The most difficult thing about watching Sunday night’s episode of “Silicon Valley” was merely the information that you had at the time you watched it.
On the surface, this was a very funny episode that was at times very silly. You had the character of Jared (Zach Woods) end up getting trapped in a self-driving car as it shipped itself out to an under-construction island in the middle of the ocean. It was so completely out there and unrealistic, but simultaneously totally Mike Judge and totally funny. In between this and the prank that Gilfoyle played to make Dinesh think that his had a chance with his girlfriend, there were plenty of laughs.
But there was also a layer of shock, darkness, and even of bravery underneath the surface of this story. Last week’s episode was the final half-hour to feature Christopher Evan Welch, who passed away during production. The news shocked Judge and the entire cast of the show, and they were left in a very difficult position when it came to how to handle the Peter Gregory character. You want to honor the man, but you have to tell a story at the same time. There was no mention in this episode of how the show plans to write Peter out. Maybe the character will be killed off, or Monica will serve as a vessel of sorts for him the rest of the season so that there is not anything that jarring thrown into the series’ plans.
What we have to say ultimately is that this was a very difficult position for the show to be thrown into mid-production, and this is even different from the Cory Monteith tragedy in that this actually happened during filming. The writers and actors involved here have shown themselves to be extremely professional, and they have also shown themselves to be interested in honoring Welch by delivering the best product possible. This was going to be his breakout role, and you feel that they in one way or another acknowledge the importance of that.
You can still find laughs sometimes during hard times, and “Silicon Valley” is proving that, while also continuing to tell the story of Richard and a startup company that has its own obstacles to face. Grade: A-.
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