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Silicon Valley: “The Keenan Vortex”

by Andrew Wink
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“The Keenan Vortex” begins by showing Erlich in a brand new position. Not only does he now have his own office in Bream Hall, but he also is best friends with the hottest commodity in the valley – Kennan Feldspar (Haley Joel Osment). However, in typical fashion, Erlich is not actually receiving any financial compensation for his work at Bream Hall, as he simply agreed to work for them so long as he as a desk and an official job title. It will definitely be interesting to see how Feldspar’s relationship with Erlich evolves over time, as I am sure there will be some complications to come. As Erlich seems to always end up getting the short end of the stick.


However, while Erlich may be moving up in the world, Richard is still immensely struggling to achieve any degree of success. As a result of the deal he struck with Dan Melcher, Pied Piper is now incurring sky-high data charges that are threatening to collapse their servers, and run them into financial ruin. More so than other seasons, it seems as though in Season 4 Richard manages to just keep making poor decisions that jeopardize his future.

Consequently, Richard must once again go back to the drawing board and look for an influx of cash from an investor willing to back his data storage platform. Richard looks no further than Erlich, despite that he previously banned him from helping out with his pitch meetings Richard acknowledges that he must plead for Erlich’s services to get access to Feldspar. This is one of the few times in the series in which we see Richard coming to Erlich from a position of help and inferiority, which was definitely interesting to watch.

After Erlich introduces the gang to Feldspar at his luxurious home, everyone (apart from Richard) quickly becomes obsessed with his VR technology. Even Gilfoyle expresses admiration for Feldspar’s creation, which was certainly a surprise as I have never seen Gilfoylfe seem so happy about anything. Erlich and Dinesh become so obsessed with Feldspar’s VR that they even go behind Richard’s back introduce to him Richard’s middle-out compression algorithm.


As a result, Feldspar decides that he wants to acquire Pied Piper. Gilfoyle and Dinesh immediately appraise this offer as an opportunity for the savior, from what has proven to be such a commercially struggling system. In fact, even Jared thinks it would be a good idea to accept this offer— leading Richard to fear that he has a mutiny on his hands. What I enjoyed about this episode is it shows a new side of Richard. Unlike in the past, Richard refuses to shy away from confrontation or panic in the face of adversary, and instead, he responds to Feldspar with an aggressive counter-offer of 25 million dollars.

Much to Richard’s surprise, however, Feldspar agrees to accept this offer – and is willing to pay Richard entirely in cash. This results in what is truly an iconic moment for the Silicon Valley Series, as for once, it seems as though things are finally working out for Richard. As a viewer, it was a true pleasure to see something that is rarer in Silicon Valley, than perhaps any other show on HBO — a montage of celebration, as Richard even yells “we’re’ fucking rich!”


However, as expected, this excitement and delight are very short lived. It turns out, that Feldspar has actually decided to instead team up with Jack Barker, and present his VR technology at the upcoming Hooli-Con. In doing so, Feldspar completely abandons Erlich, who now no longer even has a spot at Bream Hall. I honestly felt really bad for Erlich, as for right when it seemed as though things were finally going his way he gets completely abandoned and cheated over. The episode closes with Richard inquiring into attending Hooli-Con, foreshadowing what is to come in the final two episodes. It seems as though Richard might just try to use the quarter of a million audience at Hooli-Con to finally lift his middle-out algorithm off the ground.

With only two episodes in the season remaining, I am sure we are in for both some excitement and inevitable disaster.

For a preview of next week’s episode click below:

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