Silicon Valley Review: Tech Evangelist

Silicon Valley Review: Tech Evangelist

Though this week’s episode of Silicon Valley, “Tech Evangelist,” was a huge improvement on last week’s, it still had its struggles. While it wasn’t balancing too many plots – well, it was, but it did a much better job of juggling everything without feeling bloated or rushed – the plots themselves had a few struggles.

The episode started with Richard speaking to his “Octopipers,” eight start-up developers who have partnered with Pied Piper to be the first websites hosted on the New Internet. The meeting has to be held in the park because of Pied Piper’s mole and there’s a slight a mishap with the sneak peak of the new internet he has to show them, but otherwise the meeting turns out great, and the developers are onboard. And, there’s more good news, a big game developer wants to join Pied Piper’s New Internet, but, Richard, of course, finds a way to mess it all up.

During the meeting, Richard, awkward rambler that he is, reveals that one of the developers, DD, the creator of a gay dating website, is a Christian, something that does not go over well in Silicon Valley, since it is as off putting as being gay is in conservative areas. And this, is the big metaphor of the main plot, that DD is “outed” as a christian in the tech industry, and while it’s funny at times, the joke quickly loses it’s footing, spinning its wheels and fizzling out towards the end. Furthermore, “Tech Evangelist” truly fumbles with taking a side or proving any kind of point. DD’s faith makes Pied Piper look bad to potential partners, but DD is also the only gay developer in the bunch.

Again, it’s made clear that it is his faith, not his orientation, that has him “blacklisted,” but at the end of the episode, the only one singled out and outcasted is DD, leaving a bad taste in our mouths. Another issue with this metaphor is that Richard is rather toothless in his response to it all. He doesn’t take responsibility for his actions and doesn’t think what he did was bad until someone else tells him it was, and even his first apology to DD involves shaming him for his faith. Further, when Richard does take a stand, DD ends up walking out and Richard drops all pretenses of giving a crap about standing up for him.

It was all very muddled and flimsy, which is kind of surprising for the series, since, in other episodes where something dumb serves as a metaphor for something serious, there’s still a strong core and things feel more funny than tense and cringe-worthy. But, the main plot still has some high points, as do some of the other less-than-stellar bits.

Silicon Valley Review: Tech Evangelist

Before the whole developer fiasco breaks loose, Richard, Jared and Gilfoyle find out that Jeff is the mole in Pied Piper, which leads them to his and Dinesh’s apartment. Dinesh feel’s Jeff’s betrayal and Gilfoyle uses a nail gun to destroy all of Jeff’s electronics, the first of which makes Dinesh’s character seem dumber than ever and the second of which is not really explained. Dinesh is described by Gilfoyle to be Pied Piper’s “weakest link,” which would just be the usual Gilfoyle/Dinesh feud fodder, but lately Dinesh has not been depicted as particularly smart.

Perhaps I am remembering past seasons incorrectly, but I don’t recall Dinesh being this ignorant, a bit overconfident and impulsive to the point of seeming dimmer than he actually is, perhaps a bit naive, but never actually dumb, and it bothers me that he was the “sacrificial lamb” used to give Jeff a way into the company. Even stranger, Dinesh seems to be self aware enough in his own annoying tendencies that he seeks to punish Jeff for his betrayal by forcing him to hang out. However, despite all this, I still kind of found Dinesh’s interactions with Jeff after learning his secret rather funny, and the fact that Gilfoyle got on board for punishing Jeff with Dinesh’s presence was wonderful.

The last plot of the episode was by far the funniest of the three. Gavin Belson is preparing for the reveal of the Box 2, practicing for the keynote speech. After everything is in place, he goes off to relax before the big reveal, leaving his yes-men with an off-hand request that they think is a cryptic message to decode and apply to the presentation. Given Gavin’s history with using strange metaphors and his underlings’ willingness to go along, this was a nice little side-plot to follow that was funny from start to finish.

Apologies for going on so long with this review, but the short version of it is, “Tech Evangelist” improved a lot on last week’s overstuffed format. Unfortunately, the plots that the episode managed to balance well were not quite as up-to-par as they could have been. But, as always, Silicon Valley always finds a way to keep me interested in what happens next, so I’m looking forward to the next episode and what it brings for Richard’s new internet.

Check back next week for another review and watch Silicon Valley, Sundays on HBO. 

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