and storms from the house.

Howe follows him to his car and says he can’t do this to her again. He says she did it to herself this time. Then he looks at her and shakes his head and says the saddest part’s she’s so much better than this. He gets in his car and drives away.

Gordon and Jules finish having sex and she says she didn’t expect anything like that. Gordon’s already feeling guilty and says that she has to know why he did have sex with her. He tells her about his brain-damage and how terrified he is. He says he hasn’t even told his wife yet and Jules stops him. She says if he’s looking to unburden himself, he picked the wrong girl. She grabs her purse and starts walking home.

He arrives at Henry’s and Gordon’s youngest daughter’s scared, as she woke up and he wasn’t there. However Henry starts screaming at Gordon, telling him he spoke with their father and Clark never came over. He says he can smell the weed and Jules all over him, then he tells Gordon he needs to leave. Instead Gordon picks up his daughter and brings her into the room they’re sleeping in.

Cameron drives Donna somewhere at night, but we can see by the expression on Clark’s face, that this isn’t a happy mission. Howe says to Donna, Mutiny could die in the morning, don’t do this for the company. Donna smiles weakly and says that’s not the reason. She gets out of the truck and steps into a building, as Cameron follows her we see the sign says Planned Parenthood. Clarks getting an abortion.

Later that evening, Gordon calls the house and gets the answering machine. He calls to Donna and she grabs the phone and asks if everything’s okay. Gordon tells her that their youngest daughter’s scared and says that Donna does something to calm her down. He puts the receiver between he and his daughter and Donna sings the girl a lullaby, that works almost instantly. Gordon starts to close his eyes as well and the screen goes black.

However, there’s one more scene that takes place in Jacob Wheeler’s office. MacMillan says that he gave Mutiny three tasks to complete to lower their rate to $3.50 per hour. He says two of the tasks they got perfect, but they tried to trick him into thinking they completed the third task. However in their effort to try to trick him, they rigged up a broadband system. He says broadband’s too costly for practical use right now, but within ten-years they’ll have replaced most modems. He suggests to Jacob that Western-Group acquire Mutiny.

The Story Continues Next Sunday Night at 10:00 pm on AMC.

Photo Courtesy Of AMC

Photo Courtesy Of AMC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The characters in the AMC Original Series “Halt And Catch Fire,” could really use a group-therapy session, in which everybody opens up and admits their true feelings. (That is except of course Western-Group Industries Chairman Jacob Wheeler, perhaps the most secure man on the planet.) Our core players are desperately in need of human contact, but none of them seem to be able to establish it. Not with each other or their loved ones, they just lurch from crisis-to-crisis, because they’re always hiding something from somebody and it always comes back to haunt them.

The manure hit the fan early and often, throughout this episode, as everybody felt like they were on precarious ground throughout the evening. Information got released in an uncomfortable fashion, which in turn opened up a cauldron of anger, betrayal and unexpressed feelings.

We start off in the Dallas apartment of Joe MacMillan, whose just finished getting reacquainted with his fiancé Sara Wheeler, who just got into town from her home in Austin. A little later she checks the mail and finds a packet from her ex-husband, she takes the phone and calls him from the bathroom. MacMillan asks if she’s alright, then spots the packet, it’s a copy of the pre-nuptial agreement she and her former husband had drawn up before their marriage.

Cameron and Tom Rendon are in her bed, talking about the new game they want to design for Mutiny. Tom then tells her he has to go home and get ready for work, he climbs out her bedroom window to keep the Coder-Monkeys from realizing their together. However he doesn’t sneak out undetected as John Bosworth sees him climbing out from the driveway.

Donna walks in the door just as the girls are getting ready for school. She asks Gordon if it would be terrible if she had a beer and her husband tells her to have two. She then starts talking to Gordon about setting up an invoice system with the network they’re leasing, Clark says he can take care of any paperwork and save her the trouble. Donna says that after the Sinorous incident, Cameron wants him to stay away from the company, so she better handle it. Gordon then droops the bombshell that Joe’s his contact at the company they’re leasing from.

