Season 3, Episode 3
Flipping the Switch
Tensions rise at the office as Gordon and Donna's personal life spills into work. Meanwhile, Joe meets with the MacMillan board.
Halt and Catch Fire returns Saturday, August 19 9/8c.
Gordon tinkers with his ham radio at home. Donna asks Gordon to attend weekly project meetings at Mutiny. Gordon worries that Donna is inviting him because she thinks he has nothing to do, but she assures him that she’s inviting him because he’s an asset.
Ryan attends a party at Joe’s house and asks what kind of work Joe has in mind for him. Joe points out that Ryan is the one who came to him. Ryan says he has ideas but figures Joe will want help building the 2.0 user version of his anti-virus software. “Is that what you think I’m looking for?” Joe asks.
A voice transmits over Gordon’s ham radio, but nobody is home to hear it.
Ryan arrives home to find Cameron waiting for him in his living room. She warns him against working for Joe and invites him back to Mutiny. Ryan opts to stay with Joe.
At a Mutiny project meeting, Gordon offers Donna, Cameron and Bosworth his input about the Swap Meet buyout. He also suggests they replace Ryan with Tom, since Tom originally wrote the code for Ryan’s section. When Donna shoots down his ideas, Gordon complains that no one is listening to him. Donna explains that a lot happened at Mutiny while he was off “doing other things.” Gordon erupts, stating that he only cheated on her once and storms out.
In the bullpen, Gordon tells Donna that he’s tired of being punished for his affair. Donna explains that she simply stonewalled his coder suggestion because Tom is Cameron’s ex-boyfriend.
Gordon guzzles beer at home and hears a voice on his ham radio.
Donna meets with Diane for lunch and explains that Bosworth is delivering the buyout offer to Swap Meet that afternoon.
Joe stops by Ryan’s cubicle and tells him to stop working on 2.0. Ryan asks why Joe even hired him. “I’m beginning to wonder that myself,” Joe says.
Gordon vents to his radio acquaintance about Donna but signs off when Cameron comes home. Cameron assures him that Donna never told her about his infidelity.
Donna drops off the offer letter with Bosworth. Bosworth tells her that Gordon cares for her and that other men have done worse things than Gordon. “It’s hard to turn that into good news,” she responds.
Without notice, Joe orders Ryan to attend a senior staff meeting.
Diane joins Bosworth at the Swap Meet office to tender the offer. They observe that the office is quiet and the parking lot empty. Doug and Craig, the founders of Swap Meet, greet them in the reception area. To Doug’s surprise, Diane requests a tour of the offices.
Doug and Craig show Diane and Bosworth around the deserted Swap Meet offices. Doug claims that most of the staff is at home after pulling an all-nighter.
In a conference room, Joe asks his senior team when they should release 2.0. A staffer says they can have the discs in a matter of months but wonders when to start charging. Joe asks Ryan’s opinion. Ryan points out that Joe told the public he would be distributing the software for free. Ken Diebold, a senior executive, shoots down Ryan’s input. The team arrives at a fee of $14.95. Joe again asks Ryan’s opinion. Ryan passively agrees to the fee.
Gordon apologizes to Cameron and says he didn’t know Tom was her ex. She accepts his apology and points out that she co-wrote the code with Tom.
Realizing that they grossly overvalued Swap Meet, Bosworth rips up the offer letter and begins to walk out. With Diane’s help, Bosworth bargains Doug and Craig down to a price point that’s nearly half the amount they’d been planning to offer.
In the parking lot, Diane points out that Bosworth’s bold tactic could have easily backfired. “But it didn’t,” he says. She smiles and gets in her car.
Ryan stops by Joe’s office and insists they distribute the user version for free. Joe points out that he has a board and investors to answer to, but Ryan says Joe would be ruining the product.
At home, Joe works on a coding assignment at his computer. He puts on a baseball cap and leaves.
Joe attends night classes at a local college and spots Cameron, who’s giving a guest lecture that evening.
Donna arrives home and sees Gordon waiting for her.
After her lecture, Cameron finds Joe waiting for her outside. He thanks her for destroying his career because it allowed him to rise from the ashes. She laughs when he says he’s taking coding classes after getting tired of being called a salesman who couldn’t code. She calls his humility an act and leaves.
Cameron, Donna, Gordon and Bosworth discuss Mutiny business, and Donna apologizes for the scene between her and Gordon during the last meeting. Cameron insists on performing Ryan’s old duties rather than bring in a new coder. Gordon argues that she’s already spread thin. The group quarrels.
Joe stops by Ryan’s cubicle and announces they will work together out of his house, starting the next day. He says they’ll need to find a new income stream if he’s not going to charge for 2.0. Ryan smiles after finally being heard.