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.