This week’s episode brought to you by Cottonelle and Tres Comas
After Erlich’s meltdown in the face of his own mediocrity, Richard and Pied Piper have all but lost their binding arbitration with Hooli. Erlich makes a discovery about the value of his house that means once again he’s going to have to kick out everyone else. But their livestream of the condor egg has gotten tens of thousands of filipino viewers. Not for the egg itself but for the man who was sent to pick up the camera, now trapped 127 Hours- style at the bottom of the cliff. Not wanting to see their program fail, even in the face of losing it forever, Gilfoyle, Dinesh, and Jared work hard to keep their servers running continuously and flawlessly while more and more people connect.
Erlich’s cynicism went toe-to-toe with Jared’s optimism in a way that their characters never have before. After being offered a ton of money for his property, Erlich had to come to terms with the fact that none of the start-ups he’s incubated have actually made it while Jared wouldn’t stop believing that coming down from the Hooli tower was the best thing he’s ever done. They each rate failure and success so differently that when faced with the same outcome they see different results. Erlich, the last person to take someone’s advice, actually saw things differently. With that, he turned down the offer on his home (after finding out that they didn’t actually want the “house” part of it, intending to tear it down), and decided to actually invest himself in the one company he incubated that didn’t immediately fail.
By the end of this season, has Gavin Belson learned anything? I would assume not considering his inability to look at anyone without condescension and derision. Finding Richard in the bathroom and tying his tie, pretending to be friendly is all he can do before doing a touchdown dance. However, if there’s one thing that will hold him back it’s his complete lack of competence. It pairs into how Bighead could reach such staggering heights in a multi-billion dollar company despite not doing anything. He literally did nothing and now he’s poised to become the CEO of Hooli by the end of the series. The reason he’s able to do it is because Gavin is a total idiot. His brain has become one giant ego waffle. So of course there’s an invalid clause in Richard’s employment contract. Still, it’s a little disappointing that the solution to the entire season’s overarching problem, getting sued into oblivion by Gavin Belson, has a solution that appears out of nowhere at the last second to solve all the problems.
Pied Piper has always been about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Even after the judge declared that the contract was voided due to an unsustainable clause, Pied Piper was still almost a goner thanks to Richard’s impulsive need to ride the Titanic straight into the iceberg. While he was still in the throes of losing Pied Piper forever, Richard sent a text to Jared telling him to (electronically) burn the company to the ground. With no charge on his phone and no phone capable of reaching the house since he never memorized anyone’s number, it’s a race to get home before everything they’ve worked for, lost, won, lost, and finally have definitively is gone.
The scene that really showed Richard’s growth through the last two seasons of Silicon Valley. In the beginning he was a shy, anxious, socially-dysfunctional introvert. Though he still retains a lot of those features, thanks to the crucible of managing a tech-startup, he’s grown a lot. Before I don’t think he’d have even been able to ask the guy driving the bus for his phone, let alone pull out the coffee shop’s after being told no.
Of course high notes have to be cut off by low notes. Free from the corporate shadow of Hooli, Pied Piper had officially run out of luck. With Russ Hanneman out of the picture, and a majority of the seats on the board of Pied Piper, Laurie Bream removed Richard as CEO. Considering what Gavin said about Richard being the only person capable of writing the algorithm that makes middle-out compression work, it’s unlikely he was unilaterally removed. In all likelihood, next season he’ll be another drone at a desk in a Pied Piper office space, where the people around him won’t stop whispering about who he is and what happened to him. I’m confident that he’ll be able to make a comeback. All in all, a fun episode and a fine season.