‘Silicon Valley’ ‘Server Error’ Review
Written by Dan O’Keefe
Directed by Mike Judge
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
Jack Barker: Stephen Tobolowsky
Hoover: Chris Williams
Richard Hendricks has embodied Gavin Belson. From his previous exploits, Richard goes full Belson with his series of lies and manipulation to get exactly what he wants, no matter the cost. Server Error shows the great depths Richard is willing to sink himself –– and his team –– to for the sake of trying to stay afloat.
A Game of Deception
What Richard is willing to do has far exceeded his evil previously seen in the series. We’ve never quite seen Richard resort to lying to his friends with such comfort as he does here, a far cry from his portrayal in the season three finale. Richard has everything on the line if the servers shut down, including forfeiting the company he and his friends have worked so hard to establish.
The tediousness of the season might seem more deliberate now with Richard growing to embrace his slyness. His time with Belson might have further influenced his actions seen in Server Error. Interacting with the lawyer in The Patent Troll was a precursor to how he would handle things moving forward.
Jared’s resignation came at a surprise but his inability to let go of the company that treats him like family was inevitable. If it were not for the publicized announcement of TJ Miller leaving the show, Jared’s resignation might have added some more punch.
Speaking of TJ Miller, his exit felt brief yet so fitting for the character whose head is too small for his ambitions. I don’t trust Miller’s assertion that Erlich would never return because there is enough left open for his character to return a changed man.
What Server Error does wonderfully is call back to previous episodes of the season in a sly way. Much of the season felt like it was all going nowhere fast, pushing Richard and Pied Piper back to the start position every couple episodes. With Jack Barker and Gavin Belson reuniting in the plane at the end of the episode, Belson’s previous plan of having Hoover fly between China and Hooli and Jackson Hole pays off as the final ‘fuck you’ to a character as sneaky as Barker.
Once again, the Pied Piper crew gets bailed out by a deus ex machina, quite literally this time. However, in the moment of the watching the episode –– and in a rewatch to freshen up my memory –– I felt deep satisfaction knowing these guys ended on top. The reason: the point of the smart fridge was brought up early on in the season, so it made sense the smart fridge would end up becoming the device that would save them. The smart fridge felt like such a non-sequitur, and I even wrote in my review: “served no real, foreseeable purpose goal in the next three weeks.” Oh, how I was wrong.
A Bitter Rivalry To The Bitter End
To set up their bitter rivalry for season five, Belson and Hendricks meet face-to-face at the only place Belson likes eating: the Mexican restaurant. At the heart of the show, it’s Belson who helps push Hendricks further, whether directly or indirectly. Now that Erlich is out of the picture, I see Richard utilizing his newfound cunning and slyness to stay ahead of the game, especially now having to compete once again with Gavin Belson and Hooli.
While season four of Silicon Valley had its faults, the finale injected me with hope for what is to come for next season.