Season 2, Episode 7
Working for the Clampdown
A potential sale strains Mutiny.
Halt and Catch Fire is currently not in season.
Gordon finally confides in Donna about his disease, though he downplays its severity. She offers to quit Mutiny and stay home, but he tells her he couldn’t live with himself if this derailed her work. It’s clear he’s painting a rosy picture of the truth in order to assuage her fears.
Joe and Jacob go over the final details of the Mutiny acquisition deal, building off each other’s ideas in a kind of perfect business symbiosis. Jacob gives his final stamp of approval on both the deal and Joe’s sharp acumen in putting it together. Joe, emboldened, prepares to approach Mutiny with the offer.
At Mutiny, Cameron meets Tom’s mother, Karen, over lunch. It’s a bit stilted and awkward as Karen dotes on Tom and thanks Cameron profusely for giving Tom such an amazing opportunity at Mutiny. After she leaves, Tom thanks Cameron for having lunch with his mother, as he knows she can be intense.
Tom and Cameron are interrupted by a phone call — it’s Joe, who informs Cameron that Westgroup wants to buy Mutiny. Cameron is speechless.
The next day, Cameron anxiously awaits Joe’s arrival. Donna shows up to work late and Cameron pulls her aside to confirm one last time that they’re going to turn Joe down. Donna, distracted by Gordon’s illness, asks for some time off instead. Before Cameron can really find out why, Joe walks in the front door.
Later, Cameron, Donna, and Bosworth review the acquisition offer while Joe explains that Westgroup wants to allow Mutiny to grow in its own way, all while providing the financial support and infrastructure to ensure its expansion around the globe. To Cameron’s surprise, Donna suggests they consider the proposal. Cameron overrides her and declares that they’re not interested. Joe begins to protest, but Cameron strides out into the living room and gathers the entire Mutiny staff. She stands on a desk and rabble rouses, skewing the terms of the deal in a way that suggests that signing it would mean selling out. With the coders loudly chanting in support of her decision, Cameron tears up the offer in front of Joe. He storms out of the house.
In his garage, Gordon launches his new company, Clark Computers. He describes his shrewd business plan to a team of former Cardiff Electric colleagues that now make up his new workforce: building high-end customized computers directly for clients, thus cutting out the middle man. He offers to match their current salaries if they come work for him.
Donna confides in her mother, Susan, about Gordon’s illness, but likewise paints a rosy picture of it and assures her that the effects are mild. Susan, unsatisfied, brings up Gordon’s history of odd behavior — including a time when Gordon was so nervous to ask Donna's father for her hand in marriage that he got on the wrong plane. The conversation leaves Donna doubting the future of her husband’s health and worrying about what their life together may come to look like.
At Mutiny, Cameron encourages Lev to take his online community romance to the next level and meet the man he's been chatting with in person. Meanwhile, the other coders have taped the shredded Westgroup acquisition offer back together and now glean that the deal would have earned them each raises, along with 1% of the sale price. They also learn that Cameron owns 90% of the company, even though Mutiny claims to be a business without a boss. Their refusal of the deal is looking worse and worse.
Bosworth privately meets with Joe, but tells him that everything said in the meeting will be relayed to Cameron. Joe can sense Bosworth’s interest in the acquisition and tempts him to sway Cameron by offering him a sales position at Westgroup should Mutiny agree to the terms. Bosworth demurs and infers that he actually holds less influence over Cameron these days due to her new boyfriend, Tom. At this point, Jacob Wheeler interrupts the meeting and welcomes Bosworth to the team, praising his reputation. The act of theater affects Bosworth somewhat, but he sees it for what it is. Before leaving, he tells Joe he won’t be bought, and if that’s what Cameron wants, no one at Mutiny can be either.
Donna works from home, trying to reconnect with Gordon after so much time apart. When Larry tells her Gordon just spent several thousand dollars on CPU chips for the new company, she worries he may be acting irrationally because of his illness. She asks Larry to alert her if Gordon behaves out of the ordinary.
