Amy Richau reviews the fifth episode of Halt and Catch Fire season 2…
At last viewers were treated to the scene they have been waiting for – Cameron and Joe back in the same room. Halt and Catch Fire’s fifth episode ‘Extract and Defend’ has all four of Halt and Catch Fire’s main characters facing major life changes and challenges. And it’s a fascinating ride to see how they all react to the news none of them want to hear.
Cameron’s bad news is delivered by Donna – Mutiny’s new partnership has brought Joe back into Cameron’s life. While Joe tries and skirts Cameron by inviting Donna to the meeting with Jacob (Joe’s boss and future father-in-law) Donna wisely will have none of that. After a moment of rage and frustration in her Mutiny office/home Cameron pulls it together better than we have ever seen her and wows both Joe and Jacob in the meeting.
What’s great about this scene is that while Joe seeks a private moment with Cameron both before and after the meeting with Jacob, Cameron holds firm that she doesn’t want a reconciliation. She wants to move on without letting Joe off the hook and her calm reaction to hearing about Joe’s engagement is proof that Cameron is growing as a character. Her relationship with new Mutiny recruit Tom seems promising as she bumpily navigates her new role as leader and boss. While Cameron struggles with not wanting to “be the boss” all the time she also clearly wants all of the control.
Joe’s crisis for this episode was the status of his engagement to Jacob’s daughter Sara. Perhaps the best part of the episode was when Cameron bluntly said what we have all been thinking – Joe is only with Sara because of her father’s wealth. As the episode begins Sara discovers her Dad has sent a prenup agreement for Joe to sign. Red flag #1 is when Sara runs off to call her Dad behind a closed-door from Joe. Joe finds the prenup and we find out later he has signed it in an effort to prove to Sara that he wants her and not her father’s connections – but Sara isn’t buying it. Or she is just too concerned about Joe and Cameron’s unfinished business, because Sara ends the episode telling Joe she’s moving back to Austin to “slow things down.” It was hard to tell if Sara was more upset with Joe or her father, but I’m guessing she’s going to distance herself from the both of them and we may have seen the last of Sara this season.
Donna ended the previous episode with news of a surprise pregnancy. Sadly for Donna the baby she really wants to love and nurture is Mutiny’s chatroom Community. In ‘Extract and Defend’ Donna keeps the news of her pregnancy to herself until Bosworth reveals he found a pregnancy test and thinks it’s Cameron’s. It seems appropriate that Donna tells a Mutiny employee about her pregnancy before anyone in her family as Donna has only been showing up at home for a quick shower and cup of coffee for weeks. While Gordon is desperate to spend some one-on-one time with Donna, the news of a new baby on the way appears to drive Donna further away from her family.
As Donna focuses all of her energy on Mutiny (in between bouts of morning sickness) Gordon is on the opposite path. After years of being a workaholic Gordon learns that his health issues all stem from exposure to toxic chemicals he was exposed to from the very job he loved (and not just cocaine and Jolt cola). Those years of exposure have now led to untreatable brain damage that is expected to only get worse. Gordon tries personally connecting to a variety of strangers and family members in this episode with no success. In the most poignant section of ‘Extract and Defend’ Gordon’s children choose to play a new video game (Nintendo) over hanging out with their Dad, and Gordon’s attempt to connect with his in-laws ends up with the world’s most awkward check writing scene.
Halt and Catch Fire has successfully developed all four characters into independently interesting and strong men and women. Donna and Gordon will have to reveal their secrets to one another sooner or later, and it’s hard to believe that Cameron and Joe won’t be spending more time together soon – whether they want to or not. There’s a lot to look forward to with this series.
Amy Richau is a freelance entertainment and sports writer. Follow her on Twitter.