“Sand Hill Shuffle” is a relatively uneventful episode but two very big events set the stage for the rest of the season. The tragic death of actor Christopher Evan Welch left the show without one of it’s most interesting characters in Peter Gregory and it wasn’t clear by the time season one ended how Mike Judge and the rest of the Silicon Valley team were going to address the situation. The season two premiere puts that loss front and center with the death of Peter Gregory. With Gregory out of the picture Pied Piper’s future is put in flux as Richard and the rest of the team scramble to try and secure funding. Once funding is secured the real battle of the season is revealed with Gavin Belson’s bringing legal action against Richard for stealing his algorithm from Hooli.
It was great to see the Pied Piper gang succeed at the end of the first season but the fun of the show is watching them scramble. Richard has gained a lot of confidence since we first met him. The old Richard would never have survived having his face broadcast on a jumbotron at AT&T Park and he certainly would never have had the nerve to storm back into that investment meeting and tell those investors to screw off. Which is not to say that he’s got it all figured out. His attempt to join Erlich in their aggressively rude negotiation tactics. Speaking of Erlich, even he has accepted that while his position at Pied Piper might not be a the top, he has a particular set of skills that no one else has. One of the best things about Silicon Valley were the often extended comedy sequences the show managed to squeeze into certain episodes. The first such sequence of the second season is the montage of Erlich negotiating with the venture capitalists which shows off T.J. Miller’s amazing ability to riff and come up with some of the most creative insults he can think of. This episode is worth it just to hear the following line come out of T.J. Miller’s mouth: “And your logo looks like a sideways vagina. I find that racist.”
“Sand Hill Shuffle” is definitely laying groundwork for the rest of the season and so we don’t spend as much of the rest of the Pied Piper team. Dinesh, Gilfoyle, and Jared make brief appearances but they certainly take advantage of them. The Dinesh-Gilfoyle rivalry is still going strong and Jared continues to provide gems like “Negging. Going negative. It’s a sex strategy used by lonely chauvinists.” I’m sure we’ll get more of the Pied Piper team moving forward as they band together to fight Gavin Belson’s lawsuit.
- Amanda Crew’s Monica makes a couple of brief appearances as well and is instrumental in helping Richard decide how to move forward with the company. With Richard giving her a voting seat on the board of Pied Piper, I expect we’ll see a lot more of her this season.
- For those who don’t recognize Richard’s former co-worker Javeed, the pilot opened with his insane party. The one with Kid Rock. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
- Suzanne Cryer joins the cast as Laurie Bream, the new Aviga managing partner and Peter Gregory replacement. It’s great to have another female character on the show and brings a great presence as another smart, competitive, and hilariously impersonal executive. I found her continued lack of eye contact during all of her scenes to be a perfect touch and I look forward to her work on the show.