Silicon Valley Season 6 Episode 2 Review: Blood Money
Richard Hendricks ponders over an offer that cannot be refused.
Silicon Valley got a taste of The Godfather as Richard Hendricks is made an offer that simply cannot be refused. Only the ludicrous deal on the table has ties to the underbelly and Richard must decide whether to have his company funded by the criminal or take the sincere route out, if at all there is any. Meanwhile, Gilfoyle gets outwitted by Pied Piper’s new HR to the amusement of Dinesh as Jared’s inner monster is unleashed.
Okay there’s a lot going on in this episode and it looks like pretty much every character gets their due, or at least something to do. Let’s start with Richard and by extension, Monica who becomes an integral part of his storyline now that she’s Pied Piper’s CFO. After being berated by nearly every single investor for his Senate hearing last episode and called out for his foolish statements, Richard finds an admirer in Maximo Reyes who’s also willing to fund Pied Piper. The catch? He’s a criminal underlord of sorts most likely out to legitimize his illegal money.
On the surface, it should be relatively easy to refute his offer. After all, they’ve been faced with a somewhat similar dilemma in Season 2 Episode 3 (the title Bad Money is similar as well). Back then of course, it was Russ Hanneman whose money Monica was so against taking and he’s certainly no criminal. Only here, instead of the $50 million that Richard thought he’s being granted, the offer turns out to be a generous $1 billion. That’s a lot of money for even Monica to say no to and she immediately stresses out, begins smoking and leaves Richard to confront the harsh reality of business: that he’ll have to take a decision on his own.
As Richard struggles with his dilemma, Jared finally resigns, taking a liking to a cutesy girl in an incubator whose venture he wants to help grow. The Season premiere highlighted the aloofness between Richard and Jared’s relationship and how, as Pied Piper expanded, the duo haven’t been able to retain their dynamic from the incubator days. The usually reticent and patient Jared also loses it completely when Richard goes too far mocking and provoking Jared beyond his limits and it’s both fun and revelatory to see Jared lose it. Could his maniacal state actually rescue Richard from the clutches of Reyes?
The funniest subplot is undoubtedly Gilfoyle who gets outsmarted by an HR into getting his work done in 24 hours without any external resources. Gilfoyle’s egotistical and antisocial nature prevent him from working with other team members; ergo, the HR nicely uses it against him in a battle between a programmer and recruiter that’s sure to resonate with many employees out there. It hammers home the impression that HRs are smart bosses who will manage to extract work from even the most difficult to work resources. Boy this one’s sure to spark a lot of conversation and evoke not-so-fond memories of people being armtwisted by their recruiting team.
It’s telling how Richard’s vision of a decentralized internet to rid the world of censorship and improve privacy is slowly being turned into the very thing that it strives to replace. His strong stance on not collecting and mining user data is outright dismissed by Reyes who wonders why else he would pump a billion dollars into it. It’s also fascinating how relevant that conversation has suddenly become; despite the show’s production not syncing up real time, Mike Judge has managed to base the final season around a very topical point in the world of tech. It’s surely going to be interesting to see how Richard finds his way out of this one, or if he’ll just give up and go back to being an employee.
Perhaps the one odd bit here was Hooli’s subplot. Gavin Belson’s antics have usually provided some terrific laughs but after his Amazon acquisition, it just looks like the showrunners aren’t entirely sure what to do with his team. They might just be biding time until some satisfying conclusion to his storyline in the penultimate episodes is reached. Similarly, Jian-Yang is back in the incubator after threatening to disrupt Richard’s startup by aping it. And Big Head is just a background character at this point who I’m unsure will grow into anything more than that.
So yes, fallacies aside, Silicon Valley remains entertaining as ever, as it maintains its tendency to land Richard and team in tough spots. And all the while, Judge continues to pepper the show with minor details that speak of the insensitive world at large; case in point being a TV broadcast about a charity and raising money being lost in the sea of chatter at a high profile VC party. Whether Richard will give in to the temptation of a billion or let his integrity stand out, I’ll be looking forward to seeing the resolution. And boy would it be something to see Jared unleashed on Reyes; that would be the most satisfying conclusion to this subplot in my opinion.