Instead of sleeping for a few hours, Donna jumps back in the car and heads to Mutiny. She tells Cameron that Joe’s involved and that she was unaware until moments before. Howe thanks her for her honesty, then tells Clark she needs to be alone for a while to collect her thoughts. As Donna walks out, we hear Cameron trashing her bedroom.

Gordon meets with Joe and tells MacMillan that he has to inform Jacob Wheeler what’s going on and MacMillan at first refuses to. However he quickly softens his stance and tells Gordon that he’ll take care of it and that Mutiny will have a formal written agreement.

Clark goes next to an appointment, with his doctor after blacking out in the previous episode. Seems that Joe inhaled toxic vapors over the years building computers and he’s suffered brain-damage. The doctor tells him that brain-tissue doesn’t regenerate and that his symptoms will likely get worse and happen more frequently.

Gordon calls Donna from a payphone on the street and tells her he wants to take her out to dinner that evening, but she says she’ll be tied up with Mutiny. She says perhaps they can go out over the weekend, then quickly says good-bye and hangs up. Gordon stands there with the now silent handset and finally hangs it up.

Bosworth walks into Cameron’s bedroom as she’s starting to put it back together. He tells her to stop for a while and the two of them should talk. She tells John she’s angry and hurt that MacMillan’s back in her life, Bosworth says he doesn’t like him either, but he knows how to make money. He tells Howe that she has Joe right where she wants him, he’s looking for forgiveness and hoping to set things right.

MacMillan meets with Jacob Wheeler and he tells him his proposal about leasing their mainframe and Wheeler says it sounds promising. Joe says he knew his future father-in-law would feel that way, so it’s been in operation for the last three weeks. Wheeler states that MacMillan did this behind his back and he says that Joe brings something to Western-Group that’s been lacking. He’s hungry and never happy, Wheeler gives him the charge of the new division, but he says he wants to meet with a Mutiny representative the next day.

Joe goes back to his apartment and tells Sara about the deal and she asks why he didn’t tell her upfront? He says he wanted her to be proud of him when it was up and running, but he’s fibbing and she realizes it. When she finds out it’s Cameron’s company, she says the plot thickens but he responds that was the only way to get Gordon to help him. She says she’s proud of him but they can’t have any secrets between them, she’s still recovering from getting kicked in the teeth from her ex-husband.

The next morning, Donna’s going through morning-sickness and Gordon’s lost in thought when the doorbell rings. Gordon finally hears it and MacMillan’s at the door wanting to talk to Donna. Clark says that’s probably a bad idea as Donna doesn’t like Joe. However he waits for her and then asks her to meet with Jacob Wheeler, she says she can’t as it’s Cameron’s company. He tells her to relay to Cameron he expects her to be pleasant and professional.

Gordon picks the girls up from school and says let’s have an adventure, where would you girls like to go today. They say in unison they want to go to his mother-in-law’s house, as their grandfather has an advanced edition of this arcade named Nintendo. His mother-in-law asks Gordon if he’d like a drink and he accepts the invitation.

Cameron arrives at Western-Group and Joe tries to talk to her, but she asks the receptionist if Wheeler’s ready to see them. She’s quiet at the start of the meeting, until he compares Mutiny to what Cameron considers a far inferior company. She says her company does what that other company does better and with far lower overhead due to their coding system. Wheeler asks her how somebody gets really good in her craft, she spied a copy of Sports Illustrated on his desk and she asks what makes Wayne Gretzky so outstanding. He says practice and patience and she prompts him to explain further and he says a load of God-given talent. She smiles and says your words not mine, then shows him her presentation.

Gordon and his mother-on-law are getting polluted in the living-room while his daughters are in the den playing with the Nintendo. She tells Gordon he’s fun and he agrees that he is fun, then jokes it’s Donna whose always so serious. They get on the subject of money and he thanks her and her husband for lending them money and support when times were tough. She thinks he’s talking about repaying the money and he finally writes her a check for 23 grand.

