“The Blood Boy” fires on all cylinders this week in SILICON VALLEY, and once again the show has taken the plot somewhere I completely did not expect with one of the sharpest episodes of the season. The central conflict spins around Richard getting into a feud with Gavin’s “blood boy,” an annoyingly attractive young man named Bryce who once a week transfuses his blood with Gavin’s to theoretically keep Gavin from aging. When the episode starts and Gavin wheels in the transfusion chairs during Richard’s presentation, you never get the sense that this is going to be the focus of the episode. But hilariously it is, and leads to Richard having to apologize to Bryce for Jared’s psychotically controlled blow up. This by the way already comes after one of the best pre-credit sequences, wherein Gavin walks the team through a full replica of the garage where he started Hooli, and reveals he keeps it in his mammoth, hangar of an actual garage. And so the “The Blood Boy” is all about how out of touch Gavin is, and how this partnership can’t last because he doesn’t really remember what it was to start a company.
We’ve had enough indicators of Gavin’s neuroses to be able to see this coming, but I was thoroughly surprised that the series is using this as a way to punt on the Gavin-Richard partnership and find somewhere else to go. I was sure this would play out through at least the end of the season and of course expected some Gavin back stabbing in play. And yet, it makes perfect sense with the character for him to drop everything and hop on his private jet for some unknown location of self-exploration. The series has been slowly humanizing Gavin throughout so that by the time his legacy is in ruins there is genuine empathy for him. I was particularly sorry for him after he realizes what a con Bryce has put him through and his own self-awareness at having lost grip with reality. I hope he’s not gone for long but the beauty of the set up is Judge and company can now bring him back however they want without it ruining the story.
Of course outside of the main storyline we also have a lot happening with the rest of the gang. Dinesh is busy trying to get out of a relationship with Mia whom he’s grown more and more scared of throughout their courtship. The reveal that his honesty is exactly what glues her to him is perfect, and Nanjiani plays Dinesh with such a pathetic, quiet desperation that I was laughing the whole time. I love him calling the FBI on her as an out, it leaves room for her to come back or not, leaving the writers with options without really sacrificing anything for Dinesh. Also, I’m enjoying the Erlich, Jian Yang and Monica world, their strange relationship has really developed into something credible. Monica relying on Erlich’s intuition totally works and it’s a good call to give Erlich the periodic positive quality to justify him as a character. He’s a buffoon yes, but he’s there for a reason and he’s positioned to motivate the plot whenever he’s called upon.
My prediction is now that Laurie is branching off, she’ll be back in play as Richard’s main backer. It seems like the most obvious way to connect all the disparate storylines and bring everyone back to square one. But, then again I’ve been wrong with all my prediction thus far. and again the show has taken a surprising yet inevitable turn that keeps me excited for what’s to come. In any case, five episodes in this season and the show never settles for comfort. It juggles it’s characters and stories without ever revealing where it’s standing and that is supremely satisfying at a time when most comedy is fairly formulaic story wise.
A couple of favorite things:
-The way Gavin and the others throw the words “blood boy” around with such disdain is one of the funniest things on television this year.
-From what I’ve seen of his stand up I’m not necessarily a TJ Miller fan, but Erlich consistently gets some of the best lines and his delivery is always spot on. Take him ominously throwing out something like “You said it yourself, there’s more dicks in here than a synthetic pussy convention.” Monica, bewildered, denies ever saying anything like that and of course we know it’s just one of many conversations Erlich has had with himself. Conversations that I’m always happy to hear as they’re usually some of the funniest writing on television.
-Mia’s danger as a hacker is really felt and I found myself as anxious for Dinesh as he is. Nobody wants an angry hacker after them in 2017.
Season 4, Episode 5 (S01E05)
Silicon Valley airs Sunday at 10PM on HBO
Greg Brecher | Contributor