Sunday, July 12, 2015

REVIEW: 'Halt and Catch Fire' - Cameron Makes a Firm Choice on the Future of Mutiny in 'Working for the Clampdown'

AMC's Halt and Catch Fire - Episode 2.07 "Working for the Clampdown"

Gordon and Donna harbor secrets from one another as Gordon launches a new venture. At Mutiny, an acquisition puts Cameron's principles to the test.

Cameron formed Mutiny so that this collection of coders didn't have to be forced into the system of cubicles and office jobs. Mutiny has allowed the team to be more creative than they ever would have been otherwise. That's the community that she needed. She found it and they have been very meaningful for each other. Mutiny is a fun and light-hearted company. One where it's okay to have fun and goof around during the work day. That's the kind of energy that runs throughout the house. That's what makes Mutiny unique. They are all friends. But that's what makes it so difficult when it comes to deciding the future of the company. Joe presents Mutiny with an acquisition deal that totals $5 million. That is a lot of money. For the coders, that money could represent a lot of opportunities. Money is a huge factor in deciding the future of the company. But Cameron wants to make this decision for the team because of the deep emotions involved for her.

So often, Cameron wants to have it both ways. She wants to be the one making the executive decisions while still being a part of the team who only does things that are okay with everyone. This situation forces her into a position where she has to pick one of the two. That choice will have ripple effects for her moving forward. She doesn't want to trust Joe. She doesn't want to corrupt everything that she has built so far just so he and his company can come in and profit on it while taking away Mutiny's soul. She doesn't want things to repeat what happened with the Giant. That's what is fueling her thinking on this matter. She is easily able to manipulate the rest of the team by keeping some vital information from them. They all rally around her and chant "Mutiny!" when they think it's just a typical sell-out deal. But when they find out how much money it was for and that Cameron technically owns 90% of the company, it was a source of tension. A dynamic that was completely justified on the show's part. Mutiny has been able to run so well because of the team dynamic. If that dynamic becomes contentious, it risks the core product.

Cameron only takes things to a democratic vote because she wants to be a good leader and give the rest of the team some power. That's the relationship she wants to have. But she also doesn't believe enough people will vote against her. And yet, outside factors keep the vote from finishing. Things have been so innocent with Lev and his online flirtation. That's what makes it so tragic when he finally gets the courage to meet the other guy and ends up getting beat up and landing in the hospital. It's that moment that puts so many things in perspective for so many characters. Everyone at Mutiny has their own wants and needs. They all live in the light and fun atmosphere of the house. But this situation calls for a very serious discussion about the future of the company. A discussion that Cameron is only hesitant on having in the first place.

Donna, Bosworth and Tom are able to see how good this deal could be for the company. Giving Mutiny a global outreach is one of their ultimate goals and Joe can help that become a reality. But things have been very tense with Joe as of late. He has stood in the way of Mutiny. He was thrusting his image of the company onto Mutiny and expecting compliance in order to continue their arrangement. This new deal presents a much longer opportunity. Cameron doesn't want to listen to it. The house has been very effective so far. The company is small but it's growing. She doesn't think they need the resources from Joe's company in order to expand. But that's only her opinion. The human cost of this decision is vast. It's one of life-and-death for Lev. It's one that would allow Donna to be able to take care of Gordon as he grows increasingly symptomatic. It's one that would allow Bos to return to a place of status in the corporate structure. It's one that would allow Tom to give his mom some financial stability. This isn't a decision that Cameron can afford to take lightly. She wants to shoot it down immediately. The team won't allow her too. There are too many things at play for that to happen.

In a moment of selflessness, Cameron is able to see beyond her hatred of Joe. She sees how this deal can potentially change the way the people of Mutiny live. Joe coldly manipulated Tom into getting Cameron to sign the deal. Tom telling Joe that he won't even tell Cameron about their meeting produced a brief moment of worry for his relationship with Cameron. And yet, the opposite occurred later. Tom still tried to get Cameron to agree to the deal. But he did so in a way that made his motivation and love clear. He loves his mom. He loves Mutiny. He loves Cameron. The weight of this situation is forcing him to pick a side: sell or not sell. It's not that easy. It's a complex situation. It's because of the way he expresses his concerns that Cameron is able to see the humanity of her company more clearly. The deal may not be good in the long term. But this is something she needs to do in order to support the team who have tirelessly worked for her.

And then, Joe shows up at the hospital and tells her about Jacob's real plans for Mutiny. The plans don't include gaming at all. Nintendo is just around the corner and he wants to focus on building Community to avoid the competition. Gaming is so important to Cameron. To her, games are the soul of Mutiny. As long as the games were still operational, she would be happy with her company. The thought of a version of Mutiny without games is too much for her to handle. That coupled with Joe actually be a sensible and caring person for a moment is enough for Cameron to firmly stand up to her team. She declares that she is the head of this company. She is the one who makes all of these important decisions. She is the one who determines which direction Mutiny will go in the future. That may alienate several people on the team moving forward. It's a drastic turn from what she told Tom. That puts their relationship in jeopardy. It also puts distance between her and Donna and Bos. They are two of the most important members of this team and this big declaration puts them directly under her in the hierarchy of the company. Cameron has been a great friend to so many of the Mutiny team. And yet, this decision could create distance and the working environment of awkwardness and procedure that she never wanted to have in the first place.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Working for the Clampdown" was written by Christopher Cantwell & Christopher C. Rogers and directed by Karyn Kusama.
  • Gordon finally told Donna the truth about his health. That's a huge step to bringing intimacy back to their relationship. And yet, she's at a loss over how she is suppose to process this information and what she needs to do for her marriage and for her family. Her mother is no help in making sense of it either. She only wants to focus on all the mistakes Gordon has made for as long as she has known him.
  • Joe's drastic turnaround in the handling of Mutiny is entirely because Sara returns to his life and is horrified by the person he has become. Their relationship is very important in making that transition happen. And yet, their coupling isn't all that strong because so much of the accepting each other and building that intimacy happened offscreen. I don't care if they get married or not. I care if Joe ruins things for Cameron and Mutiny or not - and that seems too connected to his relationship status.
  • With Joe no longer working at the company and Cameron firmly saying no to the deal, will Jacob just give up all plans on acquiring Mutiny? It was a decision forced upon him by Joe but he did come to the decision on what aspects of the company to focus on all by himself.
  • Gordon starting up a new computing venture with the team from Cardiff wasn't all that necessary. He's just trying to continue to live his life while not creating more problems for Mutiny. But it only served to highlight his increasing memory and speech problems.