Season 3, Episode 2
One Way or Another
While Cameron and Donna struggle to find venture capital, Joe hires a key coder, leaving the rest of the team at a loss.
Halt and Catch Fire is currently not in season.
On a beach, Ryan watches someone surfing.
Joe walks down a boardwalk holding a surfboard. Ryan waits for him at the end of it. Immediately, Ryan launches into an explanation of why security is so important. Joe asks his name and proceeds to change into dry clothes, showing little interest in what Ryan is saying.
Ryan reveals he works for Mutiny. He says the MacMillan software is amazing, and he’s pulled it apart in less than a day. Joe drives off, seemingly unimpressed.
In an office, Donna, Cameron and Bos grow concerned after weeks of silence from the investor they pitched. They bemoan that, despite their great numbers, the fact that the founders are women inevitably sets them back. They get a call. It’s Tim, their broker. He lets them know that the investor’s on board and they set up a dinner for that evening.
Gordon walks around the bullpen giving coders feedback over their shoulders. They mock his dressy outfit choice. He explains he has a deposition for his lawsuit against Joe.
Bos walks in to conduct his regular meeting to clarify supply needs. He asks for an update on a particular project, prompting Ryan to slam his fists down on his desk. He tells Bos to “scribble down what we say and tell it to Cameron. She’ll know what we’re talking about, and stop wasting our time.” Bos asks him to say it to his face. Gordon intervenes before things get ugly, offering to take over the meeting.
Ryan thanks Gordon for having his back. Gordon advises him to let his work speak for itself. Ryan claims no one can see his work— that he has ideas, but Cameron and Donna aren’t listening. “What ideas?” Gordon asks.
At a restaurant, Cameron, Donna, Tim, and the investor sit around a table. The investor reveals he doesn’t plan to give them all the money they’ve asked for. He proposes doing more for less. Donna and Cameron push back as he pours champagne into their glasses. He suggests they enjoy dinner and he’ll consider writing them a big fat check in the morning. He walks out to take a call.
Donna and Cameron ask Tim why they were told the deal was a go when it really wasn’t. He apologizes for misreading the situation, adding to Donna, “nobody wears that shade of lipstick unless they have come to play.” Disgusted, Donna and Cameron walk out.
Ryan waits at MacMillan utility. Joe walks in to his office directly across from where Ryan sits in the waiting room. In his office, Joe screams from behind closed doors for the receptionist. The receptionist returns to tell Ryan that Joe’s ready to see him.
Joe asks how long it took Ryan to hack into his calendar and put a meeting on it every day at 9 a.m. “Two hours,” Ryan replies confidently. Joe gives him three minutes. Ryan asks to work at MacMillan utility. He says whatever Joe wants to do next, he’s in. He just doesn’t want to get left behind. “Your three minutes are up,” Joe says, concluding the meeting.
Donna wipes off her lipstick as she and Cameron wait for another investor meeting. A familiar face, Diane, the mother of the child Joanie fought at school, walks in. Another gentleman walks in. Skipping the pleasantries, they’re asked to launch right into it. Donna and Cameron begin their pitch, but don’t make it far before Diane cuts them off and immediately passes on the idea. They promptly end the meeting, and Donna and Cameron are left wondering what went wrong.
Gordon answers a man’s questions about the MacMillan Antivirus software while being recorded. Joe barges in and offers Gordon 50 percent of his stake in the company. There’s only one condition: Gordon must come run the company with Joe. Joe ups the offer to 60 percent. Silence. Then 70 percent.
“I don’t want to work with you, Joe.”
“I think we now know what this lawsuit is really about.” Joe says, walking out, leaving Gordon shell-shocked.
Cameron’s sprawled out on the floor looking over their Mutiny presentation as Joanie watches. Cameron’s searching for the mistake that led to their abrupt rejection from Diane. Joanie says she wishes she didn’t have to have a birthday party. Cameron tells her she doesn’t have to and asks her who’s coming to the party.
It’s the day of Joanie’s party. The doorbell rings and Donna opens the door to find Diane and her daughter Jennifer waiting with gifts. It turns out Joanie invited her. Cameron suggests they use it as an opportunity to find out what went wrong at the pitch, but Donna doesn’t want to face the humiliation again.
Ryan arrives to the party and Gordon shares some of his thoughts on how to drive his ideas forward. In attempts to convince him to use existing technology to get it done faster, he uses the Giant as an example. Ryan says he thought that the Giant was Joe MacMillan. Gordon clears up that Joe didn’t build a thing.
Donna makes her way to Diane who immediately tries to justify why they turned down the idea, basing the rejection on the mere quantity of ideas they see a week. Donna pushes, pointing out how quick the rejection was. They make their way inside to talk.
Cameron joins the conversation, and she breaks down what may have caused Diane to reject them. Diane, however, raises a reason they hadn’t thought of: There’s a company, Swap Meet, already doing the same thing.
Gordon finds Joanie standing by herself as Jennifer takes the attention of the rest of the girls at the party. He tells her he’s proud of her for being mature enough to invite Jennifer. She gets frustrated, revealing she still hates Jennifer and that Cameron paid her $20 to invite her.
Donna washes dishes in the kitchen as Cameron fills her in on what she’s learned about Swap Meet. Gordon comes in and drops hints about how he doesn’t remember inviting Jennifer. Donna, not realizing what he knows, explains proudly that their daughter invited Jennifer herself. Gordon hands Cameron $20 letting her know that he knows what she did, leaving Donna in the dark.
Ryan sits at his desk at Mutiny and the phone rings. It’s Joe. He asks him to stand up and take a long look around, to see every person in the room. Ryan does. Joe tells him to forget them because he doesn’t work for them anymore. He says to come to the office tomorrow at 9 a.m. Ryan thanks him. Joe asks him if he can do one more thing.
Donna and Cameron meet Diane at her office. Diane tries to stop the conversation before it begins, telling them she couldn’t convince her boss even if she wanted to. Now armed with information about their competitor, Swap Meet, Donna and Cameron explain they no longer want funding to compete with Swap Meet— they want to buy them out instead.
Back at Mutiny, Gordon tells Ryan he has the parts to start working on their idea, just the two of them. Ryan tells Gordon he’s going to work for Joe MacMIllan and walks away. Suddenly the lights are too bright and Gordon has to squint. He pulls out a notebook, writes down the time and logs the symptom.