'Halt and Catch Fire' recap, 'Giant'

  • Lee Pace as Joe MacMillan.
Lee Pace as Joe MacMillan. (Tina Rowden/AMC )
July 14, 2014|By Ethan Renner | For The Baltimore Sun

Remember that dead body Gordon saw in the street last episode?

Unsurprisingly, it's haunting his dreams, as we see in the opening scene of "Giant." I've had less than five nightmares in my entire life, but I imagine that might have haunted me as well. Donna checks on Gordon as he wakes up screaming at 2 a.m., and reminds him that she's leaving on a business trip with Hunt in a few days.

The rest of the "Halt and Catch Fire" universe is also awake at this hour, as we see Joe working late at the office. He sends Debbie home, and Cameron joins him for some alcohol and frozen dinners. John, meanwhile, is meeting with Cardiff's chief accountant, who informs him that finances are so bad that the company may have to shut down within two weeks, thanks to the new PC division.

Joe and Cameron's dinner quickly moves from frozen food and booze to sex play with a live electrical current. Their romp is interrupted by a phone call from someone from Joe's past.

That someone is Simon Church, who is waiting for Joe when he arrives back at the office later that morning. Simon is an industrial designer, Joe explains, and he's come to Texas with some potential designs for Cardiff's PC's case. This is a big deal to Joe.

"Wow. All I can say is wow. It's exactly what we wanted," Joe tells Simon. Gordon is less enthused, as Simon has taken some liberties with Gordon's design. "I saw them, but they were too limiting," Simon says of Gordon's designs.

Joe also reveals to Gordon that he's naming their new PC "The Contrail." "It's about soaring, leaving the competition in the dust," Joe says. "No, Joe. Contrail is the dust," Gordon replies. "Look, if we continue to put form ahead of function, we're going to be the ones left in the dust," he adds.

After the meeting with Gordon and an awkward exchange between Joe and Cameron, Simon walks out of Cardiff and takes his designs with him. He wants nothing to do with the chaos here, and I can't say that I blame him. Joe tells John that he needs to get him another designer, a fact that doesn't please John, who had one lined up before Joe swooped in with Simon. While in John's office, we see a shot of divorce papers in his desk. John's whole life is crumbling.

Donna takes a bold stance during a meeting on her business trip, going over Hunt's head and suggesting that their company should drop a troublesome PC product that they're selling. Hunt backs her in the meeting. Everything goes smoothly, so Hunt suggests that the two of them have a celebratory dinner together. This is so silly. If they see this ridiculous plot device through, we'll all have seen it coming. If they swerve us, it's a swerve just for the sake of a swerve.

At home, Gordon is cooking an old family recipe for his kids and telling them stories about their ancestors. He asks them if they're tough, then assures them that they are. "We're all tough," he says, trying to convince himself. He ignores a phone call from Joe as this is going on.

At Joe's place, Cameron asks him if he had ever slept with Simon, apparently picking up on some subtext that I somehow missed. "Ten years ago, I was at a conference in Europe. Simon spoke. I was in the audience. He was... I wanted to be him. We stayed through the end of the event, traveled around the continent for the next month and... he left," Joe trails off.

"And yet, he was in the office today," Cameron says. "I was willing to put up with him if it meant something great for the work we've done," Joe says.

Cameron isn't sure what to make of this, but she knows a good design when she sees one. So, on her own, she goes to a gallery where Simon is viewing a photography exhibition. "Did he tell you I left him?" Simon asks. "Did he tell you why? Because I told him I loved him. And the moment I said it, I knew it was over, so I left the next morning. I tried to spare myself the embarrassment. We had a lot of fun for a while. Late nights, did a lot of stupid things. But in the end, I believe Joe just got bored," he tells Cameron.

This guy is describing a scene from my life in eerie detail, but that's neither here nor there. "...please don't make the mistake of thinking he won't do the same thing to you, eventually," he warns her.

John and Joe meet with another prospective case designer at a strip club, and the designer turns out to be exactly the sort of charming fellow that would take a serious business meeting at an establishment that showcases adult entertainment. The meeting ends with John punching the man out, then asking Joe if he can try to resurrect the deal with Simon. Joe agrees to try, and is thrilled that John did something rash for once.

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