Silicon Valley 1.05 Review: “Signaling Risk”


Between this week and last week’s episodes of Silicon Valley, it’s as if the producers of the show are speaking directly to me, addressing my concerns. “Signaling Risk” isn’t as much of a laugh riot as “Fiduciary Duties” (although it does have some great sight gags involving those murals that Chuey makes). However, much like “Fiduciary Duties” did with Elrich, this episode examines the character of Monica, who is the only source of female representation on Silicon Valley at the moment, and fleshes her out a little bit, proving why she should be there and,  in my opinion, why her role should be expanded (and it’s not just because I have a huge crush on Amanda Crew).

The central focus of “Signaling Risk” involves Jared’s attempts to corporatize Pied Piper, just as Richard finds out how little Peter Gregory really cares about him and his company. Gregory’s bidding on Pied Piper wasn’t so much the fact that he believed in Richard or the idea behind the company (like Monica had originally told Richard); no, instead, Peter Gregory giving Richard $250,000 was purely to slight Gavin Belson, to take something that Belson wanted away from him.

As Monica says during the episode, these are billionaires who can sneeze and use hundreds of thousands of dollars for tissues, so the fact that Richard has found himself in a personal struggle between Gregory and Belson shouldn’t be too astounding. What is surprising to Richard is how Monica lied to him all the way back in the first episode of Silicon Valley, when she told Richard that his idea and his vision were something that Peter Gregory firmly believed in.

When Monica reveals the truth that Richard is essentially a pawn in a billionaire dollar game of chess, Richard is understandably livid, but the Silicon Valley writers smartly use this new bit of information as an opportunity to highlight Monica’s character and establish her relationship and connection to Richard. Monica apologizes and tells Richard how she does actually believe in Pied Piper and that she has invested 10% of her salary into the company—she truly thinks that Richard can take Pied Piper and make it great, even if he now only has two months until he has to present at the Tech Crunch Startup Battlefield (which has to take place during the first season finale, am I right?).

Monica’s belief in Richard, her work for Peter Gregory, and how she fits into the overall picture of  Silicon Valley as a whole is definitely something that needs to be explored more, but I’m glad the writers finally began to start pulling back some of the layers in “Signaling Risk.” The way complaint that can be made against Silicon Valley is its lack of a strong female presence. Even though the show should always be about Richard, Erlich, and the guys and how they will actually make it in this ultra-competitive environment that is the tech world, there’s definitely some space to do some great storytelling with Monica’s character as well (how she interacts with Richard and the guys, how she got as far as she did in the tech world, her personal life outside of work, etc.), and I really hope that Silicon Valley utilizes a good portion of its last three episodes to solidify Monica and make her a true importance presence within the world of the series.

Other thoughts:

– I can’t get too descriptive about Erlich and his search for a new logo for Pied Piper (this is a family friendly sight), but let’s just say that I found all the murals that Chuey did hysterical. Especially the Erlich-enhanced one that Gavin Belson ended up purchasing.

– Jared makes some great points in this episode about how disorganized and lax everything within Pied Piper is, so I was really glad to see that his new strategies worked, especially as they ramped up the competition between Gilfoyle and Danesh in a healthier, more productive way.

– Peter Gregory does not enjoy asparagus—he only eats it for the nutrients.

– The episode-long joke of Erlich not knowing if he was being racist or not was pure comedy gold.

– Best part of the entire episode: Gavin Belson’s non-working Telehuman and his angry responses to his assistant as everything else he used (video chat and telephone included) also didn’t work.

What did everyone else think about tonight’s episode of Silicon Valley?

[Photo via Jaimie Trueblood]

Chris is the Managing Editor of TVOvermind. A graduate of Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, where he majored in English and Film, he has been writing for TVOvermind for over two years and has written about several different television shows, such as New Girl, Breaking Bad, Glee, and Homeland. Contact him through Twitter (@ckinger13) or email (
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