This first season of Silicon Valley hasn’t been perfect. There have been a couple of side plots that haven’t landed great. The show could use another female character other than Monica and I would love to see a female coder join in the shenanigans that the Pied Piper team always manages to get involved in. All that being said, the show has easily been one of the most consistently enjoyable comedies week to week. Mike Judge and his team have crafted a show that can tear into the absurdity of modern technology one moment and craft an elaborate dick joke the next. It’s a hard line to walk and the show does a great job of not letting the balance tip in one direction or the other. Now let’s talk about this finale.
The previous episode ended on a bit of cliffhanger with Pied Piper’s presentation being cut short by one of the judges launching himself at Erlich and beating the crap out of him. The fallout from that attack ends up being tremendously profitable for Richard and the guys. TechCrunch advances them directly to the finals and sets them up in a suite in order to save themselves some legal trouble. They’re feeling pretty good about their chances until Gavin Belson takes the stage to debut Nucleus and it turns out to be exactly what they all feared it would be. Nucleus is Pied Piper with all the resources of Belson and Hooli behind it. Worst of all, Nucleus has even reached the same impressively high Weisman score that Richard achieved in the pilot and set this series in motion.
This is where the finale really kicks it into high gear and we get one of the best combinations of A and B plots the show has had this season. The stakes are suitably high here as the Pied Piper team must find a way to either improve their app overnight or follow Jared’s advice and pivot and change what the app does. Zach Woods shines again as Jared slowly goes off the rails trying to find a new direction for Pied Piper. He attacks the problem head on and as he went from one group of people to the next conducting his survey I laughed more and more each time. I was worried he was going to be gone from the episode after his run-in with the cops so I was happy to see him return not too long after that. The cops clearly realized that Jared isn’t a danger to anyone, except maybe himself due to sheer exhaustion. It’s been great to watch Jared slowly become a part of the group after coming in as a complete outsider who was really only there out of necessity.
While Jared is off scaring pedestrians the rest of the Pied Piper team is dealing with their impending doom in ways only the know how. Each character’s reaction is pitch perfect. Erlich goes off and tries to mess with Gavin by starting rumors and other non-stories. The Dinesh and Gilfoyle show heads to the show floor and try to look for another job while also trying to convince themselves that they’re not dicks for jumping ship. Richard tries to improve on what they have but can’t seem to think of anything. This leads to my favorite sequence of the episode, and one of my favorite sequences of the season, in which Erlich, Dinesh, and Gilfoyle get into a spirited discussion of how fast Erlich can jerk off the entire Disrupt audience. This quickly becomes a very technical conversation as the team considers the different variables involved in this process. What took this from a gag I like to one I loved was that I’ve been a part of this exact conversation. Well not this exact conversation but having been an engineering student myself, I can attest to the ridiculous level of thought that can go into the most inane conversation topics when the urge to procrastinate strikes. I also enjoyed it as the source of inspiration for Richard’s breakthrough. It was something that was expected but that developed in a totally unforeseen way.
Richard’s breakthrough certainly feels convenient. I didn’t find it too far-fetched because I thought the guys had earned it at this point. We’ve seen them struggle and overcome a variety of problems and it was nice to watch Richard have his moment. It also leaves the show in a solid spot for Season 2. Pied Piper is safe for now but once again all the have is the starting point for something. They might be looking at mountains of investment cash but there’s still no guarantee they won’t end up like the countless number of start-ups that go under every day. I will say that I’m really looking forward to next season. The whole cast has settled into their characters well and the show has found a good rhythm. I expect the show to be even tighter next year and with a larger episode count I’m confident Judge and his team will deliver.
- The sequence that gives the episode its title starts off amazingly: Erlich-“We’re going to win even if I have to go into the auditorium and personally jerk off every guy in the audience.” Jared-“That’s a lot of jerking.” Dinesh-“Yeah, even if he’s doing two at a time…” And then they’re off!
- The relevent variables: Mean Jerk Time, Dick-to-Floor, Length, Shaft Angle, and Time-to-Orgasm
- Proof that Jared is part of the group now? He contributes positively to the discussion: “Guys, does girth similarity affect Erlich’s ability to jerk different dicks simultaneously?” Pause. Erlich- “Shit. Yeah, I think it would.”
- Great visual gag when Erlich breaks the door down and then gently replaces it after they realize Richard’s locked into a coding session.
- Thank you all who joined me in watching the show and reading my meandering thoughts about this show. I hope to see all 3 of you (hi mom!) next season.