A rough week for our boys at Pied Piper.
The final ten minutes of last week’s Silicon Valley were a brilliant step towards what could be an intriguing twist on the show’s minute to minute actions. However they pulled a reversal at the last second. “Maleant Data System Solutions” picked up right where the cliffhanger left us and formed half-assed solutions to conflicts that need not exist.
It was a frustrating way to start a fairly dubious half hour of TV. Richard simply pulling an ultimatum out of his ass like that was completely unfounded. If Pied Piper cannot build the box without the engineering skills of Richard, Dinesh, and Gilfoyle than how does Barker have any power? It was the fact that Richard had no choice in the matter that forced him into Skunkworks in the first place. With a compromise being composed on the spot, the events of last week are retroactively invalidated. It was a sloppy cop-out that left the rest of the drama feeling unnecessarily heightened. Monica’s monologue felt phoned in. She’s never inspired much confidence that Silicon Valley can create compelling female characters and Sunday’s episode did not further an preconceived notions. At least as a love interest she would play a role, albeit a trite one, but in her current position Monica’s power move feels less driven by character and overwhelming as a method of moving the plot out of the dangerously cyclical territory Silicon Valley dwells in.
Gloria’s big move is indeed one that gives me “good feelings, happy feelings.” It’s unsure if the information gained, once again thanks to Erlcih’s stoned genius, at the end of the episode had anything to do with her decision, but for the sake of something working this episode, let’s say it did. For as much promise as the interaction between Barker and Richard provided in the season premiere, the dynamic soon got stale. It was felt throughout “Maleant Data System Solutions” too. Neither side would budge, Richard being too stubborn to understand market realities and Jack being too profit driven to understand the product he has. It was necessary then that an outside force intervene. It gives hope that Silicon Valley can once again be a show built upon huge, hilarious moments driven by a just simplified enough version of the tech struggle. It was the lack of the aforementioned moments that was the downfall of “Maleant Data System Solutions.”
There were solid jokes throughout the episode. The introduction of the mumbling Dane gave Middleditch the rare opportunity to own the punchline. Bighead unknowingly stealing Erlich’s incubatees set the two up on opposite ends of the chill spectrum, a dynamic which hopefully continues in future episodes. Gavin’s hate towards adorable pets and Erlich’s misunderstanding of CC as carbon copy for both great small moments but none of the humor had an arc. Even Hooli’s asinine hiring tactics, which provided a giggle felt like they were in service of setting up future drama, and not immediate laughs. Which isn’t a problem per se. Not every scene needs to be one or the other, but when the melodrama feels phoned in and the humor doesn’t knock it out of the park, I can’t help but feel “Maleant Data System Solutions” is one of Silicon Valley’s weaker outings.
Best tech dig: Gavin’s unskipable ads
Did anyone else notice: Erlich’s Aviato license plate?