Silicon Valley Season 4 Episode 1: Success Failure Review

Over its first three seasons, Silicon Valley has consistently been one of the best comedies on TV. Thanks to the great chemistry of its cast and the smart writing, it is fun to watch the guys and their various hijinks. It definitely doesn’t hurt that its star, Thomas Middleditch, is Canadian.

Synopsis: In the wake of Pied Piper’s clickfarm scandal, the guys struggle to find funding for Pied Piper’s video-chat app to keep up with their rapidly-growing user base. Erlich faces resistance from Big Head’s dad, while Belson balks after Barker steps on his toes at Hooli. Having a hard time adjusting to his company’s pivot, Richard gets sage advice from an unexpected source, leading him to a big idea that could change his future. (HBO)

Writer: Alec Berg

Director: Mike Judge

Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 29mins

Ever since Pied Piper pivoted to a video chat platform, Richard’s heart was never fully in it. Since the click farm snafu from last season, they have been unable to get any type of funding to help them with their rising server costs from the intake in new users. Nobody wanted to talk to them which left Richard, and the rest of the gang, in a desperate position.

It wasn’t until Richard pretended to be a VC’s Uber driver that they learned that in order for any VC firm to want to talk to them, they would need at least a million active users of their platform while maintaining their current growth rate. Gilfoyle and Dinesh worked hard to try and reduce their server costs but were upset when Richard did not put forth as much effort. He couldn’t accept the new direction they were taking and still wanting to hold on to the past even though it didn’t work. Richard was hurting them on the outside and they did not want to let him hurt them on the inside, prompting Gilfoyle to agree with Dinesh for the first time.

Because respectable VCs didn’t want to talk to them, Richard turned to a different source, Russ Hanneman. He was one of the best side characters on this show and that didn’t change here, being his usual self, speaking without a filter outside a school. He may have been an over the top character, but he could still see that Richard didn’t believe in his video chat software. He had Richard pitch him another idea which was to build a new internet. Hanneman was much more into that idea and offered to fund that.

Since Richard was hurting the company, the gang had decided to remove him from the company but Richard had already decided that he would quit to start his own company with his algorithm and company name. Now they just needed to find a new CEO. Big Head’s dad, who was now making financial decisions for him, did not like Erlich so he wanted to make his life difficult. It was assumed that Big Head would become CEO but he was relieved when Richard thought Dinesh should be CEO.

The episode also featured a fun subplot that highlighted the differences between Barker and Belson involving a private plane and geography. It definitely wouldn’t have worked as well without the chemistry between Matt Ross and Stephen Tobolowsky and his deadpan. The other running gag was that Monica and now Barker were given new offices with a very up close view of the men’s bathroom.

Overall, this was a good episode that established the new direction for this season by separating Richard and the rest of the gang. How that will entail remains to be seen. It featured the traditional fun dialogue, as always, again sold by the great chemistry between the cast and had hilarious moments with Barker and Hanneman.

Score: 8/10

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