Going into the Silicon Valley season 4 finale, it was clear from the start that TJ was leaving. However, the big twist there was how.
What we ended up seeing was a rather sad end to the character of Erlich Bachmann. He didn’t get any redemption from his misdeeds, and instead ended up left alone in China, smoking in a place that Gavin left for him for the grand total of five years.
Here’s the tragic tale of Erlich in a nutshell: Everyone hated him so much that Jian Yang was willing to pay his way to another part of the world. Meanwhile, Gavin was willing to pay to leave him there, and nobody at home seemed to be missing him at all.
In speaking about his exit (which was originally meant to be a cliffhanger) to Entertainment Weekly, the actor passed along the following comments:
“What I think in some way is they wanted to do was say, ‘T.J., we’re leaving your character with a cliffhanger that is: Will he ever be in Pied Piper again?’ And I think it’s really interesting that the answer was no, and he wanted to be off in the ether. Rather than sort of keep being a conman and justifying his existence, he’d rather just float off into opium.”
Miller added that there is “one way” for his story to end where he comes back and becomes enormously successful with Richard; however, he comments that “another is just that he never quite made the case for his presence, and so he disappeared.”
We do think that the time was right for Erlich to leave, mostly because it was getting increasingly harder to get him in the story. He didn’t have a purpose with Pied Piper, his relationship with Big Head was in shambles, and he squandered a position working with Laurie and Monica in order to go work with Keenan — who completely stabbed him in the back. There wasn’t a purpose for him to stay, and Miller is a busy guy who does have a lot of other stuff on his plate. This gives him a further opportunity to do with.
With all of that said, let’s hope that there is a chance for him to appear again someday … though it doesn’t seem like that is in the cards right now.
If you missed it, head over here to read our review for Sunday night’s new Silicon Valley episode. (Photo: HBO.)