It may have taken a few weeks, but “Silicon Valley” is finally on its way to being back.
Sunday night’s new episode of the HBO comedy was a whole smorgasbord of ridiculous,, summed up with one concept more than any other: Skunkworks. After feeling last week that Jack Barker was forcing him to produce a box that was severely diluting the brand, and after failing to get traction with Laurie on getting Jack Barker to change his mind, Richard came up with the bright idea to create a mass company-within-a-company that they would use to secretly work on the original Pied Piper platform without telling Jack in the process. They eventually charted a massive plan where they would have to pretend to be just as frustrated with work as usual, while in secret continue to work on what they really wanted. When they presented it down the road, Jack would have to take credit for it, since otherwise he runs the risk of not controlling his own company.
Everything from the idea to the execution of the bit was strongly crafted, especially how Dinesh’s sideplot about the chain and Gilfoyle being recruited for other employment both worked their way into it fairly seamlessly. We’re not entirely sure if Gilfoyle was just missing work or actually left the job along the way, but he was able to go back in the end right in time for the entire plan to blow up.
This may be the one weak point of the episode, just because it logistically didn’t make sense for Richard to bring the secret plans to Pied Piper a.k.a. the lion’s den for shredding. Even if he hadn’t spilled the papers, there were so many ways this could have gone wrong. For a guy with his success, he can surely afford to go to Kinko’s, right? The comedy has to be established in a little bit of reality, and most of the rest of it was over the episode.
Also, this was the right use of Jack Barker now that it’s been established that he is not a friend, and is out to do his own thing and not even bother with liking Richard or any of his engineers anymore. He’s almost a new Gavin in that way. Speaking of Gavin, we also now know that the EndFrame team is now working with some ex-Nucleus engineers on their own version of the platform, which could make it to market long before the original Pied Piper.
In the end, a few slips don’t destract from this being the funniest and strongest episode of the season so far. We certainly expected the skunkworks plan to last longer than it did. Grade: B+.
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