Cameron comes back from a bit of a siesta in Cincinnati to find that she’s now part of a team of coders. Not only that, but she has someone to answer to – a manager who’s a little too attached to “work assignments” and “documenting code” for our Manic Pixie Hacker Girl. Since Cam has the deserved reputation of being hard to work with, Manager Steve starts her out building a printer driver (which Halt and Catch Fire clarifies is entry-level stuff). Seemingly making the best of a bad situation, Cam makes friends with a couple of coders in her area and uploads a game called “Adventure” to the network. This becomes important later.
After getting Yoyo (one of her new coder buddies) to write her driver for her, Cam goes to Joe to complain about the godawful new manager. Joe dresses her down about her lack of maturity or professionalism. He tells her that their relationship doesn’t entitle her to special privileges at the office, so she revokes his “special privileges,” which honestly kind of proves Joe’s point.
Cameron goes to pick up her stuff from Joe’s place, where she runs into his father. The two bond in an increasingly skeevy way, but most importantly, Joe Sr. relates the story of how Joe Jr. “took” his last three promotions at IBM. Essentially, he convinced the incumbent to quit, then proved how much better he would be at the same job.
Cam takes the lesson to heart and storms into Cardiff Electric the next morning. She tells Steve that she’s going to take his job, then proceeds to do so by using the coding team’s performance in “Adventure” to pull the great coders out from amongst the mediocre ones. It’s a pretty great scene in which Cameron takes control without acting out. I feel that she’s grown as a character.
Gordon doesn’t have such a great time this week. His father-in-law is in town so that he can celebrate his birthday with the grandkids. Gary’s brought a shiny new toy for the girls – a wrist-watch TV with an LCD display. That LCD display could be the breakthrough that Gordon’s team needs in order to build their PC to Joe’s specifications. He asks his father-in-law to set up a meeting with the Japanese company that makes the screens, and Gary agrees.
At dinner with the Japanese, Joe utterly charms the reps, as per usual. Gordon, on the other hand, gets drunk trying to keep up with them and winds up bad-mouthing his father-in-law to one of the reps, a huge cultural no-no. The Japanese pick up the tab for dinner, which Joe says is their subtle way of saying that they’re finished with Cardiff Electric. When Gordon sobers up a bit, he realizes just how hard he screwed this particular pooch. He picks up the pieces of his shattered dignity and goes to tell his father-in-law exactly what just happened.
Joe catches the Japanese reps the next morning as they’re leaving the hotel. He apologizes profusely and tells a humbling story about his relationship with his own father (at least partially BS, as Joe’s been avoiding his father for the entire episode). The Japanese accept his apology and agree to do business with Cardiff Electric.
Joe then goes to the Kill Room and attempts to humiliate Gordon in front of his team. Gordon cuts him off, saying that the deal was already back on long before Joe went to the hotel. When Gordon went to Gary the night before, he begged his father-in-law’s forgiveness and humbly asked for his assistance in talking to the Japanese again. It was Gordon, not Joe, who got the deal back. So there.
Afterwards, everyone at Cardiff Electric goes down to a company barbeque that, for whatever reason, includes a charity car-smashing. Hey, it’s Texas. Why not? Joe drops $100 so that he can do some primal smash therapy on the car. Cameron looks on with an expression of “break me off a piece of THAT Kit-Kat bar,” indicating that she’ll be attempting to re-seduce her boss next episode. I may have spoken too soon about the character growth, but we’ll see.
Halt and Catch Fire sure does like to set up stories for later episodes. We’re never told why Joe avoided his Dad all episode. We still don’t know what’s up with Joe’s scars or why he left IBM suddenly. Donna had an evening phone call with her boss/high school buddy Hunt that seemed utterly unimportant to this episode, but will no doubt come into play later. I can appreciate a slow burn as well as the next TV junkie, but it feels like this show just keeps throwing irons into the fire without actually pulling any of them back out for use. I’d love to see some forward motion on something other than the PC next week. How about you?
Things to ponder:
- Maybe smashing a Japanese car for the 4th of July isn’t the best call when you’ve literally just signed a contract with a major Japanese corporation.
- Donna’s going to leave Gordon for Hunt, and I’m not going to blame her one bit. Just saying.