We gave it a B+
As much as Donna, Cameron, Joe, and Gordon want to move forward into the future, they can’t, because their pasts linger uneasily beside their present. Old wounds and past failures color how they view their latest projects. Try as they might to separate the the personal and the professional, they can’t because their work is so close to them; it’s part of them. So when something is on the verge of not going as planned, it’s a very big crisis as we see for Joe and Donna especially in “Nowhere Man.”
Before diving into the core four, we need to talk about Anna Chlumsky, who remains incredibly charming as Katie in this episode. While “Nowhere Man” is mostly focused on her newfound relationship with Gordon and we don’t get to see much of her Chief Ontologist work, that’s fine because it’s some of the most purely entertaining and least **Prestige TV** parts of the episode: From her teasing Gordon about his love of Sneakers with a heavy Russian accent, to Gordon asking her to help him identify a song stuck in his head, it’s another way this show reaffirms that these are just people looking for connection but in the least showy way possible.
Tonight’s the first time Katie meets Gordon’s children. Surprisingly, she hits it off immediately with Joanie, who was rather difficult the last time we saw Gordon bring someone home in the season 3 finale. Haley, on the other hand, is very awkward about it all, especially after Joe’s outburst in the office about it (more on that in a second). While Katie’s night with the kids goes off pretty well, Gordon ends their night early because his symptoms start flaring up again and he’s exhausted.
At least part of the reason for his illness rearing its head again can be partially caused by stress at work. In the wake of Rover’s miraculous algorithm fix, Joe is spinning because he thinks Comet’s personal touch is no longer relevant. He asks Cameron to come in for a brainstorm with him and Gordon, but she says no because she thinks they should keep their work separate (Obviously, the real reason is that she feels guilty about helping his competitor). Comet is incredibly important to him, so in his mind, her saying no to helping him work through this problem is the same thing as her indecisiveness on moving in with him and running away to her airstream. Alas, Cameron doesn’t quite understand how hurt he is and runs off to the woods. Naturally, Joe isn’t in the best of moods when he arrives at the office the next day and he lashes out at Gordon when he arrives at work.
Even though Rover’s fortunes have turned for the better, they aren’t able to enjoy it because Donna is very suspicious of how Cecil was able to fix the algorithm. Her suspicions weigh on her mind when she comes home and finds Joanie playing Cameron’s game Pilgrim, which turns out to be just as frustrating the review said. While Donna can’t stand to be in the same room with Cameron, she still finds herself at least mildly intrigued by the game, but for now she ignores that impulse to sit down and play it.
Tanya wants to use Rover’s new funding to expand its programming team, but Donna says no because she wants to see if Cecil can come through under pressure once again. This is her way of putting the screws to the team come clean about how they actually fixed the algorithm because she doesn’t believe Cecil did it on his own. She turns up the heat on him and says that they’ll only be able to hire new programmers once Cecil sits down with legal and explains how the algorithm works so that they can patent it. Unfortunately, Cecil has no idea how it works, because Cameron is streets ahead. (Recap continues on the next page)