halt-and-catch-fire-episode-210-post-gordon-mcnairy-joe-pace-800x600

Season 2, Episode 10

Heaven Is a Place

When the Clark family descends into crisis, Gordon helps Joe; Cameron envisions a new future for Mutiny.

Show Full Recap

Full Recap

Joe speeds down the highway, still wearing his wedding ring. His gaze is distant however, troubled.

At Westgroup, Jesse briefs Jacob on the extent of the damage caused by the Sonaris virus that Cameron unleashed on their network of computers. Jesse says that the board of directors has decided not to take action against Joe — making Jacob, who shepherded the energy company into tech., the public scapegoat.

At a law firm, Joe asks to speak with Sara before signing their divorce papers. While waiting, he glances at a business magazine cover, “Wheeler Out at Westgroup, CEO’s foray into tech backfires,” confirming the fallout of Cameron’s actions.

Meanwhile, Mutiny is back on its feet with a new network. Cameron walks Donna through a new interface which applies a games approach to Community. Yo Yo, who has rejoined the team, reports on the company’s recent growth and expansion. A fax from Telenet, Mutiny’s new network screams into the office.

A lawyer tells Joe that there has been a misunderstanding. Sara already signed the papers that morning. Defeated and with his last hopes of a reconciliation dashed, Joe signs the document, finalizing his divorce.

Cameron informs Donna that Telenet, Mutiny’s new network partner, is increasing their rates and complains that they will never have total control of Mutiny as long as they’re beholden to someone else’s network. Donna shrugs it off, accepting it as part of the business.

Gordon attends a group therapy session but refuses to take it seriously. Donna, who has come to pick Gordon up, secretly observes him as he makes a mockery of the proceedings.

Back in his truck, a disheartened Joe accelerates, closes his eyes and lets go of the steering wheel. Perhaps he is testing the waters of oblivion, but when a car honks, he re-clutches the wheel and opens his eyes.

At breakfast, Joanie acts out, prompting a confrontation with Donna in which Gordon’s fight with his brother Henry is revealed. The girls reluctantly admit that they had to spend the night in a motel. Donna, unsure of what to make of this news, decides against confronting Gordon when he finally appears in the kitchen.

Joe meets with Timothy Bondham, the venture capitalist who recently met with Mutiny, to seek funding for a new business. He quickly realizes however that Bondham only wants to ask him about the Westgroup debacle and his meltdown at Cardiff Electric. “I’ve never met a legitimate psychopath before,” Bondham marvels. Joe stands up and walks out.

Cameron excitedly shows Donna a listing for a used IBM mainframe that could serve as Mutiny’s in-house network. Donna points out that the machine is prohibitively expensive, old and located in California. Cameron accepts these truths but is undeterred.

Joe stops by Gordon’s garage to give his former partner a gift — a PROM from the IBM PC they reverse-engineered together. Joe tells Gordon he's been using it as a touchstone to keep himself grounded. Sensing how troubled Joe is, Gordon offers to help him make things right at Westgroup Energy but Joe declines and departs.

At Mutiny, Cameron grows pensive when she overhears coders talking about Tom. Lev urges her to call her former flame.

At home, Gordon expresses his disgust with Cameron for destroying Joe’s life so needlessly. Donna reminds Gordon of what Joe was like when they worked together at Cardiff Electric and admits that she helped devise the plan to plant the virus at Westgroup. As their argument escalates, Gordon tells Donna he had an affair in California. “Maybe this has been broken for a long time and we’re the only ones that don’t know it,” he says. At the height of the argument, they see Joanie run to her room and slam the door, having witnessed the entire fight.

Donna goes to work early and tells Cameron that her marriage might not last. Cameron listens sympathetically before proposing that they purchase the IBM mainframe and relocate to California for a fresh start.

Gordon stops by Joe’s apartment to drop off Tabula Rasa, a program that will eradicate Sonaris from infected machines and also inoculate them from future infection. Gordon urges Joe to use the program to get Sara back. “You’re a good man,” he tells his former partner. They embrace and Joe seems galvanized.

At a company lunch with James, Bosworth regales his new colleagues with a war story from the old days. They eat it up, and his new boss hints that Bosworth will rise quickly through the corporate ranks. As his colleagues and son swap jokes however, Bosworth zones out, disenchanted with the step backwards he has seemingly taken.

Gordon barges into the Mutiny House and tells Donna that he can’t find Joanie. After a harried search, they finally find her in the backyard playhouse. Donna and Gordon comfort Joanie and assure her she wasn’t the cause of their fight. After she leaves, Donna agrees that the marriage isn’t working and lays out the steps they will have to take if Gordon hopes to change this: Gordon will write a check to purchase the IBM mainframe, which he will help his wife fix up in California, where he will work for Mutiny. “I want you to work with me,” she says, concluding that following two separate dreams has torn them apart.

Joe strides into Bondham’s office and loads Sonaris onto his computer. He lets Bondham twist in the wind for a minute as the virus begins to spread before calmly inserting a new disk — Tabula Rasa — into the floppy drive, and returning the computer to normal. Joe pitches the idea of an anti-virus software company, saying organizations will be ravenous to protect themselves against such attacks in the wake of what Sonaris did to Westgroup. “Real security means trusting no one,” he concludes.

Joe excitedly calls Gordon to invite him to partner up on the anti-virus software ideas as funded by Stokes Capital. Before Joe can give Gordon the news however, Gordon tells him he’s going to work for Mutiny in California. Crushed and betrayed, Joe slams the phone down.

One month later, Cameron stops by Tom’s house and invites him to relocate to California with her and the rest of Mutiny. She gives him an airline ticket for their flight that night, and says that she hopes he’ll decide to come.

The Mutiny team boards a California-bound plane. As the Clark family settles into their seats, Gordon throws out the idea of having another baby out west. Donna excuses herself and breaks down in the bathroom, the weight of all they’ve been through finally catching up with her.

Bosworth boards the plane, eliciting cheers from everyone. Cameron smiles but grows sad as the flight attendant closes the door and she realizes that Tom isn't getting on.

Gordon browses a magazine and sees an article: “MacMillan Utility Nets 10 Million Backing For New ‘Anti-Virus’ Software Venture.” Gordon swears out loud as he realizes that Joe stole Tabula Rasa and is poised to make a fortune off of his idea.

A real estate broker walks Joe through palatial, high-end office space in the Bay Area. “I’ll take it,” Joe says. Here he will build his empire. Joe stands at a window overlooking San Francisco. Reflexively he goes to touch his wedding ring, but it is long gone. Joe confronts his reflection only to find the slick, dangerous and highly-motivated “old Joe” staring back at him. He tried being good, but that’s over now.