“What’s gone is not necessarily lost”
Silicon Valley Season 3 is leaning into its dramatic tendencies, but unlike last week’s episode “The Empty Chair” knew how to handle this balance. Not without its misguided additions, but at least the show is feeling around, trying to get a handle back on its roots.
It’s easy to forget that Richard Hendrix is like most company figureheads. He is a genius, but he is an asshole. His “male ego,” as power-player Laurie Breem said, often leads to the collapse of Pied Piper. With C.J. Cantwell this is most certainly the case. And this is where “Empty Chair” is a glorious return to form.
The classic Richard screw-up was a well-delivered twist that simultaneously had me in hysterics while gasping in embarrassment. He is a protagonist that goes all in on the second hand embarrassment factor and his friends almost always save him, as was the case with Bighead’s close save, leaking the pertinent information about Gavin.
And that moment was great. The way in which Bighead delivered on a dangling hook from two episodes ago, while with that subtle offhand signature comment set up an entirely new loophole in a different subplot. It is a bummer, then, that the formation of Bachmanities has felt like little more than a platform for the writer’s most lukewarm bits. It certainly shows promise of importance, but the comedy and pace in this episode were particularly uninteresting.
Which is not say “The Empty Chair” was unfunny in its entirety. Lines like “My aunt used to call me glasshole” and “I spilled coffee on it. I’m a nerd” induced many a guffaw. Erlich’s poking fun at Bighead’s wardrobe was one of his few one liners that landed. But once again this episode reminded us how this season has had a complete lack of advancement in the Dinesh and Gilfoyle dynamic.
They are by nature static characters, but it feels like we have learned all we can about them. The hard drive switcheroo was even the best G and D plot of the season, incorporating a now confident and complicit Jared. Still, as personalities that once made year end lists of best new characters, they haven’t been living up to their full potential. In fact, it almost seems as if Zack Woods’ stellar performance this season has been overshadowing them.
It is satisfying then, that the episode concluded on a rare truly sentimental moment. The original crew coming together to give Richard the titular chair. It was a strictly anti R.I.G.B.Y. moment (Richard is an ass, but whatever), but one that breeds hope for the future of the company.
“The Empty Chair” is thematically and structurally a callback to early Silicon Valley. Its subplots were half-baked sure, but the driving force of the narrative and its value were pumping on all cylinders. So as Jared said, while this season may be missing crucial comedic subplots, “The Empty Chair” proved “what is gone is not necessarily lost.”
Best Tech Dig: Clinkle
Best one-liner: “You’re gonna be replacing it”- Gilfoyle’s dig at Geek Squad