Tom barges into Joe’s office, accusing him of trying to bribe him by dropping a copy of the acquisition offer at Tom’s house. His mother cried upon learning how much Tom would make, then cried again when she found out Mutiny was going to refuse the offer. Joe asks Tom whether it’s in Cameron’s best interest to reject the deal. Tom leaves destabilized.
Bosworth tells Cameron about his meeting with Joe. When Cameron asks if he wants to sell the company, Bosworth doesn’t answer. She then overhears the coders speculating about the sale price and reveals to them that it was five million. She tries to get them to drop it and her intimidation almost works, but Bodie remains intractable. He insists Cameron hold another vote on whether to sell the company. When several coders vote to sell, Cameron realizes that dissent in the company is more widespread than she thought. She corners Bosworth and demands he vote. He hesitates, but votes no. Tom hesitates as well, but before he can vote, they receive a phone call and find out that Lev is in the hospital.
Over dinner, Sara tries to tell her father, Jacob, that she and Joe are unhappy, but Jacob condescendingly tells Sara that too often her M.O. is to quit what she’s doing whenever things get the slightest bit uncomfortable. Joe comes to Sara’s defense, but she isn’t interested in listening to either man discuss her decisions as if she isn’t there.
Gordon and his team cheer as they successfully power up their first computer, built in just two days. Gordon begins to speak from his heart, giving the others insight into his personal feelings and dreams, but in the middle of his speech he loses track and begins talking as if they’re still working on the Giant back at Cardiff Electric. As his colleagues exchange puzzled looks, Gordon snaps out of his confusion and abruptly leaves, embarrassed, but unsure of what just happened.
At the hospital, Cameron tells Donna that Lev was beat up by a gang of men who pretended to flirt with him on Community and then lured him into a trap. Donna enters Lev’s room and is stunned by his battered face. She quietly sits by his side and takes his hand.
After dinner, Sara tells Joe that he’s backsliding instead of moving forward. Joe disagrees and feels that Sara is only frightened about their pasts repeating, but she urges him to stop meddling in other people’s companies and finally build something of his own. She drives away as he stews alone.
In the hospital waiting room, Cameron asks Tom if he planned to vote for or against selling. Tom reveals that he grew up extremely poor, but also asserts that his decision is not about money. He cares about Mutiny and he wants Mutiny to thrive, but he also defers to Cameron, telling her that Mutiny is ultimately her company and the final decision is up to her. Cameron disagrees and seems to come to her senses, saying Mutiny belongs to everyone. She tells Tom that she’s going to call Joe and tell him they’re selling.
After toasting the Mutiny acquisition, an excited Joe begins to expound upon launch plans for Mutiny’s new video game, but Jacob tells him to put a hold on the game side of the business. He cites Nintendo as a sign that cartridge consoles will continue to dominate the market and that Community holds the real potential for growth. Joe resists, saying he promised Mutiny creative freedom. “That was smart,” Jacob says, revealing himself to be every bit the nefarious businessman Joe has been trying to avoid becoming.
In the morning, Cameron discovers Joe in Lev’s room at the hospital. He tells her that he too was the target of bullying in school due to his sexuality, but that it ultimately made him stronger. He then urges her not to sell, saying her vision for Mutiny would be destroyed, beginning with games. He doesn’t know if the company will succeed on its own, but he tells her that she has to live or die by who she really is. Cameron still doesn't trust him, but he insists that he's taking himself out of the deal entirely and won’t meddle with Mutiny anymore. After an intense and intimate moment between them, Joe walks away.
At home, Donna discovers Gordon sitting alone in their bedroom. At first she’s concerned with his strange demeanor, but then he reveals that Clark Computers received its first order and the company is officially in business. They hug.
Joe appears at Sara’s cottage in Austin and tells her he’s putting in his notice at Westgroup. “I do believe I’m the person you fell in love with,” he says. Then he asks her what she wants to do. Sara proposes they get married that day and move to California in two weeks. He agrees. They kiss.
At Mutiny, Cameron makes a searing announcement that Mutiny is her company and she’s not selling it. She then walks into her office and closes the door.