AMC’s brand new series Halt and Catch Fire airs with a new episode tonight, this episode is called “FUD” and on tonight’s episode after surviving a visit from IBM, Joe’s team must overcome internal differences as they begin building the new machine.
Halt and Catch Fire is an upcoming period drama television series created by Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers. The series is set in the early 1980s, and depicts a fictionalized insider’s view of the personal computer revolution. The name is a reference to the machine code instruction Halt and Catch Fire which could cause a computer’s central processing unit to cease all meaningful function.
On the last episode the series captured the rise of the PC era in the early 1980s, during which an unlikely trio – a visionary, an engineer and a prodigy – took personal and professional risks in the race to build a computer that will change the world as they know it. Did you watch last week’s episode? If you missed it we have a full and detailed recap, right here for you.
On tonight’s episode Joe’s team needs to get pass the differences between each other, their main concern needs to be about building the new machine.
Tonight’s Halt and Catch Fire’s episode is going to be a great show, and you won’t want to miss it. So be sure to tune in for our live coverage of Halt and Catch Fire— tonight at 10 PM EST! While you wait for our recap, hit the comments and let us know how excited you are about this new series, Halt and Catch Fire. Check out a sneak peek of tonight’s episode below!
Taylor, an IBM lawyer, asks Gordon when Joe came to him about the idea to reverse engineer the IBM PC. He lies and says he was asked to work on a PC project by his bosses – nothing to do with IBM. The IBM lawyers then grill Cameron on being hired to recreate their BIOS code. She says their BIOS is garbage and she would never copy it. She says she won’t look at their binder. They ask Gordon why him and Taylor insults him and asks how his failures qualify him to spearhead it.
They tell Cameron if she does open the binder, she’ll be the first to go to jail. Joe tells John that he’s up and says to be calm and keep his story straight. John is still very angry and says he still may kick his ass. Joe sits in a conference room when Dale comes in and asks him why. Joe says they have stayed in bounds and slides the BIOS code to him and says Cameron is writing fresh code. He tells Dale he knows the legal loopholes as well as he does based on what he did to Compaq.
Dale asks where he’s been for the past year and ask if he’s told his new friends about it. He then threatens to sue them just for the hell of it. Joe says they have one lawyer that they are sticking with and if it does go to trial IBM will lose because they have nothing. He wishes them a nice flight. Joe tells Gordon and Cameron that they are golden. Cameron asks exactly what they’re building and Joe goes to a white board and doodles something. They look surprised.
Joe has written double the speed and half the price. Gordon says that’s literally impossible. He says the next machine will be faster or cheaper, but not both. He asks if he’s talking about pure megahertz and then he starts scribbling. He says Joe has an interesting idea. Cameron says this is as boring as a microwave. Gordon mocks her and calls her an idea person. He says she has no hardware skills. Joe walks out to get water and lets them argue and smiles.
Cameron says the screens should be photo-realistic and beat her at chess. She asks if they are building another boring beige box. John comes in and freaks out and says that the two of them can’t be in a room together. He sends Debbie to put Cameron elsewhere. She asks Cameron what she’s writing and she explains to the secretary that the BIOS boots the computer so she can run her Wordstar program. Cameron is taken to a “clean” room. It’s a room with a desk and a computer.
Debbie tells her there is a sale at a clothing store all weekend – implying that her stuff isn’t nice enough for the office. Cameron is offended but ignores her. Barry the lawyer is there and says he has to stay with her while she writes the code to make sure she isn’t in touch with the tainted engineer. She asks if he has to be there while she writes and he says – the whole time – so they can maintain the Chinese wall. He takes a seat and opens a magazine.
John introduces Joe to the bullpen and says he’s the new Senior Product Manager at their new personal computer division. He says Joe is sort-of from IBM and has made quite an impact. Joe thanks him and says it’s John’s faith, foresight and brass balls that got them there. He says Cardiff will be an industry trailblazer and asks for a round of applause for John. The group claps. Joe tells them the rumors are true and change is coming to Cardiff and they all have a role to play in the bright future.
