[For Silicon Valley “Maleant Data Systems Solutions” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
Maleant Data Systems Solutions. The Pied Piper guys struggle at work; Erlich faces competition; Monica takes a stand.
This episode revolves around the idea of the remake. Contracts, algorithms, deals, and even incubators and attitudes are rewritten and remade in this episode. The engineers do a reboot on their attitude toward the box, almost against their own will. The four of them wanted to hate it and slack off but can’t help themselves. Working on it gets them so excited that they invest their best efforts and improve the box by a ton, despite strong intentions to phone-it-in. Each remake story in “Maleant Data Systems Solutions” has a winner and loser. It’s no surprise when this reboot of the Pied Piper team’s attitude propels them, finally, into the winners circle.
Jack confronts the Pied Piper team about their SkunkWorks plan and asks them for one reason why he shouldn’t fire and blackball all four of them them right now. Richard then points out that Jack needs their engineering if he wants to meet his contractual deadlines. He suggests compromise – they will build the box to the minimum level that fulfills their contract but then construct the platform right after. To conclude his compromise proposal, Richard slips and falls on Jack’s desk; smashing himself into a bloody nose but he’s got a deal and that’s all that counts.
Meanwhile at Erlich’s place he’s trying to sell a new incubator tenant on the concept of hallway-as-bedroom when Jared comes in to discuss their rat problem. Because of this pathetic salesmanship Erlich’s potential tenant joins a different incubator. Out of pure envy, Erlich checks out this new incubator, and who answers the door but our dear old friend Big Head. It’s his house and unwillingly, out of loneliness, he’s started his own incubator as a way to have people around. Cut to upset Erlich standing on Big Head’s welcome mat. He huffs and puffs, indignant, to his car but when it won’t start in Big head’s driveway Erlich changes his tune, remaking yet another attitude in the episode and decides to team up with Big Head, who merely shrugs and says OK. Thus, when faced with a better, faster, sexier remake of his incubator funded by Big Head’s clueless $20m Erlich did what any loser-with-a-clue does – he switches sides and joins the team that beat him.
This is exactly what Gavin does in this episode – but on an even grander scale. When Hooli guru, Denpok pokes Gavin’s insecurities about “rumors circulating at Hooli,” Gavin holds a Hooli board meeting and his intense disdain for bulldogs flares up so that he asks questions like, “Kindly pet? …or humanity’s cruelest mistake?” and then uses the “grotesque creature” as an analogy for the Nucleus project. His claim: both are a result of too much inbreeding and naval gazing. Gavin then purchases EndFrame for $250m “to branch out of the Hooli network” and as a result changes the entire course of Pied Piper’s story, just not the way he’d hoped. He thinks he’s screwing the engineers but Gavin’s actually saving them. His remake of Nucleus using Endframe really is just a redo with the exact same engineers, although Gavin acts like they’re a completely new team; welcoming them to Hooli as if they’ve never met before. “You represent fresh blood,” he declares and just like that, Gavin’s rewritten Hooli history.
Jack then tells them Pied Piper lost their deal with Maleant because they went with another company but Richard points out there’s is much faster now so they can beat out this competition easily with their now-upgraded box. He’s right and they get a new Maleant deal. But then Monica points out that Maleant wants five years of rights to the underlying algorithm. That would mean Pied Piper couldn’t build the platform in the next five years. Richard is screwed; his plans and whole compromise down the toilet. The board then votes on this contract with Maleant and Monica ends up the deciding vote. She votes to not make the deal with Maleant unless they change this language. Thus Monica fulfills her promise to use her board seat to help Richard. Maybe they will smooch soon.
Richard gets a call from Gavin Belson telling him Hooli just acquired EndFrame for 250m. This sets a standard for a compression platform market value and thus Pied Piper is technically now valued at least that much and can win their fight for the platform after all. The team goes into work at Pied Piper the next day to find Jack gone. In his place is an empty office with prim Laurie sitting behind his desk looking like a librarian, as always. Laurie tells them she “exited” Jack and they’re going to build the platform now with no CEO. He said either they did it his way and make the box or it would be the end of his tenure as CEO. So, Jack’s chair will remain empty “henceforth” and Gavin’s move with EndFrame really did save their platform.
So, even our five heroes get a remake in this episode. At the onset they’re utterly dismal and depressed. All is lost. But by the end of the episode things are completely flipped and they’ve got a whole new set of challenges. This great writing is what keeps Silicon Valley fresh and invigorating each and every week. It’s like the Breaking Bad of sitcoms. The characters start out unbelievably screwed with no possibility of overcoming their challenges. Then by the end of the episode that issue’s resolved but there’s a whole new and much bigger challenge. It’s high level stakes-raising done well. At the onset the Pied Pipers were nearly fired in Jack’s office and feeling disheartened. But then in the final scene of “Maleant Data Systems Solutions,” they find themselves in the exact opposite position. Jack’s a mere memory and they’re free to work on the platform. No more Jack means no more box. Shouldn’t this be bliss? But it never is… their challenged now is racing Gavin and EndFrame because the very thing that saved them now faces them with a hardcore battle. With Pied Piper valued at a minimum of $250m, our five heroes suddenly have a whole lot more to lose in this war between compression algorithms.