By AJ Marechal
“So, what’s next?”
A clean-shaven Gordon sits at the head of a Cardiff Electric conference table, staring at a group of employees that he now presumably leads. The small team reads out loud reviews of the Cardiff Electric PC entrant, The Giant — reviews that dub the computer a “strong contender” in the “no frills” computer market.
The PC is sensible, practical, and, well, boring. Remarkable in the moment, but so clearly unremarkable in the grander scheme of technology, and the future of the industry. Cardiff has created a footnote, and the faces behind the PC know it ...
COMDEX drama, boiling over in the previous episode, has cooled to a simmer during the Season 1 finale of the still-not-yet-renewed Halt and Catch Fire, titled “1984.”
Donna and Gordon are somehow salvaging their marriage once again, despite the revelation that Donna had an almost-affair with a colleague from TI. Cameron has ditched Cardiff entirely after Joe and Gordon stripped The Giant of her OS at COMDEX, and is punching the clock at a phone company. Bosworth, under investigation by the feds for hacking bank accounts, is nowhere to be found. And Joe, the leader of the Cardiff PC venture, stares at his computer product with an anticlimactic gaze, even while the company pops champagne as shipments of The Giant arrive in shiny, impressive boxes.
The entire season of Halt and Catch Fire has built to this moment at Cardiff — the company has indeed built an IBM-compatible PC, and a portable one at that. It will turn profit. It will be on store shelves in mere weeks. But is this what success looks like?
Gordon has purchased a Porsche and cleaned up his look, but in a cruel turn of events, is carjacked following a Cardiff party celebrating The Giant — Donna, tossed out onto the street, breaks her arm as criminals make away with Gordon’s flashy trophy of job well done, as if the universe is reminding Gordon, “No, this is not you.”
And is this what success looks like for Joe? In a last ditch effort to infuse his PC with something unique, something with vision, he tasks the Cardiff coders with creating an app that can be bundled with the Cardiff PC software. The coders, however, quickly jump ship at Cardiff when Cameron presents them with a new tech concept birthed from her job at the phone company — use phone lines to connect people’s computers, allowing them to play games and communicate over what will eventually become the internet.
The Hail-Mary pass to add a visionary element to The Giant fails, and Joe resigns himself to the product they have in hundreds of boxes, ready to hit store shelves.
As Gordon watches his Porsche speed off into the distance, Joe — jaded by his own product — stands in front of a truck filled with Cardiff PCs following the company party. He douses the boxes in gasoline, takes out a lighter, and sets the computers on fire, watching his work burn down, as if it were all for nothing. Perhaps, for Joe, it was.
photo credit: http://www.episodes-tv.com/tv-series/halt-catch-fire/
WATCH FULL EPISODES HERE