[For Silicon Valley “The Uptick” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

HBO Summary:
The Uptick. Richard and the guys of Pied Piper consider their company’s future; Gavin’s comeback is threatened.

The episode begins with confrontations all around. Gavin’s assistant confronts him about his use of real life endangered animals for making corporate analogies in board meetings. This practice led to the recent death of an elephant on the Hooli campus. She tells him none of this fits his “goodness at Hooli” paradigm. Thus Gavin fires her immediately rather than face his hypocrisy. His assistant turns in her Hooli gear and then calls Erlich’s tech blog to spill some dirt on Gavin. Bachman’s tech blogger then blackmails Gavin with the info to strike a deal. She ends up selling the blog to him for $2mill and thus providing Bachman with the cash he needs to be “somebody” yet again. And that he does right away. Right after, using pure bravado and pretending to be Bobby Fischer “if he could fuck,” Bachman creates a snowballing Silicon Valley rumor mill through mere enigmatic behavior. As a result, he scores Pied Piper a $6 million series B round funding offer on a $60mill valuation based entirely on the tiny little fake uptick Jared bought for the company from the click farm in India.

Then there’s confrontation number two, this time in Jared’s pseudo bedroom AKA Erlich’s garage. Turns out Richard knows about the fake users Jared bought for them. After the awkwardness of that confrontation, Richard finds out Dinesh ALSO knows the new users are fake… and Gilfoyle too. They aren’t upset, though, and present Richard with a flash drive that offers a way to hide the fake users from the vetting of the $6 mill offering VC company. Dinesh and Gilfoyle “finally respect him as a CEO” and they’re helping him because of it. So, he takes the flash drive to Jared suggesting they use it. Jared’s conscience shrieks too loudly and he says “don’t weaponize my faith in you against me,” but Richard decides to do it anyway. As Richard sits in the waiting room of the Venture Capitalist Company, Monica calls with confrontation number three and says not to do this shopping for funding without Raviga but he goes into the meeting anyway. Richard’s just about to sign the term sheet when he gets cold feet. Funny part is that his hesitancy makes them offer him $7mill on a $70mill valuation because they think it’s just negotiating tactics. This is the final straw for Richard. He then crumbles in the meeting under the weight of his conscience and honesty. Richard says he can’t commit fraud but all the infuriated Erlich can see is that his amazing deal is ruined. Bachman yells at him int he parking lot with premium grade ‘A’ righteousness.

Then Monica shows up at the incubator to see Richard. She heard about the fraud and understands he was just trying to protect Raviga from the backlash. So, she’s sorry how it’s all going downhill for him now with Pied Piper. Richard’s a lifesize sad sack next to glumtacular Jared as they sit side by side on his top bunk at Erlich’s. They’re like two bad boys sent to their room with no dinner. Meanwhile in the living room Dinesh and Gilfoyle find out that their new Pied Piper video chat app is doing very well with seven thousand organically developed users. It’s that app Dinesh cobbled together just so he could get a better look at their flirty Pied Piper employee a few episodes ago.

Laurie from Raviga sees Gavin in passing and tells him she’s forcing a sale of Pied Piper. So, just to be a dick, he offers her a million dollars for it. Meanwhile Richard visits Big Head to say goodbye because Big Head’s moving back in with his parents who want to oversee his money-handling challenges. While with Big Head he gets a call and he finds out about Gavin’s million dollar offer for PP. At the subsequent Raviga board meeting to discuss and approve this Pied Piper sale, Monica says she won’t vote yes for the sale and thus Laurie immediately fires her from the board. But then Richard votes yes, saying it’s an inevitable loss anyway. Then they find out that the ACTUAL buyer isn’t Gavin at all, though. It’s Bachmanity. When they sold their tech blog to Gavin, Bachmanity profited a million dollars and so when they heard about the Pied Piper sale, they decided to make a bid for one million and one dollars to buy it. They saved the company!

Richard tries to thank Erlich in the incubator backyard but he’s still magma mad and royally indignant… until he’s not. After partying with the team loosens Bachman’s sphincter, he can’t help but forgive his bro, Richard. They’re all in this together again, after all. In the final scene, Big Head’s decided to stay in Silicon Valley and be a part of his new investment in PP. Even Monica joins the team now because she was fired from Raviga, after all. It’s one big happy family, the band’s finally back together, and what a wonderful way to end a fabulous, hilarious season of Silicon Valley.

–Katherine Recap

[For Silicon Valley “Daily Active Users” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

HBO Summary:
Daily Active Users. Richard attempts to bridge the gap between Pied Piper and its users; Jared takes drastic measures.

