Season finale review: 'Silicon Valley' - 'Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency': Middle out!
A quick review of the "Silicon Valley" season finale coming up just as soon as I pivot from social media to a playground for the sexually monstrous...
I wrote my initial review of the show based on the first five episodes, which were unfortunately the only ones to include Christopher Evan Welch before he died. And though it doesn't feel like the Pied Piper vs. Hooli plot changed an enormous amount due to Peter Gregory's absence, the show definitely missed something without his weird energy, especially because Monica is such a non-character. (Though the tech field is overwhelmingly male, I stand by my belief that "Silicon" could stand to do much better with women, whether that's making Monica more interesting or bringing in some new people.)
That said, there was still an awful lot to enjoy in the concluding three episodes, and particularly in the finale. This is a crude, juvenile show, but often the very best thing about it is the way the writing mixes gross-out humor with smarter ideas, so it felt absolutely right to have Richard's big compression breakthrough come because rest of the team was working hard coming up with the perfect equation to solve Erlich's jack-off problem. I don't know enough about the nuts and bolts to know whether Richard's idea is in any way sound — and/or whether he was once again making his brainstorm too easy for others to duplicate — but it was still satisfying to see him get the big win on the big stage. "Silicon Valley" has some "Entourage" DNA to it, but Vince and his boys always lucked into their inevitable happy endings, where here Richard has to sweat and slave and work at it (all while Erlich and Dinesh and the others are calculating efficient masturbation technique).
I also really enjoyed seeing Jared return from Peter's private island a frightening shell of his already creepy former self; it feels like Zach Woods is popping up on every show on television lately, and uncomfortable, hilarious sequences like the one where he tries to do market research for his pivot ideas helps explain why everyone wants to work with him.
In the season's closing moments, Monica lays out what could be the story arc of the next several seasons, and I'll be curious to see how Mike Judge and company deal with the loss of Welch next season. Will Peter remain alive but never seen? Will Pied Piper get a new eccentric benefactor? Given that Monica talks about how much more involved Peter will be going forward (a line written and performed after Welch's death), might they actually be considering a new actor in a part that Welch made so indelible in so short a period?
But this was a very promising first season, especially when you consider the huge mid-season loss of Welch, and a very funny, satisfying conclusion.
What did everybody else think?