Season 2, Episode 2
Joe begins a new job after meeting Sara's father; Gordon grapples with his newfound freedom.
Halt and Catch Fire is currently not in season.
Joe and Sara are in Dallas to visit Sara’s father Jacob Wheeler, head of Westgroup Energy, a Texas oil giant. After regaling Joe with stories of his humble beginnings, Jacob offers Joe a job at his company. Joe explains that he isn’t interested in working in oil - tech is where true innovation lies. Jacob reminds him that with his checkered past and abysmal references, he’d have a hard time landing a job selling waffle irons. Joe silently acknowledges that Jacob has a point and considers the job offer.
At the Clark House, Gordon capably and a bit manically gets the girls ready for school as he elucidates to Donna all the things he’s planning to do now that he's no longer working at Cardiff. But Donna is distracted by and stressed out in anticipation of a meeting with a venture capital firm. Gordon reminds her that she always killed her presentations at TI, “This is going to be no different,” he assures her.
At Mutiny, Donna excitedly shows Cameron “Mutiny Community.” When the first user signs on, Donna communicates that Community has “No game, just chat.” To her disappointment, the user signs off without responding. Cameron warns Donna not to waste too many hours on the side project. They’re interrupted by Bosworth showing up at Mutiny to the delight of the coders. When he asks where he’s going to sit, Donna realizes that Cameron hired Bosworth without consulting her.
Gordon visits a doctor and notes his recent nosebleed. When pressed, Gordon admits that he had a few wild nights doing cocaine while working on the Giant. The doctor admonishes him and reminds him of the severe consequences of drug use.
Outside Mutiny, Donna yells at Cameron for using their scarce resources to hire Bosworth, an out-of-step ex-convict. Cameron insists that Bosworth can handle the managerial side of the company that neither of them wants to deal with. Cameron puts her foot down, “He stays.”
In his garage, Gordon assembles his dream lab and then sits in front of a computer, waiting for inspiration to strike. Daunted by the lack of direction, he takes out a vial of leftover cocaine and snorts a line.
Back in Austin, Joe admits to Sara that his other leads on jobs haven’t panned out and that he’s seriously considering her father’s job offer. With some palpable hesitation, Sara agrees to move to Dallas so that Joe can take the job, if that’s what he wants.
Gordon, still in his garage with little to do, dials into Mutiny and begins playing Tank Battle. He immediately becomes frustrated with the game’s timing. He calls Stan and invites him over to consult.
Later, Cameron stands in the Stokes Capital lobby awaiting their meeting with Timothy Bondham, a venture capitalist. When Donna arrives dressed in a conservative skirt-suit from her days at Texas Instruments, Cameron clocks their difference in appearance and second-guesses what she wore – as does Donna. Once engaged in their meeting, however, it becomes apparent that none of it matters as Bondham expresses skepticism about Mutiny’s viability and a woman’s ability to prioritize work over children. Furious, Cameron asks, "Are you going to give us the money or not?"
Joe arrives for his first day of work at Westgroup Energy, but to his surprise, they direct him to a musty basement where he's been assigned a low-level data entry job.
In a heated Tank Battle session with Stan, Gordon, who has continued to take cocaine, angrily vents about a gunfire delay that’s causing him to repeatedly lose. He asks Stan to pick up the girls from school so that he can alert Donna to the glitch. When Stan points out he hasn’t seen the girls in years, Gordon hands him a photo to reference.
At Mutiny, Bosworth returns to his desk to find himself pranked by the coders, who left him a bar of soap and a license plate. “Very clever,” Bosworth says, looking out of his element.
Gordon barges in and shows Yo Yo and Lev the problem with Tank Battle. He explains that they should timestamp each user’s input and reorder them so it truly reflects who shot first. As they’re working on the fix, Donna gets a phone call from their daughters’ Principal, who thought Stan was trying to kidnap the girls. Yo Yo and Lev agree to keep Gordon’s irresponsible parenting a secret from Donna if he buys them pizza and soda for a month.
Donna and Cameron return from their venture capital meeting empty-handed. To make matters worse, Yo Yo and Lev alert them that someone cloned Parallax and is giving it away for free – that someone is a Mutiny subscriber – Tom Rendon.
Cameron and Donna confront Tom and threaten legal action. Unfazed, he offers to show them how to improve Parallax. Though his know-how impresses them, they decline his offer and tell him to stop ripping off their games.
Meanwhile, in Mutiny, Lev opens a deeply personal letter that Bosworth wrote to Cameron from prison and reads it aloud to the coders. Bosworth walks in on him and insists that Lev finish. Cameron shows up as well, and yells at Lev.
Back in the garage, Gordon asks Stan if he’ll work with him on his next project, but Stan says he’s moving to Northern California. As they play another round of Tank Battle, Gordon is surprised to find the gunfire delay is even worse.
The Mutiny coders also notice the increased delay. They quickly realize that there are more users on the network than are accounted for. In fact, someone hacked into their system to allow multiple users to login under one account. It’s none other than Tom Rendon. Cameron confronts Tom at his house and reasons that he hacked their network because he loves their games. Tom dismissively tells Cameron to call him when she wants his help, which leads her to make an unexpected offer.
Back at Mutiny, Donna finds out that Cameron hired Tom. She threatens to leave Mutiny if Cameron keeps making unilateral decisions.
Joe calls Sara and tells her about his first day. Sara apologizes, convinced her father is punishing Joe for the deeds of her ex-husband, who had sold him on some bad deals and lost him several million dollars. Joe reasons that he’s testing him and assures Sara that he can handle her father.
At home, Donna thanks Gordon for fixing Tank Battle and tells him about Tom’s software PBX, a method that allows 50 users to play on a single phone line. “That would be huge,” Gordon marvels, wondering how many potential users Mutiny could attract. He sprints to the garage to devise a way to track this data and map their network, excitedly noting it could help Mutiny get funding.
In the Mutiny backyard, Cameron tells Bosworth how much his letters from prison meant to her. He asks why she signed her last one "Catherine." Cameron confides to Bosworth that Cameron was actually her father's name and she started using it after he died. Bosworth then thanks Cameron for her generosity, but admits that he’s not quite ready to work at Mutiny, and that he needs some time to himself.
Meanwhile, back at Westgroup Energy, Jacob Wheeler receives a gift-wrapped waffle iron. “Thank you for the opportunity,” his secretary reads from an unsigned note. “I know who it’s from,” Wheeler affirms.
Back in the garage turned dream lab, Gordon is awash in purpose, coding wildly. He spots the vial of cocaine on his desk and decisively throws it away.