The episode opens with a commercial for Pied Piper, a ridiculous foray into “connections and sharing” that perfectly illustrates the crux of the company’s challenge – nobody gets it. Laurie shows the mightily expensive and equally overwrought, enigmatic ad at her home where she’s gathered Pied Piper employees for a party to celebrate the high number of installs. At the “celebration” Monica apologizes to Richard about “not getting Pied Piper and being wrong,” but then Richard replies that maybe she wasn’t. Turns out installs aren’t really a crucial measure for success. What matters more? “Daily Active Users,” in other words, people who revisit the site. It’s a wretched number and far below what Monica deemed “disappointing” at one hundred thousand. In fact, only nineteen thousand users revisit Pie Piper daily. Jared and Richard were the only employees aware of it thus far… and now Monica too.

Meanwhile Gilfoyle somehow knows Jared’s keeping a secret and makes him squirm in a hilarious deconstruction of Judeo-Christian values at their most virulent. Monica recommends a focus group to Richard to help understand this lack of interest retention in Pied Piper. In the focus group all the users are “freaked out” by the platform. They don’t understand where the downloads go or how it works. They are regular people, not engineers. Interetingly, Monica – who didn’t get it – was the only regular person to check out the PP Beta Test. A light goes on in the room but Richard has trouble accepting it and instead crashes the focus group to “explain” his precious compression platform. At first he’s too much of an engineer and the focus group seems terrified of the implications. They reference Terminator and can’t get into it until after Richard orders in pizzas and settles into an infinite explanation. Although it works, it’s more than any TV spot can cover. Richard tells his Pied Piper team the down and dirty situation then and all are appropriately bereft. It’s a hopeless fix. They’re nearly out of money from paying for the development of the platform and that heinous incomprehensible ad. So Pied Piper, successful only seconds before, is now nearly broke and terminally misunderstood.

At this moment, the luckiest loser in Silicon Valley, Gavin finds out the Pied Piper situation when a customer service rep (who left Pied Piper over this tailspin) goes to Hooli looking for a job. He brings this info to the Hooli board and pretends it was his knowledge all along and this was all part of his secret plan. Then Gavin brings Jack Barker in to introduce “The Box”. Pied Piper’s loss is Hooli’s gain. May the best product win. Thus, Gavin resets back into his old position as Hooli CEO. At that moment of victory he brings the Hooli board who betrayed him only a week before out on the roofdeck to look at an elephant, the ultimate symbol of never forgetting and assures them that “neither do I” and we know Gavin’s not exactly the forgiving kind.

Richard scrambles to get he word out about Pied Piper with media and seminars along wth conference outreach. It’s tanking quick and he ends up approaching the ad agency for another way to reach people. They dummy up a piper character who works like a pseudo Microsoft paperclip named Pipey. Instead of popping up to say, “It looks like you’re writing a letter,” Pipey teaches a platform user what Pied Piper does in the most inane way possible. As a result, we next find Richard curled up fetal position style inside Erlich’s moldy magenta bathtub. Jared tries to pep talk him out of career suicide but “it’s over” seems to be Richard’s only logical conclusion.

But in the sunny daylight of the next morning Richard awakens to find that suddenly Pied Piper had a giant burst of inexplicable new daily active users. Everybody is filled with glee. It turns out Jared bought them from a click farm in India and is going to keep filling the pipeline this way using the Indian click farm – perhaps even until they reach heir goal for the next funding cycle. Clearly, Jared slipped into survival mode. He’s lying without a blink or squirm and even fooling Gilfoyle at this point. Next week is the season finale and we can’t wait to see “The Box” battle it out with Pied Piper’s virtual version of success. Each is a mythical creature in a way. We know The Box is merely an “idea of storage” and that Pied Piper’s alleged users are merely meaningless clickers who don’t even really visit the site. Which house of cards will win the heart of Silicon Valley? Our hearts are happy in the certain knowledge that whatever happens, we’ll be laughing all the while.

–Katherine Recap

[For Silicon Valley “Bachman’s Earning’s Over Ride” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

HBO Summary:
Bachman’s Earning’s Over Ride. Erlich struggles to come clean to Richard; Richard must make a difficult choice.

“Bachman’s Earning’s Over Ride” circles around confrontations and Erlich Bachman’s dignity. In fact, it’s a lot like a chain reaction with one character confronting another and then they confront another character and so forth all the way around until the issue gets resolved with closure in the end. This aspect of Silicon Valley gives it a refreshing stance in a world filled with cliffhanger TV. Each episode encapsulates a major challenge and then resolves it with little remainder and override. So, although the same Silicon Valley story keeps moving forward, it’s always fresh – which is more than one can say about the Vanity Fair Summit dinner salad Richard abandons in the episode.

We open on Erlich and Richard’s Bloomberg News interview about the Pied Piper launch. It’s taken off like a rocket with more than a hundred thousand installs in only the first ten days. Richard has trouble with the confrontational style of a public interview but the real confrontation is actually happening behind the scenes. It’s in the back of Bachman’s mind that he still hasn’t told Richard about his cashed-out shares and Monica calls to confront him about it. She insists Erlich tell Richard ASAP because she doesn’t want to be complicit in this lie. But Erlich’s all about attending the Vanity Fair Summit dinner that night. Funny thing is, Richard doesn’t care about the photo shoots and parties. He’d rather Erlich was the face of the company. So, this too is part of Bachman’s motivation to keeping the secret hidden.