Wheeler’s enchanted with Cameron and tells her he’s impressed. He then says what about this guy, nodding towards Joe. He asks can you vouch for him, he’s marrying my daughter. Although we see the shock in her eyes, she plays it off perfectly, stating Joe’s a Hell of a guy and then congratulating MacMillan.

Joe chases Howe down to the garage and he says he just wanted to say she did a great job in the meeting. She turns around and with a face filled with fury, she says I thought I was your mark, but it’s him. That’s why you’re marrying a billionaire’s daughter. He says that has nothing to do with it and then asks her if she read the letter he sent her. At that moment Sara walks up and introduces herself to Cameron. Howe’s very genial and tells her it’s a pleasure meeting her and then heads to her car.

Later that evening, MacMillan hands Sara a pre-nuptial agreement that he’s already signed. He says he wants nothing from her, except herself. She says they’re moving too fast and she’s heading back to Austin, she doesn’t know for how long.

Tom tells the Coder-Monkeys he’s got a date and needs to take off. Cameron heads into her room and breaks down crying, but Rendon climbs in through her window seconds later. He hugs her as she cries.

The Story Continues Next Sunday Night at 10:00 pm on AMC.

Photo: Courtesy Of AMC

Photo: Courtesy Of AMC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

When all’s said and done, the major difference between Joe MacMillan from the AMC Original Series “Halt And Catch Fire,” and the hapless bus-driver Ralph Kramden from the Classic TV series “The Honeymooners”  is that MacMillan’s get-rich-quick schemes actually work. MacMillan even has his own Ed Norton, embodied by Gordon Clark, the guy who does most of the work, while Joe gets most of the glory.  Just like Norton, Clark keeps getting involved with projects with MacMillan, despite knowing that he’s likely to end up in a manure pile.

Episode four begins in the Clark’s kitchen as Gordon’s getting his daughters ready for school, while his wife Donna gets ready for work. Donna’s not feeling great and asks her husband if she’s got a fever. Gordon puts his lips to her head and pronounces her cool as a cucumber and she heads off to Mutiny.

Joe has a meeting with one of the middle-management members of West-Group Industries, the oil-company he’s employed at and owned by MacMillan’s future father-in-law Jacob Wheeler. The man he’s meeting with Ellis Mortimer, oversees the company’s mainframe computer system and Joe’s come to pitch him his newest idea.

He tells Mortimer, that the computers are only in operation on Mondays through Fridays from nine to five. He suggests leasing the mainframes to third-party companies, while they’re not being used. He tells Mortimer its pure profit and little overhead. Mortimer says that he’s afraid that third-party companies could get access to West-Group’s data and Joe explains that they would cordon off a section for each outside user. They wouldn’t have any access to West-Group’s confidential information.

Mortimer then asks MacMillan if he’s so high on the project, why doesn’t he present it to his future father-in-law? Joe’s flustered as he didn’t realize Mortimer was aware of his relationship with Sarah. Ellis looks him in the eye and tells him he was there before her first marriage went south, and he’ll still be there when Sarah tires of Joe.

Donna walks into the house that Mutiny’s based in and gets Cameron, then the two of them address the Coder-Monkeys about their new reality. Because of the loss of revenue after Sinorous destroyed the network, they no longer have any money to pay the employees. What Cameron and Donna offer instead of a paycheck, are shares in the company. There’s silence for about a minute, until Tom Rendon stands up and says he’s in, then most of the Coder-Monkeys follow his lead.

However, Yo-Yo and another programmer say they’re out. Cameron tries to talk to Yo-Yo, as he’d been there from the beginning, but he says he won’t work for free. She tells him he always wanted to get into game-cartridge design and here’s his excuse. He replies that he doesn’t think the shares will ever have any value and leaves the house.

A while later Howe comes out of her room and finds John Bosworth standing at the kitchen table. She asks him if he’s ready to start working for Mutiny and he responds, she can’t pay him, she’s looking for volunteers. He tells her he was on this side of town, so he brought her breakfast and then started looking at her folder of invoices. He says he’s got some ideas he thinks will help if she wants to listen, she tells him she’s all ears.

