So I have just finished watching the latest episode of Silicon Valley and my heart rate is currently all kinds of jacked right now.
To say this episode was a roller coaster ride is putting things beyond mildly.
So let’s recap events up until now and then go from there.
The long and short of it is that Richard and his friends/team have created something that is absolutely amazing and which in a realistic sense could create a digital revolution, their algorithm is the stuff of dreams: seemingly lossless compression of any file type imaginable and all but instantaneously accessible digitally.
The journey to create such an algorithm has been fraught with issue after issue and setback after setback, to the point that as of last week they all but blackmailed their rival, Hooli (headed by Gavin), to force things from a lawsuit they could only barely afford to pay the retainer to engage appropriate legal counsel to defend themselves against to the much quicker binding arbitration.
In the process of dealing with said arbitration some serious bombshells were dropped that all but sealed things and assured the closure of Richard’s company, namely he ran a single test during his lunch hour on a Hooli computer. Effectively he used Hooli equipment in the process of creating his algorithm and therefore they were legally entitled to some ownership of it, if not all of it outright. This was made somewhat slightly hilarious due to the fact that Hooli legal counsel missed the oversight themselves, not the least reason of which was due to an in joke between Richard and Big Head about the “name” of his laptop. They referred to it between themselves as Richard’s “girlfriend”. It wasn’t until Erlich himself was put on the stand that Richard’s new counsel, who I previously mentioned could not practice law in open court for a number of hilarious reasons, that this monumental fact came out after Erlich lost it on the stand. Although he did try to redeem himself by loudly proclaiming that he was Richard’s girlfriend and Richard had hit it so hard he was in the shop for three days. Yep, a gay joke. But I pointed out before that this show plays on now common jokes to make excellent points here and there if you’re able to look past the crass jokes themselves. (Again, see the “how many guys and how fast could you jerk them off” one that led to the breakthrough on “middle out” which Richard used on the new algorithm.)
Things looked bad for our underdogs and they only got worse. Erlich in the process of pointing out that their new former coders (among them Carla and others) have taken numerous items from his home when they quit, forcing him to venture out to pick up replacements and running into that evil old man (with a heart full of love for his ferrets), who quickly points out that Arizona has more ferret friendly laws in place and he has sold his property. This leads to a discourse between the two that bordered on the hysterical to me.
Noah: “The ferret laws are much more enlightened in Arizona.”
Erlich: “Arizona, huh? You’ll be dead in a month. We’ll miss you.”
Realtor: “This your home?”
Erlich: “Indeed it is.”
Realtor: “Are you interested in selling? It’s a great time.”
Erlich: “Not interested, there are people in there who depend on me. Human people. [turns to glare at Noah] Not weasel animals.”
Noah: “It’s a ferret.”
Meanwhile Erlich and the realtor continue speaking and the topic comes up that she could get him more than she got Noah, the old man, which promptly leads Erlich telling the guys that he’s “selling the house just like that”. Pointing out that “it wasn’t a rash decision, he agonized over it”.
The team got together and had a discussion where Gilfoyle rightly pointed out they can’t give up what they’ve “accidentally” lost. Delete the code and Gavin and Hooli get nothing. “As far as he knows it’s an accident,” states Gilfoyle. He defends this action by pointing out, “Two weeks ago we deleted 1/3 of Insight’s entire library.” To which Dinesh responds, “I think we’ve established our ineptitude beyond a reasonable doubt. Fuck it, I say we delete everything.” Richard meanwhile doesn’t want to destroy anything.
Richard going so far as to point out that the livestream is taking off (eventually hitting 200,00+ people watching), which they basically built together with no resources.
Of course no decision is truly made, but things are stated and up in the air. Worst comes to worst and it’s an option, one which Richard states he is against because they built something amazing even if it might end up in the hands of someone who sucks.
Shortly thereafter their counsel calls and Richard has to proceed to the courthouse where the judge has come to an early decision, a terrible sign if there ever was one.
Meanwhile, Manny Pacquiao has tweeted a link to the livestream and holy shit do things take off from there. Quickly Gilfoyle and the rest of the guys are running around and doing all they can to handle the surge of viewers. I mean all they can, which includes Gilfoyle punching holes in walls to go the shortest distance with running cabling. Even Jared is getting in on this, plugging in servers as Gilfoyle commands him to.
Elsewhere, Richard is struggling to tie his tie. He even has a moment with Gavin in the restroom while attempting to figure out how to knot his tie, which Gavin seemingly in a friendly way helps him with while confessing to Richard that he was days away from offering to pay $250 million for Pied Piper solely for their algorithm which he needs to save Nucleus, his own offering that surpassed Pied Piper’s similar idea before the famous “pivot” scene. He even offers Richard $10 million then and there for his tech, before promptly going full douche and saying he was joking while laughing out loud at Richard.