Next Jared enters the incubator wearing a tailor-made Pied Piper varsity jacket. As Dinesh and Gilfoyle leave to get coffee they get Jared to give them the heinous jacket. Then at the coffee shop Gilfoyle wears it to embarrass Dinesh, saying he’s a suicide bomber of humiliation, happy to go down as long as Dinesh goes with him. It backfires, though when coffee shops peeps are impressed by his Pied Piper jacket. It’s the hot new company! Everybody’s talking about it! So, then Gilfoyle pivots to pretend he doesn’t know Dinesh, causing him further humiliation.

Next we see Jared and Richard interview a guy for the Pied Piper head of PR. He’s the confrontational one and asks if everything at the company is cool. He saw a paper on Laurie’s desk the day before that showed a big chunk of Pied Piper stock being sold. It made the potential PR guy wonder because an insider selling a load of stock right before the big launch is cause for alarm. Richard then assumes the seller was Monica because she was the only one who didn’t like the Beta test. He confronts her so she tells him the truth about Bachman’s selloff. So, In the BIG confrontation Richard confronts Erlich and says he’s going to have to issue a press release now because the ten percent sale sends a message to Silicon Valley that there’s something funky at Pied Piper. Bachman’s bummed because now nobody will ever take him seriously again. When Richard talks to Dinesh and Gilfoyle about it they, surprisingly, don’t a hundred percent agree with Richard. So, he writes the press release but says he won’t publish unless word gets out on the street about Bachman’s selloff.

Pissy Richard then confronts Erlich with a “last rent check” and says they’ll be moving out of the incubator. He also replaces Bachman’s board position, promoting Jared. This sends Jared into a tailspin of mixed emotion. He’s a salad spinner of sensitivity. Still, even with all this shaming… Richard lets Bachman attend the Vanity Fair Summit dinner later that night. When Richard’s checking in for it he finds out Erlich attempted to sell only half his shares but Laurie prevented this and, using Pied Piper contractual particulars, forced him to sell them all. Richard then sees Laurie at the Summit dinner and finds out she also fucked Bachman thanks to a detail in the contract that allowed her to set her own price for the shares. So, although Erlich was going to get five million for half the shares from the original buyer, Laurie found out exactly what Erlich owed for his debts and paid him only that much for all of his shares. Thus, Bachman’s completely broke now.

Meanwhile Erlich gets a voicemail from the tech blog he half owns saying they heard rumors about “serious ugliness” at Pied Piper. So, to protect the company he outs himself on the blog as the “dumbest guy in tech” and in the process doubles down on earning Richard’s empathy. So, in the end Richard gives Erlich the still-open job as head of PR. As his first order of business in PR, Bachman calls his tech blog to tell them Hooli’s now selling Pied Piper’s app in their online store, a big win for the company. But in the process Erlich finds out that the “rumors” about ugliness at Pied Piper were actually just about Jared’s jackets. He’d outed himself over nothing.

Bachman makes a circle from indignity to dignity and back again in this episode as a result of all the confrontations he’s forced to face for his legendary bad behavior. “Bachman’s Earning’s Over Ride” works like a cleansing ritual for his character and makes us wonder, is Erlich Bachman the Jamie Lannister of Silicon Valley? Nobody knows if he’s a villain or a hero but it certainly seems like at the very least he’s on the Hero’s Journey. Maybe he’s on a path from villain to hero, as many theorists suggest about Jamie’s narrative arc. Either way, he’s a helluva lotta fun to watch along the way.

–Katherine Recap

[For Silicon Valley “To Build a Better Beta” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

HBO Summary:
To Build a Better Beta. Dinesh worries about his lack of friends; Monica considers how to deliver criticism.

“Build a Better Beta” is all about trust issues and feedback. It asks questions about how important both are; and the answers, while mixed, ring true for all the characters. The episode opens with Richard and Dinesh debating whether to launch the Pied Piper Beta. Dinesh wants to because it’ll ease the process of debugging for him if other people (Beta testers) provide feedback. Richard, always Mr. Cautious, says it’s not ready. But then he finds out Gilfoyle’s coder girlfriend already checked it out and thinks the Beta’s rad as-is. So, they send it out for a Beta test among people they know and trust. Thus, issues about trust abound. Gilfoyle trusts no one (the girlfriend thing was “just a transaction”) and thus offers his Beta invite codes to the rest of the team while, unsurprisingly, Jared easily has too many trusted friends to invite and ends up using Gilfoyle’s codes as well as his own.

