‘Halt and Catch Fire’ Episode 2 Recap: Top 5 Spoilers

On tonight’s Halt and Catch Fire, Cardiff Electric survives its visit from IBM. Now Joe MacMillan and his team need to learn how to work together to create a computer that will work and run faster than any personal computer IBM has on the market.

Read on to see if Joe, Gordon and Mackenzie can work as a team in “FUD.”

1. Joe MacMillan Wants to Build A Faster and Cheaper Computer

Cameron Howe and Gordon Clark answer IBM’s questions and the tech giant can’t find any proof Cardiff Electric stole their idea. Joe MacMillan then reveals his plan for the two computer engineers to create a faster and cheaper computer. But from here on out, Gordon and Cameron can’t work together in order to keep things on the up and up.

The two lashes out at each other before their separation. Gordon thinks Cameron too caught up in ideas, and Cameron thinks Gordon wants to create another beige box that does nothing more than what IBM personal computer already does. Gordon moves into a new office with windows and Joe sticks Cameron in a windowless room with the Cardiff’s lawyer Barry Shields to babysit (Barry will regret this assignment soon).

2. John Bosworth Introduces Joe to Cardiff Electric Employees

With IBM gone, Joe’s boss John Bosworth takes the opportunity to formally introduce Joe to the rest of Cardiff (a nice gesture after Joe almost tanked the entire company). Cardiff’s new senior product manager gives a rousing speech about the change coming to their workplace with more fun and a lot more money. Gordon calls him out later after recognizing part of the speech as a favorite saying of Steve Jobs (“I want to put a ding in the universe”).

Joe tries to spark the same inspiration in Cameron, who can’t work without loud electronic music playing in her confined work space, but she knows he’s only a salesman. She’s the one with the big ideas and skills to bring them to life. Struggling to get any work done, Cameron sneaks down to the basement to spread out and free her mind (not before she draws a little surprise on Barry’s head).

Joe doesn’t have time for her non-coding activities and shoves the BIOS binder that he and Gordon completed under he nose. He wants her to copy it (all but ensuring she will go to jail if IBM finds out), but make a few changes so it’s not an exact replica.

3. Gordon Lies To Wife About Cameron

While Joe lives in an empty apartment and Cameron’s sleeping in her so-called office, Gordon has his wife Donna and two daughters to go home to at the end of the day. Excited about his new office digs and the prospect of a better future under Joe’s vision, he gives his wife some afternoon (or early evening) delight. After, Donna asks about the new engineer Cardiff hired to write the BIOS and Gordon lies. He tells her Cameron’s a man, but he does say the guy went to the same school as the real Cameron. Half truths won’t cut it, Gordon.

The next day Donna brings their daughter to see daddy at work and she encounters Cameron in the bathroom. Cameron isn’t too talkative, too busy brushing her teeth in the public bathroom and making a brisk exit. Donna gets suspicious, but her loving husband can’t keep his secret for long. He fesses up that night at dinner. Good boy, Gordon.

4. Cardiff Electric Clients Jump Ship for IBM

IBM didn’t get the answers they wanted from Cardiff earlier, so now IBM is going after Cardiff’s clients. Bosworth can’t get one of his clients to speak with him at the sports club, and then when he gets to work he can’t get more on the phone. He comes out into the office bullpen and all his sales people start learning that IBM is undercutting them and raiding their clients. Joe tries to jump in to help, but Bosworth shuts him out saying he can’t help because he doesn’t have the relationship history.

By the end of the day, Cardiff has lost 15 clients. Three of the top clients make up 60 percent of the company’s business. Gordon then realizes Joe didn’t see this coming and wonders if the salesman has any real plan.

5. Joe Convinces Cameron and Gordon to Continue Working With Him

Halt and Catch Fire, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis, Lee Pace


Joe knows he screwed up. He takes a drive that leads him to an electronics shop, and he starts interrogating the lone salesman on why his store is going out of business. Back at home, his old IBM boss Dale Butler, who he spoke with earlier about his departure from the company a year ago, offers him a chance to return. Joe won’t consider the offer, and Dale tells Joe that his father will be disappointed, if he isn’t already.

Back at Cardiff, Gordon spots Cameron making her way across the dark parking lot. He confronts her and asks if she took the BIOS binder to IBM. She denies it, but she wants to know if he and Joe were going to fire her as soon as she wrote the new BIOS program. Joe pulls up and admits that that was the plan. Gordon, still fuming from Joe’s royal screw up that led to IBM’s raid, scuffles with Joe and rips Joe’s shirt open to reveal a mess of scars across his torso.

Joe tells the two engineers a sob story about caring more about Sputnik then the New York Giants when he was growing up. According to Joe, the night the Giants lost to the Colts in the 1958 Super Bowl, he was in a hospital wired to machines for thinking differently than the other little boys. Again, his moving speech inspires Gordon and Cameron to arrive early to work the next morning, but this time Cameron calls Joe out for his story whose dates don’t add up exactly. “Really?” Joe says with a wry smile.