Silicon Valley bounced back in a big way this week, with the first part of what feels like a two-part finale. “Proof of Concept” brought us to Tech Crunch one week earlier than I expected, but I’m really grateful that it did, because while this episode did a great job of setting the atmosphere and tone of the event, next week’s season finale of Silicon Valley can really explore the fallout of Erlich’s big mistake, along with any other obstacles that the Pied Piper team finds in their way.
And let’s focus on this idea of obstacles for a second, because I think it what makes any show, especially a show like Silicon Valley, that much more enjoyable to watch. When characters are trying to succeed in any field, like the tech world, complications need to arise in order to make this journey interesting and believable to the audience.
Now these challenges can be small and silly like Richard being distracted by Sherry and his “supposed” obsession with her, or they can have more seriously implications, like Erlich having had affairs with both of Dan Melcher’s wives, when he ends up being the judge at the Tech Crunch competition. It’s these problems that the characters on Silicon Valley must overcome that make the show not just hysterical (which it was tonight) but also an engaging story about these underdogs who must deal with all the ludicrous nonsense of the business around them in order to achieve what they dreamed of.
In some cases, these dreams are smaller than others, like Danish’s attempts to get with the girl he meets at Tech Crunch or Jared’s determination to be a valued member of the group instead of just an afterthought, especially after spending four days on Peter Gregory’s deserted island by himself. Both Danish and Jared also face hurdles that they need to overcome in their respective plots. After realizing that Gilfoyle is the person who wrote the code that initially attracted to him the girl from Tech Crunch, Danish tries to push out any thoughts that remind him of Gilfoyle when he kisses her, and Jared spends most of the episode strung-out and sidelined while Monica fills his role in the group, until finally standing up and saying something to her.
Overall, the importance of obstacles and challenges throughout Silicon Valley is not simply because it makes a series more interesting when you say “no” to your characters instead of constantly telling them “yes” (I’m looking at you, Glee). No further evidence for this can be seen in the comedic moments that derive from these difficult situations, like Jared’s proclamation of devotion to Richard’s company inadvertently solving Richard’s problems with Sherry, or Erlich getting punched in the face to close the episode on a shockingly funny cliffhanger.
Simply put: complicating Richard and his friends’ lives makes Silicon Valley a more compelling show, a funnier show, and a better show. Let’s hope it’s the show we get in next week’s season finale.
What did everyone else think of last night’s episode of Silicon Valley?
[Photo via HBO]