While we’re still waiting for winter with Game of Thrones, HBO has thankfully premiered new seasons for Veep and Silicon Valley and not a minute too soon. The latter comedy has been critically and fan-loved since the beginning but has never received the awards attention it deserves. At the end of last season, we saw Pied Piper lose its industry clout after using fake users to boost their numbers and Bachman step up to buy the company out from Laurie. It was a big shift after previous seasons where the company got bigger and more successful with every year. With that, this premiere had a lot to set up to get this season in motion.
It’s hard to feel bad for Erlich Bachman as a character, but TJ Miller does it time and again. After squandering Bighetti’s money, the useless former Hooli exec’s dad is now on the board of Pied Piper with Bachman and Richard, and since every vote has to be unanimous… no decision is ever made. Bachman deserves this. He is forever profiting off of people without much in return, but BigHetti is just, so useless! It’s really ridiculous when you think about the secondary character’s arc over the course of the show. He was never as good a coder as the others, but he still was hired by Hooli. Being given the opportunity to be lazy and not produce any work has apparently made him lethargic to the point where it’s hard to remember he was ever intelligent. It’s nice that his father is so protective, but knowing that he’s hurting Dinesh and Gilfoyle by default makes it hysterically painful. Sure, Bachman could give up his shares and be back to the same amount of money he started with, and he would totally deserve that! But Bighetti never earned a dime of the money he was given and I hate the idea that he would reap the rewards of everyone else just as much as Bachman.
There are other problems in the Pied Piper house too, as Richard’s ego is unwilling to be a team player, and not just the CEO, as the company shift’s to Dinesh’s mobile video streaming project which already has a large number of users, growing at a steady rate. All Richard wants is to go back to working on the platform he created, but his name is now dirt in the tech world after buying fake users. He knows that his algorithm has many applications and wants to find another use for it. Unfortunately, his team is not on the same page. Behind Richard’s back, they are making moves to oust him as CEO.
Richard seeks out advice from Monica, who is being hazed by Laurie for taking Richard’s side earlier in the show, but she is with the team on this. Richard’s ego is getting in the way and he can’t change course at the detriment to the team. The only way that Richard is going to be able to make everyone happy is to find a new investor. This leads Richard to Russ, the batsh*t crazy, former Pied Piper investor. He pitches the current version of Pied Piper to Russ, but it’s clear that Richard isn’t passionate about the project. Richard pitches a new idea that uses everyone’s cell phones to create a network, thus creating a “new internet” that cuts ties away from spying, tolls, government, etc. Russ wants to invest in this idea, not the video chat.
Simultaneously, we see the fallout from Jack Barker joining Gavin at Hooli. They initially have a good working relationship, but Gavin’s ego quickly gets in the way on a private jet flight where Jack manipulates the path so that he will be dropped off first. Gavin is the top guy at Hooli, and the idea that Jack could get his way on this must look like “just the beginning.” Gavin spends a ridiculous amount of money to send his right-hand man on a series of flights to prove it would’ve been quicker to drop off Gavin first and not Jack. The moment Gavin has proof that he was right, he “promotes” Jack and puts him in an office in the sub-basement amongst the maze of servers.
While Gavin’s storyline is smaller, pairing it with Richard’s shows just how increasingly stubborn Richard has become. Richard might not be “power hungry” but he definitely is more concerned with himself than his friends and this season may prove to be the tipping point. Richard meets up with Pied Piper, and while they try to fire him, Richard quits first. This allows Dinesh to become CEO, and Richard’s shares will be distributing amongst Dinesh and Gilfoyle, so Bachman won’t lose any money. Now that Richard isn’t tied to the video chat, he won’t have to consider the team at all, which could allow his stubborn nature to grow out of control and the start of Richard evolving into the isolate and out-of-touch Gavin.
While there were plenty of laughs in this episode, there was a lot of ground that needed covering. The episode is 100% a set up to the season. Next week is bound to pick up the pace as the preview appears to dive right into the meat of the season.
Season 4, Episode 1 (S04E01)
Silicon Valley airs Sundays at 930PM on HBO
Emily is a writer and television obsessor. If desired, Emily will talk to you at potentially-annoying-length about topics such as why soap operas are underrated, the current amazing state of underground comedy, and how she avoids TV/films about zombies because most of them do not chew with their mouths closed.
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Emily J | Staff Writer