Last night’s Silicon Valley is called “Homicide,” and it’s a reference to a fictional energy drink, not intentional killing. But the episode also contains a killer joke about some of the worst tech products in recent history.
Hooli’s Nucleus completely screws up a UFC livestream, prompting a Gavin Belson freakout. He demands to know exactly how bad it is. He hosts a surly focus group to debut the Nucleus OS (which — I didn’t know it was an OS?) which leads to the following exchange:
“How bad is this, be honest. Is this Windows Vista bad? It’s not iPhone 4 bad, is it? Fuck. Don’t tell me this is Zune bad.”
“I’m sorry Gavin. It’s Apple Maps bad.”
As you may remember, Apple Maps was so unusable that Tim Cook actually apologised and told people to download Google Maps.
“it’s like you took a good phone and made it shitty”
Even as Hooli falters, the Pied Piper team runs into problems. To highlight how much better their compression is than Nucleus, Pied Piper partners with Homicide energy drink to livestream a monster truck stunt. The Homicide founder is Erlich’s old college buddy Double A, but he can’t stand Erlich. He asks to deal directly with Richard instead. Then he tries to fuck Richard over by not including Pied Piper’s name in the logo for the event.
For a blazing hot nanosecond it seems like Richard is exhibiting character growth (and just a sliver of a backbone) as he tells Erlich the truth and tries to stand his ground about the logo, but it’s all for nothing because the partnership falls through.
Meanwhile, Dinesh and Gilfoyle spend all their time debating whether they should tell the arsehole stunt driver that he’s got his acceleration algorithm wrong and will likely crash and die, and the driver finds out when he stumbles on their “Let Blaine Die” moral dilemma outline board, dividing the pros and cons of letting the spiky-haired dick perish. (“A dead Blaine is a Blaine that cant reproduce,” the “Strengths” section reads.)
The stunt driver’s name is Blaine because the Silicon Valley writers continue to excel at pinpointing signifiers of jackassery. The whole Homicide headquarters is a spot-on send up of Redbull and the XXX-treme energy drink/sports culture, right down to the bright red swag hats that read “DON’T GIVE A FUCK.” Anything Erlich describes as “a giant monument to awesomeness” is bound to be bad.
nothing like hats and taurine to spike your confidence
Things end up going wrong for just about everyone in this episode — Homicide goes with a new Pied Piper competitor called End Frame, Nucleus still sucks, and even Double A is brought low when Richard accidentally publicly mocks his colostomy bag. The only person who succeeds is Blaine, who makes his truck jump. Yet this is one of the funniest episodes of the season.
Jared’s insistence that Monica and Carla will “hit it off” because they’re both female — and the way both women immediately reject the idea that they need to be friends just because they’re the only girls — is a great joke for two reasons. First, it mocks the way women in male-dominated industries are expected to band together. But it also serves as a kind of meta-commentary on Silicon Valley‘s resistance to introducing female characters just because they’re female.
Silicon Valley is also resistant to quick character growth. All of the men in Silicon Valley are unable to escape their flaws — even after Gavin figures out that his team is lying to him about Nucleus, he still believes his guru when the guru tells him he’s not surrounded by yes men. And no matter how many furtive baby-steps Richard takes towards assertiveness, he’s still terrible about getting things done. This fits with the show’s commitment to realism, but I would like to see someone on the Pied Piper team get it together.
- Erlich is still a little listless as a character, but he gets a few good jabs in, including “You look like a ferret that gave up on himself six months ago.”
- Jared continues to be an angel, and his fixation on doing a livestream of a condor egg is both funny and also really not that bad of an idea.