Donna and Lev are in one of the rooms working on Community, the network’s chat-rooms and Lev tells Donna he wants to go back to gaming. She says he can handle his responsibility it’s only six-rooms, he corrects her and tells her there are 18-rooms, they’ve tripled in less than a week. He asks Donna to go to Cameron for another Coder-Monkey, she responds that when they reach 30-rooms she’ll talk to Howe.

Donna walks into the kitchen as Cameron’s telling Bosworth that they sent out update disks to all their users, but still many have cancelled their subscriptions. He says Howe gave her subscribers a venereal disease and she’s not going to win them back with penicillin, she needs to send flowers. He says they need a salesman to go to their largest former subscribers and sweet-talk them back into the fold.

Cameron suggests using Lev and Donna tells her she needs him for Community and tells her the growth they’ve made. John interrupts their discussion and tells them, this is the moment they’re supposed to ask Bosworth to become their salesman. He then says after a couple of times of turning them down, they’re supposed to plead with him until he grudgingly takes the position. Bosworth’s onboard and things are looking brighter already.

Joe’s back to his old tricks at West-Group Industries, going through a back-window to get his company to realize his vision. He enlists one of the maintenance workers to pull all the wires from the mainframe up through the floor. He then tells the man he can take it from there and the worker asks what he puts on the work-order. MacMillan slips him some money and asks what work-order? Apparently he gave the man enough to walk away without further questions.

Cameron has a brainstorming session with the Coder-Monkeys to design a new game, but the only suggestion comes from Wonderboy and Howe’s underwhelmed. Just then Rendon walks into the house and Howe busts him for being late, he apologizes and sits down and joins the session. Cameron says she wants to design a shooter game, but she wants something fresh as the target for the game. Bodie suggests they shoot ET to death, to keep him from eating all the user’s Reese’s Pieces, he gets a groan from the group. Cameron says they’ll reconvene the next day, then tells Tom he has to show up on time, or it will hurt morale.

Gordon’s using his new-found free time to get into shape and he’s taken up jogging, sporting a bright-red track outfit. He’s spent, but then he sees Joe’s sitting on the bench on the Clark’s front-lawn, so he pushes himself to run up the driveway and asks MacMillan if he wants a smoothie.

They head into the garage and Joe starts pitching his idea to Clark, who thinks it’s a great idea until he realizes Joe wants him involved. He asks Joe if Sarah’s just some woman he hired to pretend she was her fiancée so MacMillan would seem normal. Joe replies he just wanted to give Gordon, the right of first refusal. Clark says thanks but no thanks.

Bosworth approaches the first house and a teenage boy answers the door, John asks if his dad’s at home and the teen’s mother comes to the door and asks what he wants. John tells her he’s the sales-manager for Mutiny and wanted to know why her son cancelled his subscription. She responds she cancelled it, due to the fact he spent all his time on the computer and has no friends.

John asks how many friends he had on Mutiny and the teen replies he has 32-friends, plus another 6-7 guys he just plays games with. The mother looks shocked, she says she never hears her son talking to anybody. He smiles at Bosworth and says his mother’s a Luddite, then tells her they communicate through their keyboards. John smiles at the mother and tells her their generation doesn’t grasp it, but to kids her son’s age Mutiny’s their place to congregate, their church.

He tells the woman he’s sorry to have bothered them then turns around and starts to walk away, but she asks him his name again. He knows he’s closed the deal and a big smile breaks out on his face before he turns around, then he says John Bosworth.

Cameron calls in Donna and tells her with their limited resources she’s decided to cut some network activities. She tells Clark that she’s eliminating Chess and Backgammon then tells her she’s eliminating Community as well. Donna’s crushed and asks why she’d do that, it’s gaining subscribers and takes up minimal bandwidth. Donna says she thinks it’s a bad plan and Howe says her comments are noted, Clark picks up her purse and heads home.

