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Halt and Catch Fire Review: The Supporting Cast Gets Some of the Limelight

Elizabeth Harper | 17 Jun 2014 12:00
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At the end of the day Gordon is on his way home, carpooling with that same negative Nancy who's talking incessantly while Gordon stares out the window in thought. Surprise: our driver is spending his time talking when he should be watching the road. Remember to drive safe, kids. They're sideswiped by an oncoming car, sending them spinning. Gordon, with blood dripping down his face, looks dazed while his coworker starts laying blame on the trees that reduce nearby visibility. Though it's apparently taken a car wreck to help Gordon find a backbone, he tells his coworker that he's fired and gets out of the car and walks away -- it's the best (and definitely the most confident) management decision he's made so far.

While Gordon's busy with hardware, Joe's spending his day trying to line up new money for the ailing Cardiff with a New York venture capitalist. Joe's boss, John, unhappy at being cut out of the prospect sinks the deal by cutting into Joe's practiced sales pitch by laying on some over-the-top southern charm, explaining that Cardiff might not have the financials but it has heart and can-do Texas spirit -- which may be true, but doesn't sell the VC. Head honcho Nathan Cardiff has to break up this turf war, asserting that while Joe is the vision guy, John makes the financial decisions... and both Nathan and John want to talk to a local investor, Lulu.

halt and catch fire ep3 lulu

Lulu, it turns out, is not willing to give them what they want. At a dinner party, she offers terms that are poor enough Joe tells John they'd be better off going to a bank or selling to Tandy -- but John is still keen on the deal and, after Joe tells Lulu off, saying she's a "bored poisonous dilettante with time on her hands and no taste," John makes the deal anyway. But, of course, Joe has to get his way... which, in an unexpected move, he does by seducing Lulu's boyfriend. We see the two of them kissing enthusiastically before Joe tugs off his jacket, sending us to a commercial break. You can use your imagination to guess where the scene went from there... which is just what Lulu did when Joe and her boy-toy returned together.

No surprise: the deal is off... which, coincidentally, is just what Joe wanted. Yep, Joe is just that cold and calculating. He argues about the bombed deal with John -- who hasn't the faintest idea as to what's just happened -- while his very recent lover looks on from the house window behind. Could Joe get any scummier? Surely the show will find a way.

Meanwhile, Cameron, who's spent most of the episode hiding in her self-made office and avoiding everyone makes a brief appearance after everyone's fired to liberate supplies -- including a pair of bowling shoes -- from people's now-abandoned desks. Though we see her working away, she's clearly frustrated. Joe calls her and asks if she needs help and, when she tries to brush him off, he says "Do I need to come down there?" It's unclear whether this is a threat or an offer, but since Cameron turns him down we'll never know.

When Cameron does emerge long after the rest of the office is gone, she runs into John while picking through his office thinking it was empty. "Are those Lloyd's shoes?" he asks. "I heard money's tight around here, I thought I'd switch off your light." John, for his part, doesn't buy it - but the two of them spend some time talking about work, and while it's not exactly the friendliest conversation, John's lack of outright hostility is very different from how we've seen anyone else interacting with Cameron. As she makes her escape, he notes she can work here as late as she likes, but can't live here... I'm not sure if that's meant to be a kindness or not, but it rather sounds like it. Maybe getting out of the office would do her some good?

halt and catch fire ep3 cameron

When Cameron finds her first paycheck on her desk in the morning, she heads out to buy junk food... and promptly makes some new friends. Or maybe "friends." as they pestered her about whether she had any cash, I was momentarily worried they were going to mug her and the next hurdle our heroes would face would be finding Cameron dead behind a grocery store near the office. But it's not that kind of show. Instead we find that Cameron has invited them to her new place, where they drink, dance, enjoy room service, and spend Cameron's money. Though this might not have been the nudge Cameron needed, she scribbles on the bathroom mirror in lipstick, clearly taken by an idea... though she scratches it out again before leaving, her newly-made friends still enjoying themselves inside.

She arrives at Joe's apartment, babbling tech talk. She's stuck, she says, when Joe asks her why she's here. She walks into the bedroom while peeling her shirt off, leaving Joe behind her staring. Though Joe's getting a lot of action this episode, he wouldn't know a healthy relationship if it hit him in the face. Sleeping with your co-workers, whom you're manipulating into doing your bidding is pretty high on the list of creeper things that creepers do... but at least Cameron knows what she's getting into.

So what's coming up next? If the preview is to believed, more fighting, more drama, and more Donna -- and that last one I'm definitely looking forward to.

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