Gloriosky and hallelujah! The hardware and the OS of Cardiff Electric’s new PC are finally at a point where the teams can actually flip the switch on a working prototype. The engineers and coders all agree that Bosworth should be the one to turn it on, rather than Joe (largely because the point of this episode seems to be that Joe needs to become more of a people person instead of a salesman). Fortunately for Bosworth, the new PC works, proudly displaying “Hello World” to the assembled teams.
Cameron sees no reason to rest on her laurels. Yoyo has modded a new version of “Adventure” for her, which gives her the idea to write an OS with a “soul.” She goes to Gordon to get more RAM to support the program, but he responds with a resounding “no,” as it took a minor miracle to make the PC what it is now. Cam, being Cam, goes over his head to Joe. Joe turns her down, as well, saying that they need more of the market share before they get that revolutionary. Cameron throws a hissy, because it wouldn’t be an episode of Halt and Catch Fire if she didn’t.
She goes around both of them and tells her team to go ahead and start working on the expansion to the OS. Gordon is pretty ticked off when he finds out and accidentally (maybe) implies that Cameron is sleeping with Joe to get her way. When Cameron gathers her coders for an “I’m the boss here” meeting, they question her about this new information, leading her to make a scene on the floor by kissing Gordon in front of his team and saying that he was “great last night.”
Somewhat apart from all this drama, Gordon has invited Joe home for dinner to celebrate the success of the prototype. Perhaps this would have been a better move on a night when there wasn’t a hurricane bearing down on Texas, but maybe that’s just how things were done in the 80s. When Joe shows up, Gordon hasn’t quite made it home yet, as he’s out combing local toy stores for a Cabbage Patch Kid.
Gordon is so desperate to get these dolls that he finally resorts to looting. He breaks the window of the closed toy store and pulls the dolls right out of the window display. (What he doesn’t know is that now all of the awesome is gone because he forgot to grab the adoption certificates. Yeah, I had a Cabbage Patch. What?) He has a terrifying moment almost immediately after when he sees a man killed by a downed power line.
As Joe spends time with Donna and the girls, he slowly becomes more and more human. At first, he just wants them out of the way, but by the end of the evening, he’s going out in the storm to “fight” the hurricane and make them feel safe. It’s actually quite adorable, to be honest. Gordon finally makes it home safe, and his reception makes Joe realize that he has no one at home to worry about him.
Joe goes to Cameron’s house, where he tells her both of this revelation and the real story behind his scars. His mom used to take him up on the roof to look at stars when he was a kid. One night, she was high and let go of his hand, causing him to fall three stories and land on a fence. He spent two years in a hospital, recovering. Joe’s honesty and momentary vulnerability lead to an honest-to-God, emotional kiss with Cameron. Ye gods and little fishes, they may actually end up in a relationship!
Other than the somewhat incomprehensible Cabbage Patch Kid storyline, I thought this was a really good episode. Joe, at the very least, seems to have had some actual character development, which is a new and pleasing direction for the show to go. I’m still waiting for Cam to grow up or for Donna to get some agency, but I’ll take what I can get. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.
Things to Ponder:
- Did I miss the part where they explained why it was necessary to bring home the Cabbage Patch Kid in the middle of a hurricane?
- Similarly, I may have missed the significance of the dead guy in the street. Thoughts on the deeper meaning there?
- It may have just occurred to me that Donna and Gordon’s girls would currently be older than I am.