Silicon Valley The Patent Troll Review
The Patent Troll, episode 407 of Silicon Valley only shows hints of where the season intended to go mixed with an unnecessary subplot.
Written by Andrew Law
Directed by Jamie Babbit
Richard Hendricks: Thomas Middleditch
Gilfoyle: Martin Starr
Erlich Bachman: TJ Miller
Dinesh: Kumail Nanjiani
Jared: Zach Woods
Jian Yang: Jimmy O. Yang
Big Head: Josh Brener
Monica: Amanda Crew
Laurie: Suzanne Cryer
Gavin Belson: Matt Ross
Russ Hanneman: Chris Diamantopoulos
Dan Melcher: Jake Broder
Keenan Feldspar: Haley Joel Osment
Liz: Leisha Hailey
Stuart Berk The Patent Troll: Allan Miller
Ron LeFlamme: Ben Feldman
Ed Chen: Tim Chiou
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Richard Hendricks play dirty. To fight off The Patent Troll, Richard Hendricks had to play a dirty game by “trolling the troll.” Richard can come off as meek and quiet but when provoked can play dirty to save himself and his team. I’ve been waiting for Richard to stoop to that low level like he did in the season three finale.
Slaying The Troll
It doesn’t always work, however. Yes, Richard slayed the troll but a cost much greater than initially provoked. It’s a cost of the cutthroat world we’ve come to know and love (read: loathe) in Silicon Valley. No one is ever your friend and backdoor deals are made to save the skin of those with most to lose.
The Patent Troll isn’t the best episode of the season, but in a season where some most of the episodes felt like retreads of the same plot, this episode felt refreshing. Yes, the team and Richard end up worse in the end than at the very beginning but it feels like Richard had a part in it happening. Where other episodes felts like outside forces acting upon Richard and Pied Piper, it’s Richard’s own doing that causes him on losing out on $22 thousand dollars. Also, this is the first time in a long while that Richard has defended himself.
Rediscovering his old laptop computer felt like another deus ex machina moment. Finding the one piece of equipment to help Richard with solving his problem. It’s set up that way but it’s revealed to be a ruse, a ploy celebrated by Hendrick to the chagrin of Gilfoyle and Dinesh.
Not Much Going On
Aside from Richard’s battle with the patent troll, there isn’t much going on with the rest of the cast. Erlich is having trouble fitting in with the other male VC representatives and is ultimately punished for his efforts. Now employed by Laurie and Monica, Erlich’s role within the company is left open. He’s an employee of the firm but there’s room for him to grow by the end of the season. Roping in Feldspar is a huge win for Erlich. But, there has to be more. Erlich is known to stick his foot in his mouth, which is an act that dropped Feldspar directly on his lap. Could lightning strike twice for him?
Gilfoyle’s battle with Jian Yang’s fridge felt a bit out of place. Focusing all his time and energy on cracking open a smart fridge seems to serve no real, foreseeable goal for the next three weeks. Maybe the relationship between Gilfoyle and Jian Yang is tainted but I don’t ever remember seeing those two characters interacting much with one another.
Where’d Everybody Go?
Seven episodes in and there have little seen outside Pied Piper. Hooli, with a new storage box forthcoming, has not been shown at all. Even Big Head hasn’t been mentioned. Josh Brener, Chris Diamantopoulos, and Stephen Tobolowsky are all credited in the end credits of the show meaning their return may play a pivotal part in the final three episodes. With Gavin’s departure from Hooli there hasn’t been any insight into that world nor with Jack Barker.
Barker’s box was such a huge focus last season and the beginning of this season that the writers would be remiss in dropping that subplot in favor of one that lacks drama.