Speaking of trust issues, thanks to Jared’s audit, Erlich finds out Big Head’s business manager embezzled Bachmanity money, supposedly allocating 70% for taxes and then moving it to pay his other clients. Turns out this is likely the “real reason” why they went broke so quickly. Although, at the rate they were burning through Big Head’s settlement, Bachmanity likely wouldn’t have lasted much longer. But there’s certainly no way to become profitable if you’re bleeding internally at a 70% rate. When confronted, the business manager admits he doesn’t actually have the money anymore and thus can’t really pay them back. This arouses the Erlich ire but only apologies from dumber-every-frickin-minute, Big Head.


EndFrame loses their best engineers

The same sort of sham permeates the Hooli offices where the EndFrame team finds out through the grapevine that Pied Piper is already Beta testing. Because their team’s nowhere near ready to Beta test their compression app, the EndFrame engineers tell nobody this news. But Gavin finds out anyway because he surreptitiously reads “private” employee emails. Meanwhile Pied Piper gets loads of positive feedback from everybody in the Beta test except Monica, who’s dissatisfied but also insistent with Richard that her opinion isn’t as important as all the others. As the Pied Piper team then reviews who the other Beta testers are, they discover there’s a spy somehow infiltrating from the Hooli offices (Gavin) looking in on their Beta. Gavin brings the wonders of the Pied Piper Beta to the EndFrame and demands they deliver an even better version of it faster than PP can get theirs out to the public. The EndFrame engineers immediately realize it’s going to be an impossible project to catch up to PP; they just don’t have the goods. Meanwhile the Pied Piper team drops a giant poop emoji bomb into the spying Hooli account, destroying both Gavin’s personal laptop and phone. Afterward during the backlash from this confrontation and Gavin’s demands, the best EndFrame engineers quit on Gavin.

In the next scene Erlich and Big Head go to the District Attorney with a plan to sue their embezzling business manager. But instead of a case, they get a lecture series from the DA about how they’ll never get a sympathetic jury, being spoiled, rich, tech billionaires. Just give up is the basic feedback. To get their money, they’d have to legally seize it from the business manager’s other clients, who are essentially either victims themselves or innocent small business owners. As Bachman and Big Head leave, the DA tells Erlich he better pay all those vendor bills for his party or he can expect to be prosecuted by the DA office. Right after this he gets a call from the tech blog Bachmanity bought (in their brief heyday) because they’re doing a story on Erlich neglecting to pay the bills for their launch party. He’s getting smeared from all sides. Thus, Erlich scrapes the bottom of the barrel and makes a deal with Laurie for his Pied Piper shares so that he can pay those bills and clear his (and the Bachmanity) name. It’s the first time we’re seeing Erlich really respond to feedback with relevant behavior, almost as if he has a conscience. Is this character growth or merely a coverup? It’s hard to say until we see what Erlich does next but this could represent a potential shift away from his usual megalomania.

Despite her reservations about the Beta, Monica tells Richard to believe in it. There are always some people who just don’t get even the most successful apps, she says with humility. Unfortunately, it just so happens that this time the one who doesn’t get it is Richard’s biggest fan. Still, after their meeting with Laurie, the Pied Piper team decides to launch the Beta to the public and no longer just their select list of trusted friends. As they launch the Beta Monica says she’s “never been more excited to be proven wrong,” and we’re impressed with how much she means it. That girl’s a unicorn and hopefully Richard will soon realize how lucky he is to have her humble, helpful support.

Then Erlich gets a call from the Bachmanity tech blog saying they won’t do the story on Bachmanity’s unpaid bills after all because the party vendors have reportedly been paid now. He sadly watches the Beta launch knowing that he’s no longer able to benefit from the one undertaking he truly cared about. In fact, we see in Bachman’s face how much his heart was at stake with Pied Piper and now appears to be breaking at the loss.


Bachmanity feeling the feedbacklash

Feedback really paid off for Richard and worked a catalyst for his confidence and courage to put Pied Piper out in the world. At the same time, feedback was a bitch for Bachman in this episode. Essentially, just as Pied Piper launches like a rocket into a potentially billion-dollar company, he’s lost his entire stake in it. Oblivious Richard pats broken-hearted Erlich on the shoulder as they stand side-by-side to watch the launch, “We did it. You and me, man, forever,” Richard says. But, thanks to his Bachmanity fountain of negative feedback, Erlich isn’t really feeling buddy-buddy with anyone anymore… Least of all himself. So, it’s a bittersweet launch and we’re excited to see the backlash next week as Gavin gets wind that he’s already lost the first battle of the compression application war. It’s unlikely he can get that $250 million back… but can he keep the war waging?

–Katherine Recap

[For Silicon Valley “Bachmanity Insanity” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

HBO Summary:
Bachmanity Insanity. Richard’s new relationship is threatened by neuroses; Dinesh falls for a foreign coworker.

