RECAP: ‘Silicon Valley’ Episode 2: Watching the Bottom Line

By Alyssa Pereira

HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ is two episodes old now. The show’s ultimate motive seems still to be a parody of the tech community, with this episode focusing on the shortcomings of the technologically brilliant.

Richard, whom we met last week in the premiere, is taking charge of his company…more or less.

The show opens with Ehrlich, essentially Richard’s head-of-house, ordering a stripper for the company’s (depressing) launch party. The stripper, “Mochachino”, walks in to Purity Ring’s “Ungirthed” at which point everyone nervously runs from the room. Ehrlich forces Richard to pay Mochachino, which sets a precedent—Richard has no control over his own company.

This is the theme of the episode. The next day, when Richard and Ehrlich meet with their company’s new benefactor and mentor Peter Gregory, things go awry. The new entrepreneur is completely clueless as to how to create a business plan and is then scolded by his brutish landlord/partner: “Richard, if you’re not an asshole, it creates this kind of asshole vacuum, and that void is filled by other assholes.”

Richard, still clueless, even after Wikipedia-ing “business plan”, decides to call up his Hooli co-worker (and the #2 at the company), Jared. Together Jared and Richard decide to allocate roles and shares based on contributions, and realize Big Head, Richard’s best friend, doesn’t really contribute much.

Here is Richard’s first test: does he appease his new benefactor by cutting the excess, or does he show some backbone, and keep his best friend onboard at Pied Piper?

Richard decides to keep Big Head onboard, just before Big Head announces he was given a huge promotion at Hooli—a retaliatory move by Hooli CEO Gavin Belson for stealing away Jared’s financial brilliance. But Big Head doesn’t leave Richard as an ally—he calls him right away when he realizes Hooli is attempting to steal his algorithm.

‘Silicon Valley’ could easily have pandered to the tech community, creating a world when those workers are in a microbubble where they govern everything. Instead, this episode sees Richard dealing with very non-tech realities—he has to deal with his roommates/coworkers’ complete lack of empathy, with his own interpersonal friendship crumbling, and even more humorously, trying to start a legal business.

This show may sustain itself after all.

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