He says there are two rules for the new PC division – let’s have a lot of fun and let’s make a lot of money. He says if we get one of two right, we may change the way people work, live and interact with each other. He gets applause. Gordon looks less than impressed. Debbie comes for Gordon. She brings him into an office and says it’s his. He samples a hard candy from the bowl and looks out his window then fiddles with him lamp.
Joe comes in and says he’s moving up in the world. Gordon calls him on quoting Steve Jobs (without credit) in his speech. Joe tells him to go home and get a good night’s sleep because tomorrow he starts building tomorrow. Gordon drives home happily singing Lido along with Boz Scaggs on his radio. He’s in a great mood.
Cameron has punk music blaring and Barry is outside the door. He tells Joe the music helps her think. Her pizza is there and asks why she has the computer in pieces. He asks what she’s doing and she says writing BIOS. He gives her a motivational speech and she says she heard his BS and says he’s just a salesman – she slams the door in his face and turns her music back up while she munches her pizza.
Gordon comes home and tells Donna that they’re going to be okay. He says they played IBM out the door and he starts building tomorrow in his new windowed office. She kisses him and calls him big shot. He asks where the kids are and she says they’re playing next door. He throws her up on the counter then hauls her off for some nookie.
She says she has to take Joanie to the dentist tomorrow and he asks her to stop by the office tomorrow. She asks who they got to write the BIOS and he says Joe has someone lined up – Cameron Howe. She asks why his background is and he says Austin Tech. He doesn’t mention to his wife that Cameron is a she.
In her office, Cameron plucks keys, writes, scribbles and tears up papers, tears up paper and thinks again. She walks out in to the dark and empty cubicle desert. She looks around and then goes back in and pulls on her sweater. She lies down with her head on her backpack and stares up at the EXIT sign.
John tells a guy at the club that he chased the blue IBM bastards out of town. The guy he’s prattling to – Carl – ignores him then walks away but John follows and keeps talking. He asks Carl if he’s going to kick in for the player recruitment fund at their alma mater. He asks how their systems are doing and offers him some upgrades for free. Carl thanks him awkwardly then leaves.
Joe comes in and finds Barry nodded off and a message on the computer screen “If you can read this, the bitch fell off…” He wakes Barry up and asks where she is. Joe tells Barry that he’ll deal with Cameron from now on and Barry says he has to maintain the clean room. Joe tells him he has balls on his face – Cameron drew testicles around Barry’s eyes while he slept. He tells him to go and says he can deal with her.
Cameron is in the basement storage room with a white board hard at work when Joe finds her. He sneaks up and slams something. He startles her and tells her this is not her playground, she can’t do what she wants and he knows what she’s writing isn’t code. Cameron says it’s not because she’s trying to decide if they can do this on octal boundaries. Then she rattles off a whole bunch more technical jargon then asks for his thoughts. He doesn’t answer and she turns back to her whiteboards.
Gordon peeks into her office. He dumps out her bag of belongings and goes through it.
Joe tells her she’s stuck and asks if she knows what she’s doing. She says – like you would know – and tells him to give her a minute. He says he can help. She says all right and walks over to him. She pulls off his belt and says she needs to clear his mind. He says to take a break and she asks if she should get a soda with Debbie and the rest of the 700 Club. He stands, zips up and says she needs to go back to her office. She asks if they’re going to do this or what.
Gordon finds a butterfly knife and flips it open. He stares at it then continues rifling her things.
Joe comes upstairs and Gordon grabs him and says they know nothing about Cameron. Joe says as soon as she’s done writing the BIOS, she’s gone. Joe tells Gordon to go downstairs and get her and then Gordon starts ranting about how if she’s not at her desk writing code, there’s a problem. Cameron is changing clothes in the bathroom when Donna and Joanie come in to look at her tooth.
