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.