TV Reviews

Silicon Valley Season 4 Episode 7: The Patent Troll Review

If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.

Synopsis: Richard takes on a patent troll; Gilfoyle battles a smart fridge; Jared embraces multiple identities; Erlich tries to hang with a new crowd.  (HBO)

Writer: Andrew Law

Director: Jamie Babbit

Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 29mins

At the beginning of the episode, Richard is at the doctor’s office wanting to get tested for STDs but actually learns that he is getting shorter which was a fun running gag with the other being a series of innuendos.

The last few episodes have featured a subplot with Erlich looking for a purpose. He was ignored by Laurie and Monica when he asked them for a job at their new VC startup but when he brought them Feldspar in the last episode, they started to take him more seriously. As a reward, they handed him a generous finder’s fee, however, he wanted more. He pleaded to them, including some mansplaining, and they finally conceded and offered him a job.

He also began to feel inadequate when he was invited to what he thought was a Golden State Warriors game by some fellow VC guys including Ed Chen but was really a basketball game between a group of VC guys. They were much fitter and better looking than him so he tried to get out of it.

Since they had released their app, they have gained notoriety which had made them the target of a patent troll (Allan Miller) (hence the episode title). Richard thought he could talk some sense into him but he eventually learned that he was a career patent troll, getting rich by suing people. He was intent on suing him for infringing on his vague tech patent. Everyone thought he should settle, however, Richard was against it.

He thought he had formed a coalition to fight the troll but of course they folded, leading the troll to raise the amount of money he wanted. As Richard always does, he found a way to get the upper hand on the troll.

The best part of the episode was a subplot relating to this involved Jared, anticipating having to pay a settlement to the patent troll, trying to negotiate a lower cloud storage rate. He was constantly kept on hold because they would not take him seriously. Dinesh convinced him to lie to them so Jared invented a completely different person to talk to them named Ed Chambers. What made it so great was that he was the polar opposite of Jared and Chambers actually ended up getting them a better deal and a lot more. Perhaps not liking who he had become, Jared fired Chambers, treating him like he was a real person.

Another fun subplot in the episode involved Guilfoyle and a smart fridge. Their current fridge wasn’t working so Jian-Yang took it upon himself to buy an expensive, talking smart fridge. Of course Guilfoyle thought it was stupid and wanted to shut it up which was understandable. The fridge’s voice was kind of funny and did steal some scenes. Ultimately, Guilfoyle got the upper hand on Jian-Yang and the fridge.

Richard seemed to have won but the lawyer’s fees for setting up the coalition were more than the original settlement. Trying to improve his game, Erlich tried and failed to install a basketball net on his garage and fortunately for him, he was standing on the door when Richard closed it so Erlich broke his foot.

Overall, this was an excellent episode with hilarious subplots, elevated by great writing and performances, especially by Thomas Middleditch, Martin Starr, and Zach Woods. It was announced recently that T.J. Miller would be leaving the show at the end of this season. He has been a vital part of the series since the beginning, perhaps not stealing as many scenes as he once did but it will definitely not be the same without him. With a few episodes left this season, I am curious to see how they will handle this.

Score: 9.5/10

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