Gordon heads into his bathroom and nearly strokes out when he sees Donna lying fully clothed in the empty bathtub. She says she’s been there since he came home with the girls, she desperately needed alone time. She then tells Gordon about Cameron’s plans to cut Community and he responds that’s her baby and he realizes why she’s so down. He says that the concepts brilliant and it will be hugely successful, but his words fail to brighten her mood. He leaves her in the bathroom and we can see by the expression on his face he’s going to team-up with Joe to make his wife’s vision come true.

Cameron heads to Orson’s Family Foods to get some munchies in the middle of the night and sees Tom Rendon collecting carriages in the parking lot, with an Orson’s name-tag on his shirt. He tells her he used to work their during high-school, the owner’s giving him some late night shifts so Tom has some money. Cameron suddenly realizes that’s why Tom’s coming in late and she feels like an idiot. He tells her where her favorite candy’s located and says he’ll see her later.

Clark and MacMillan meet in a parking garage and Gordon tells Joe his terms. He says he’s in charge of the project and he doesn’t want to get paid, instead he wants Mutiny to be Joe’s first customer and to cut them a great-deal. Joe says we do this tonight, Gordon shows him a list of what he needs and MacMillan says pick it up and meet him at a bar at eight that night.

Donna’s not giving up on Community without a fight and she asks Cameron if she’s used the feature, Howe lies and says yes. Clark asks her what’s her favorite room and Cameron can’t bluff her way out of it, finally she says she knows what Community is. Donna says that she really doesn’t and walks out of the room, so Cameron logs into one of the rooms and she starts chatting with Tom.

They’re having a rather flirty conversation, when suddenly Gordon’s name comes up. Rendon types Gordon = Donna’s husband? Cameron types back, No Gordon the guy who saddled her with two kids and now she’s trapped! However she hit Control, the letter D and the exclamation point, which shared their conversation to everybody on the network. Tom comes in and tells her, a few minutes later Donna sees the message.

Gordon and Joe meet at the bar and Clark gives MacMillan the receipt for the equipment, Joe takes some money out of his pocket and says he’ll give Gordon the rest in a few days. Suddenly Clark realizes that they’re breaking into West-Group Industries and going into the mainframe without permission. Gordon says he feels like punching Joe in the face and MacMillan tells him to go ahead, however they leave the bar and head for West-Group.

Donna and Cameron meet outside and Clark asks her how Cameron thinks Donna can command any respect if Cameron degrades her. She says if you have anything to say about Gordon, tell me to my face and don’t ever bring up my daughters again. Howe apologizes, but the tension between them is palpable.

Gordon’s slotting all the boards into the mainframe and MacMillan says he’s going to get them both a can of coke. As Joe leaves the room Clark takes a step back, then suddenly gets dizzy and passes out, hitting the floor face first. He regains consciousness just as Joe returns and he says he tripped over a cord and fell, then goes back to work.

The next morning Bosworth enters the kitchen of Mutiny and starts to pour himself a cup of coffee, but Cameron walks in and takes the pot from him and pours them both a cup. She then tells John she’s done asking him to work for Mutiny, she’s telling him he’s working for Mutiny. She then says his first assignment’s helping her run the company better.

He tells her when he was her age, he was putting ham radios in boxes at Cardiff, all he did was pack boxes, punch out and drink beer. He says it takes time and she asks how long, he just smiles at her as Rendon walks in the house, John formally introduces himself to Tom.

A little later Tom’s in the backyard cleaning up all the cans on the lawn and Cameron comes out. The two start flirting with each other and the moment we’ve expected since we met Rendon happens, as the two start making out.

The final scene takes place in the Clark’s bedroom, with Gordon talking to Donna through the bathroom door. She says she thinks she caught the flu their daughter had, Clark tells her he has some great news for her. He says that the consulting job he worked on the night before, paid off big time. He says his contact at the company’s allowing Mutiny to lease their mainframe for just three dollars an hour, so now she can have a thousand rooms for Community.

