Season 4, Episode 2
Signal to Noise
Joe and Cameron talk on the phone. Donna promotes her assistant. Gordon's business buckles under pressure from a larger competitor.
Halt and Catch Fire returns Saturday, August 19 9/8c.
On the phone, Cameron tells Joe that Tom left her after meeting someone else. She asks Joe to fill her in on what she missed while living in Japan. Joe updates her on headlines from recent years then describes an incident that he recently witnessed in a parking lot. Cameron relaxes on the bed and lays the phone receiver near her face, listening to Joe speak until she falls asleep.
Cameron wakes up with the phone receiver next to her. A kettle whistles on the other end of the line. Joe, who never hung up, tells her that he’s making tea.
Donna promotes her assistant Tanya and makes her team leader on Rover. She instructs Tanya to set Rover up in the incubator and find an assistant to replace her. Tanya thanks Donna.
Haley skips school and plays chess at a fast food restaurant. A teacher spots her playing hooky.
Cameron and Joe discuss American and Japanese TV shows. Cameron reveals that she was on TV after winning a beauty pageant at age 11. She explains that her mother signed her up for pageants, even though she hated them. A hotel employee knocks on her door and hands her a note from Gavin, an Atari PR executive. Cameron reads it, tosses it aside and resumes her call with Joe.
Gordon lectures Haley in the back of a town car. As they arrive at CalNect, Haley bursts into tears. Shep, one of Gordon’s employees, walks up to the car and alerts Gordon that they have an emergency.
Inside, Shep informs Gordon that the new flat-fee model is encouraging users to stay logged on all day, resulting in busy signals for other customers trying to log on. He says customer service calls have spiked. Gordon tells Shep to get MCI on the phone but Shep says none of their MCI contacts are available.
Gordon sets Haley up in his office and asks her to input all the URLs from Joe’s Post-Its into an Excel spreadsheet.
Gordon talks to Donna on the phone about Haley’s crying episode. He assures Donna he can handle it.
At AGGE, Bosworth pitches an idea to Donna about creating a GPS receiver at lower price points. Donna is underwhelmed but offers to look into it.
Joe reads a passage from John Updike’s Pigeon Feathers and Other Stories to Cameron, leading to a discussion about their spiritual beliefs. Joe mentions that his father died and that his death caused him to rethink his aversion to having children. Cameron says that she tried having kids with Tom and that she was relieved when she wasn’t able to conceive.
Donna complains to Diane about Trip Kisker, the new partner at AGGE — now AGGEK. Diane asks Donna for her honest opinion of Bosworth’s pitch and says that Bosworth is just looking for something to keep himself busy.
Shep informs Gordon that the only person he was able to reach at MCI was an interim manager. As customer service calls escalate, Gordon orders Shep to get Jon Volpi, their regular MCI contact, on the phone.
Joe starts to tell Cameron about his indexing idea. Gavin stops by Cameron’s room and informs her that they’re postponing the release of “Pilgrim” indefinitely.
Cameron reels from the news and tells Joe that Gavin needs a quote for Atari’s press release. Joe offers to help write it.
Donna and Diane attend a meeting with all the AGGEK partners. They drink champagne to welcome Trip to the team then move on to business. Elias Amador proposes they put web businesses on the back burner given the failure of their browser project. Donna interjects and says that Rover will be working on a low-risk, high-reward project to index the entire web. Trip hesitates at the idea of Tanya leading the team, leading the other partners to do the same. They insist on bringing in an outside consultant. Donna offers to call her own person in.
Bosworth stops by CalNect and asks Gordon for a loan after losing money in a bad investment. Gordon insists that Bosworth ask Diane for the money, despite Bosworth’s concern that it will end their relationship. Bosworth adds that he’s 65 years old. “This can’t be my last thing,” he says. After Bosworth leaves, Gordon looks at the computer screen where Haley has been working.
Gordon calls Haley over and raves about her personal website, which she left on the screen. Shep informs Gordon that he has MCI on the phone.
Joe dictates a PR statement to Cameron. He gives her a pep talk and expresses his awe over her ability to make something out of nothing.
Gordon, Shep and several CalNect employees speak with Jon Volpi on speaker phone. Jon declares that MCI has no more bandwidth to provide them and ends the phone call. Gordon realizes that MCI is starting their own ISP.
Gordon stares out at the bullpen and zeroes in on Haley working in his office.
Joe and Cameron talk into the night. Cameron revels at the moon. Joe tells her that the hill is blocking his view of the moon.
Someone knocks on Cameron’s hotel door: It’s Joe. He walks into Cameron’s hotel room.
At work, Donna informs Tanya that there’s been a slight change of plans.
Tanya exits the elevator with a look of disappointment on her face.
Bosworth regales the Rover team with a humorous anecdote. Tanya enters the room and distributes a list of goals.
Joe and Cameron walk into a diner and look at the menu. “Do you know what you want?” he asks. Cameron looks at him.