Halt and Catch Fire Recap: Will Haley's Comet Take the Web by Storm?

No need to Ask Jeeves where Halt and Catch Fire‘s final season is heading.

In Episode 3, “Miscellaneous,” all is made clear when Gordon reveals to Donna that Rover’s biggest competitor comes in the form of their teenage daughter Haley. She is the mastermind behind Comet and well on her way to helping develop the first search engine. Even worse for Donna is the fact that the Rover team (now led by Bosworth, with an assist from Tanya) seems ill-equipped to actually see this thing through.

The episode begins with a flashback. The year is 1990, and Cameron has just told Tom that she slept with Joe. He’s sitting on the kitchen floor, sobbing, feeling equal parts betrayed by Cam and embarrassed that he ever stood up to Joe back in San Francisco. “You love him,” Tom says, convinced there is no other explanation. But Cameron denies those feelings, telling her husband that “there is no loving Joe [because] he’s impossible to love.”

Cut to four years later, and Cameron is sitting in Joe’s bathtub. There’s a knock at the door, and it’s Gordon, who’s not too pleased to see Cameron and Joe falling back into old rhythms. He’s looking for Joe, who has already left for work. When he arrives at the office, Joe is on the phone attempting to save CalNect, but it’s a lost cause. The ISP is nearly dead, and all hope of an open Internet in the age of America Online is lost.

Joe and Gordon manage to sell the company, making twice as much as it’s worth, and Joe knows exactly how they should reinvest the money. After stumbling upon Haley’s webpage, Comet, he doubles down on his vision to create the world’s first search engine — and he wants her help. He and Gordon then bring Haley to the negotiating table in what is easily one of the series’ funniest scenes to date, as Joe tries to reach an agreement before Haley has to head back to English class. (Even funnier? When Haley inadvertently opens the link to a porn website back at the house, and Gordon literally picks up the monitor and turns it over so Haley and Joanie can no longer see the naughty “Construction Worker of the Month.”)

Joe is willing to offer Gordon’s daughter $20,000 to buy Comet outright, but she’s not interested in the cash. She wants to work with Joe and her father on the project, and in return wants out of her independent study period at school. Gordon is initially hesitant about letting his daughter work with Joe, but comes around after a talk with Cameron. She tells him that she wishes her dad had been alive to see all that she had accomplished, and Gordon shouldn’t deny himself the opportunity to work alongside his daughter.

Cameron, meanwhile, has an awkward run-in with Donna at a gaming conference. Cameron is a panelist, and Donna uses a Q&A sesh to pour salt on an old wound. She not-so-subtly alludes to their failed partnership, asking Cameron if she takes any responsibility for Mutiny’s demise. Cameron responds with quite the blow, essentially placing all the blame on Donna and referring to her business approach as parasitic. (As if Donna’s not embarrassed enough, she soon realizes that Tripp, the new partner stealing her thunder at the firm, saw the whole encounter play out from the back of the room.)

At the end of the panel, Cameron’s bosses at Atari sit her down and tell her that a copy of “Pilgrim” has been leaked to a highly regarded gaming zine. What’s more, the review they’ve given it is especially bad. They tell her that they won’t be moving forward with the game in its current incarnation, at which point Cameron reveals that she was responsible for leaking “Pilgrim” in the first place.

Later, Cameron picks up a package at CalNect shipped to her by Tom, only for it to fall off the back of her car after she forgets to put it in her trunk. When the package is then run over by a truck, its contents are revealed. Papers flood the street, but we can’t see what they are. (Divorce papers, maybe?) She then returns home to Joe, waking him up as she loudly unloads all of the other boxes she received from Tom in a dumpster behind the apartment building. She’s ready for a fresh start.

What did you think of this week’s Halt and Catch Fire? (Next up: the arrival of Veep‘s Anna Chlumsky, who begins an arc with Episode 4, airing Sept. 9.)

GET MORE: Recaps