Gordon’s words finally penetrate Donna’s skull and her mood brightens for a moment. He asks her if she’s vomiting and she says she is and she’ll meet him in the kitchen in a minute. However as the camera pans wide in the bathroom, we see Donna’s got a home-pregnancy test and the results are positive.

The Story Continues Next Sunday Night at 10:00 pm on AMC.

Photo Courtesy Of AMC

Photo Courtesy Of AMC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

There are no truly good or bad characters so far in the second season of the AMC Original Series “Halt And Catch Fire,” although all of them are capable of having selfless, as well as destructive moments. In the episode entitled “The Way In,” we saw a lot of those destructive moments while still leaving time for some selfless acts. Much like the nation in 1985, our characters are in a state of flux as they attempt to find a foothold where life’s deposited them.

We start out in the home of Gordon and Donna Clark, as Gordon’s sitting at his computer trying to perfect a mapping program he’s developing for Mutiny. Donna takes the headphones off her husband’s head and tells him it’s time for him to take their daughters to school. He tells her he’s close to completing the program and she says he’s been obsessed with it for the last two weeks. He tells her he’s named the program Sinorous.

Tom Rendon shows up for his first day at Mutiny on a bicycle, explaining to Cameron he doesn’t have a car. She asks if he has a horn, he replies he left it at home along with his rubber nose, leaving the viewer to realize this will lead to another rocky relationship for Howe.

John Bosworth pays a visit to former Cardiff Electric executive Barry Shields, who stored Bosworth’s vintage Mustang while he was in prison. John says his ex-wife got the house, the government got all the rest but he still has his ride thanks to Shields. Barry says that Bosworth more than earned the favor, putting food on his family’s table for 20-years. He shouts in glee when Bosworth climbs into the car and starts up the engine.

Joe MacMillan’s beyond miserable working in the data entry department of Jacob Wheeler’s oil-company, he suggests to his supervisor Eugene Bowdich a way to minimize reoccurring errors. Bowdich tells him that data control takes care of that situation, then suggests that MacMillan develop a hobby, Bowdich says his hobby’s collecting Tito Fuentes records. Joe asks his supervisor if he’d like some coffee, then leaves the office and sits down on the floor of a hallway.

Lev is giving a presentation for a new game he’s designed to the Coder-Monkeys, his concept’s that a pair of hands grab a dish of Jell-O from a refrigerator shelf and if you grab the plate you win the game. Yo-Yo and Bodie think that the game would be tons more fun, that if the Jell-O was rancid and the object was to poison the family to death. Cameron quickly puts a stop to the sniping, then asks Rendon if he has any avenues to explore, he mentions something and Howe asks if his idea has a story and Tom asks if it has to? The conversation’s further proof that these folks aren’t on the same page.

Cameron then hands out floppy-disks to everyone that contain copies of chapter 22 of Parallax, their most successful game. She tells them to look it over during the next few hours and then they’ll meet back later and discuss everyone’s opinions.

Bosworth’s driving his car with Johnny Cash blaring on the stereo as he sings along. We see him pull into the parking lot of the El Royale Hotel, an attractive blonde tells him he’s late and John asks if he’s making her late for her other boyfriends? The woman smiles and says let them wait, as they enter the room.

Sarah Wheeler’s going through a bout of writer’s block, when Joe calls and complains how rudimentary their systems are in his department. He suggests they invite Gordon and Donna Clark over for dinner, she replies she thought those people made them uncomfortable. Just then Bowdich belly’s up to Joe’s desk and MacMillan says he needs to go and hangs up. Bowdich asks if that was a personal call, Joe remains silent and picks up the phone again and asks to speak with Jacob Wheeler. He tells the person on the other end that an appointment at 4:00 pm would be a perfect time for him. Bowdich’s face loses all color as Joe hangs up the phone.

We head back to the El Royale and we find out that the attractive blonde that Bosworth had some afternoon delight is his ex-wife Ginny. She’s still a flight-attendant, apparently the same job she had when she first met him, calling him the man in 25-B. She then tells him that she just got a new long overseas route with a layover in Tokyo. That could put a crimp in plans for future meetings, but he says he’ll just come by the house.

