[Editor’s Note: The following review contains spoilers for the “Silicon Valley” Season 4 finale, Episode 10, “Server Error.”]
In a season filled with tech metaphors, none of them were as apt as an overheated garage server being lightly attended to with hand-operated fans. As Anton slowly broiled under the weight of unwieldy Melcher data, it was a fitting encapsulation of the monumental stress that “Silicon Valley” put on its main characters this year. The road to technological relevance has never been easy for these guys, but this season finale gave them a solution and a ticket out of the rut they’ve been in for the past few weeks.
It’s a solution that didn’t seem likely at the outset of this episode, as Dinesh looped videos of more Hooliphone explosions caught on surveillance cameras. The Pied Piper gang has been forced to face consequences in the past, but watching potential users in physical pain brought about by their actions seem to be a tipping point for everybody involved in last week’s undercover operation.
No one was more affected by the sequence of events — and Richard’s apathy toward their victims — more than Jared. He of the stirring “PoopFare” speech from the Hooli-con aftermath made good on his apprehensions and formally submitted his letter of resignation.
Of course, this threat of departure came with Jared’s usual sheepish demeanor, but his potential removal from the group brought up another interesting change in Richard’s character this year. Everyone on the show has faced punishment at some point over the season, whether for self-inflicted wounds or the physical movements of the industry. (Or exploding cell phones: “These are real people. With real crotches. And they’re burning,” Jared explained.) That Richard seemed to be the only one willing to knowingly deliver that same punishment as a means for advancing his own cause was his biggest step toward the show’s dark side.
Meanwhile, in the Hooli boardroom, Jack Barker faced the consequences of his own hubris, making his case to board members to keep his job and his pet projects alive. “Silicon Valley” has always taken efforts to weave in real life tech experiences into this fictional world, but the fact that Jack acknowledges that the Samsung Note disaster exist in this world as well made for an interesting added layer.
Another interesting layer: unexpected international hostage negotiation! Jack’s criminally overconfident gambit to recall and replace every phone affected by the disastrous HooliVR venture brought him to a Chinese factory. The workers respond to his enthusiastic push for the Conjoined Triangles of Success by locking him within the factory walls, resulting in the funniest use of faux news footage “Silicon Valley” has had in seasons. The location of the factory proves to be fortuitous one for nearby Gavin Belson, who finds out the unfolding saga from an anti-meditative Erlich. With a chance to get back in Hooli’s good graces and help cement the legacy kept alive in Hoover’s mind (and ditch Erlich in the process), Gavin’s days in monastic retreat come to an abrupt halt.
Back in California, Jared led the search for his replacement, at one point peaking through the hole in the wall that Gilfoyle made the last time the show called on its garage server to save them from a crisis. Jared’s cautionary interview gave the show another opportunity to acknowledge that even though their ideas and code may be world-class, Pied Piper is fundamentally a bumbling, shoestring operation. The list of potential felonies and often-overlooked character flaws that Jared rattles off to the new recruit — directly in the shade of the burnt out papa no less — is a stark reminder of what he and the rest of the gang have put up with in order to keep their little internet that could rolling.
As if on cue, Gilfoyle responded to their latest data storage problem with the question that, to this point, had been raised: “Why don’t we just give up?” With four seasons’ worth of circular luck and a churning Rolodex of individuals to help save the day, the writing staff has always found a way to keep this project going. Much as Pied Piper has done on the verge of similar moments, the solution was to give it one last try.
Up next: Richard finally snaps (and the benefits of getting punched in the face)