Halt and Catch Fire: S3 E1: Valley Of The Heart's Delight

Are You One Of the Loyal Few?

Do you love Halt and Catch Fire Like I do?

If so, I hope you will join me every week for my Halt and Catch Fire recap this season. Become a member of the #OPS army!

Given my love of The Bridge (FX), Vinyl (HBO), and many other cancelled shows, it is only appropriate that I do recaps of #HaltandCatchFire too.  Kind of confused, for a long time nobody watched it, but now some people are saying it has growing popularity?

In fairness, I have been doing these recaps for a while already. I have been doing recaps of #HaltAMC since Joe went to the Starck Club in Dallas during S2. At the end of each recap, I will ask some questions, if you know the answers, leave a comment! I plan to join in on any discussions.

Anyway, it was nice of #AMC to show the premiere a few days early. So, let's get to the recap. Oh, and remember *Spoiler Alert* 

"Yeah, Without Your Money"

Season 3 opens with John Bosworth (Toby Huss) singing Frank Sinatra's "They All Laughed" Karaoke-style in front of the party celebrating Mutiny reaching 100,000 users at their new headquarters in California. 

He is obviously in a great mood, the song would certainly be appropriate if it meant that Mutiny had arrived and their troubles had been left back in Texas. But, almost immediately, we see that the product launch they want to demonstrate to their invited party guests including tech reporter Ross Weaver (John Paul Marston) is not exactly ready for prime time (kind of a common theme at Mutiny).

Donna's in the basement mixin' up the Medicine, Gordon's on the mainframe, thinkin' bout the programming? Actually, about this time Bosworth sings that "they laughed at Mutiny and our cotton gin."

Or something like that (apologies to Dylan), anyway the thing isn't working and our favorite married couple is working on the server. As they are working it becomes apparent that Gordon (Scoot McNairy)  is really struggling with his irreparable brain matter degeneration. He admits that his pain level is 10 out of 10 after some 

Somehow, they come through and boot it up, Gordon says that the Death Star is operational and Donna responds "Alderaan Won't know what hit them." We all know what happened to every single version of the Death Star, so this is one of those classic "poor taste designed to engender confidence" type of joke.

Meanwhile, while he is prowling the party after getting things running, Gordon hears a few coders making fun of his role at the company as being nothing more than money. He looks very sad (as usual). Later, walking around the office discussing SDI (the Reagan Version of Ballistic Missile Defense) Joe comes up and they mock him again this time for letting Joe (Lee Pace) take his security idea and make millions of dollars with it. Gordon responds that he is suing Joe.

So, now we know that Joe owns a successful security company (and that Gordon is suing him).

Anyway, everything works and the reporter still gives them a bad write-up. 

Oh, and we find out that Bosworth has just become a grandfather, and that he is still not on the best terms with his son and daughter-in-law. He also seems to have given up on everything except selling and his sales schtick. At one point, he just tells Gordon to just let the brain trust (Donna and Cameron) handle everything and don't mess with them.

There is also a new coder on the team who has a blue mohawk, he has had no dialog yet, but he is in several scenes. When I was in College in the 1980's, I had a blue mohawk too, but I knew nothing about coding.

So, I guess, "They All Laughed."

"Got It...Thanks"

So, we have our first new character.

As Cameron (Mackenzie Davis) and Donna (Kerry Bishe) are starting to confab about a new game/chat room in Mutiny in walks Ryan (Manish Dayal) who has figured out that somebody is hacking into the private chats between people who meet in the rooms on Mutiny.

He goes on to explain an elaborate plan to shore up the security of the rooms. Donna seems like she is not happy about the possible expense but Cameron responds almost like she has been personally attacked. As if he is attacking her coding. She basically shuts him down and tells him that he has coding to do. He responds suggesting that one of the other less talented coders could do that work, and she shuts him down again.

Obviously, something seems odd here. You would think both Cameron and Donna would be thrilled that this dude found a security hole and had ideas for how to close the hole. Something is up.

