The sixth installment of Silicon Valley‘s second season was titled “Homicide” not because it contained a heinous crime (though we did meet two dudes who committed acts of extreme douchebaggery) or because one of its central gags killed (the Let Blaine Die board packed both lurid laughs and amazing awkwardness), but because it whisked us into the HQ of the frat-tastic energy drink that powered much of this week’s comedy. Want to crack open Silicon‘s latest adventure, which officially ushers us into the second half of the season? Let’s gather everyone (Allen, Lisa, Josh, Yana, Katie, Ramon), pour ourselves a tall cold one (of Kool-Aid, not Homicide—that stuff sounds nasty), and welcome back our man on the inside, Silicon Valley superstar T.J. Miller, a.k.a. Erlich Bachman, who just busted through the wall right now and is ready to recap.
Thanks for showing up for the sixth week in a row, T.J.! I guess we should start wi— Dan, I simply could not be happier and I just wanted to say thank you for being such a serviceable, adequate writer.
That’s sweet, sort of, but what I wanted to— and also recognizing writing talent in someone like me.
Well, you certainly have a flair, and I’m— As well as allowing me to elevate your game. I’m proud of you, Dan.
Wow, you really do interrupt people a lot in real life, too. Can I just…? Okay. So, this episode opens with sweet, sweet defeat. Instead of putting 4K UHD in a lossless compression chokehold, Nucleus wound up kicking itself in the nuts, as its livestream of the UFC fight froze/skipped the decisive moment in the fight. It wasn’t all bad for Gavin, though. Did you see how high his last kick was in that glass-shattering, amusingly-too-long pre-fight intro? That was not unimpressive. The glass smashing is one of the great jokes of this season, and the way Matt Ross reacts when people compliment him on the kicking—he is just so f—ing good at playing Gavin Belson. But as I laughed at the too-many glass shatterings, I realized that that joke reflects how out of touch and overinflated these people are, with no one to call them on their B.S., a.k.a. Breaking & Shattering.
You should take a bow for that blackbelted word play. Anyway, wanting to capitalize on Nucleus’ nuclear meltdown, Monica suggests that Pied Piper stage their own livestream to show off their technology. Everyone quickly offers very specific help, even Erlich, who says he’s “prepared to brag about it and release publicity.” What a mensch. While Jared’s suggestion of streaming a nesting pair of condors on a closed circuit feed is compelling—”I don’t want to be inflammatory but… next to a condor, an eagle looks like a common cackling”—the group opts instead to go with Erlich’s advice and team up with Homicide CEO Aaron “Double A” Anderson, with whom Erlich used to party in coll— Well, it was more of a mentor-mentee kind of partying.
That leads to one of my all-time favorite exchange of insults on the show. Erlich cocksurely—it’s a word!—explains that his relationship with Double A was “kind of a mentor-mentee kind of thing”—See? I told you so.
Just please—let me finish. That prompted Gilfoyle to deadpan: “Coming from a manatee sort of thing.” I didn’t think there was any way to come back from that scorcher, but Erlich shoots back: “You look like a ferret that gave up on himself six months ago.” It’s a double-burn, because that means Gilfoyle is illegally living in the house! Okay, this is the place where you give me a high-five for that California Fish and Game Code, Section 2116-2126 callback, or at least tell us all of the alternate insults that you threw at Gilfoyle during the shoot. I’ll give you both. High-five. And yes, I did throw some other “zingers” his way, as we say in the business—the business of bizarre facial hair:
“Well, Gilfoyle, as a manatee, I would eat you if I didn’t know you would taste like self-loathing and s—ty taste in clothing.”
“Yeah, and that coming from a sort of weasel-y, sad around the neck area sort of thing.”
“It looks like your beard was trying to face f— your chin and it prematurely ejaculated.”
