Silicon Valley season 5, episode 8 recap: ‘Fifty-One Percent’


Silicon Valley closes out another season in “Fifty-One Percent”–with a very happy ending!

In the season five finale of Silicon Valley, things went from 0 to 100 real fast (yes, pseudo-Tesla pun intended). When “Fifty-One Percent” begins, PiperNet is officially launching its first day of a decentralized internet–Richard’s baby. And while the employees gather round and count down the seconds before it’s launch, we are slowly taken to a more grim present.

Pied Piper is bankrupt, and Richard and Dinesh have grown long, thick beards in their depression. Things are an absolute mess in the offices of Pied Piper, and it seems adapting their own currency perhaps wasn’t the grand idea that Richard thought it would be. However, Dinesh goes rushing into alert Richard that they are rapidly gaining users.

Laurie was last seen closing a deal with Yao for the new PiperNet, and it’s quickly revealed that she is behind the sudden surge of users for Richard’s PiperNet. Back in China, all the employees are quickly signing onto Pied Piper’s network, in the hopes of obtaining a 51% majority of users on their server. The benefit? It would give her a huge stake in the company.

Monica is the first to realize something is not making sense, given that their users are increasing, but the value of their coin is staying stagnant. She loops Gilfoyle in who begins cracking down the science behind this conundrum, and they spend the whole night in “Fifty-One Percent”  trying to figure out what’s going on.

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During the party, Colin, the CEO of K-Hole, who left Pied Piper’s “Octopipers” after things got rough, comes begging to be let back in. Richard, of course, takes this as an opportunity to boast about their recent success and sends him packing, but not before making a grave mistake.

Before he leaves, Colin tells Richard about having 80,000 users for a game called “The Gates of Galoo” who would all switch to Pied Piper’s network. Did that persuade Richard? Nope. Not in the least bit. He comes to regret this later  in “Fifty-One Percent” when, thanks to Monica and Gilfoyle, they learn who is behind the increasing number of users, and who it all leads back to–Jian Yang!

The group has Big Head make a call to Jian Yang (who he is still on speaking terms with thanks to Words with Friends). And when the phone is handed to Gilfoyle, Jian Yang promises to tell him what is going on, but only if he can move back into the incubator. Mind you, Richard has no idea all this is going down until he comes rushing in from a run, out of breath and exasperated, only to learn about the madness that is unfolding.

Dinesh and Gilfoyle finally realize what is going down, and realize they are being attacked through the 51% rule. If someone owns 51% of a company, then they can overtake any other shareholders. Bingo! We learn Laurie and Yao’s plan! So, now the team must come up with a way to gain users to hold off Yao and Laurie from taking over.

And this is where the regret of shrugging off Colin comes pouring in because Richard realizes he just lost 80,000 users that could have been theirs. While Pied Piper races against time, Gavin Belson is once again kicked out of Hooli after his repetitive failures to make his box work. An epiphany leads Richard to Gavin’s doorstep, in hopes he will pull them out of their predicament.

But at this point, Richard should really know better than to trust Galvin Belson, right? Gavin helps Richard gain the users he needs but quickly backstabs him once he starts gaining majority control. He decides to screw everyone, Richard, along with Laurie and Yao who he tricked into siding with him as well.

In a last-ditch effort, Richard tells Gavin he can have PiperNet, but just not to dismantle it into pieces. And for a moment, we are truly led to believe that this is the end of PiperNet as we know it. He comes up with an “agreement” that he signs, and while Gavin is boasting about it to Laurie and Yao, he realizes that the contract states the words, “Kiss my piss.”

Just in the nick of time, Gilfoyle came through after Dinesh and Jared went looking for Colin, who had run away after his interaction with Richard. While Richard was biding time with Gavin, Colin transferred his users over to Pied Piper!

Next: Silicon Valley season 5, episode 7 recap: Initial Coin Offering

All’s well that ends well because they regain 100% control of the users–and things are finally looking up after a turbulent season. “Fifty-One Percent” ends on a similar note to the season premiere, with Pied Piper acquiring new offices. But this time, things are looking more optimistic as they have ever been, especially as they move into a four-story office. Way to go Pied Piper!

Where will Silicon Valley go from here? And what obstacles will Pied Piper face as they head into a new era for their company? Sadly, we will have to wait until next year to find out!

Be sure to check out our season-long recaps of Silicon Valley and check back for updates regarding the new season!