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Halt and Catch Fire Episode Eight Recap: Severely Risky Business

In which everyone turns out to be a pretty capable criminal.
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"Think about it. How many companies had their CEO hauled off in handcuffs last week?"

It took eight episodes, but here's what we've been waiting for. This installment of Halt and Catch Fire finally has the intrigue that the series originally promised. Almost every character on the show is ready to pull out all the stops to get this PC to market. For the team, though, this means playing outside of legal bounds. 

The episode beings with everyone in a tizzy over COMDEX, the Computer Dealers' Exhibition, where Cardiff is debuting its PC. A lot of time has passed, as evidenced by the amount of problems that have apparently been solved: Lo and behold, Cardiff now has a portable computer with Cameron's OS inside. And it's called Giant, not Contrail. Gordon won one battle at least!  

To stave off another mental breakdown, Gordon now self-soothes with therapeutic audio tapes. A man on the recording, who sounds an awful lot like Derek Zoolander, tells Gordon to allow himself "to experience everythingness and nothingness."

And most importantly, Cardiff has solved its money issues. We learned in the previous episode that the PC project was virtually out of funding. But now Bosworth seems to be comfortable dishing out thousands of dollars for shrimp cocktail at a Cardiff-sponsored party at COMDEX. 

Here's when we learn about illegal move number one. Law enforcement suddenly shows up at Cardiff and immediately arrests Bosworth. It's completely unclear what he's being arrested for. That is until Joe corners Cameron--yes Cameron--and gets her to explain how she helped Bosworth embezzle money. It was all too easy to hack into Nathan Cardiff's bank account, she tells Joe. Whoa, things just got serious.  

Meanwhile, law enforcement tells everyone to get out. They're shutting the place down. They go around collecting evidence, including the Giant. But little do they know that sneaky Gordon had time to remove and hide the innards of the PC. Crime number two. 

Bosworth, Cameron, and now Gordon. Just about everyone is revealing themselves to be a capable criminal--and it's pretty exciting. Crime number three occurs when, in the middle of the night, Gordon breaks into Cardiff, which is now the scene of an investigation, to steal the computer parts he had hidden.

Donna, perhaps the only sane one left on the show, is beside herself when she sees Gordon with the parts in their garage. Gordon is in a frenzied state, moving about wildly and insisting on taking the Giant to COMDEX. Looking at Donna, you know exactly what she's thinking: she needs to get as far away from this guy as possible.

To his face, Donna tells Gordon that she is behind him. Yet, after he leaves to go find Cameron and Joe, Donna calls her mother and asks her to take the girls tomorrow. Donna has to have a conversation with Gordon, and their daughters can't be there when she does.  

Meanwhile, Gordon is unsuccessful in his attempt to get the gang back together. He finds Cameron all right. But no Joe. 

That's because Joe has flown up to New York, the home of IBM--and the home of Joe's father. For the first time on the show, the two are in the same room at the same time.  

Joe seems to turn into a brooding and helpless 15-year-old when he's around his dad. It's no wonder, though. It seems like Joe's commanding father has exercised control over Joe for most of his life. It is clear, however, that MacMillian Sr. cares a lot about Joe. That's why when Joe asks to be made head of IBM's portable PC project, MacMillian Sr. doesn't hesitate. He'll figure out how to make it happen. 

When Joe arrives back in Texas to pack up his things, he finds Gordon and Cameron hanging out in his apartment, you know, just shooting the breeze. The three of them are going to go to COMDEX, Cameron and Gordon giddily tell Joe.

Understandably, they're less giddy when Joe tells them he's going back to IBM. Gordon gets slightly hysterical and starts throwing insults at Joe. After Gordon calls him a coward, Joe looks about ready to throw a punch. 

Gordon tells him to bring that anger to COMDEX. He explains to Joe that he stole the Giant. Suddenly Joe is listening. Judging from the smile on his face, he seems to be warming to the idea of joining them in Las Vegas. After all, he can't argue with Gordon's logic for attending: Cardiff will have no trouble standing out from all of the other computer companies on the showroom floor, given the scandal that just went down.

After Joe sells his car for a little extra cash, the gang is ready to hit the road. Gordon just has to return home to say goodbye to Donna. He has no clue what fate awaits him there. 

Gordon walks into his house and Donna is sitting at the kitchen table with her wedding ring in a box. This was a ring that Gordon had recently bought her. Up until this point, he hadn't been able to afford to give her one. This gift was supposed to be a surprise, but Donna had found it while Gordon was out of the house.

Good thing she did because it inspires her to pull a complete 180. She's coming to COMDEX, too, she tells Gordon. The four pile into the car. While it's highly unlikely that this usually volatile group will be singing kumbaya all the way to Vegas, we're at least hopeful that they'll all get there in one piece.

IMAGE: Courtesy AMC
Last updated: Jul 21, 2014

LAURA MONTINI | Staff Writer

Laura Montini is a reporter at Inc. She previously covered health care technology for Health 2.0 News and has served as an associate editor at The Health Care Blog. She lives in San Francisco.




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