The season four finale of HBO’s Silicon Valley aired tonight, and it was … funny, frustrating, and predictable. In the episode, Richard went full jack-ass in an effort to save their client, Dan Melcher’s data, after Jack Barker refused to order a security patch for the exploding phones, which contained the code that will run Pied Piper’s decentralized Internet. Richard fires Jared for trying to prevent Richard from engaging in unscrupulous behavior. Richard tries to streamroll and screw over his best friend Big Head by hooking up Gilfoyle’s server to Stanford’s network (endangering Big Head’s job). Gilfoyle and Dinesh also quit over the way Richard treats them, Jared, and Big Head.
Richard loses his sh*t, and it looks like Pied Piper is sunk. Again. However, when Richard apologizes to Jared (“This guy fucks” callback and all) and decides to confess to Melcher, Jared, Gilfoyle and Dinesh rejoin the company to see it go under “with integrity.” Pied Piper, however, is saved by a refrigerator Deus Ex Machina. Before it was destroyed, Gilfoyle’s server backed up the code on Jian Yang’s talking refrigerator, and it miraculously reproduced itself on 30,000 other talking refrigerators, which worked to create the very decentralized Internet Richard had hoped to create.
It works as both an amusing and a disappointingly predictable out for Pied Piper. It not only saves the company, but fetches Pied Piper a number of venture fund offers.
Meanwhile, rather than order a security patch for the Hooli phones, Jack Barker decides to recall all 9 million of them, in three days, against the advice of the board. Jack travels to China in an effort to get them to increase their productivity, but he is kidnapped and held hostage until Gavin Belson — informed of the recall by a visiting Erlich — travels from Tibet to China, saves Jack, and wins back his company. The episode ends with Gavin making an offer for Pied Piper to Richard, which Richard declines, resetting the rivalry between Gavin and Pied Piper.
But what about Erlich? This was meant to be his last episode on Silicon Valley, after HBO announced his departure at the end of the season. Those hoping for a big send off for T.J. Miller were likely left disappointed. Traveling with Gavin from Tibet back to China, Erlich gets sidetracked in an opium den, where Gavin leaves him, paying the establishment’s owner enough money to keep Erlich in an opium daze for the next five years. A heavily baked Erlich’s final words on the show? “Big Head.”
The bad news? It’s a weak final episode for T.J. Miller. The good? They didn’t kill him off, which leaves HBO room to bring him back later on in the series. “Maybe he’ll come back. I don’t know,” Kumail Nanjiani told Business Insider last week. For his part, Miller told The Wrap that he was leaving, in part, because Silicon Valley/i> “is a very cyclical show.”
“The show is the same thing over and over,” Miller said. “I guess it’s a formula that works, but [the heroes] succeed, and then they fail, and then the failure turns into success.”
To Miller’s credit, that is a fair summation of the fourth season finale. Hopefully, with Bachman out, Silicon Valley can find a way to shake up that formula in its fifth season.