Screens: AMC

Halt And Catch Fire Forgets Where It Parked Gordon

While the Mutiny gang connives to find a way to pull its business out of the crapper where Westgroup left it, Gordon spends the episode quite literally going around in circles in a parking garage that doubles as a metaphor for what's become of his character.

Gordon spends this entire episode stuck in a parking garage.

I mean, he does other stuff. First, he has to get to the parking garage, which means that Joe has to pick him up from jail, and at some point Gordon shaves off his beard. And he has to have a reason to go to the parking garage, which is to confront the company he thinks is ripping off his direct-sales, build-to-order computer business. But they've gone under, so it's back to the parking garage, where Gordon can't find his car because BRAIN INJURY so off he goes to wander around for the remainder of the episode until he finds it.

Meanwhile, back in the part of the show that isn't stuck in neutral, Cameron and Donna are discussing their options now that Westgroup has stolen their customers in the perfectly convivial and not-the-least-bit alarming setting of a local gun range. You know, just a couple of business partners, calmly discussing what to do next while emptying firearms until targets that probably look like Joe MacMillan in their minds' eye.

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Anyhow, Cameron decides to sell the one thing Mutiny has left that's of any value. No, no -- not Bosworth. Cameron's referring to games, specifically the Extract & Defend shooter game she and Tom created. This comes as a terrible shock to Tom, who's more than a little put out that Cameron didn't consult him. To Cameron, though, it's all about keeping Mutiny alive. And keep the company alive, it does -- with an assist from Bosworth -- after Mutiny sells Extract & Defend for $50,000, which will be enough for them to rebuild their own network and make payroll.

While all this is happening, Gordon wanders around a parking garage.

As for Joe, he's getting ready for the big California move with Sara, and still seething about the way Westgroup swindled Mutiny. Which is why it's curious that Jacob would show up and invite Joe to the public unveiling of Westnet, especially after Joe confesses that it was he who got Mutiny to back out of acquisition with Westgroup. Still, Jacob figures Joe won't do anything out of bounds, since it would not only harm his prospects for future employment out in California but also jeopardize his relationship with Sara. This is sound logic that will in no way come back to haunt Jacob at any point in this episode.

Let's check in on Gordon. Still in the parking garage.

Joe is prepping for his part in the Westgroup presentation -- again, this seems sensible -- when Cameron shows up. She wants to say goodbye to Joe and let him know that she doesn't blame him for Mutiny's predicament. ("When my life goes up in a mushroom cloud, I naturally assume you're behind it," Cameron says. "Old habits," Joe concedes.) Oh, and there's some furtive making out, too, though Joe quickly puts the kibosh on that. Anyhow, Cameron leaves him with a gift: a design of the Mutiny interface that contains all the features Joe asked for, along with a dedication to Joe. How terribly sweet.

And also, what a terribly effective way for Cameron to hack into Westnet and infect it with the Sonaris virus that undid Mutiny earlier this season. Oh, Joe protests that Cameron tricked him, too, but the calm way he sits there as everything around him dissolves into chaos suggests that this is probably not the case.

This just in from the parking garage: Gordon is still there. He has fallen down some stairs, though, and broken his angle, so at least there's that.

The episode ends with Mutiny getting its groove back, though it will do so without the help of Tom, who has come to the rather inescapable conclusion that Cameron still harbors feelings for Joe. "Tom, you'll come back," Cameron says, with little evidence to back up her conclusion, as Tom pedals off. If it's any consolation, Cameron, Joe appears to be back on the market, after Sara has concluded that not only is Joe "something that happens to people who deserve better" but that he is also still hung up on Cameron. Gordon, having been removed from the parking garage by paramedics, is being treated in a hospital, where we learn that this latest incident had nothing to do with his CTE -- that hasn't progressed, actually -- but rather for some untreated mental illness. Has Gordon ever experienced manic behavior or paranoia in the past, the doctor wants to know. Oh, Doc...do you have time to binge-watch Season 1?

Halt And Catch Fire-ish Element Present?
Business Crisis Of The Week So you like the weekly business crisis, huh? Well how's about two business crises?

