Silicon Valley recap: Grow Fast or Die Slow


Silicon Valley returns sans Erlich Bachman.

HBO’s Silicon Valley premiered last night with a hilarious return as the men of Pied Piper try to settle into new offices. Of course, the fifth season began without the crude, corky Erlich Bachmann (T.J. Miller), and the episode addressed his absence in a comedic manner via Jian Yang (Jimmy O. Yang).

Pied Piper has been quite the unlucky start-up and has faced a number of difficulties finding its way. However, the premiere of season five reminded us that the start-up is backed up with funding and Richard (Thomas Middleditch) has even acquired a new office space for them. The focus of the episode falls on Pied Piper trying to move forward and work on Richard’s idea of a decentralized internet.

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The new offices aren’t exactly what the boys had in mind as Richard leads them to a bright room with no windows and very little space. Richard expresses that he does not want to splurge their funding on lavish offices, but after Jared (Zach Woods) has a panic attack, he gives in and buys the nicer office.

A month into settling into their new surroundings, the crew is still on the hunt for hiring 12 new programmers, after Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani) and Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) turn away 63 applicants.

Gavin Belson (Matt Ross) makes a comeback after his mental breakdown last season as he is inducted into the Innovation Hall of Fame. If you recall, last season Gavin went away to Tibet after being fired from Hooli and gave Richard the patent for the Pied Piper algorithm.

Of course, Gavin hasn’t changed in the slightest bit with his vindictive, conniving behavior. He runs into Richard at the ceremony and tells him he has hired all 63 programmers that Pied Piper had rejected. Amongst those rejected is a guy named Duncan who owns a pizza app called Sliceline (rhymes with Priceline, get it?)

Because Duncan believes his app is going to be really successful, he tells Richard he is no longer interested in working with Pied Piper. What exactly does Sliceline do? Just like Priceline, it finds the best deals and then delivers in the quickest manner possible. Shockingly, Duncan gets nearly $8 million in funding and is well on his way to making a name for himself.

Meanwhile, Richard is trying to acquire a failing company called Optimoji which has 30 programmers, but he tries to convince the CEO to fire 18 because he only needs 12. The deal nearly goes through (despite the CEO’s reluctance to break apart her employees), however, Duncan shows up and mangles up the deal.

Optimoji decides to go with Sliceline instead, leaving Richard back at square one. Things aren’t going so well for Gavin either as the 63 programmers he hired to spite Richard aren’t on board with working on the Hooli box. They want to work on the decentralized internet, which Gavin no longer has the patent for. A board member suggests that Gavin transition from the old Hooli box into something more modern and relevant.

Things didn’t completely fall apart for Richard as he found a flaw in Duncan’s business plan. The model doesn’t make financial sense as Sliceline loses $5/pizza. Richard decides to bankrupt the company by ordering just enough pizzas to deplete them of their funding. In one clever, badass move, Richard takes over Sliceline, acquires Optimoji, and gets 50 programmers.

Laurie (Suzanne Cryer) isn’t 100% pleased with Richard’s ballsy move but gives him the approval anyway (one hour after she has given birth btw).

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When the first day rolls around, Richard finds himself fighting nerves as he faces the huge room of programmers. He runs into his office to puke into the wastebasket, only to realize everyone is watching from outside. Richard may be a hot mess, but we believe he is going to rise to the top by season’s end!

Silicon Valley returns next week Sunday, April 1st on HBO at 10 P.M EST!