“Bachman’s Earning’s Over-Ride”

Grade: A-

“I’ll tell him. I’ll tell him!”

Silicon Valley has given us an episode that’s full of one-liners, tech satire, and a plot with legs to stand on as we race towards the end of the season. This is the kind of Silicon Valley that HBO promised back in its infancy.

“Bachman’s Earning’s Over-Ride” is about relationships between friends. Erlich not only cares about his public persona (we knew that), but he cares about the team. He doesn’t want it to seem like he’s betrayed Richard by selling his shares in Pied Piper to get out from bankruptcy; and, by the way, he’s only back at zero. Laurie paid the price of his debt for his shares. Laurie is a robot.

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This is the first episode in a long time to make me feel for Erlich. He’s so self-involved that when something bad happens to him, like going bankrupt, I really don’t care, because his stupid actions usually affect those around him (in the case of bankruptcy: Bighead). Here, T.J. Miller plays Erlich with rarely seen nuance. It’s difficult to make a blowhard likeable, but when it comes down to seeing Erlich at what he thinks is his lowest point, he’s pitiable.

To even out all of this worry, Silicon Valley gives us a strong prop gag: a Pied Piper letterman jacket. It’s disgusting. Upon seeing it, Gilfoyle remarks: “If my mother was lying naked in the street I wouldn’t cover her with [the jacket].” When Dinesh goes out for coffee, Gilfoyle accompanies him wearing the jacket, hoping to embarrass him. Of course, Gilfoyle gets attention from two people who recognize the now-famous Pied Piper (the team released the official version between this episode and the last) logo, and ask for a photo. Dinesh becomes envious. You see where it goes. The irony is thick, and provides fertile ground for many of Gilfoyle’s trademark cutting comments.

This episode is all about image. Just as Pied Piper lifts off the ground, and Richard and Erlich experience some of the benefits that go along with it (appearing on a news show, invites to a Vanity Fair party), things fall apart internally. Usually the team comes together as one single entity and fights external powers. Here, our favourite characters lie and sell one another out. Both Monica and Erlich know that Erlich has sold his Pied Piper stocks. When Richard learns the shares have been sold, he doesn’t think it’s Erlich, he thinks it’s Monica. As soon as he confronts her, she rats out Erlich. I don’t blame anyone for their decisions here. These aren’t typical emotions for Silicon Valley, which might be why this episode makes for such a compelling entrance into season three’s final act.

When Richard finds out what happened from Erlich, he’s merciful. He brings Erlich back on to the team, and awards him the title of CEO. Not “chief executive officer,” but something a little more desperate.

Happy endings usually lead us into something worse, and I’m waiting.

Some Bits I Liked:

  • “So I’ve been dealing with that.”
  • “Shit, shave, shit again. Cocktail.”
  • Oh this is actually Jian-Yang pranking me. I should get this.”
  • “‘Sup ladies. Watchya noshin’ on?”
  • “Hey guys is it a bit chilly in here, or… :D”
  • “This sweet jizzacket.”
  • “Can we take a soft five?”
  • “Pescapescatarian.”
  • “Gilfoyyyyle. He’s a fockin’ dick, but I love him, though.”
  • “What’s up, boy genius? You here fuckin’?”
  • “This is Silicon Valley! Rumours spread like light speed here!”
  • Jack Barker returns and runs into Gavin Belson… uh oh.

 

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