After a first half of a season with zero smooch factor, “Bachmanity Insanity” revolves around romantic relationships. This makes sense given that Bachman’s name dominates the episode title and he’s the alleged “king of romance” from way back. Also, our heroes have been completely focused on saving Pied Piper for the first five episodes and now they’ve finally got it nailed down. So, it’s the perfect time for some hot action. Ironically, everybody’s getting in on it for this episode although some of the relationships are painfully platonic. Ok, let’s admit it, nearly all of them fit that category even by episode’s end. The only exception turns out to be Jared, who they all find out easily gets laid on the regular, even while living in the incubator’s unfinished garage. The relationships in “Bachmanity Insanity” are potentially romantic for Richard, Jared, and Dinesh respectively. But even the mess between Bachman and Big Head looks like a marriage according to their contract, the main reason Big head’s business manager advised him not to sign it.


Spaces – Tabs – Spaces – Tabs – Spaces – Tabs

The episode opens as Richard gets a girl’s number. He starts to date her (Winnie) and it turns out she’s a fellow coder who works at Facebook. Winnie sleeps over after their first date and Richard’s thrilled about it even if he did spend the entire night sleeping in his jeans. After having breakfast with Richard she hangs out in the living room with Dinesh and Gilfoyle. She shows them some of her work and they find out that when Winnie codes she uses spaces rather than tabs. They know this nixes anything that could happen between Winnie and Richard going forward because he’s insistent that tabs users are superior to spaces users. Dinesh and Gilfoyle call Richard a “formatting nazi” about tabs. So Winnie confronts Richard about it at dinner that night. Nervous, he immediately freaks out and can’t make a sensible sentence for the remainder of their meal together. Later, coding side by side on the couch, he’s visibly flustered by Winnie’s use of the space bar. Richard breathes heavy and tries to restrain himself but finally can’t help it and pushes Winnie’s tab. Then they hash it out in the epic final battle between spaces and tabs. Turns out Richard really just can’t be with her because he simply can’t abide anyone who uses spaces. We all have our limitations and, although exceptionally gifted at coding, Richard’s also exceptionally limited when it comes to the ladies.

Meanwhile Dinesh flirts with Pied Piper’s Estonian employee, Elisabet and he’s about to find out his limitations are also lady-centric. Elisabet is one of the foreign coders they hired at the end of the last episode to save money. So, Dinesh sees her over the video chat they use with these employees. The two of them tease and trifle every day so that Dinesh falls hard for Elisabet. Thanks to Gilfoyle’s snark Dinesh then realizes he can’t really see Elisabet that well over the crappy Estonian video stream that connects them. Thus he upgrades their streaming service so he can get a better picture. Trouble is, this ends up biting him back when Elisabet gets a crystalline view of Dinesh and is so disappointed she suddenly starts talking about how she has a husband. It’s sort of on him, though because Dinesh set her expectations high saying his friends call him the “Pakistani Denzel”. Alas, there’s no more flirting in the forecast for our dear, exaggerator Dinesh. Sigh.

Bachman spends the episode planning the “Bachmanity Insanity” launch party and rents out Alcatraz to do so. Funny thing about Erlich, he rents a famous place only to then pay a fortune to have it transformed to look like anything other than what it is, finally settling on Hawaii. While Bachman’s making the plan to transform Alcatraz into a luau space that was never a prison, Big Head approaches him. Big Head’s worried that the blogger he told about Gavin’s “scrubbing the Internet” will rat him out and then Gavin can take Big Head for all the settlement money. When he got the twenty million dollars he’d signed a tight NDA; and telling the blogger that story was definitely a violation of the NDA. Because the deal they have is classified as a “General Partnership” that basically means Big head and Bachman are married, a dangerous proposition. It’s particularly dangerous in the final moments of the episode when we find out that thanks to their outrageous spending, Big Head and Bachman are now completely broke. Bachmanity is over just as it begins. This is perfect because it’s a Hawaiian luau party and thus they say “Aloha” which means both hello and goodbye.



A funny subplot of the episode reveals that Jared turns out to be the actual Pied Piper “Player”, even though Erlich holds that title officially and likely won’t ever let it go. But this honestly makes sense, character-wise. Jared’s the kind and considerate one… and he’s also the tallest by a large margin. We here at Fetchland know a little bit about what women want and these are three biggies on most lists out there. The party Bachman throws turns out to be a great allegory for the relationships explored in the episode. It’s a flash in the pan that seems impressive initially but can’t hold up for very long because the foundation is a joke. Luckily, in this case it all really is jokes and funny ones too. We can’t wait to see what happens next and if Big Head will end up moving into the incubator now that he’s broke and basically Bachman’s wife. Lucky for Pied Piper that they weren’t part of the “Bachmanity Insanity” deal and thus remain unscathed. We predict a launch for their platform soon… maybe even in the next episode. After all, remaining girlfriend-free, what else have they got to do?

–Katherine Recap

[For Silicon Valley “The Empty Chair” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

HBO Summary:
The Empty Chair. Richard lets his ego get in the way at an interview; Dinesh, Gilfoyle, and Jared misplace hardware.

