Amy Richau reviews the sixth episode of Halt and Catch Fire season 2…
There you are Joe. I knew it was just a matter of time.
Episode 6 of Halt and Catch Fire ’10Broad36′ is a crush of emotions and high stakes life choices. But what makes this episode so great is the small surprises that the makers of Halt and Catch Fire have been so successful at delivering this season.
As noted above it was just a matter of time before warm and fuzzy Joe was replaced by cold and calculating Joe. But warm and fuzzy Joe is the Joe that starts the episode as he leaves what appears to be one of many voicemails for Sara who has been gone from their apartment for a week. If Joe is faking his desire to see Sara again he is doing an awfully good job of it. Perhaps we will see more of Sara this season after all.
Later in this episode Joe sets his eyes on Mutiny’s future – inserting himself literally into Cameron’s home and negotiating with cold blood in his veins. We know that Joe has been authorized to go as low as $3.50/hr with Donna and Cameron, but Joe refuses to give them an inch – resulting in a Freaky Friday Cameron-ish explosion from Donna.
Joe doesn’t just want to be the landlord of his timeshare network – he wants to be pulling the strings both at his company and at Mutiny. Joe’s boss (and he hopes future father-in-law Jacob) sees that Joe is lying to and manipulating him at every turn, but goes along with it because he can see that Joe is right. Joe’s refusal to cut Mutiny a break results in an elaborate (and ultimately failed) plan to fake out Joe into thinking they re-coded their software into UNIX overnight, but their brilliant failure ends up only inspiring Joe to try and convince Jacob to acquire Mutiny. Joe always finds a way to win, even when it looks like he’s losing.
While Cameron gets some screen time, mostly in a funny scene where Mutiny employees out Tom and Cameron’s ‘secret’ relationship, ’10Broad36′ is much more focused on Donna. Donna’s story arc could not have been handled better in this episode. Donna was clearly not happy finding out she was pregnant, but she had previously not given any clues about what she planned to do about the pregnancy. Donna’s out-of-character outburst with Joe was a sign to everyone that Donna was dealing with something big in her personal life and luckily Bosworth was there to help Cameron think about Donna as a person and not just a business partner who screwed up.
From Donna’s touching conversation with her mother where viewers aren’t sure if she is telling the truth or not about having a miscarriage, to her silent drive to Planned Parenthood with Cameron, and finally to the sweet lullaby she sings to her daughter over the phone Donna holds it together without complaint or the need to explain herself. I can’t say enough about how great Kerry Bishe’s performance is in this episode.
Rounding out the episode is a further downward spiral for Gordon. Donna and Gordon’s relationship is truly becoming a tragedy this season. Both are hiding life changing events from each other and neither is looking to each other for help or comfort. While it’s possible Donna may be able to keep her pregnancy hidden from Gordon, Gordon’s ever worsening brain damage can only be kept hidden for so long.
All of Gordon’s attempts to connect with people other than Donna have led to awkward events and bad choices. This episode is no different as Gordon’s reunion with his brother and an encounter with a high school friend all end up with Gordon feeling more alone and desperate than before. What is tragic about Gordon in this episode is that he appears to dread the idea of telling Donna the truth almost as much as he dreads his unknown medical future.
Three of the four main characters in Halt and Catch Fire are now involved in the same Mutiny storyline. I think it will be sooner than later that Gordon finds his way home and back into the tech world, even with his health issues.
Amy Richau is a freelance entertainment and sports writer. Follow her on Twitter.