Season 1, Episode 7
When a person from Joe's past visits, his connection with Cameron is threatened.
Halt and Catch Fire is currently not in season.
Gordon slowly approaches the electrocuted body he saw during Hurricane Alicia. As he nears it, the face comes into focus and he realizes... it is his own. Gordon startles awake in bed to the sounds of Joanie and Haley crying in the next room. Donna, concerned, tells him he was screaming in his sleep.
Elsewhere in the building, Cardiff's accountant, Alan, tells Bosworth that the PC division is operating at a deficit that will take the rest of the company down by the end of next week. Bosworth instructs him to keep Cardiff's financial trouble between the two of them, then ruefully watches as Joe and Cameron carelessly abscond to the Kill Room, giggling.
Inside the Kill Room, Joe and Cameron admire the nascent machine over their TV dinners. Joe gets an idea, and turns up the voltage on a live current, shocking himself. He offers his hand to Cameron, who accepts it, allowing the electric charge to run through both of them. They make love.
Afterwards, Joe answers an unexpected phone call in his office. "I would love to see you, work with you on this," he tells the caller, shutting the door as a suspicious Cameron listens in.
The next morning, Gordon rehearses a pep talk for the engineers before his bedroom mirror. He barely listens to Donna, who recites a laundry list of items to remember while she's on her overnight business trip - prepping him for his night alone with the girls.
At a QA meeting, the engineers grumble that Cameron's expanded OS has slowed down the PC's boot time, increased its weight, and compromised what was great about it.
Joe tells Bosworth that he's hired a new industrial designer to design the case and asks him to cancel a meeting with Kenny, their original local designer.
When Joe walks into his office, he finds Cameron relaxing with her feet on his desk. He chides her for stealing his car that morning, stopping short when he finds a man sitting on his couch. Joe stiffly greets Simon Church, the new designer, and an old friend of Joe's. When Simon leaves, Joe closes the door and yells at Cameron for acting unprofessionally in front of one of the industry's top talents.
In the ensuing meeting, Joe fawns over Simon's case sketches but Gordon refuses to redesign the entire PC again in order to "fit the suit." Upon learning that Joe has already decided on a name for the PC, "The Contrail," Gordon screams, "You're naming it after the exhaust that comes out of the back of a plane?"
"It's about soaring, leaving the competition in the dust," Joe explains.
"Contrail is the dust! Why don't you just call it the Cardiff Giant?!" Gordon storms out.
Cameron watches Joe follow Simon to the elevators. "What's with the girl?" Simon asks, concluding that he never should have come.
Joe yells at Gordon for chasing Simon away, accusing the engineer of sabotaging the meeting because of his own shortcomings.
Donna and Hunt check in to the hotel. She expresses excitement at being on a business trip and having someone make breakfast for her. Hunt doesn't share her enthusiasm about their upcoming presentation: "Execs at this level?” he says. “They wanna hear what they wanna hear."
Gordon goes home and capriciously trashes the frozen lasagna that Donna prepared, announcing that he and the girls will be making their own dinner together. The girls are excited for their night with Daddy.
In his office, Bosworth stares at a divorce petition from his wife. Joe barges in and says they need Kenny back.
Donna and Hunt present an analysis report to TI executives. The presentation is going badly when Donna blurts out that TI should drop their PC from the product list. Hunt, taken aback, recovers and concurs with her. After the meeting, she apologizes for speaking out of turn, but Hunt commends her for vocalizing an idea that they’d all been toying with for months. He proposes a celebratory dinner on the company's dime.
As Gordon prepares an old family recipe stew, Debbie calls on behalf of Joe. Gordon hangs up the phone and continues cooking. A bit out of sorts, Gordon notices that the kitchen faucet is dripping.
At home, Joe tells Cameron he's skipping a photography exhibit with Simon in order to woo Kenny back at a strip club. At Cameron's prodding, he admits that he and Simon had a month-long fling ten years ago. Joe apologizes for snapping at her, telling Cameron that Simon "just messes me up." After he leaves, Cameron stares thoughtfully at Simon's sketches for the computer, mulling Joe's words.
At the strip club, Joe and Bosworth try to hire Kenny back. Kenny mocks them by doubling his initial asking price, knowing that he has them over a barrel.
Cameron tracks Simon down at the photo exhibit and asks him to reconsider building Cardiff's PC case. Simon tells her that he loved Joe, but Joe got bored of him. "Please don't make the mistake of thinking that he won't do the same thing to you eventually," Simon warns.
Donna calls Gordon as he drunkenly tries to fix the kitchen faucet. He rants about Joe's new case design and abruptly ends the conversation when he cuts his hand.
Meanwhile, Kenny finally agrees to design the case and then calls Joe "queer" for barely noticing the strippers. Bosworth punches Kenny, who had been getting under his skin all night, and asks Joe if they can still get Simon.
At bedtime, still a bit unhinged, Gordon tells Joanie and Haley the true story of the "Cardiff Giant" - about a farmer in Cardiff, NY, who buried a fake giant in his field, unearthed it, and became briefly famous charging admission to see it. That is, until P.T. Barnum – an "expert salesman" -- built his own giant. "Everyone forgot about the farmer," Gordon concludes bitterly. "And he was left in the dust."
Over dinner, Donna tells Hunt that Gordon's work on the PC has strained their relationship. "You are incredible," he reassures her, taking her hand. The moment passes, and when the restaurant's piano player takes a break, Hunt encourages her to take over. She smiles and sits at the bench. A diner compliments her, and asks her name. "Susan Fairchild," she tells him.
Back at the office, Bosworth asks Nathan Cardiff for a personal bridge loan to sustain the PC division. "In five years, everyone could have one of these in their house," he says. Nathan tells Bosworth he's been brainwashed and refuses to contribute any more money.
Joe arrives at the photo exhibit and tries to convince Simon to design the case. But once he notices that Cameron is there, drunk, and in need of his assistance, he has a change of heart, saying the case doesn't matter since Cameron made a brilliant machine.
After dinner, Hunt and Donna share a moment during their elevator ride to their respective rooms and Hunt encourages Donna to step up and be bold more often.
Gordon finds the girls in the backyard, digging for the giant. He tries to explain that it was just a story, but the girls won't listen. "I’m gonna show you," he says quite affected, running toward the garage.
Hunt knocks on Donna's hotel room door. Assuming he is there to follow up on their elevator flirtation, Donna takes initiative and kisses him, but Hunt pulls back, surprised, and reveals that he has only come to deliver a fax from Gordon. Mortified, Donna calls a car rental agency so she can drive home that night.
Back in his office, Bosworth signs the divorce petition. He reads a Newsweek cover story about a group of programmers that hacked into Los Alamos National Labs computers. Inspired, he makes a phone call.
Joe, Cameron, and Simon share a cab home from the photography exhibit. Outside his hotel, Simon tells Joe that he has AIDS and only came to say good-bye. He agrees to design Cardiff’s case.
From the cab, Cameron sees Simon kiss Joe, misunderstands, and orders the driver to leave. Joe runs after the cab, catches up, and gets in. "Are you gonna get bored of me?" Cameron asks tearfully. "I don’t know," Joe says, holding her close, the most honest answer he can give.
Donna arrives home to find the house a huge and disconcerting mess. Frantically searching for Gordon, she goes to the backyard, where he is manically digging a massive pit. “What are you doing?” she asks, panicked.
"I’m looking for the giant," Gordon says, glassy-eyed.