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Silicon Valley: “Bad Money”

By Jason Godfrey on Apr 29, 2015 to Silicon Valley

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The third episode of Silicon Valley’s second season is about the choice between two evils.

I was hoping for this episode to continue exactly from where the last one left off, the dinner with Pied Piper’s greatest rival Gavin Belson offering Richard the deal to buy him out. Instead, we are shown the aftermath of the meeting. Richard tells the rest of Pied Piper that he’s taking the deal because Gavin convinced him it was best for his brand.

Of course Elrich, Dinesh, Gilfoyle, and Jared are all put off by Richard’s decision. Not only do they each have unique reasons for their disgust in the idea, but can you blame them for an ounce of distrust in Richard’s decision-making skills? Throughout the series, Richard’s decisions were questionable: securing a company name that nobody on his team liked, hiring a “prodigy” that caused more problems than he solved and nearly falling victim to fake VCs. That’s just to name a few. Maybe Richard shouldn’t be left alone to make important business decisions.

The team virtually splits up, leaving Richard to approach Hooli on his own. When a complete stranger rolls up in a MacLaren, blasting Limp Bizkit music as old as his idea of Internet radio. None of this seems to raise red flags up for Richard and he’s led to another dinner with another big talker. The secret to obtaining a chunk of Pied Piper just might be taking Richard out for dinner.

The scene that follows is very reminiscent of the opening scene. Richard got wooed and is excited about the new deal he secured. Instead of hearing about a deal with a big evil corporation, it’s a deal with some guy that they never heard of but is willing to give them money to keep doing what they’re doing. Did any of them really think that was a good idea or did they realize their individual efforts were not going as well as they thought?

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I can’t help cringing every time a scene with Laurie Bream comes up. This episode was not without one. I’m not sure if Suzanne Cryer is just playing a character as someone that lacks the self-confidence in the new role at the head of a company, who is “faking it until they make it”. It could be just as simple as trying to have a character that speaks similar to Peter Gregory, but it comes across as overly awkward.

Throughout the episode, we are reminded why Gavin Belson is not the greatest person in the world when he tries to make up for comments seen as antisemintic.  That aside, he is the evil we know.

The evil we don’t yet know, Russ Hanneman , soon comes into the house like a sugar-high child with the keys to the candy store. He seems absolutely oblivious to how obnoxious he’s being to everyone he comes in contact with. While I could understand the restraint each of the members of the Pied Piper team had when dealing with Russ – this is the money Pied Piper needs, even though it’s “bad money” – the most puzzling is the way Elrich acts around him. As Andrew Wink mentioned in previous reviews, Elrich has saved the day on numerous occasions. His role in this episode seemed to step back a bit. I could only guess it’s because he sees himself as a modern-day “Russ Hanneman” and is seeking the approval of his billionaire idol. Each time, Russ brushes him off like he’s the least valuable member of the Pied Piper team.

The biggest surprise of the episode was probably the return of Big Head who has done literally nothing this season and most of last season. I know I forgot about him. This is the guy that somehow talked his way out of a job at Pied Piper and into Hooli where he did absolutely nothing and got paid for it. I loved as the lawyer’s voice-over described someone that is going to get promoted repeatedly to look like the brains behind Pied Piper as Big Head stumbled around on his way to the slacker haven on the roof of Hooli. This is the same guy that said he could not do anything better than any single member of the Pied Piper team. Hooli has their work cut out for them. I look forward to seeing where this goes and hope to see Elrich reach a breaking point with Russ.

Check out the preview for next week’s episode here!


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