The theme of “The Empty Chair” revolves around Jack’s CEO chair, a symbol of taking charge, and nowadays in Silicon Valley everybody’s taking charge, qualified or not. The episode picks up as Richard stands next to the empty CEO chair complaining. He’s upset because tech internet gossip blogs are obsessed with Laurie interviewing every possible candidate for his old job as Pied Piper CEO. Because Richard is stillCTO and that makes him the sole executive officer, he has the right to make company decisions. So, when they look at Pied Piper’s bottom line and find out Jack’s spendthrift ways have the company sinking fast, Richard takes action. More thematically, he takes charge. As his first order of business with Jack gone, Richard fires all the salespeople. Then he packs up and sells all the office contents and leaves their pricey digs, thus returning Pied Piper to Erlich’s incubator. These moves are essential because Pied Piper must save every penny in order to get the engineers they need to build the platform.


Meanwhile Erlich and Big Head finalize their agreement to share assets and become one venture – a single incubator. It’s inspiring how Erlich takes charge in Big Head’s home and incubator. He’s truly a master of “owning the room” and literally wins the day and gets his way with bravado and zero resources. The contract Erlich composes for Bachmanity, their new joint venture means Big Head will contribute all of his assets (we’re talking $20m) but meanwhile Erlich (who has o cash) gets to keep his interest in Pied Piper, virtually the only thing he has of any value. Big Head then talks to his business manager who highlights concerns about this contract. Erlich, of course, takes any inquiries as an “insult to his honor,” though the questions are valid.

Back at Pied Piper, Richard feels insulted by a tech blogger who maligns his coding abilities so he wants to meet with the writer of the article. He calls Laurie about it and she insists he meet with the head of Raviga’s PR department for interview pointers first. Because Richard gets a little loony and tongue-tied under pressure, this seems wise. Speaking of which, right before he’s about to meet with the Raviga PR Director, Richard finds out Laurie called Big Head about the Pied Piper CEO position. This sets him off kilter. Thus, Richard doesn’t handle the interview with the PR person at Raviga well. He rants and raves, saying all the wrong things. Then Richard’s raging soliloquy gets interrupted by the ACTUAL PR person at Raviga. Turns out he was talking to the tech blogger that whole time. She tells him unless he comes to her with a juicier story before noon the next day, his rant’s getting published verbatim.


Meanwhile on the other side of Silicon Valley Laurie takes Monica out for a glass of wine and to apologize. She admits to making a mistake with Richard and says she should have left him as the CEO. Laurie then explains that she’s been interviewing all these people for the CEO position publicly in order to illustrate that Richard wasn’t just the most expedient candidate but really the carefully chosen perfect one. Her plan puts Richard in charge of Pied Piper as CEO once again.

Monica, Richard’s biggest fan, loves this news until the next morning when he tells her out about his blogger rant. This Pied Piper news item will certainly change Laurie’s mind about reinstating him as CEO once published. So, Monica suggests Richard apologize to Laurie. But then, thanks to Big Head, Richard finds a less humiliating solution. Big Head comes over to Erlich’s to make peace and join companies after all despite his business manager’s hesitancy. Even with all the unfairness in that contract, Erlich’s “take charge” attitude is apparently irresistible. While signing the contracts to create Bachmanity with the Pied Piper team watching, Big head mentions how Gavin “scrubbed the Internet” to remove all the bad tidings written about himself and Hooli. This crazy unethical behavior actually makes a better story for the tech blogger and thus now Richard found his solution. He brings the tech blogger Big Head’s shocking Hooli story and she subsequently squashes Richard’s.

So, Richard ends up in the “The Empty Chair” as CEO of Pied Piper again. In his absence, Dinesh, Gilfoyle and Jared “took charge” and decided to outsource the platform engineering to foreign workers rather than paying the inordinate price required for local Silicon Valley coders. This penny pinching move makes Richard happy but he’s about to get even more so. Jared brings out “The Empty Chair” which was the one thing they didn’t sell from Action Jack’s fancy offices. He gives it to Richard, granting him a place of honor to sit and introduce himself to the new team through computer monitors in Erlich’s living room. Of course, Richard falls out of the CEO chair at first but once in “take charge” mode, he rights himself and can finally begin his mission to build the Pied Piper platform as CEO.

We loved the shift into victory at the end of this episode and can’t wait to see the birth of Bachmanity in the next one. It’s certain to be a spectacle of hilarity. The incredible thing about Silicon Valley is how it keeps us riveted and laughing even while only delivering one of the three required elements of entertainment – Power. There’s no sex or violence to speak of in this show, especially this season. Yet, we love it more than ever. Bravo, nerds, for only you could pull off this semi-esteemable but certainly noteworthy accomplishment.

–Katherine Recap

[For Silicon Valley “Maleant Data Systems Solutions” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

HBO Summary:
Maleant Data Systems Solutions. The Pied Piper guys struggle at work; Erlich faces competition; Monica takes a stand.

