Silicon Valley Review: Fifty-One Percent

Nothing is ever easy for the Pied Piper crew, especially not when it comes to fighting big corporations. However, the season 5 finale of Silicon Valley finally gave the company a win, bringing the season to an uncharacteristically optimistic close.

And, it’s not a bad thing. The show has long thrived on the Piper gang almost reaching victory, so it’s nice to see that they get a legitimate win, because now we can see what the future holds in their success. Furthermore, with the world now functioning on a new, decentralized internet, it means that season 6 of Silicon Valley is going to be its most ambitious yet. Hopefully, it will be some kind of time skip showing how the world works under Pipernet, and we’ll get to see how fame and fortune has affected the characters.

But, I digress.

The season finale started off with the successful launch party of the Pipernet, complete with a countdown, a company picture, and Richard dressing like an actual Pied Piper. So far so good. But, cut to two months later (speaking of time skips) and the offices are empty. The Pipernet doesn’t have as many users as it should, partially due to the fact that K-Hole dropped out, as we later find out.

But, after two months of waiting, which has resulted in both Dinesh and Richard growing beards, their user numbers are finally spiking. The team celebrates just a bit too soon — which includes Richard turning away a down-on-his-luck Colin (former CEO of K-Hole) when he needs help — since they learn that the reason their numbers have spiked is because Laurie Bream has made her move.

Turns out, all of Pipernet’s new users come from newly manufactured phones that are logging in to the Pipernet. Why? So Laurie and Yao can own 51% of the Pipernet’s user-base, giving them the ability to control it. Monica and Gilfoyle figure this out while everyone is partying after the former notices their crypto-currency value is not going up with the influx of users.

What follows is a full on war between Pied Piper, who are trying to patch their software to assure that they are still in control, Laurie Bream, who is trying to get the 51%, and Gavin Belson, who helps out Richard in staving off Laurie, only to screw him over and make his own ploy for control of Pipernet.

The only thing that can save Pied Piper is 80,000 new users that would be tied to Colin’s new independent online game, which they would have had right away had Richard not turned him away like an asshole, forcing Dinesh and Jared to go after him — he is glamping and “off the grid,” so Dinesh finally gets to use a Tesla (not his) to speed their way to salvation.  As they do this, Richard feels all of his actions this season (as well as all his petty moves prior) make him an asshole. Monica assures him that the fact that he feels remorse for all his actions means he is better than and asshole like Gavin. It is this statement that leads Richard to convince Gavin to screw over the people that screwed him, Laurie and Yao.

This ploy works, but as mentioned, it gives Gavin the chance to screw over Richard as well. But, Richard does something that is as hilarious as it is brilliant, both in terms of his character and of the show’s writing. Richard, for lack of a better explanation, essentially learns to use his “asshole powers” to his advantage, to only use his petty, childish, immature outbursts to screw the people who will never change for the better, i.e. Gavin Belson, since Richard promises his company to Gavin with a fake contract (that says his apparent new catchphrase “Kiss my piss”) as a means of stalling for Colin to add his new game to the Pipernet.

In the end, Richard wins, Gavin is screwed over and Hooli is made obsolete, and Laurie and Yao get jack squat of the Pipernet. The season ends as Monica shows the crew their new facilities — which are massive, luxurious, and promise room for a huge staff — as a way to connect the beginning and end of the season. Pied Piper’s new internet started with them almost settling for a tiny, depressing, mental hospital of an office, and now they are going to be a company big enough to catch government attention.

I apologize if this review felt more of a recap, but that is sort of the only way to encapsulate how great the finale was. There were twists and turns and lots of tension, drama, and otherwise interesting plot points that reminds us how powerful the series’ ability to genre-hop with finesse, style, and a through-line of strong comedic timing, can be. A powerful way to end a season with its ups and downs and a strong lead-in to another season.

S5, E8 (Finale)
  • Fifty-One Percent
5

Summary

The season 5 finale of Silicon Valley was funny, ehad a strong emotional core, and set up an interesting lead-in for the next season.

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