In the most recent episode of Halt and Catch Fire, we see two competing ideas of what it means to make an operating system go head-to-head. The most sincere of which desperately craves a computer with a soul—something the show's characters could stand to gain themselves.
Important disclaimer: I'm just filling in this week and this is the first and only episode of Halt and Catch Fire that I have ever seen. I'm still not entirely sure of half the character's names, the company they work at, or the year in which this takes place—so who better qualified to sum it all up for you? A lot of people, probably. But I'm going to recap it for you anyway.
Also warning: Spoilers ahead (duh)
In true computer nerd fashion, the scene opens on some sexytime. A blonde woman with a pixie cut is just about to make the beast with two backs with two very thick eyebrows attached to a face when Pixie Cut decides to ask Eyebrows about the large, gaping scars across his chest and stomach. This is probably a good time for that. Eyebrows (unsurprisingly) refuses to open up, establishing himself as a Distant Man, and Pixie Cut storms out as Pixie Cuts are wont to do.
But wait—maybe there's more to Eyebrows than meets the eye(brows). After his big blowout with Pixie Cut, we see him spend some time looking at all his fancy things and doing his best Patrick Bateman. Is Eyebrows really insecure, and not just distant and brooding? Sure, probably.
The next day, Eyebrows and Pixie Cut are in a meeting at the company they both work at. Eyebrows is addressing his geeky, programming masses and his one attractive lady worker (surprise surprise it's Pixie Cut). The team has finally finished its computer prototype, way to go, guys. A man named Bosworth gets cheers as as he pushes an "on" button. Way to go, Bosworth.
The computer beeps, says hello world, and everyone starts hugging. It seems the computer is sentient. Finally, The End can begin.
During all this celebration over humanity's impending doom, a man with glasses looks unhappy. He and Eyebrows have apparently had a bit of a tiff, but Glasses assures Eyebrows that everything is alright now. Glasses does not seem sincere. Eyebrows does not seem to care.
After the meeting, Pixie Cut has another outburst when Eyebrows talks to her all business-like. She viciously calls Eyebrows out for behaving like a professional in a public, office environment as is expected of employed humans, and decides to work off some steam by listening to angry punk music while typing furiously.
Bored with working for thirty seconds, Pixie Cut decides to put in a game that her bearded roommate made for her. The games asks her what she'd like to do with a grenade. She chooses to throw it and proceeds to laugh. We never find out what happened after she threw the grenade, which is disconcerting.
Apparently, this textual warfare has inspired Pixie Cut to build a personality into the company's new OS. She asks Glasses for an additional 384 K of RAM (!!!!!) and Glasses is all, aw hell no. Glasses is seemingly unaware of her violent history with explosives. Even Eyebrows tells Pixie Cut an OS doesn't need a personality. But Pixie Cut wants it to have a soul, just like the stuffed animal she carries with her to work as an adult. Pixie Cut's emotional issues go even deeper than we feared.
The next day, Glasses walks in to see an employee working on a personality for the OS. Glasses is pissed. Like really pissed. He tells the employee to stop and makes a snide comment about Pixie Cut and Eyebrows sleeping together.
S e c r e t' s o u t.
When Pixie Cut addresses a bunch of her coworkers, trying to convince them to build her a soul, one of them asks if she's sleeping with Eyebrows. She looks uncomfortable and says nothing, which is definitely always the best way to defuse these kinds of situations.
That evening, even with an impending hurricane on the way, Eyebrows goes over to Glasses' house for dinner. When he arrives, though, it's just Glasses' wife and two kids, as Glasses is still out desperately searching for a Cabbage Patch doll. Glasses has hit up several stores at this point and been scammed once, so he's pretty desperate. When he realizes that the only store with any dolls in stock is closed, he decides to smash the display window and steal the dolls.
On his way back to his car, Glasses finds a dead woman in the parking lot who appears to have been electrocuted by a rogue telephone wire. This robbery/doll kidnapping has escalated quickly. He decides to run away because hiding his Cabbage Patch theft is more important.
When Glasses gets home, Eyebrows decides to leave because Glasses looks devastated, either due to stealing dolls or leaving a dead woman lying in a parking lot—we can't be sure. When Eyebrows leaves, he shows up at Pixie Cut's apartment and shows her that he can also be a Sensitive Man. Pixie Cut shows Eyebrows the OS with a soul she's been working on. Eyebrows raises his eyebrows. He is impressed. He starts telling Pixie Cut how his mother let him fall off a roof when he was a kid, which led to the massive scars and two years in hospital beds. Eyebrows and Pixie Cut make out. The computer watches on, silently. Knowingly.