“The Empty Chair”

Grade: A

“Look at these fucking maggots.”

This episode was perfect. No hollow victory (that we can see), and yet the characters are kept brow-beaten. Gilfoyle destroys Dinesh’s hard drive. Donald doesn’t technically know when his birthday is. Richard can’t speak when he’s angry.

The best thing about this episode, however, is its plot. Its plot is self-contained and yet serves the show’s serialized form. Richard begins upset with the fact that no CEO is better than him as CEO. As he complains, his ego grows. His anger and ego grow so large that he divulges all his pent up thoughts about how poorly Laurie is running Pied Piper. He divulges them to who he thinks is a Pied Piper PR rep, sent to coach him before he does an interview with a tech blogger, but is actually the tech blogger herself. He remedies the situation by using a solution that comes straight from the show’s history: Bighead’s time working at Hooli. Bighead knows all of Gavin Belson’s dirty tricks, and they make for a better article than a ranting CTO.

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This episode ends with a win. A real win. A win that isn’t then ripped from the poor men and women on this show (and the fans) by the writers. Laurie finally decides she’s going to offer Richard the job of CEO very soon. Everyone gets worked up at the news, most of all Donald, who quotes a little too much of the “Oh Captain, My Captain” Dead Poets Society speech.

This was a real rebound episode for Silicon Valley, with a focus on good storytelling rather than good jokes – though there were many.

Thomas Middleditch had a lot to do this episode. He was the standout. He ranted, sulked, and warmly accepted and then denied Donald’s praise. His best moment was the uneasy, but happy giggle at Donald’s attempt at a hug (they didn’t make it to the actual hug).

I cannot wait for next week.

Something I’m confused by, however, is when did Bighead become so dumb? Go back and watch the first season. He wasn’t dumb. Maybe all that time lounging on the Hooli roof did him in.

Some Bits I Liked:

  • “I’m the geek squad.”
  • “Where’s your shirt?” “I spilled coffee on it. …I’m a nerd.”
  • “Look at these fucking maggots.”
  • Any time Donald was on screen
  • Richard’s inability to keep his words straight when he’s stressed
  • Erlich and his apples (I suspect we’ll see an apple bong pop up pretty soon)
  • “Bachmannetti”
  • “‘Bachmann Capital.’ He provides the ‘Bachman,’ and I provide the ‘capital.'”
  • “How do I look?” “If you want me to be honest? Like a ventriloquist dummy.”
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