Maleant-Data-Systems-SolutionsThis 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.

Erlich-Big-Head-IncubatorMeanwhile 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.

Gavin's-EndFrameThis 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.

Silicon-Valley-MonicaJack 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.

Laurie-Silicon-ValleyRichard 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.

Silicon-ValleySo, 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.

–Katherine Recap

[For Silicon Valley “Meinertzhagen’s Haversack” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

HBO Summary:
Meinertzhagen’s Haversack. Richard searches for a way around Jack; Gilfoyle opens himself up to recruiters.

Meinertzhagen's-Haversack“Meinertzhagen’s Haversack” takes a page from the playbook of military deception to tell the story of five software engineers in battle with the very company they created. In fact, this whole episode revolves around the theme of taking a page from another’s playbook. The first line of the show is a guy who tells Richard, Dinesh, and Gilfoyle, “This is your future,” while pointing into a space for a small box to fit. Needless to say, they’re not inspired by this vision of their future and are looking for a new play in the Pied Piper game. If Jack Barker goes through with the sales team’s “box” vision the three of them will end up living in this basement warehouse so they can provide the 24/7 service the sales team promised.

The RulesSo, Richard approaches Jack about turning Pied Piper into an appliance. But Jack’s unreachable and says he needs the box. What the engineers want doesn’t matter, a moot point with him. Gilfoyle, in response, changes his LinkedIn status to “looking for work” and immediately starts getting wooed by every engineering recruiter in town. The more Gilfoyle refuses to take meetings, the more goodies they send. It’s straight out of the “playing hard to get” playbook AKA The Rules. In Gilfoyle’s case, unlike the majority of women who actually bought that book, this play works and he uses it throughout the episode; even getting pizza for the house with the mere promise of a meeting.

Barney-StinsonMeanwhile Richard’s going off book when he decides to talk to Laurie (head of Raviga – their investor company) behind Jack’s back. Jared points out that this is a “serious breach of protocol” but Richard does it anyway. He’s always been a rule-follower before, so Richard’s gone rogue and uses a whole new playbook here. Considering this play involves a breach of ethics and two beautiful women, maybe he’s using Barney Stinson’s. As a result of Richard’s attempt at rebellion, Laurie calls Jack to root for the platform and nix the box idea. But Jack’s working out of the sandbox playbook and says either they do it his way or he’s taking all his toys and going home. Laurie just fired Richard, so she can’t oust Jack now without looking like she fires a CEO every time her phone needs charging. So, when Barker threatens to leave Pied Piper, Laurie has to concede and they’re back to “the box”.

Art-of-War-in-WorkplaceGilfoyle finally ends up taking a meeting but it’s an unwelcome revelation. The company EndFrame, who stole half of the Pied Piper Algorithm in a previous episode, now has the other half as well; thanks to the Nucleus team who cracked that code in the last episode and then joined EndFrame. It’s a dark day for Pied Piper. They underestimated their competition, a classic mistake for those not mindful of their Art of War in the workplace playbook.

Gilfoyle-PizzaThen the Pied Piper core team has a meeting and Erlich inspires them with a revolutionary speech saying they should just build the platform anyway. What can Jack do? Richard gets inspired by this idea. He realizes that if they could get away with doing it surreptitiously, Barker would have to act like it was his idea all along when they ended up delivering the platform rather than the box. So, they plan to create a secret company inside the company – a Skunk Works. They’ll pretend to build the box and the whole time secretly build the platform, all the while hiding it from the sales team. This is where we’re hit with a barrage of playbook references, Oceans Eleven, Shawshank Redemption, and The Great Escape, are all mentioned as they try to configure a playbook for their own version of Skunk Works.

Meinertzhagen's-Haversack"After they work it all out and have a playbook ready, Jared tells them about “Meinertzhagen’s Haversack,” a principle of military deception. Essentially, you keep acting “the part” to maintain the appearance of the status quo and thus protect your secret deeds from detection. But when they go into the office the next morning all prepped and ready to pull of their secret mission, it all falls apart. Richard trips, falls, and sends the Skunk Works secret documents right into the hand of a sales team guy. That guy brings their Skunk Works playbook to Jack right away and thus, they’re busted before they even began. This creates a conundrum for Jack. He can’t really fire them because without them he has no Pied Piper Algorithm. Jack can demand that they make the box but can’t watch them every minute to make sure they’re not really making the platform. That would require George Orwell’s “1984,” probably the most unpopular workplace playbook of all time.

–Katherine Recap

[For Silicon Valley “Two in the Box” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

HBO Summary:
Two in the Box. The new and improved Pied Piper impresses Dinesh and Gilfoyle but worries Richard.

Two-in-the-BoxEpisode 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.

TIB logoJared 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.

Two-in-the-BoxAction 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?

Two-in-the-BoxRichard 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.

hooliMeanwhile 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?