Actually, all three of those get the job done, too. Before we move on, let’s quickly talk about Jared. We pick up that thread of his being sorely misguided about how to advocate for women in a male-dominated workplace. He tries to force a bond between Carla and Monica, two people who would seemingly have as much in common as Gilfoyle and… well, just about anyone. I liked his attempt at talking Carla up to Monica—”She’s really smart but not afraid to be bawdy”—as if that would appeal to Monica. But the story line never really took off. And I wish they gave Carla, who’s someone we just met, a little more to do in this episode, other than to be annoyed at Jared. I found this plot line to not hit as exactly as the hiring of Carla last episode. It’s clear that Jared is unaware of how to be gender sensitive, but I was hoping they would actually hit it off and be able to talk together about some of the terrible s— re: women in the actual Silicon Valley.
Richard, who, by the way, is less sweaty this episode— His dick in particular.
T.J, let me finish my thought…Just trying to be cool here, ‘kay? Richard worries about dedicating resources to the livestream. So Jared—who has booby-trapped the house with corporate resources (are there peer evaluation forms in the bathroom?)—suggests that they SWOT this decision. He pulls out a giant board on which one can identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and otherwise be a major corporate tool. This was Chekhov’s gun: Once it was introduced, you knew it was going to come in handy later in the episode; you just didn’t know exactly how it would be discharged as a comedic weapon. Was Chekhov in this episode? Because I didn’t see his Three Sisters. I love that Jared is SWOTing actual issues, and again we derail to minuscule calculation of tangential and, in this case, dark subjects. Not that me pleasuring four guys at a time in a conference ballroom isn’t dark, that’s for sure.
During their tour of the Homicide HQ, Dinesh meets event manager Gina and falls for her immediately, partly because she knows the difference between Pakistan and India, but mostly because she’s hot. Dinesh truly thinks he has a chance, and he’s floating on a taurine high when she says that Karachi is “a beautiful place full of beautiful people,” but then he’s yanked back to Earth when Gilfoyle spots her making out with another dude. “He’s definitely going to f— her later and she’s not going to think of you while it’s happening,” Gilfoyle says, clearly concerned with sparing Dinesh’s feelings. This tactician has got no tact. Gilfoyle knows just how to break hard news to a friend; it’s one of the things I love about him. That and his ferret-like features. Kumail Nanjiani plays this so sweetly, and Dinesh is so excited, it almost felt too harsh when Gilfoyle said the line. I also wish there was a little more dimension for the character of Gina, but hey, it is an energy drink company.
Meet Blaine, the stylishly unstyled Homicide stuntman who will defy gravity by flying a car off the roof of one building and land on another 15-story building across the street. Blaine quickly reveals himself to be an arrogant, impatient prick—if this were an ’80s movie, he’d be a Cobra Kai. He cuts off Dinesh and Gilfoyle when they realize in studying his stunt math that he’s got the velocity calculated wrong, which will result in nothing less than his flesh-smeared death. “I am too f—ing busy to deal with you!” he says dismissively of Gilfoyle, calling him Glasses. “What do we do here?” says Dinesh, marveling at Blaine’s awfulness, to which Gilfoyle responds, “This is a tough one.” Loved that moment. It’s always fun to watch Gilfyole dismantle Dinesh—see: the previous paragraph—but the writers found a really fun, outrageous way to team them up against a common enemy. And so they start weighing the merits of letting him die. “It’d probably lead to calls for regulations in the stunt industry, so in the longterm we’re saving lives,” rationalizes Dinesh, leading them to take Jared’s tedious suggestion and turn it into something so wrong. The SWOT plot is right in the show’s sweet spot: Plugging something outrageous and juvenile into a dry, mathematical for— Let me stop you right there, Dan. Chekhov’s Gun (or in our case “Jackoff’s Fun”) would be plugging something outrageous and juvenile into a dry, mathematical formula. I love how seriously they take weighing all the possible options. “Grief Threesome with Blaine’s Hot Mom?” will go down as one of my favorite lines.
NEXT: The greatness of the Let Blaine Die SWOT board