(Each week, we’re going to kick off discussion about Silicon Valley season 4 by answering one simple question: what was the most awkward moment?)
Richard has another project, but does he have a new team for it? Possibly. “Teambuilding Exercise” picks up immediately after last week’s episode, with Richard creeping into Gavin Belson’s mansion at three in the morning.
Richard and Gavin – together again at last. It’s only fitting that their meeting is the most awkward moment of the entire show. Right from the start it’s obvious that Gavin is not in a good place, as his place is completely trashed.
“I was working through some issues,” he calmly states.
The Most Awkward Moment: A Pitch and a Poker
They sit and Richard explains what he wants – Gavin’s patent, in exchange for equity and royalty for his “new internet” project. Gavin is stupefied. This is why Richard came to his place in the middle of the night? To make him sign papers, right after he’s been publicly humiliated and removed from the company he created ?
Gavin rips up the contract and throws it in a nearby fireplace, poking its ashes with a poker, but Richard isn’t deterred. He asks Richard asks to write something down on a nearby glass portrait of…himself.
“Sure, why not? It’s shattered, just like I am.”
Richard starts to spell out his plan and Gavin starts to realize that this could actually work…and get back at Hooli, no less.
It’s here that you may be remarking how less awkward Richard has become. A younger and less experienced Richard would never have been able to get this out. He’s never would have had the confidence to stay here with this man, who’s calling him a bad person and sadistic, and seal the deal. It’s here that Richard takes the red hot poker that Gavin has been using as a pointer and sets it behind him on the couch.
“Welcome to the future, Gavin,” he cooly says…as the couch combusts behind him.
“SON OF A BITCH!” yells Gavin as Richard hops around, sputtering apologies.
The two become equal partners in the company.
Jian-Yang is demoing the SeeFood app to Erlich, Monica, and the rest of the team. Since it’s the “Shazam of Food,” it’s supposed to work by taking a picture of a food item, which the app will identify. They test it out on a hot dog and it works! The team is stunned and amazed that they managed to do it…until they realize that it’s the only food it can identify. Everything else gets labeled as “Not hotdog.”
Note: HBO has made this into a real app.
Jian-Yang balks at adding more food to this because it’s “very boring work.” He had to scrape the internet for thousands of hot dog pictures just to get this to work, and he’ll be damned if he does it for every other food in existence. He says to hire someone else to do it but Erlich has already spent a a significant amount of their budget on his palapa, the dumb shelter he’s building by the pool for no good reason than seeming to really like saying “palapa.” Later. Jian-Yang is so upset by Erlich stealing company funds that he does it himself, picking up a hot yellow Corvette before driving off into the sunset.
Later, Jian-Yang mentions that he’s not looking at any more damn pictures of hot dogs, which leads Erlich to stick the phone down his pants and snap a pic. Sure enough: hot dog.
Jared’s Descent Into Madness
Richard knows that no one else from the house is going to want to come work with Gavin, so he says goodbye to his old team. But it turns out that the guys aren’t done with him.
While Jared comes off like an always-helpful worker bee and his physical appearance is of someone who’s never won a fight, Jared has a dark side. We know of his history in multiple group homes, and that he was tormented as a child. We know he really likes Adderall and that he breaks out into Hitler quotes in the middle of the night. He’s always felt a little unhinged, but he’s never felt dangerous…before this season, at least.
Jared sees Richard interviewing Hooli loyalists and can’t take it. He sits him down to say that he wants to protect Richard. In what way? Jared states that he’s a “half-crazed half-apache” and that he will “scalp Gavin if I have to and all the rest of those pale-faced sons of bitches.”
“I’ll kill them with knives, I’ll kill them with guns, I’ll kill them with my hands, I’ll talk them into suicide. It doesn’t matter.”
Richard offers him a job and he accepts on the spot. It could be just that Jared is really protective of Richard…right? But that doesn’t prevent Richard from sliding a cheese knife away from Jared when they meet with Gavin a few scenes later.
Trigger Warning: Erlich
Erlich needs to scrape millions of pictures from the internet of every single food imaginable for the SeeFood App. At all possible angles, as well. So he taps longtime sucker Bighead to use the students from his new Stanford class.
Since Bighead is quite the teacher, he’s decided to teach his class all about technology by showing them movies. Significant cultural milestones like Tron, The Social Network, and You’ve Got Mail.
While Bighead is running out of movies to show his class (he’s super excited to find out that there’s another Tron movie to screen), Erlich uses him to hand out different foods to each student, with an assignment to collect thousands of pictures of each one.
The Stanford kids are too smart, though. They realize what he’s up to and team up to steal the idea with the help of Erlich’s old investor, realizing that they can beat him to market.
“I’ve read a number of disparaging articles about your generation in The Atlantic and Slate.com summaries,” states a disgusted Erlich. “It’s all true. Trigger warning: fuck you!”
Erlich heads home and decides to sell his portion of the company back to Jian-Yang in exchange for the palapa and the Corvette. They make a deal, especially since Jian-Yang is happy to sell the corvette when he realizes he looks like an asshole driving it.
Meanwhile, Jian-Yang has done Jared’s favorite thing and pivoted.