Silicon Valley has been a favorite for all of us on BelieveinGeek since it started. The fifth season starts with no more TJ Miller and the boys having actually got somewhere by the end of last season.
All the seasons so far have felt distinctively different but this one more so. It isn’t even because TJ Miller is no longer around as loudmouth stoner Erlich Bachman.
With Richard (Thomas Middleditch) now in charge completely of a company that is going somewhere he’s able to finally move Pied Piper into a office and employ 15 people to help grow their decentralized Internet. It wouldn’t be Silicon Valley if something didn’t go wrong, same old story different setting.
Pied Piper vs Hooli doesn’t feel like such a big thing this season, Gavin Belson (Matt Ross) might have acquired all the people shortlisted for the jobs at Pied Piper but it feels like at the moment Pied Piper’s biggest problem is going to be Richard himself once more. Losing the ability to employ any of the people he’d shortlisted after Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) and Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani) dragged their feet picking their team, he turns his eyes on a company about to go bust. He goes from wanting to find 12 people to not only hiring the 30 from that company but another 20 from Sliceline, a pizza app company that spends the entire episode pissing Richard off, finally buying out the company Richard was looking at acquiring before Richard turns his vindictiveness switch on and tries to ruin their company.
I do feel like the Richard turning into a mini-Gavin Belson is a story that is extremely interesting to watch but at the same time I feel like Jared (Zach Woods) would have had something to say about how Richard went about taking down Sliceline, after all a huge part of season four saw Jared not impressed by the underhand tactics that Richard used to get to where he was, but we see nothing of Jared’s thoughts on Richard using something ridiculous like $17k to order a shit ton of pizza’s just to ruin another company and acquire over double the amount of people they actually wanted or needed. Monica (Amanda Crew) had a slight moment of hesitation before finally backing Richard in front of Laurie (Suzanne Cryer) who OK’d it.
The lack of either Jared or Monica pointing out to Richard that acquiring two companies that he acted extremely childish, petty and vindictive against for not getting his own way isn’t going to end well really grated on me. Why would the employees of either company be happy to work with a guy who tried to put Sliceline out of business? He attacked their company and then acquired them, even before then making a terrible speech and throwing up in front of them all they were not going to respect him at all.
It was one of many things that made the first episode difficult to watch. Whilst for me it was still laugh out loud funny in places, the Stallions joke got me every time, it also felt a bit flat compared to other episodes and I think most of that is because there is such a big jump from Season 4 to 5, where they are, what the company is doing and the setting and mood in general, that it was much more about establishing this new world Pied Piper inhabit and their place in the pecking order before, hopefully, diving into more dramatic adventures.
My only moment of missing Bachman was the Jian-Yang (Jimmy O. Yang) story line.
I have never liked Jian-Yang. He has moments where he is funny but for me they were far and few between, what I did like was Bachman’s reactions to him. He really for me was there to make sure that if a big failure wasn’t on the horizon for Bachman then a personal and small failure was there at his hands.
My problem now is that Jian-Yang is in the Bachman position, he’s going to try and convince the world that Bachman is dead so that he can take control of his house and gain the 10% he had in Pied Piper. Legally I have no clue if they could do that, if he could convince people that Bachman was indeed his friends surely it wouldn’t be hard to find out that Bachman lived with the people at Pied Piper and called any one of them to the testify on Jian-Yangs behalf which would be his down fall?
Thing is so far Jian-Yang has always been the winner, his small victories over Bachman were funny because you wanted the egotistical big mouth to be outsmarted and outmaneuvered. Now if he wins there is no one under him to outsmart him and bring his downfall. I don’t find Jian-Yang funny on his own, I don’t like the character and I don’t want him to win, I also don’t want a Jian-Yang to his Bachman because that would mean yet another pointless and annoying character to take up time with a character I’ve never liked to begin with. My only ray of hope is that it’ll bring back Big Head who will finally get some of what Bachman took from him in that he can get the assets and the house.
Overall I enjoyed it and I get that for all intents and purposes this is kind of a reboot for the series. Whilst the first episode wasn’t something that caught the imagination in quite the same way the very first episode did it also I guess wasn’t supposed too. Whilst it might not win many new fans older fans will hopefully forgive it and as long as the rest of the season goes back to its more quick witted and crazy self it’ll just be seen as one poor episode in a series full of wonderful moments. It has to re-identify itself a little as the company has grown, the characters are in a much different position and the world really has changed so much from them being a tiny little company with no real chance against a giant like Hooli to the company that Hooli fears.