Silicon Valley – “Runaway Devaluation”

If there’s one thing I learned from Sunday’s episode of Silicon Valley, it’s to be careful where I drop my nuts. While resting them on an expensive varietal of wood taken from the Amazon, might seem like a good idea at the time; I discovered that tactical – and entirely thought out – negotiation strategy could come back to bite me in and around said region. The boys at Pied Piper are having a karmic experience.

After flying high and driving up funding offers with brash tactics in the previous episode, Gavin Belson’s lawsuit has investors spooked. This includes Raviga, as Laurie pulls their funding, viewing the lawsuit’s existence in a purely analytical manner. Suzanne Cryer continues to find a way for Laurie to be her own brand of antisocial, without mimicking Welch’s Peter Gregory. (Yes, I still think about Christopher Evan Welch’s amazing and nuanced performance, and no, I don’t know if I’ll ever stop talking about how original it was, but I’ll stop mentioning it in every review – maybe.) But I digress, Laurie continues to show her antisocial nature as a more direct but even more detached version than her predecessor. While Peter tried to engage with people, his personality barred this interaction. Laurie, on the other hand, gives advice on the appropriate way to effectively deliver bad news, while doing the opposite; thereby showing an understanding, but an unwillingness to ascribe to traditional mannerisms.

While I adore the constant adversarial relationship between Gilfoyle and Dinesh as it makes for an entertaining B-story, and Erlich by virtue of volume and bravado is the most apparent form of comedy, the character with the best lines, and my favorite hands down, is Jared (aka Donald). He’s the character no one listens to; but I often find those unheard quips that hang onto the main conversation are the funniest. Case in point, when Monica shows up to their house wearing Laurie’s suggested beige outfit from last Tuesday. Erlich calls her out on the tactic, and Miller’s delivery of how great she looks is funny enough, but Jared’s additional comment of her being a “true autumn” is weird while being well-intentioned; it epitomizes his character – as does his later round-about way of saying, “bros before hoes.”

In desperate need of funding Erlich and Richard return to their second choice. That company also renegs on their offer, having heard about the lawsuit and Raviga’s withdrawl. Word spreads about the lawsuit and the rescinded offers, as they return to the other VC offices. This time they receive treatment similar to what Erlich doled out days prior.

A result of these dire circumstances, is that the TechCrunch winnings will no longer be split among the group. This leaves Dinesh scrambling to get back the five thousand dollars he donated to his cousin’s Kickstarter campaign, for an app that let’s you send the word “Bro” (but only to anyone else that has the app). If any of you’re unfamiliar with the Kickstarter model, go check it out – hell, if you donate maybe you’ll get a button. Probably not, but maybe. Essentially the model is that if the goal isn’t met, none of the donors have to fork over the cash. So Dinesh meets his cousin, Wajeed, to dissuade him from continuing the campaign and does a terrible job. In fact, their discussion fuels Wajeed to throw a big party in attempt to reach his goal.

Back at the house, as Richard and Erlich recover from striking out on all their other potential sources of funding, Jared comes to them with a potential solution. While using Wajeed’s app, he found a fellow “Bro” who happens to work at Branscom Ventures and wants to meet with the entire company. During the presentation, as Richard delves into the programming of Pied Piper, Erlich and Jared realize the true nature of the in-depth visit. They’re trying to steal their tech, not make a deal. Richard, Gilfoyle, and Dinesh, continue divulging aspects of the code, unaware of the firm’s dubious motives, until Erlich and Jared comedically storm out of the board-room, whiteboard and all.

That night, Dinesh works the room at his cousin’s Kickstarter party dissuading guests from donating by any means necessary, giving Kumail Nanjiani some screentime in an assumedly improvised montage to show why he’s one of the best comedians today. His efforts are jeopardized by Gilfoyle who donates $500 putting the Bro2Bro app $1500 dollars away from their goal. Gilfoyle tries to extorts him, threatening to put the app past their limit if Dinesh doesn’t pay him $500 – aptly put he’s “the Warren Buffet of fucking with him.” Surprisingly to both Dinesh and Gilfoyle, Wajeed reaches his goal in the last second, forcing them to both pay.

At the house, Richard gets a call from Gavin who he meets at a Mexican restaurant. If ever there was a way to make me despise Gavin Belson, they did it in this episode. He’s at a delightful Mexican restaurant. Fried dough, meats, cheeses, and guacs abound, but there he is eating fruit? The chips are right in front of him! It’s sickening. As the two talk, he makes some very cogent points regarding the dismal future of Pied Piper as well as it’s potential success. How would they be different than Hooli? He offers Richard an acquisition, and just as Richard is about to answer, he’s hilariously cut off by a Mariachi band. Instead of cutting to black to roll credits, Mike Judge and company let the question and shot linger as the band blares and Richard and Gavin awkwardly wait to resume their conversation.

Yet again, another great cliffhanger!

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