“Third Party Insourcing” is not an awful episode of television, but it’s a pretty bad episode of Silicon Valley, a freshman series that has really been knocking it out of the park since its premiere.
Unlike previous Silicon Valley episodes, what makes this week’s seem really subpar is the lack of a strong A-plot. Richard’s difficulties with Kevin, aka The Carver, are not nearly as compelling as his interactions with Peter Gregory or the revelations he learned from Monica inlast week’s fantastic episode. Instead, we get a little bit of manufactured drama that Richard freaks out about, but it is solved by episode’s end, and a mediocre B-plot with Dinesh, Erlich, and Gilfoyle. The only saving graces of “Third Party Insourcing” are Jared and Peter Gregory’s self-driving car, which aren’t so much used in a storyline but instead are just an excuse for an episode-long joke.
Despite my harsh criticism here, though, there’s a very good reason why this episode of Silicon Valley feels considerably weaker than the rest of this season, and that all has to do with the lack of Peter Gregory, who was, undoubtedly, the series’ best character. Unfortunately, this is not a fixable problem. As some Silicon Valley fans may already know, the actor who plays Peter Gregory, the amazing Christopher Evan Welch, suddenly passed away this past December during the middle of filming Silicon Valley’s first season. Welch’s final appearance was in last week’s “Signaling Risk,” and although we hear Peter Gregory discussed by Monica, Jared, and other characters, the knowledge that I won’t see Welch in the role again sucks any real enjoyment from those brief mentions.
Due to Welch’s passing, I’m sure Silicon Valley’s writing team was forced to rework the script of “Third Party Insourcing,” and as I said before, the episode isn’t without its merits. Jared’s joke of a storyline is probably the funniest thing that Silicon Valley has done yet in its short run (and I find myself typing that about this show with every new episode), and Erlich coming to Richard’s aid and threatening the teen who lied to Richard about selling him Adderall was also another highlight.
However, these individual moments never came together as a cohesive whole. Anytime Jared wasn’t on the screen, dealing with Peter Gregory’s car (another instance of Silicon Valley showing the imperfections of technology, which is created by humans, who are imperfect beings—the series main, satirical theme), I found my eyes wandering from the TV screen, barely smiling at the stupid antics of Danish, Gilfoyle, and Erlich, and hardly ever laughing at a single joke uttered by any of them.
Silicon Valley, when it’s at its best, blends humor with dramatic stakes—making Richard’s problems with Pied Piper, no matter how ridiculous or over the top they are, feel real and human. It was the human aspect, along with the humor, that was missing from last night’s Silicon Valley. Like Peter Gregory’s car, “Third Party Insourcing” was a machine that went off course and never found its way back.
– Overall, I really didn’t enjoy the plot involving Tara, Gilfoyle, and Dinesh. It was all incredibly predictable and not very funny. However, it did provide us with the ridiculous satanic ritual scene (Chick-Fil-A included cause the Dark Lord would understand) and this gem of a quote from Dinesh: “You know what my nickname was when I was a kid: Pakistani Denzel.”
– I was so happy to have Andy Daly back as the worst TV doctor ever. “I don’t know how you did it, but you essentially aged 40 years in the last seven weeks. We had a meth addict in here this morning who was biologically younger than you are, and he’s 58. Myspace guy.”
– I’m surprised next week’s episode will be when Richard and the gang have to present Pied Piper at Tech Crunch. Thought that would have been saved for the finale.
What did everyone else think of last night’s episode of Silicon Valley?
[Photo via HBO]