"Contrail? You're naming it after the exhaust that comes out of the back of a plane?"
In episode seven of Halt and Catch Fire, the show turns a dark corner. Rather than joke about Gordon's questionable mental stability, it's time to hope that he gets help.
Once again, Joe indicates that Gordon will have to redesign the entire PC. (However, it's not clear if the first redesign to accommodate Cameron's changes to the OS was ever completed.) Cardiff has commissioned an industrial designer to help shape their prototype into a household friendly-looking PC. Accordingly, the designer throws Gordon's specs out the window and decides to do his own thing.
Just who does this design wizard think he is? Well, he's an old flame of Joe's, which apparently gets you a lot of leverage at Cardiff. Simon is dark, handsome and confident. Kind of like Joe, though a little more approachable since he has the sensitive artist thing going on.
As you probably guessed, Simon's re-entry into Joe's life immediately introduces complications. Cameron doesn't care, or at least pretends not to care, that the two "humped across Europe," in her words. But Simon is furious with Joe when he learns about Cameron. He had likely agreed to take on the project with the hope that he and Joe would get back together.
Simon angrily leaves the meeting with Joe and Gordon, erasing any hope that he'll help them out. In turn, Joe shouts at Gordon for making a big stink about the specs. Their inability to get along is getting exasperating.
While Joe and Bosworth try to court another designer during a meeting at a strip club (classy), Cameron sets out to win Simon back for Cardiff. It's hard to tell whether she's just trying to be the calm, cool, and so-not-jealous girlfriend or if she really believes that Simon is the best designer for the project.
In any case, she throws on a chic outfit (Cameron cleans up nicely!) and tracks Simon down at a photography event. Rather than talk business, Simon wants to discuss matters of the heart. He tells Cameron that the reason things ended with Joe was because Joe got bored.
While she might think what she and Joe have is different, Simon tells her earnestly, Joe will do the same thing to her. Cameron is done with this guy. She turns her back on him and heads to the bar.
Joe's business meeting at the strip club was unsuccessful, so he, too, shows up at the gallery and tries again to persuade Simon to work with Cardiff. No luck. Simon can't get past the fact that Joe is dating Cameron. But the three split a cab home anyway. At this point, Cameron is drunk and sloppy.
Joe walks Simon to the hotel door, and the two share a moment. Simon reveals that he's sick, and Joe looks stricken with sadness. Suddenly, Simon does a 180; he will design the PC.
The two embrace as Cameron watches from afar, and starts crying in the back of the cab. When Joe gets in, she asks him if he's going to get bored of her. "I don't know," he says, while putting his arms around her. Wow. That hurts. But at least he doesn't lie.
This whole time, Gordon's been battling his inner demons. Donna's on a business trip, so he's responsible for watching the girls at home. As you can imagine, he's been doing a super job with that. In between beers, he deeply cuts his hand with a knife. The house is nice and spotted with blood for Donna to clean up when she gets home.
Before putting his girls to sleep, Gordon tells them a bedtime story. It's a sob story about Joe invading Gordon's life, coercing him into building a PC and then Joe passing off the creation as his own. Except the characters have different names and they are building a giant instead of a PC. (Wait, what? How do you build a giant?)
After Gordon thinks the girls have gone to bed, he finds them in the back yard digging a hole. In a scene that would seamlessly fit in a horror movie, he stands over them and reluctantly asks what they're doing. They're looking for the giant, they tell him.
Donna comes home in the middle of the night to an even more unsettling but absurd sight. The girls are asleep on the floor of their bloodstained house. Donna violently shakes her daughter awake and asks where Gordon is. He's in the backyard, her daughter tells her.
Donna walks out to find Gordon standing in the middle of a perfectly dug hole about the size of a grave. She asks him what he's doing.
"I'm looking for the giant." he tells her.