When it comes to programming, no one knows everything. The one thing many programmers get stuck on these days is the one thing determining the future of computing: the cloud.
The sixth episode of “Silicon Valley,” “Third Party Insourcing,” picks up with Richard stuck on Pied Piper’s cloud deployment with only a week left before TechCrunch Disrupt.
“I’m a good programmer. It’s the only thing I am good at,” he says. “I learned Ruby on Rails over a weekend when I was 17. I should be able to learn cloud. I have to.”
But instead, Pied Piper turns to a legendary Black Hat hacker, known as “The Carver,” who took down the entire Bank of America system. It turns out that he’s a cocky teenager named Kevin (Austin Abrams). Pied Piper pays Kevin US$20,000 to build their entire cloud architecture, and the kid says he can do it in two days as long as he’s stocked with Mello Yello soda, Oreos and Adderall.
Kevin’s presence, on top of making Richard feel inadequate about his coding skills, warps his self-esteem back to grade school. Kevin makes fun of Richard for pressing his lips so close together when he’s not talking, which results in one of Thomas Middleditch’s best bits of physical comedy to date as he tries to figure out what to do with his lips.
All the while, Richard is taking a crash course in cloud computing from a kid half his age (26 is old in “Silicon Valley” years), learning how to build indexes on the fly and store key values. Only on a show like this could a cloud infrastructure migration be a main storyline. “Silicon Valley” continues its trend of making sure the programmer audience gets its fair share of inside humor.
(Related: Previously on “Silicon Valley”)
Though of course when Richard lets his guard down and asks for Kevin’s help replicating data in the persistence layer, everything goes to hell. Kevin has a breakdown and carves up Pied Piper’s entire codebase, revealing he did the same thing to Bank of America when he was consulting there, not hacking into the bank.
They start fixing the code line by line, but when Kevin hits an Adderall crash, Richard takes another trip back to grade school when he’s forced to ask some neighborhood kids on bikes if he can buy some. One of them slaps Richard in the face and bullies him until he runs away crying. It was a scene straight out of third grade recess.#!Then, something epic happened. Erlich finds Richard crying and storms back out into the street in a rage. Credit to T.J. Miller for making a completely reprehensible act absolutely hilarious, but Erlich slaps the smug kid back in his own face, throws his bike over a hedge and threatens him into running to get some Adderall for Kevin. It was straight up bonkers. There’s no other word to describe that scene.
With the code fixed and the cloud deployed, Richard and Kevin both agree to pretend this never happened—but “The Carver” still gets his 20 Gs before his mom picks him up.
Elsewhere in this episode, Gilfoyle’s Satan-worshipping girlfriend Tara (Milana Vayntrub), who he says “has an Amy Winehouse vibe,” comes to town. Gilfoyle fools Dinesh into thinking Tara wants to sleep with him, and Erlich and Dinesh spend the entire episode arguing over who’s better looking. Not the most highbrow B-storyline, but Dinesh and Gilfoyle haven’t been anything more than comic relief the entire season, and it was nice to see Dinesh get some extra screen time.
“It’s weird having a girl in the house. There’s a very strange energy,” Dinesh says.
While the faux love quadrangle plays out, the four of them attend a satanic baptism, “Silicon Valley” style. At the ceremony, a man wearing a black cape reads from a satanic bible in front of an altar of candles and pentagrams, while two naked people, one wearing a bull mask, stand next to them. “HAIL SATAN, IT IS DONE,” he proclaims as the ceremony culminates. Then of course, the cult leader thanks everyone for coming and announces that Brother Jason has brought Chick-Fil-A!
Mike Judge manages to upend the whiz-kid programming mentality, give a lecture on the cloud, skewer a group of casual satanic devil worshippers, and see both an adult and a kid get slapped, all in the course of a 30-minute episode. Just another day in “Silicon Valley.”
Odds & Ends
-Unfortunately, episode five was the last one we’ll ever see Peter Gregory in person. Christopher Evan Welch died of lung cancer during the filming of the first season, so the classic restaurant scene from last episode was his final one. The show has chosen, for now, to proceed with Gregory as an off-screen character, but Welch’s irreplaceable presence will leave a big hole without arguably its most interesting, entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny character. Rest in peace, Mr. Welch.
-The doctor from the pilot (Andy Daly), who may as well have his own “Most Unhelpful Doctor” meme if he doesn’t have one already, makes a hilarious return to inform Richard he’s basically aged 40 years in the past seven weeks. In Gregory’s tragic absence he delivered two of the best lines of the episode in the opening scene:
“We had a meth addict in here earlier who’s biologically younger than you are… and he’s 58.”
“You should’ve taken the 10 million from Gavin Belson. But regrets will kill you, so try not to dwell on it.”
-Nerdy T-shirt of the week: Erlich’s classic Atari tee, followed by a CSS3 shirt.
-Walking through the failed startup “The Carver” is currently carving up, which went belly-up six months after receiving $35 million in Series B funding, was a rare moment of sobering levity for the Pied Piper gang, showing just how quickly things can all go wrong in Silicon Valley.
-While arguing with Erlich over who’s better looking, Dinesh says his childhood nickname was “Pakistani Denzel.”
-Of course Erlich has a Steve Jobs bobblehead.
-Another stellar episode for Jared, who finds himself locked in Peter Gregory’s self-driving car. On his way home, a clerical error overrides the destination and sends him 4,000 miles locked in a shipping container to Gregory’s private island—inhabited solely by self-driving forklifts. Zach Woods’ timid politeness turning to full-on screaming panic attack was situational comedy at its finest.