She says she doesn’t think that’s a good idea and he says he’ll see her this weekend. She responds she hopes he’s joking. He asks her if their encounter was just a bribe to keep him from coming to Galveston and she asks him to promise he won’t go down there. He stays silent but sort of nods his head.

Joe waits for Wheeler to finish his phone conversation, then Jacob says let me have it. MacMillan suggests that the company combine data collection and analytics into one department. The move will curtail the leaking of data, decrease risks and increase profits. Wheeler says enough and MacMillan smiles and says he isn’t finished, Jacob says that he is and for Joe to go ahead and do it. He then asks whose in charge down there and Joe tells him Eugene Bowdich and Wheeler says to fire him and gut the entire staff. He says things will work better if MacMillan hires his own team.

Joe’s thrown for a loop by Wheeler’s reaction, then says he’ll need a few days to get his act together and Wheeler says take as long as he needs. As Joe turns to leave, Jacob says that if you’re on a packed train it’s okay not to take an empty seat, your stop might be next, or you could be a Good Samaritan. But some think they don’t deserve it, implying that he has confidence in his daughter’s fiancée.

Gordon and Donna are flabbergasted to find a message on their answering machine, from Joe inviting them over to dinner with he and his fiancée Thursday night. At first their conversation centers on what this fiancée must look and be like, Donna imagines a blonde fashion-model type, a woman who’s haughty. Gordon thinks she’s more submissive, after Joe’s experience with Cameron. However to Donna’s surprise Gordon wants to go to the dinner.

Back at Mutiny Headquarters Cameron’s asking the Coder-Monkeys their thoughts on the new edition of Parallax and the room stays kind of quiet. Bodie then says he likes the female vampires with the fish-bodies, Cameron then asks Tom what’s his opinion and he says they should talk privately later. However Howe forces him to voice his thoughts and he tells her he hates the game.

He then goes on to say that Cameron’s taken the story from one chapter and the graphics from another and then threw them in a blender. He then mentions a character that he wanted to grab by the pubic-hair and have the character transport him to another game. Howe then goes into her room and starts pacing and thinking over what he said, likely agreeing with everything Rendon told her.

Gordon says to Donna that they should beg off of the dinner, but she won’t hear of it telling her husband he should have declined the invitation when they received it. She goes off to get ready and he starts quoting Marlon Brando as Jor-El in Superman, saying that earthlings are good but need guidance. He then sends Sinorous over to Mutiny.

Gordon and Donna are dressed up like they’re heading to a fancy restaurant, while Joe and Sarah are sporting chinos and t-shirts, which makes for an even more uncomfortable start to the evening. Donna says that the place is cozy and Joe says they have a bigger property out in Austin, acting ashamed of their tiny apartment.

Bosworth sits in his Mustang and watches Ginny holding-court, outside of the restaurant they’re holding the rehearsal dinner for his son James’ wedding the following day. John doesn’t leave his car parked across the street from the restaurant, but he’s still far too close for her liking.

Back at Joe and Sarah’s apartment, Gordon tells MacMillan’s fiancée to make sure that Joe doesn’t hold out on her, with the windfall he got from the sale of Cardiff Electric. Joe then tells Gordon and Donna that he didn’t receive a penny from the sale, that Nathan Cardiff ripped up his check in front of him.

Yo-Yo summons Cameron from her room and tells her that Mutiny’s being affected by this rogue program, that’s not only infecting the network and their subscribers, but it’s erasing the games. Rendon says they have to shut the network down, but Cameron tries to get Donna on the phone. She gets the number where Gordon and Donna are at from the babysitter, then gets totally shocked when she hears Joe say hello on the other end. She remains silent and he hangs up the phone. She tells the Coder-Monkeys to shut down the network.

