Season 4, Episode 4
Tonya and Nancy
Cameron buys a plot of land to re-center; Joe and Gordon hire a team of websurfers to map the web; Donna focuses her team on the mission ahead.
Halt and Catch Fire is currently not in season.
At Comet, Joe and Gordon check out Rover’s website and agree that it’s substandard. Cameron argues that the site would have potential if it had a more sophisticated algorithm. Joe says that viewers need a curated list of websites, not a better algorithm, but Cameron points out the challenge of curating millions of websites. Joe further argues that algorithms can’t tell the difference between good and bad websites. “Not yet,” Cameron says.
Tanya and Bosworth update Donna on Rover. Tanya argues that they launched too early but Bosworth insists that they had to launch quickly once they found out about Comet. Donna orders them to stop arguing in front of her and act more like a team.
Joe and Gordon decide that in order to keep up with the Internet’s expansion, they must hire people who are passionate about specific subjects to input websites about those subjects into their index.
Cameron rides a new motorcycle through the countryside. It breaks down. As she screams in frustration, she notices a plot of land for sale.
Six weeks later, Joe and Gordon interview Dr. Katie Herman for the job of Comet’s chief ontologist. Katie describes her organizing methodologies. They hire her on the spot.
Joe and Gordon introduce Katie to five teams of “surfers” — experts who search for websites to index in their respective categories. Each group is responsible for writing a description of the top five sites in their category.
AOL calls Joe and Gordon to make an acquisition offer.
Donna peruses Comet and laughs as she reads Haley’s comedy section.
The Rover team marvels at how quickly Comet is expanding. Donna asks the team for an update. Elliot says that Cecil, their programmer, is overworked, and asks for Series A funding. Donna scoffs.
Cameron and Joe check out a used Airstream trailer that Cameron wants to park on the land that she just purchased. Cameron asks Joe to consider AOL’s buyout offer so that they can spend more time together.
Cameron parks the Airstream on her new plot of land and builds a fire pit beside it.
At home, Donna admits to Haley that Comet is out-performing Rover. Haley tries to lift Donna’s spirits by saying that Cameron called the Rover algorithm “clever.” Joanie changes the TV channel and demands pizza instead of Chinese food, as Haley requested. Haley caves in.
Joe, Gordon and Bosworth join Cameron for beers at her new trailer.
In private, Joe informs Cameron that AOL offered $3 million but that he and Gordon decided to pass.
Bosworth tells Gordon that he’s digging himself out of debt and inquires about the AOL offer. Gordon says AOL lowballed them at $3 million.
Gordon and Bosworth head back home. Cameron finds Joe asleep in the trailer. She drinks alone by the campfire.
Bosworth and Tanya have lunch at a Japanese restaurant. Bosworth mentions a rumor that AOL is willing to pay $3 million for a search website.
Bosworth suggests to Donna that they sell the Rover site to AOL. Tanya predicts that search websites are poised to become a billion-dollar business and insists they stick with Rover. Donna again orders them to present a more united front.
Tanya confronts Bosworth about his debt. She agrees to keep his secret but asks him to be more supportive of the team rather than his personal interests.
At Comet, Joe and Gordon meet with Davis Gladwell from VC firm Gladwell Bristol. Gladwell gets distracted by a commotion in the bullpen. Joe explains that they’re concluding their weekly website indexing contest, which rewards the team that has logged the most sites.
In the bullpen, Haley logs a site just as the clock runs out, giving her team the win. As a reward, she receives a surf board and throws a cream pie in Gordon’s face.
Rain pours at Cameron’s trailer. Her water stops running. She bangs the faucet, rattling the trailer and causing it to roll into mud. She opens the septic tank and waste gushes out. She breaks the hitch and screams in frustration.
At home, Haley excitedly tells Donna about winning the competition at work. She asserts herself with Joanie and convinces Joanie to change the channel so that they can watch Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding in the Olympics.
A Comet crew gathers at Joe’s house to watch the Olympics. Katie cleans whip cream from Gordon’s ear. Cameron shows up unexpectedly and goes straight to bed, declining Joe’s invitation to join the party.
Bosworth fixes Cameron’s plumbing and asks her to get some putty from his truck.
In Bosworth’s truck, Cameron finds a compass that she gifted him for his boat.
Cameron confronts Bosworth about his boat. Bosworth tells her about his debt and explains that he liquidated his assets. Cameron reasons that Rover might succeed but Bosworth says that they lack the talent to develop the right algorithm. “We don’t got you,” he says. Cameron asks which part they’re stuck on.
Joe and Gordon play pool at Comet and agree that they don’t want to take VC money.
One month later, Donna delivers a toast to Rover’s Series A financing. Diane congratulates Bosworth and tells him Donna had been on the verge of selling Rover to AOL. Donna overhears Cecil telling an AGGEK partner how he came up with the winning algorithm. She notices Bosworth prompting Cecil’s explanation of the “waiting room concept.” Donna pulls Cecil aside and demands to know who really wrote the algorithm.
At home, Joe rants about Rover’s funding and worries that the new algorithm could destroy Comet. Cameron quietly listens.