Silicon Valley ended its six-season run last night with a finale that was completely befitting a series characterized by six seasons of failure, only in the end, it was a failure that was their ultimate success. Thematically speaking, the series ended on a perfect note in every respect; they chose honor over money, opting to do the right thing instead of the thing that would have made them billionaires and destroyed the human race.
It was a smart ending, too. The series has spent six seasons trying to build the other Internet with Richard’s middle-out compression algorithm, but there always seemed to be a flaw here or there. In last week’s episode, they resolve the scaling out flaw by using the algorithm to train Gilfoyle’s AI to perfect the algorithm. It worked perfectly.
Because the AI also learned how to break encryption codes, and the more it learned, the better it got at breaking those encryption codes, which meant that in a matter of days, their newly launched product would not only destroy Internet privacy as we know it but give anyone who wanted it the access to the nuclear codes. Basically, the combination of Richard’s algorithm and Gilfoyle’s AI would have been the equivalent of Skynet. “Pure violence will become the only basis of power.”
“We built a monster. Now we have to kill it,” Gilfoyle says. Or, as Jared puts it, “We have to shit ourselves to death.”
And so, that’s what they do. They destroy the launch of their new network, but while that is a wild success, it doesn’t go exactly as they plan: They inadvertently reprogram the network to emit high-frequency sounds that only rats can hear, which leads to all the rats coming out and overrunning the city. It is very much in line with the Pied Piper of Hamelin legend.
The episode itself, however, is framed by a documentary filmed a decade later on what happened to the Pied Piper guys, and this is what we find out: Nelson Bighetti (“Bighead”) somehow falls ass-backward into becoming the President of Stanford. He hires Richard to be the “Gavin Belson Professor of Ethics.” Gilfoyle and Dinesh not only go into business together by co-founding a cybersecurity firm, but they live next to each other now. Monica works for the NSA — not that she’ll admit it — and Jared works with the elderly, suitably enough. When they all get together ten years later, they also go to the old incubator to see Jin Yang, only to discover that he’s “dead,” although in reality, he’s living in the jungle of Southeast Asia under the name of Erlich Bachman (it’s a funny gag, even if it makes no sense whatsoever).
But the sweetest irony of all is that, ten years later, after blowing up a company with an $8 billion valuation, no one has any idea who or what Pied Piper is anymore, so they aren’t even afforded the infamy they think they deserve. In the end, though, they all seem to be happy and content with the life they ended up with, and I’m happy and content with the show that Alec Berg and Mike Judge have given us for six splendid and sometimes brilliant seasons.
Header Image Source: HBO