This week’s episode of Silicon Valley season 4 was a solid standalone episode. The stories were exceptionally character-driven and got to the core of the guys in the incubator in a satisfying way. Richard Hendricks’ stubborn ideals caused problems. Erlich Bachman’s insecuriy led to unnecessary posturing. Bertram Gilfoyle became hyperfocused on pointless revenge. Jared Dunn got caught up in finding a new way to be helpful that also made him feel cool. Dinesh Chugtai was an apathetic onlooker. Jian Yang found a new way to be petty.
The episode had a simple, self-contained plot about the company coming up against a patent troll. The simple problem rubbed up against Richard’s fatal flaw to create a well-done sitcom plot. And it was fun that the resolution brought back the original Pied Piper music search.
The Erlich subplot in which he struggles with the idea of playing basketball with another group of men, led by Ed Chen, was great. It’s always nice when this show reminds us that even the relatively masculine characters are still huge nerds.
Gilfoyle’s battle against Jian Yang’s refrigerator was nice because it was true to Gilfoyle’s character, but was light on jokes. It would’ve helped if Dinesh or Jian Yang had been a stronger antagonist in the plot. This would’ve helped get some real banter going in the plot.
The episode included a bizarre runner about how Richard may be shrinking that worked well. The pay off of Richard responding to being called a little prick by proudly declaring that he’s a big prick was great. Peak Richard.
Unfortunately, the episode under-served Laurie Bream and Monica Hall. While they should be more active than ever now that they’re running their own firm, this episode saw them giving Erlich a job for no other reason than he kept pestering them about it. That scene was very uncomfortable, especially when it did the millionth mansplaining joke I’ve seen on a sitcom.