Back at the house things are getting crazier and crazier with the viewership taking off. It’s an all hands on deck situation, with even Erlich getting called up and promptly telling the potential buyers of his property to go fuck themselves before clipping back his hair, putting on gloves to deal with his carpal tunnel and taking a place in front of a computer.
Yes, that is clearly smoke you see coming from the servers behind the guys. Perhaps one of the worst things you can see coming from any server.
Meanwhile, the judge speaks to the various parties in the matter at hand, pointing out that numerous matters weighed heavily with him and which he did not take lightly, before some random noises distract him and he promptly ask whether, “Mr. Hendricks, are you on your phone?” Richard has been watching the livestream while in court. Goddamnit, Richard!
Things at the house meanwhile are going nuts!
Gilfoyle: “If you hit those servers you kill our livestream, Jared!”
Denish meanwhile is calling out their livestream viewer numbers and they surpass 300,000+. Taking a sharp plunge once rescuers reach the stranded and injured ranger, who take the camera offline.
The guys though are proud of themselves. They stayed online to the end.
Meanwhile, the judge has ruled in Hooli’s favor. Hooli has the right to underlying ownership of Pied Piper’s IP. At which point Richard puts his head down on the table in defeat or does he?
Of course in true “Richard and his fucking luck” fashion the judge decides to bring up a seemingly irrelevant point, he mentions Jared’s contract and points out one clause in it that us unlawful under California law.
Gavin dismissively says he’s dropping that from the suit but the judge points out that it’s important because it also applies to Richard’s contract, wherein it is also stipulated that any work done on Hooli equipment becomes properly of Hooli, and it is here where you feel that pure joy that finally Richard has won one. The contracts, both Jared and Richard’s, are null and void.
The clause stipulating the use of Hooli equipment quickly goes up in smoke with the judge’s words and Richard has a moment where he has to ask what just happened, once it’s explained he begins to celebrate before remembering one tiny little text he had moments before sent. At which point he runs out of the courthouse to call the guys to not delete everything.
Meanwhile the guys are setting up to end it all, using a lovely little tool I’ve personally used myself more than once. Boot and nuke! (This is one of those little things I love about this show! Darik’s Boot and Nuke! If you’ve used it you recognized it, if you haven’t then you missed out on another little tip of the hat as far as “I see what you did there” tech jokes goes.)
Of course his luck strikes yet again. His phone shuts off before he can call the guys and then it’s off to the races to find a phone (which doesn’t matter because his contacts are on his dead phone and he doesn’t know anyone’s numbers) and/or get a message to the guys another way.
The guys meanwhile postpone killing Pied Piper by having one last beer to honor it. Of course Dinesh has a problem with the drink and says lemon is needed in order to drink it. “Is this a wheat beer? I can’t drink this without a lemon.” To which Erlich responds, “Noah’s got a lemon tree. Fuck him over one last time.”
He borrows a bus driver’s phone and emails the guy, mentioning he hopes it isn’t weird coming from the bus driver’s account. Naturally it hits the spam filter, because of course it does.
And of course the lemon they get for Dinesh isn’t good enough because “this one has like a bruise on it”. The guys promptly walk back out to get another lemon.
Richard meanwhile is literally running to the house after exiting the bus, you can’t help but wonder how far or how fast he’s running. Up until the moment where a mom pushing a carriage comes up out of nowhere and quickly outpaces him. I laughed at that part. Like that just figures a mom out for a jog would run faster while pushing a baby in a baby carriage (or “pram!” a word I love hearing and I don’t know why).
And I’m not sure what happened exactly or how, but apparently Erlich has been squirted in the eye with the lemon. “Okay, there’s no way I could have squirted this lemon in your eye from this distance. I’m not a fucking lemon sniper,” says Dinesh. To which Gilfoyle replies, “You’d be more of a lemon suicide bomber.”
Richard gets there meanwhile and starts banging on the door, since he kicked his keys down a sewer drain earlier, and the guys quickly rush to delete everything.
Richard gets in and promptly says, “Don’t delete it! Did you delete it?” Gilfoyle just looks up and says, “Oops.”
In making light of the “work will make you free” moment from last week’s episode, in defense of the guys they were “just following orders”. Of course Dinesh’s coding skills, having been mocked throughout the episode as being subpar by Gilfoyle, have saved the day. There was a kernel panic that crashed the entire system, “The software you wrote to delete our software just shit the bed. No surprise.” That leads to an argument about whether it was the software or hardware responsible for the fuck up and this nearly ends when Dinesh states, “Restart it.” At which point Richard walks over and tells them not to do that. Because you just know they would have otherwise just to see who was truly at fault, Gilfoyle or Dinesh.
