A hurricane is coming to Texas, casting an ominous shadow over this week's episode. The storm doesn't really come into play until late in the hour, but it's used as a way to parallel the metaphorical storm brewing between Cameron and her software team and Gordon and his hardware crew.
"You're too screwed up for words," Cameron tells Joe as he fires off lie after lie when she asks him how he got those scars on his chest. Their thing is back on, it seems, and Cameron chooses to try to get to the bottom of one of Joe's mysteries during an intimate moment.
"This has gotten boring. You have gotten boring," she tells him after he bristles at the line of questioning. Yeah, that happens. "Your whole thing, it attracts people, but it won't keep them around," she says. Been there too, Joe. "Authenticity is what inspires people."
Cameron leaves her boss to ponder things.
Gordon stumbles home after another late night at the office, looking to share an intimate moment with his wife. "You smell like beer," Donna says as she tries to get back to sleep. She mentions that one of their daughters wants a Cabbage Patch doll and Gordon promises to get it. "Go to sleep, Drunky," Donna says.
Joe takes his car to a carwash and is inspired to ditch his tie and jacket at the sight of a model on a cologne billboard, with the tagline "Be The Mystery." We finish catching up on the home lives of our characters by checking in with Cameron, who is crashing with some of her programming teammates.
Joe assembles his teams and announces that a prototype of their new PC is ready to be tested. He's about to throw the switch when the room begins chanting for John to do the honors. Joe reluctantly agrees, putting on a smile for the room, but staring daggers at John. The machine fires right up, and Gordon invites Joe over for dinner the next night to celebrate.
Inspired by a new game that one of her programmers made for her, Cameron tells Gordon that their new operating system should have a personality, and that she'll need some hardware modifications to make that happen. "It needs a soul, it needs to be something people can fall in love with. We can do that," she says. Gordon shoots her down, so she goes to Joe to plead her case.
Trying to get her point across, Cameron shows Joe a stuffed animal that her father made for her. "I named it, I fell in love with it. This is the sort of loyalty we can create," she says. Joe offers to give her idea a shot with the next generation, but tells her that they need to run with what they have so far. Still, he's intrigued enough by the idea to take it to Gordon himself to check its feasibility. It looks like Joe will ultimately have to make the final decision.
Donna meets with Hunt, her boss, to go over some presentations or something. All of this is just an excuse for him to ask her to go on a business trip with him. I hate this subplot. I hate Hunt. Back at home, Donna urges Gordon not to let Joe push him around. Oh, this should be good.
Gordon, in an attempt to shake the mantle of most spineless man on television, confronts one of Cameron's software people, He orders him not to work on expanding the operating system, but to go back to working on the drivers that Gordon's hardware people need. He casually mentions to one of her guys that she's sleeping with Joe, and that's the only reason she gets what she wants.
His personal victory is short-lived, though, as he goes to buy what he thinks is a Cabbage Patch doll from a guy in a toy store parking lot. Instead, Gordon pays a guy $80 for a box with a brick in it. This guy is the worst.
When Cameron rolls into Cardiff, later, she immediately reassigns her team to work on her operating-system idea. The team is frustrated at being dragged around from task to task, and one of the guys asks her if she's sleeping with Joe. Angry, she grabs Gordon in the middle of the office and kisses him. Oh, the mental warfare here is quite formidable. Gordon stumbles away and runs off to try to find a Cabbage Patch doll before the storm hits.
Joe arrives at Gordon and Donna's for dinner, and Donna labors to make small talk while she waits for her husband to get home. Joe builds a fort with their kids, then sits with Donna as the conversation gets deeper.
She asks about the operating system idea, and Joe tells her that he's considering it. "The truth is, I just want to do something great," he says. "How did torturing Cameron fit into that?" she fires back. Donna tells him that if he wants to be successful, he should listen to Gordon. I doubt that, but it's nice that she's standing up for her spineless husband.
Cameron is about to leave for the evening when John asks her to stay and fill him in on what happened with Gordon earlier. She breaks the conflict between the two teams down for him, and shares her vision. "I want to build something that makes people fall in love," Cameron tells John, as they share a drink. Well, that would really be something.
Cameron tells John how she fell in love with programming in high school. "It was like finding water in the middle of the desert," she says. John tells her to keep the theatrics to a minimum going forward. He says that he knows she can fend for herself, but that a lot of people want to see her fail, "Because you're the future. Ain't nothing scarier than that," he tells her.
Things get odd here. Stay with me. Gordon arrives at a toy store that has Cabbage Patch dolls in the window. The store is closed, because there's a storm raging. Gordon throws something through the window and steals two dolls. As he's running back to the car, his attention is diverted by the sound of fallen power lines down the street. There, he finds someone dead in the street in a giant puddle, as rain pours down and the power lines shoot electricity into the air. He turns and runs back to the car. Of course.
Back at the Clark's house, Joe has convinced Donna and Gordon's kids that their flashlights can keep the hurricane at bay. To prove his point, he steps out onto the lawn and waves the flashlights in the air. This made for a really cool visual, if you can put aside whatever symbolism was trying to be driven home here. As a frazzled Gordon arrives at home, Joe decides to leave.
He goes to visit Cameron, and asks her if she had gotten stuck in the storm, if she had anyone that she would call.
"I don't," he tells her.
Inspired by his evening of making personal connections, perhaps, he asks Cameron to show him what she's been working on with her new system. He tells her that when he was a kid, his mother took him to the roof to look at stars, but that she had been using drugs, and she let him fall three stories, onto a fence, probably explaining those scars.
Cameron responds to his honesty by kissing him. "Cameron, this is really good," he says, in reference to that, and to her work.
The symbolism in "Landfall" was a little heavy-handed, with the storm and the idea of making connections. I didn't mind that, though. With this series, it seems inevitable that the idea of how we interact with technology and how we use it to reach the people in our lives would be touched on, as it was here. The result was the most engaging hour of the series, to this point. More of this, please.