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article imageReview: Halt and Catch Fire: Episodes 1 and 2 Special

By Zachary Stallings     Jun 9, 2014 in Entertainment
Recapping the first two episodes of the new AMC Series Halt and Catch Fire. WARNING: if you have yet to see the show SPOILERS are ahead.
AMC has produced some of TV's biggest shows for nearly 10 years; shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead.
On June, 1st a new show premiered about a man named Joe McMillan (Lee Pace), who wants to change the way the world see's and uses computers. Halt and Catch Fire starts off in traditional AMC fashion.
Every show that AMC has produced has a scene that lets you know what type of show you're going to see. In The Walking Dead it's Rick (Andrew Lincoln) shooting the little zombie girl in the head, and in Breaking Bad its Walter White (Bryan Cranston) speeding down a dirt road in an R.V. wearing a gas mask, with Jesse (Aaron Paul) passed out in the passenger seat, and two men in the back sliding around.
Halt and Catch Fire starts in a similar way, with an armadillo crossing the road and Joe McMillan hitting it hard with his Porsche 944, then getting out and looking at it as if to say "whoops." Later on the show introduces Cameron (McKenzie Davis), a college student who is late for class while McMillan is speaking to a group of science computer students as a representative of IBM.
The show then cuts to McMillan and Cameron in a bar where McMillan seems to be trying to recruit Cameron for something. The audience learns Joe does not work for IBM and will also see Cameron and Joe get involved (you know what that means). Which sort of leads viewers to think that would be the last time those two would ever meet again.
The show then goes on to introduce John Bosworth (Toby Huss), the Senior Vice President of Cardiff Electric. Bosworth interviews McMillan and hires him based on his W-2 form, showing how much he makes at IBM based on sales commissions.
After that Joe McMillan makes his presence known to Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy), who was introduced earlier in the show after the armadillo scene. McMillan takes Clark on a sales call and then chews him out afterward for interrupting him during the sale.
McMillan later throws a magazine named BYTE, with an article that Clark wrote in front of him, telling Clark "You wrote a treasure map, if you see him around I wanna meet that guy, there's a project I wanna discuss with him." McMillan then goes on and quote Clark's article saying "this puts the future squarely in the hands of those who know computers, not for what they are, but for everything they have the potential to be." McMillan then goes on to say "Computers aren't the thing; there the thing that gets us to the thing."
McMillan ambushes Clark on a family outing to the movies to ask him to "reverse engineer an IBM computer with me." Clark turns him down on the premise that it's illegal, and he has a family to think about. The audience later learns that Clark and his wife Donna (Kerry Bishe) lost almost everything, on a project they worked on called Symbonic.
Clark later changes his mind; he would buy an IBM computer so that he can gain access that computers bios code. After writing down over 65,536 addresses of code, McMillan and Clark have what they need to reverse engineer the computer.
At the theater McMillan tells Clark that they would pass off the project as something that Cardiff was having them work on. What McMillan did to force Cardiff's hand was, he told IBM what they were doing and gave them the bios code they copied. This also leads to the audience finding out that McMillan had left IBM and had not been heard from for over a year.
This gets McMillan what he wanted, as IBM threatened to liquidate and sue Cardiff Electric. In order to pass of the project as Cardiff's, and save the company they need an engineer that has never seen the code; reenter Cameron.
McMillan and Clark go and get Cameron the college student, who feels everything she is learning is 10 years too old. McMillan and Clark convince Cameron to help them write the bios code for their IBM rip-off. The show ends with Clark, Cameron, and McMillan looking out of a boardroom; as a line of IBM lawyers walk in, Clark asks McMillan "what are you trying to prove with all of this?"
Episode 2
The second episode picks up right where the first left off, with IBM lawyers questioning Cameron and Clark. The lawyers get nothing as Cameron and Clark stick to the script.
After the dust settles and Cardiff is in the clear, Joe McMillan tells Cameron and Clark what he wants to build. Joe simply writes on a whiteboard "2x faster and 1/2 the price." Clark tells Joe that he can have one, but not both, it's nearly impossible to have both.
Clark and Joe argue about the project, until Bosworth comes in and reads them the riot act because they are not supposed to be in the same room — as the agreement with IBM states.
Cameron goes to her new office (a storage closet) where she learns she'll have a babysitter — a Cardiff lawyer. Clark's office, however, has a window, as this illicit project has moved him up in the world of Cardiff.
As everyone goes home, Cameron stays in the office to sleep, as it appears she is homeless. The audience gets even more proof of Cameron being homeless because she is shoplifting t-shirts at the mall. As Cameron is leaving the store she is stealing from it looks like security guards are chasing her down, but they're not — they're IBM lawyers.
The audience later sees Bosworth scrambling, talking to whom are now former clients and employees, as IBM has taken them away. Joe runs down to the basement where Cameron went to work and get away from the babysitting lawyer. Joe goes down there looking for the bios code, which he had given to Cameron earlier so that she would be able to finish her job faster. She is not there, and that makes Joe and Clark think that maybe she had given it to IBM.
Later Joe is talking to his former boss and would be offered to return to IBM. Joe refuses, and his boss adds to the intrigue of his character by telling him he'll want to leave Cardiff "when they find out what you really are."
The episode then cuts to Cameron running into Clarke in the Cardiff parking lot, where he accuses her of giving IBM the bios code because he has not seen her all day. Joe then drives up in his car and says "People need to be able to take it anywhere. It will have a handle." Both Clark and Cameron mock him, and then he gets into a shoving match with Clark.
During their struggle Clark accidentally rips Joe's shirt, which reveals a multitude of scars on his body. Joe goes on to tell them about how he was bullied when he was nine. Joe uses the story as a sort of rallying speech to get Clark and Cameron to stay with him, and continue working on the project. It works because the next morning both are in the office.
Halt and Catch Fire looks to be another hit for AMC. Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, and McKenzie Davis have an amazing chemistry on screen which makes Halt and Catch Fire certainly a show worth watching.
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