Bosworth’s son James climbs into the passenger seat of the Mustang and says that everybody knows he’s there. He then asks his father can’t he pick up a phone and John says he wanted to say this in person. He then puts on his glasses and reads a toast he had prepared to read at the rehearsal dinner. He says he wishes he could have been around more often in his son’s life and wishes he was a better father, but he’s extremely proud of his son.

James asks if he can take the speech to show it to his fiancée Lisa and Bosworth hands him the note. He then asks his father to come to his wedding the following day and Bosworth says that Ginny would implode. James says that he and Lisa want him there and John says some other time, then shakes his son’s hand.

Joe and Gordon are on the patio, drinking the bottle of wine that the Clarks brought with them. Clark says that Joe should have told him Nathan stiffed him, he’d have spoken up for him. Joe smiles and says he works in a basement and lives in an apartment, that’s smaller than the bathroom of his place when he worked for Cardiff. But he wouldn’t trade his life with Sarah for the check, he says she’s really special.

Donna comes out and says that Mutiny’s tried to get hold of her all night and their phones are now tied up, she says they have to leave. Gordon says it was really good to see Joe again and he’s sorry the evening had to end so soon. They leave the apartment and Joe looks lonely and very sad.

Donna starts ripping them as soon as she gets in the car, while Gordon says he was impressed with Sarah and she makes Joe happy, which in itself is a minor miracle. Donna says that MacMillan has her snowed, just like he snowed everybody at Cardiff.

Tom and Cameron are trying to assess the damage of the situation when the Clark’s car pulls up, Howe and Tom come outside and greet the couple as they’re getting out of the car. Cameron makes some snide remark about their dinner and then they get informed that some rogue program called Sinorous destroyed the network. The tension increases ten-fold, when it’s revealed that Gordon wrote and sent the program, Howe starts to go after Gordon but Yo-Yo restrains her.

Gordon tells her to calm down he’ll buy them new servers, but Rendon says the problems not server related the program destroyed games and original programs. Howe laughs that Clark scorns anything original, that he’s a sell-out. Gordon responds that if it wasn’t for Donna that Mutiny would be history, she’s paying the bills and keeping the company afloat. Donna tells Gordon to go home.

Later Donna tells Cameron that they’ve got two servers operating, Howe then says that while Donna works for Mutiny, Cameron lives there so she needs to take care of things 24-7. She then tells Donna to go home to her husband and if she pays a bill behind Howe’s back again she’s fired.

James is inside the restaurant talking with Lisa, when the valet hands him a set of keys and says your car sir. Lisa says that’s not your car, it’s Bosworth’s Mustang that he gives the couple as a wedding present. John takes a Trailways bus back to Dallas.

The following morning, Donna takes a cab back home and crawls into bed. Gordon apologizes for sending the program without telling her, she blames herself for not stopping him. He asks how bad is the damage and she gives him a look, that tells him to shut his mouth. She then grabs her spread-sheets and clutches them to her chest as she gets into bed.

Cameron goes into a full-blown panic attack just before Tom enters her room, she tells him to give her a second, then starts gasping for breath. He tells her to breathe, then sits her down and tells her to either nod or shake her head, he asks if he should call a doctor, or if she’s on medication, she shakes her head to both questions.

He then tells her to listen to his voice, and he walks her through one of the early adventures of Parallax. He tells her when he first encountered the game, it was like rediscovering the Wizard Of Oz, only better because he was inside of it. He then tells her how gifted and special she is and she regains her composure.

Joe punches his time-card then slams the door open to the department, Bowdich is on the phone and Joe tells him to meet him in the main-frame room. Bowdich says he’s just finishing his call and MacMillan growls now. While he’s waiting for Eugene, he watches as the computers come to life as the clock strikes 9:00 am. Bowdich walks in and MacMillan asks if the computers are only working from nine to five and Bowdich confirms that. Joe says then the computers are idle for 16-hours a day, Bowdich reacts matter-of-factly but a huge smile crosses Joe’s face. He’s found his new frontier.

The Story Continues Next Sunday Night at 10:00 pm on AMC.