Silicon Valley – Teambuilding Exercise
Previous episodes this season on Silicon Valley felt like the show was headed somewhere fresh. With Richard leaving Pied Piper on his own volition and Gavin Belson getting taken out as CEO of Hooli, the show was going to mix things up. Several plotlines were being set up to have long-lasting effects on the entire season. However, Teambuilding Exercise felt like the writers were hitting control-z to undo some things.
Jian Yang’s app could have had reverberations felt throughout the rest of the season. Erlich, with his palapa fixation, would have lost money on another failed tech start-up; his days of investing in winners like Aviato are long behind him. I could see why the writers may have wanted to have Jian Yang win, beating Erlich at his own game. Building a failed company has been the premise of the show for three seasons already.
Watching Erlich go head-to-head with Jian Yang in a battle of wits is as entertaining as you would expect. Their relationship, since the beginning of the series, has always been a battle of wits, which Erlich always seems to lose. It’s a bit of the student surpassing the master. If not for Erlich there would be no Not Hotdog app that he could sell to Periscope for $4 million. So Erlich can credit himself for incubating Jian Yang with nothing more to show for it than a palapa and a Corvette.
As Richard and Gavin enter business together, it feels like we’re retreading broken ground. Jared is correct in assuming Gavin and his team would stab Richard in the back. Peter Gregory’s experience with Gavin has shown that, plus Richard has been on the receiving end.
Treading Broken Ground?
Hiring Gilfoyle felt like an old rock band getting back together to play their greatest hits. Earning Twitter stock won’t incentivize Dinesh to continue to look for photos of penises on Periscope for a full year. It’s safe to say Dinesh will join Richard’s Pied Piper 3.0 pretty soon.
We’ve been down this road before. There has to be a point where Richard comes to his senses and realizes his workings with Gavin is a terrible idea. Season two saw Richard sued for creating his compression algorithm while employed by Hooli. That only had an optimistic ending because a loophole his army of lawyers were unable to notice and a little deus ex machina.
Teambuilding Exercise gave the impression of starting the season over. Having Gavin and Richard share a mutual disdain for Jack Barker could provide some interesting twists on the old formula and even then it would be difficult to shake off the feeling of being too repetitive. Denpok may still seek Gavin’s approval. Infiltrating and gathering information on Jack Barker and Hooli is the surefire bet.
Despite outwardly appearances, Richard is just as bad as Gavin, though he doesn’t wear his emotions on his sleeve. He may not be as vindictive, but he has done some ‘serial killer type things’ in the past. If there was ever a time to respect Jared’s information it would be now.
After three great episodes in a row, Teambuilding Exercise was the first blemish on the season. Multiple storylines have been set up with one seemingly wrapped up for good. With little room to let each plotline breath, Teambuilding Exercise felt overstuffed, squeezing as much story a 30-minute show would allow.