Silicon Valley: “Blinding Arbitration”


If season three were not confirmed I would have firmly believed that this was the second to last episode for Silicon Valley. The cast of Pied Piper have been suffering one massive failure after another this season. Each time they manage to scrape by but only by the skin of their teeth. Last episode however we witnessed them truly fail. They lost a deal which was supposed to make and break their company. We see some consequences of the failure this week but it’s only briefly mentioned. All of the new coders, including the interesting Carla Walton have quit. This has pluses and minuses for the episode as a whole. On the plus side it ensures this episode only focuses on the core characters and the core story. On the downside there aren’t very many surprises. You know how these characters interact with one another, and the only new addition, albeit a spectacular one, is their new Lawyer.

The bulk of this episode involves a court case between Hooli and Richard in regards to the ownership of Pied Piper. It’s unclear if this case was always scheduled to begin at this point or if “Big Head”’s accidental espionage expedited the court date. The opening plot of Big Head finding a phone with an early version of Nucleus on it is a plot line ripped straight out of reality. The whole situation mirrors the incident with Gawker obtaining the early version of an iPhone a few years back. The only difference is that the iPhone was good, and Nucleus is anything but. This is one of two moral dilemma’s Richard goes through in this episode. Surprisingly enough he decides on this dilemma immediately deciding to take full advantage of it in an attempt to save his livelihood. Here is  a clip. 

Once the court date is established we get to meet the most important player in this situation. Pete who plays their disbarred Lawyer attempting to get his life back together. The actor Matt McCoy has an excellent deadpan delivery throughout the entire episode. Before the trial begins you have no faith in Pete’s abilities, and it seems like Pied Piper is being set up for another more permanent failure. This is further reinforced once they discover a set of emails between “Big Head” and Richard detailing his laptop’s exploits. They discover that at one point the laptop was out of commission and a diagnostic was done using a Hooli computer. This could be damning evidence hSilicon-Valley-S02E09owever Richard’s laptop is conveniently called “girlfriend” throughout the emails. This leads to the second most important moral issue Richard comes up with whether or not to commit perjury and invent a false relationship. At every other point this season we have seen Richard take what would be considered the “immoral” path. Hacking, being a jerk to potential investors, taking a stolen phone, and accepting shady investors. As a viewer you are led to believe that this will be yet again the road Richard takes.

If one were to look at an arc for Pied Piper it would be that of an independent company forgoing all of its morals to become a big company. Fortunately this episode turns it all on its head with Richard admitting the truth when confronted by the lawyers. The speech is pretty great, and symbolizes what Judge is attempting to do with the show. That being said we have no idea whether or not this will be at all effective to Pied Piper’s future or if this is the death of Pied Piper. Richard is the only member of Pied Piper that even considers moral ramifications. Erlich for example will gladly lie, cheat, and do whatever it takes to win. Which while it is hilarious is a horrible thing to think of in regards to tech businesses. Technology runs almost all of our lives, and its safe to say that we all need a little bit more Richard’s in the world to watch our backs.

The side-plot this episode is nice because it’s focused on Jared, Dinesh, and Gilfoyle as opposed to just the latter two. Jared is worried about the egg that their livestream is focusing on, and thinks that in all probability it has died. Jared wants to notify the National Park but Dinesh and Gilfoyle advise him of Schrödinger’s Cat principle in which an object can exist in two states until it is acted upon. They argue that as of now the egg could be either alive or dead, and Jared investigating it will lead to an eventuality. Interestingly enough Gilfoyle’s explanation is not the usual setup for Schrödinger’s Cat utilizing poisoned food instead of a poisonous vial. It still reaches the same conclusion it’s just a different slant to the theory. Anyways since this is Silicon Valley the whole situation goes horribly wrong with Jared silicon-valley-binding-arbitration-3-1024x682-1024x682notifying the park of the egg and making them realize they need to remove the camera due to low viewership. While the camera is being removed the man removing it falls to the ground and presumably dies. This plot is great, and hopefully has some hilarious consequences. For one I imagine that Gilfoyle and Dinesh will legitimately get Jared to feel guilt over his actions. This will result in Jared once again loosing his cool and continuing his slow downfall into insanity. Another interesting thing to note is that Jared is once again chastised for use of a German turn of phrase. In a prior episode this season we hear Jared speaking German in his sleep, and in this episode he quotes Hitler saying “Triumph of The Will”. Could these be one off jokes or a sly nod to something greater with the Jared character? What if Jared was a spy for Hooli all this time? It’s incredibly unlikely but it’s worth noting the through line of German jokes targeting Jared this season. If there’s one thing Gilfoyle and Dinesh are better at then messing with each other, it’s messing with Jared.

Overall this is a strong episode, but one that hopefully gets resolved relatively shortly. I was enjoying the new status-quo with the newly added programmers, and the eccentric investor so this episode feels in a way like a step back rather than forward. We even have Richard rekindling his friendship with Big Head getting back to a season one, episode one relationship. There are plenty of subplots that didn’t appear this episode such as EndFrame’s eventual fate, and Monica’s placement within the group. I would have expected Monica in particular to make an appearance considering this is the make it or break it eventuality for Pied Piper and her support would have been a nice element to the episode. What is left is the season finale. Take a look.

Find Episode # 16 here

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