Actually both are basically related: Mutiny lost all its subscribers which Cameron (and possibly Joe) solves with a little coding sleight of hand. And because of those missing subscribers, Cameron has to sell off Extract & Defend to keep the lights on. That both feats are apparently solved within a day of each other makes me suspect that Halt And Catch Fire takes place in one of those alternate universes where they switched to a 100-hour day.

Cameron Howe: Punk Rock Girl While my complaints about the way this show makes Cameron too reactive to the men in her life remain (Summary: [folds arms] Nope, don't like it), at least she gets to do that voodoo that she do so well in turning the tables on Westgroup. And agreeing to sell off Extract & Defend with a minimum of fuss shows a maturity that her character didn't have at the start of Season 2.
Donna Clark: One Tough Mother Donna makes the most of her limited screen time in this episode, riding shotgun on the Extract & Defend sale and letting Gordon know in the gentlest way possible that his brain is broken. Also, who does Mutiny send to stare down Jesse early on in the episode in the futile hopes of extracting some financial compensation from Westgroup? Not any of the nerds, I can tell you that.
Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves The business partners who go shooting together...probably should not be messed with under any circumstances.
Gordon Clark: Gloomy Sadsack Each week, I feel this show cannot find more humiliation to heap on Gordon, and each week, the writers surprise me with their inventiveness. That said, the moment where Gordon is reduced to urinating in the corner of a parking garage he can't extricate himself from? We have reached peak sadsackiness. You cannot go lower without breaching the earth's core.
Joe MacMillan: Super Genius Let the masses debate what Joe knew and when he knew it about Cameron's subscriber grab. No, Joe is here for the way he puts Jacob's shit in the street early on in this episode. "We're not friends, we're family. We'll see each other at Christmas, every other year," Joe tells Jacob. "We'll nod to each other across the room and after forty-five minutes of fake chit-chat and egg nog, I'll make an excuse. 'I have to be somewhere. I'm so sorry.' And when my children ask me who that tall, gray stranger in the window is, I'll remind them, 'That's your grandpa.'"

"Why, you sound just like the sort of person I should invite on stage at the launch of my big, new product!" Jacob replies. Well, not really, but essentially.

The Crumbling Clark Marriage Everyone who thought the Clark marriage would outlast the Joe-Sara nuptials, please step forward.

LIARS!

Where In The World Is John Bosworth? Leaving Mutiny, goddammit. Bosworth shows up at the beginning of the episode in a suit and a tie, and Cameron's all, "Hey you look nice today," instead of putting two and two together that he's on his way to a job interview. With five to ten years left in his working carrer, it seems that Boz no longer wants to ply his trade with a company that's on the brink of going belly-up from hour to hour. But before he departs and takes our hearts with him, he does do Mutiny one last solid by using his patented Bosworth charm to convince the game company not to lowball Mutiny on Extract & Defend.

Fare thee well, Boz. Every time someone says "Buyers hear defeat, they scatter quicker than crawdads at a church boil," I shall think of you.

Meet The Nerd Herd We get to watch Tom realizing that he's won the bronze in the race for Cameron's heart -- behind Mutiny and Joe in that order -- but apart from that, we hear very little from the Mutiny crew this week outside of one scene where they find out they're going to get paid and they celebrate by carrying Donna around in a chair like she's just been bat mitzvah'd. We do get to watch Jesse, the lawful evil version of Joe, fall flat on his ass, so at least there's that.
That '80s Show You know, Halt And Catch Fire producers, you can put "She Lost Control" on the soundtrack and expect me to think, "Ooh, cool '80s tune!" But did you think you could slip that cover version by me? Do you think I don't know what Joy Division sounds like? DO I LOOK LIKE A RUBE? Anyhow, massive points off there, and not even references to Gorky Park (good movie) and Red Dawn (not a good movie at all) will make me overlook this sacrilege.
7 / 10
Final Score
70%
Halt And Catch Fire
30%
That Seinfeld episode where they're lost in a parking garage
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