Richard breaks the news that they won and the guys are ecstatic, at which point Richard inquires as to what happened in the place and they explain everything.
Of course, having lost a monumental lawsuit that could have saved Nucleus, Gavin is in a rush at the office and after passing some people in line for pretzels you learn he may in fact be removed as CEO of Hooli by the Board of Directors. You also learn the identity of the person who is poised to replace him. If you’ve kept up with the series thus far then even before it’s flat out stated you already know who it is.
As one door opens and promptly closes another opens elsewhere for someone else.
“But, what?” Oh that “Baghead”. Failing his way up and up and up and up.
Note the ‘Tres Comas’ tequila just behind Laurie.
Elsewhere, Hanneman has sold his share in Pied Piper back to its original investors who pulled out when the lawsuit from Hooli was filed and things do not end well.
In an emergency meeting of the Board of Directors, Richard has been removed as the CEO of his own company. “I just got fired.”
It’s worth pointing out that the “human error” they lay at Ricard’s feet, the video streaming aspect of Pied Piper, was a move pushed for by Monica in order to beat Nucleus at something and it was in fact implemented by Carla (who I previously noted has experience with VP9, a video codec that aims at reducing file size while maintaining or improving quality). So the mistake they’re blaming on Richard was not in fact something he wanted to do in the first place and not at all where he wanted to take the company.
God, this episode was just all over the place. Up and down and back up and then down again. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time at my desk. I really can’t wait for the next season, it’s going to be great I just know it.
On a related note, Giz just published their recap of the episode. Looks like they beat me to the punch, so I’ll link to it and you can have some additional discussions there if you prefer. Although I know not everyone who sees post on the Odeck likes commenting on the other Gawker related sites for a variety of reasons (not the least of which is the comments are not always as friendly as they are on here).
I’m really interested to see what happens next season. Richard technically remains a majority shareholder in the company itself and is the lead coder(?) on the algorithm that is the main thing of the company, so he’s going to stick around in that aspect. He’s just no longer CEO. Then you have Gavin who was poised to be outed as CEO of his own company as well. Is it possible the two might work together next season?
And what about Hanneman? I thought he was perfect in his role as rich asshole. I honestly would love to see the interaction between him and Laurie, or future interaction between the two. Their personalities are just so unlike one another’s that it’d be absolutely like watching a train wreck to see them interact.
Let’s also not forget that in order to have a majority to oust Richard that means Monica would have had to have voted to remove him as CEO, which really sits at odds with her character given that she was the one constantly fighting on behalf of Richard and Pied Piper. I mean that isn’t going to sit well at all with Richard or the guys and I’m certain that’s something that’s going to come up at the start of next season.
Meanwhile there’s the coders who left, among them Carla who provided some truly hilarious moments in the show and who I really hope returns next season.
You can tell she was absolutely fucking with Jared for all of that.
And I know there are some people who might see that clip and think the worst of the show, but it really needs to be pointed out that she may have been one of the best, if not the best, characters in the show because she was used to point out a lot of the issues in the tech industry regarding females. (Her “I’m not a ‘female engineer’. I’m an engineer.” line still being a fav of mine.)
Ugh. Now the wait begins for the next season.
So what did you all think of the season finale? Input, folks, I need it. Because no one I know offline watches this show, so you’re the people I get to geek out about it with, which is awesome cause you all seem to have geeked out about it just as much as I did with my first post on the show last week.
UPDATE! In keeping with how great the Pied Piper site is, the following can now be seen on the “Who We Are” section at the bottom.
Richard has been faded out. Meanwhile, Carla is still clearly visible which means she likely did not quit as I suspected and as was hinted at. Yay! Also aww. Poor Richard.
Also, per this EW interview with Mike Judge the following was stated in regards to Carla.
EW: What happened to Carla [Alice Wetterlund], by the way? After being introduced in episode 4, she was rarely seen, and then apparently quit off-screen with the other coders.
Mike Judge: That was our frantic rewriting of the last episode. We had a scene with the coders quitting and her coming back and it just became a victim of us frantically rewriting and putting everything together. But I think we’ll see more of her. People seemed to like her, too. We want to have her back.
She’s coming back, folks! It’s been confirmed!
Also, if you inspect the photo element in Chrome you can see that it has “person-is_canned” for Richard. That’s hilarious and also one of those other little geeky things that they include which the average person likely would never notice or realize is there. This is exactly why I love this show and think it’s the best thing on television at the moment!