Cameron is also living with Gordon and Donna, apparently, she has been the whole six months they have been living in California.

Next time we see Cameron she is telling John Bosworth to give Ryan a 15% raise. When Bosworth tells Ryan he looks like he is being paid hush money which seems apropos.

John tells him that "It's a Raise, you won today" as in, why would you care how you got it.

And then, suddenly, it all makes sense.

Cameron decides to do a real time meet with one of the people that she chats with on mutiny in what looks like a neighborhood bar/restaurant. Within just a few seconds, she manages to screw up and divulge some information about him that he has never told her in the chat room.

In other words, it is Cameron who has been hacking her own user's private chats. Cameron has always been anti-social and angry and she has always tended towards isolation. I have gotten lost in online chat myself. She has started to replace relationships IRL with relationships online, only it is getting worse for her, she is starting to use her know how to violate her own user's privacy.

Obviously, this explains why she paid off Ryan and why she was so hostile to him zipping up the security hole.

Luckily, Donna is a bad ass and realizes that Cameron is the hacker. She orders Cameron to close the hole and to stop violating the user agreement. During this same discussion, they come up the idea to offer what they call "Transactional Interactions" a means of online trading between users.

So, now we know where they are heading this season in a tech sense. They are basically heading towards building early eBay.

While all of this is happening, Gordon gets high with the coders and tells them all about the dangers of getting close to Joe. He basically says that Joe is a genius and that he is at his absolute best when people take him for granted or assume he doesn't really know what he is doing.

Oh, and Ryan himself seems to be a brooding, talented, workaholic who is not very happy with how they are treating him at the moment.

That Would Be Odd, Considering They Don't Like Each Other

Okay, Donna and Gordon find out that Joanie got into a fight with a girl at school and they have to go to meet with her teacher. It turns out that the Mom of the girl she fought with is Diane Gould (Annabeth Gish). BTW, Annabeth Gish was on The Bridge so I am thrilled to see her on HACF.

She makes two statements during the episode:

1. The fight was most likely the result of her daughter being very angry about her divorce.

2. She is happy that the two girls don't like each other because it means that they will be super competitive later in life.

We don't know much about her, but it appears we will be learning more about Diane Gould very soon.

Oh, before I forget, there was a small earthquake earlier in the episode, when Gordon comes back to the car after the meeting with the teacher, he sees that his daughter looks miserable and so he talks to her about the move. She mentioned that the ground was moving.

Strangely enough, she did not seem reassured when he said that it would be okay.

"And That Gentlemen, Is How You Jerk Off A Dinosaur"

Okay, three remaining outstanding issues. 

First, Bosworth leaves one of his glad-handing sales dinners to try to call his son. It becomes apparent that they have not returned any of his calls and that he has learned virtually nothing about his Grandson. 

Well, at the end of the episode, his son finally calls back and fills him in. Thank goodness, Bos is one of the most loveable characters on the show.

Second, Gordon getting high seemed to be a plus with Donna and they end up having a wonderful evening together.

Finally, Joe is giving a Steve Jobs style speech in front of a packed auditorium. Apparently, his company is the "Gold Standard in Corporate Security" but he is about to move into personal security by giving away his anti-virus protection software for free. Hmmm, I seem to remember that is called a "Trojan Horse."

Joe talks about fear being the natural consequence of moving closer to the truth. He then says that he isn't selling feat he is selling "truth." I suspect what this means is that when you are secure you have already arrived at the truth.  

It is a pretty good speech. Joe is still a magnetic character. The last person to walk into the lecture turns out to be our new friend Ryan (the coder). 

Okay ladies and gents, the pieces are set up and the game is afoot. Looks like it is going to be an interesting season.

Why do you think E1 is called "Valley of the Heart's Delight?"

What's your prediction for Gordon's long-term role at Mutiny? 

I would love to hear your opinions so join the #OPS adventure and leave a comment!