[For Silicon Valley “Two in the Box” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
Two in the Box. The new and improved Pied Piper impresses Dinesh and Gilfoyle but worries Richard.
Episode two opens with Richard in the same doctor’s office he visited way back in the first episode of Silicon Valley. Difference is that this time he’s healthy, glowing even. But then, just like in the pilot, the cheerful doc somehow manages to dishearten Richard about his prospects, “You have a boss at your own company?” the doc asks. Speaking of Pied Piper, in the next scene Richard and his whole team enter their new super dope office space brought to them by new CEO Action Jack. Dinesh and Gilfoyle get sucked into how amazeballs “work” is now. But Richard immediately asks Jack if the company can really afford all this. In response Jack tells Richard a story about Google without really answering the question. He’s all about growth, baby.
Jared remains a beacon of positivity and he’s right about the new logo Jack gave Pied Piper. It’s better. Sometimes Jared’s sunny disposition can be his undoing, though. For instance, he can move back into his condo now that Pied Piper’s funded and he’s got the money for the mortgage. But it turns out the guy who was air-bnbing his place never left and has transitioned to squatter status. Given the California tenant protection laws, this doesn’t bode well for Jared having a home anytime soon unless he breaks some – a most un-Jared proposition.
Meanwhile Dinesh and Gilfoyle are thrilled to go to work where the chef cooks them surprise meals and they can easily order bigger computer monitors. But when they get in for a real day at work Jack has already filled the office with salespeople. He’s also changing the plan so that instead of delivering to consumers first and then charging businesses, as they planned, Pied Piper would roll out directly to businesses. Richard thinks this is putting the cart before the horse, since they still have to build the software platform. But instead Jack thinks sales should direct the engineers about “what to build” that the sales team can best sell.
Action Jack sets up a sales team meeting with Richard where he hears more news that upsets him about the path Action Jack’s choosing for Pied Piper. But where is he? The CEO rarely seems to be around the office. In fact, he’s preoccupied at a horse stable when Richard finally chases Jack down to confront him about all this. They watch a stallion mount a mare as Richard tries to do his own brand of drilling down to what exactly is going on with his company. Why does sales want to cut all the best parts of Pied Piper? And how can they when Jack promised he wouldn’t compromise the product?
Richard is caught up in all the possibilities of his compression capabilities, as he should be because they’re his and have potential to be world-changing for reals. But then Jack breaks the news to him that right now his job as CEO is simply to raise the price of Pied Piper stock. That this is actually the “product” everybody is talking about, the stock. We know from when Jack was introduced in the last episode that his value as CEO was measured by how much he raised the stock value at his last company, so this makes total sense. It’s what he does. Problem is, this goal creates a trajectory that twists Pied Piper into something other than what it actually is. Sure this thing can “sell easily to businesses” but it’s not even a compression service. It’s a black box for backing up and storing your company’s data to “safely protect it from spies, thieves, criminals, and foreigners”. These fear-mongering words end the video the sales team shows Pied Piper about their “product”. Everybody’s celebrating at the conference table while horrified Richard watches.
Meanwhile at Hooli, Gavin demands the former Nucleus employees, hanging on for their last few days at work, “fix” Hooli searches. This means he wants any search on Hooli to only bring up results that speak of the company in a positive way. It could require changing the search algorithm or promoting other websites to outrank the bad Nucleus news – both highly arduous and troublesome methods that would violate public trust in Hooli search. In the process of figuring out how to fix this “problem” for Gavin the team just happens to crack Richard’s compression algorithm. This means now that they’re leaving Hooli, they can startup a competitive company that’ll have essentially the same capability Pied Piper has. Uh oh. The feces storm has officially flown into Richard’s fan. All while Dinesh and Gifoyle rave happily about how the chef serves watermelon jello in a real watermelon rind.
Two in the Box puts all sorts of duos in boxes. Look at those two horses! They’re literally and figuratively in a box. Jared and his new freeloading tenant are two men fighting over a box that clearly belongs to one of them. And then, of course, there’s Richard caught in the same scenario of fighting with another man over Pied Piper becoming a box. That one works on many levels now that the Pied Piper sales team has literally distilled the company concept down to a small grey box that could pass as an early model VCR. Everything’s perfectly wretched for Richard by the end of this episode and he only knows the half of it. We imagine that soon Richard will find out through the grapevine about the new company being formed specifically to compete against Pied Piper using the same algorithm. But we’re also looking forward to seeing what Big Head’s up to now that he’s left Hooli and twenty million dollars richer. Will he somehow help Richard get Pied Piper out of the box?