–Katherine Recap

[For Silicon Valley “Founder Friendly” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

HBO Summary:
Founder Friendly. After being fired, an angry Richard faces a tough decision; Erlich approves of the new CEO.

Season three’s first episode, “Founder Friendly” opens right where last season left off, with Richard finding out he got fired over the phone. He and Erlich leave the incubator in a rush to confront the Pied Piper board. Once there the board tells Richard they’re going to replace him with a new CEO and make him CTO. His lawyer, Ron, wearing a snazzy bike outfit because he just bailed on spin class, tells him he’s fucked. At least Richard’s still got his shares and board seat, Ron tries to comfort him. But Richard says he’s leaving and suing them. With this news, Lawyer Ron has to stop serving as Richard’s counsel because he threatened to leave and sue Pied Piper… and, technically, Ron works for Pied Piper not just Richard. Ron-The-Lawyer

Later Monica comes by the incubator and tries to make it up to Richard saying she’s still on the board and will fight for him. Then she tells them about the new CEO, Action Jack Barker. He’s got mucho impressivo experience and the profoundly awesome character actor, Stephen Tobolowsky plays him perfectly as the down-to-business CEO Pied Piper really needs. Here’s Stephen in Groundhog Day in case you don’t recognize him by name:
Stephen Tobolowsky

Meanwhile back at Hooli Gavin makes a public statement of farewell to the Nucleus division. They’ll no longer be a functional part of Hooli. Sometimes failure is just failure. All Nucleus employees will be terminated. Also because of the clause that lost them the lawsuit with Pied Piper, Hooli needs to fire a substantial number of employees and all the unvested stock options that belonged to those employees will return to their budget for whatever usage Gavin chooses. So, they fire 1700 people and Gavin decides to use the new funds allocated to get rid of “Big Head” with a twenty million dollar severance package. All he has to do is sign a non-disclosure agreement that he will never talk about what happened at Hooli or speak ill of Gavin. Meanwhile, Big Head, the most feared man imaginable in this scenario, has virtually no skills and never did a single minute of work for Hooli. Big-Head

Richard tells his Pied Piper peeps he’s leaving the company and Jared immediately has his back while Dinesh and Gilfloyd are more reluctant about leaving with him. They drink beer in the backyard for a hilarious bitch session. It’s funny because for everything bad they say about Richard they forcefully counter with what a great guy he is. They make up an anagram to compress the “nice guy stuff” RIGBY – Richard Is Great But Yet and use it to begin and end their every nasty sentence. The next day they tell Richard they’re going to stay and work at PP without him. He laughs and says there’s no way they can scale and deploy without him. Later Dinesh and Gilfloyd attempt to scale it without him but fail. So, then they decide to “take the high road” rather than admit defeat in coding. They claim to quit Pied Piper in solidarity with Richard even if he did slam them upon exit.Dinesh-Gilfoyle

Meanwhile Jared and Richard are forging a new path forward and plan a new career for him at Flutterbeam, which is a lot like Skype. Richard interviews for their CTO position and they’ve got a special project for him to engineer – a mustache faceplant so that when chatting during flutterbeam usage you can whimsically change your facial hair. Mustache engineering, of course, makes Richard significantly less pumped about this career move. He calls his other lawyer, the alcoholic one, only to find out he’s back in prison due to drinking a Kombucha that steered him off the wagon. But Richard brings the Flutterbeam contract for him check in prison anyway. He advises Richard to at least meet with Barker. Richard will be CTO whether he’s at Pied Piper or Flutterbeam, after all. stache

In the next scene Erlich meets Action Jack, the new CEO and immediately adores him because Barker says he’s a fan of Erlich and, frankly, that’s all it takes. Then Richard finally meets with Barker at Action Jack’s mansion and they chat over an iced tea he never even touches. He tells Jack he feels shafted and that if Barker takes the CEO position he’ll leave the company. So then Jack says OK, I won’t take the CEO position because without you doing the technology, Pied Piper won’t work. The company needs your expertise. Barker’s quick, gracious, and polite. It surprises Richard but also makes him feel important and heard. As he’s driving away he realizes he can’t give up on Pied Piper and backs into Jack’s driveway to return. He’s gonna tell Barker he’s on board.

The ending of the episode is perfectly analogous to the particular “hero’s journey” traveled in this episode. Richard comes around full circle in the end. In the beginning he’s resistant to this ginormous change that’s edging away his control of the company. But Richard quickly forgot that just before he got the call removing him as CEO he’d barely gotten Pied Piper back due to the whole lawsuit debacle of last season. Truth is he only recovered Pied Piper because of a legal technicality involving his Hooli contract. And this wasn’t the only gap in his company management skill set since starting the company. Maybe he really is best-suited to the CTO role… a concept Richard comes around to at the end of the episode when he backs into the driveway of the very guy who seems perfect and ready to suit up as the Pied Piper CEO.

–Katherine Recap