Donna watches in horror as Cameron washes her pits in the sink and starts brushing her teeth. Joanie says you need to brush the hard to reach ones. Donna introduces herself and she tells her that she’s Cameron. Donna pulls a little face. Brian comes to chat with Donna and Joanie then leaves and Gordon asks what she thinks about his new office. He asks what’s the matter but she doesn’t mention the Cameron thing. She and Joanie leave.
Cameron is back in the basement chugging soda and listening to her Walkman. Joe shoves her and she slops soda on herself. He chews her out and says she’s out of time. He tells her to look at the BIOS code and says they can work on her big ideas later. She says if she looks at it, she’ll go to jail. He says that IBM knows she’s going to look at it and she just needs to change it enough to keep them from being sued. He yells then she gets mad and tells him to go back upstairs and do whatever it is a product manager does. He flings the BIOS code book onto her work station and stomps out.
Donna and Gordon eat dinner then he tries to clear the dishes but she doesn’t want him to. He asks if she was late back to work and she says it was okay and that her boss didn’t notice. He tells her that Cameron is a girl and he doesn’t know why he let her think she was a guy. He says that Joe hired her and it wasn’t his choice. He says she’s weird and Donna says she met her.
Gordon asks why she didn’t say anything and then says that she’s writing the BIOS and then will be gone. Cameron walks into the mall to check out the sales. She looks at boring office lady clothes. She even tries on a few but isn’t happy. She tries on a myriad of awful 80s lady clothes with built in scarves and other horrors. She heads over to the misses department and steals some t shirts and a handbag and walks off.
Some guys come after her and she thinks it’s mall security because they’re in suits. She says she’ll pay for it, but then they tell her they have an opportunity they want to talk to her about. John calls for Maylene and asks why he can’t get Carl on the phone. He asks about Jeff at EDS – they are both giving him the cold shoulder. He goes out into the sales pen and demands to know what’s going on.
They’re losing customers left and right to IBM. Joe tells him they’re being raided. John takes a call and tries to talk a customer down. Gordon comes and tells John that Texas Communications is also dumping them. IBM is undercutting their prices by thousands to strangle them. They lost American Airlines, General Dynamics and several others.
Joe says to let him talk to them but John says he’s been there 10 days and knows nothing. He won’t let him help. Joe is distraught.
[8:11:48 PM] Rachel Rowan: Later, he’s in a meeting with John, Gordon and others while John pleads with Carl to keep their business. He tells him to go to IBM but remember that it was him that computerized his outhouse of a company 15 years ago.
The accountant, Alan, crunches some numbers and says they’ve lost 15 accounts representing 68% of their billing. Without these accounts, the guy says they have two months before they go under. John says IBM has sliced their throats and left them to bleed out like hogs on a hook. He tells Gordon that it’s all because of his personal computer. He asks Joe if he has a plan. Joe sits silent staring and Gordon says – wow.
He says that Joe is one of those guys who went out and read Catcher in the Rye too many times and decided to shoot a Beatle but then says he’s the Beatle that Joe shot all because he read his article in a magazine and made a plan without stopping to think. Joe stomps out. He goes downstairs looking for Cameron but she’s not in the basement.
He tears up the room looking for the BIOS book. He slams stuff around yelling – where is it? He tears open file boxes and is going nuts when Gordon comes in and asks where she is. He asks where the binder is and asks if he gave her the binder. Joe tells him that Gordon basically told him to give it to her to get them back on track. Gordon says they’re going to jail.
Gordon says she’s not there or at her terminal and says she’s gone. But then he looks at her whiteboard and stops talking. He tells Joe to look at it. Joe calls it a mess but Gordon says it’s brilliant. He says she shortcut the steps and says – it’s brilliant again and again. Joe heads back upstairs. All chatter stops when he walks into the sales bullpen. He looks down at Debbie at her desk.
Joe pulls up to an electronics store that’s having a sale. He turns on a stereo and then the guy says he’s struggling to move product because of the recession. The guy says he’s going out of business and says he can’t remember the last time he had a customer. Joe says he’s a customer and tells him to sell him a stereo. The guy starts to talk about a model and then Joe interrupts and asks what the problem is – where his business went wrong.
He asks why he’s going out of business. He says he doesn’t know and says it’s good quality but people just didn’t want to invest. Joe says he didn’t see it coming. He shoves the guy, starts turning on all the stereos and says – if you didn’t see it why are you here? The guy says he’s calling the cops.
Joe’s doorbell rings and it’s Dale. He says he just needs a minute. He says he can’t stay but wanted to take care of one last thing. He has his back wages and unused vacation days – he hands him a check for $615.38. Joe says he did over two million dollars worth of damages to the data center on his way out. Dale says they made way more than that on the insurance claim so they’re ahead.
He offers Joe a ticket to fly back with them tonight. Joe says no and Dale says his dad will be disappointed but then adds that Joe’s dad is pretty disappointed already. Dale looks around the apartment and says he may like it out here now but let’s see what happens when they find out what you really are. Joe pulls a face and Dale chuckles then leaves. He has a briefcase in his hand. Joe stares at it.
Gordon sits in the parking lot at Cardiff late that night. He cranks his car then turns it back off. He sees Cameron in the parking lot. She walks past his car with her bag and he jumps out and asks where the binder is. He asks if she gave it back to IBM. She asks how long she’s there for – four or five weeks – she asks if they’re going to let her go once she’s done and Gordon lies and says no then asks who told her that.
Joe peals into the lots and hops out babbling about portability. He says people need to be able to take it anywhere. He says it needs a handle. Gordon mocks him and says a handle changes everything. Cameron says that’s great – a piece of shit copy of a beige box with a handle. Gordon tells Joe that Cameron gave the binder to IBM and Joe’s jaw drops.
Cameron says she never said that. Gordon asks where it is and she says it doesn’t matter since they were going to fire her after the BIOS anyway. Gordon asks if she can blame them and she tells him that now she knows the truth. She also tells them that IBM offered her a job at triple the salary. Joe goes ballistic and tells her it’s a “terrific”place to work. He offers to write her a recommendation.
Gordon goes off on Joe and says he’s ruined a bunch of lives by coming there. Joe tells him that his balls were in a box on his wife’s bedside table. The two of them grapple. Joe’s shirt is ripped open and Gordon says – holy shit. Joe has monstrous scars on his chest and a huge one across his abdomen. He tells them that he was nine and says there were some bullies at school who used to chase him.
He says he cared about Sputnik, not the New York Giants. He says that no one told him that adults are supposed to be ashamed of those feelings – science over sports. He says he missed the greatest game ever – the ’58 playoff Colts v Giants – because he was hooked up to life support machines at St Peters. He says he doesn’t blame the boys – that he doesn’t think they meant to chase him off the roof.
Joe asys after IBM he went across the country looking for answers then found Gordon’s article on open architecture. He says that article made him like that passionate kid again and he couldn’t stop thinking about it. He says he followed him to Comdex then watched while they chased Gordon down and his beautiful machine right off the ledge. Joe says that he thought they could do it because they are all three unreasonable people who want to change the world to fit them and not the other way around.
Joe says he wants to and must believe it. He says he will be there at 7 am to keep going. He says they both need this just as much as he does. He gets back in his car and drives away. Next day, there he is in the office bright and early. The elevator dings and Gordon walks in and goes to his office. He closes the door in Joe’s face. He sees Cameron waking up from sleeping on a chaise. He goes back to his desk and sits.
Cameron comes in and asks him about the greatest game ever played. She says the game was December 58 and Sputnik came down a year before that. He smiles and asks her if that’s right. Man, does Joe ever tell the truth?