Silicon Valley: White Hat/Black Hat
June 1, 2015 3:28 PM - Season 2, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Pied Piper and EndFrame face off in a bake-off to compress InterSite's entire adult video catalog, while Richard has face-to-face meetings with his no-money money-guy Russ Hanneman and disgruntled EndFrame employee Seth.

It turns out that when Gilfoyle "hacked" into EndFrame's system last week (using a user name and password left on a Post-It that Gilfoyle swiped) to steal the specs of EndFrame's deal with porn company InterSite, EndFrame fired its security guy Seth for failing to protect their system. Richard feels bad enough about getting Seth fired to secretly meet with him one-on-one to tell him how they were able to "hack" through his system. Instead of allaying Seth's fury, however, this reveal fuels Seth's hate-fire, as Gilfoyle has been taunting Seth about the hack using rebus puzzles. Richard is now panicked that Seth will retaliate and ruin Pied Piper in the midst of their bake-off, despite Gilfoyle's reassurances that their security is impenetrable. Richard's paranoia about an attack from Seth leads him to again meet with Seth one-on-one, wherein Seth is again re-enraged once Richard inadvertently brags that Gilfoyle was never worried about a threat from Seth.

Erlich and Jian-Yang head over to Raviga to practice Jian-Yang's latest app for Monica, but in the parking lot they find Monica smoking outside, a Silicon Valley unmentionable. Before they even get into the room, Jian-Yang reveals Monica's smoker status to her assistant, which he later passes on to Laurie. The app Jian-Yang pitches detects more and less crowded playgrounds for parents, but a still-angry angry Monica points out that the app could easily be used by pedophiles to find victims, and Erlich worries that pedophiles are not traditionally early-adopters of new technology. Erlich and Jian-Yang re-tool the app to locate and avoid large groups of smokers in their next pitch to Laurie, recycling Laurie's own lecture to Monica: "no one ever died from second-hand heroin." Laurie is sufficiently impressed until Jian-Yang celebrates his successful pitch by smoking one of Monica's cigarettes in the office.

Meanwhile, back at Hooli, Gavin is panicked about the disaster status of Nuclues, and tries to steer Hooli's board into shrouding the Nucleus project in mystery, away from their current plan to saturate public awareness. Gavin assures the board that if Nucleus is not everything he has promised that someone will take the fall. To that end, Gavin re-recruits Bannerchek back to Hooli, but this time to be sole director of the Nucleus project. After successfully bringing him back, however, it takes Bannerchek only 11 minutes with the Nucleus team to quit Hooli once again, driving 73 mph past the daycare's 25 mph zone. So now full credit for Nucleus will fall squarely on Gavin's shoulders.

Despite Richard's paranoia about an attack from Seth, the bake-off is going well, and Pied Piper should easily win with an improved Weissman score of 5.2...until Russ Hanneman drops by. Russ has developed his own tequila called Tres Comas to celebrate his impending return to the Three Comma Club. Unfortunately, Russ placed the corner of the Tres Comas bottle on the delete key of one of the computers, wiping out over 9,000 hours of InterSite's premium content. Molly Kendall is not pleased.
posted by joan cusack the second (22 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
This episode seems set up to eventually allow Pied Piper to achieve a victory while removing the taint of the "hacking" to achieve it.
posted by drezdn at 5:43 PM on June 1, 2015


Richard telegraphed the eventual deletion so hard when he started to complain about FTPing the files. You knew that was going to be where things went wrong--it wasn't going to be an outside hack from Seth. (I'm not even going to start complaining about how technologically stupid that whole "you're deleting all our porn" bit was, because once I get going it will take me a while to quit.)
posted by sardonyx at 6:24 PM on June 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


joan cusack the second: “Unfortunately, Russ placed the corner of the Tres Comas bottle on the delete key of one of the computers, wiping out over 9,000 hours of InterSite's premium content. Molly Kendall is not pleased.”
As funny as this moment is — and I laughed right out loud — it also kind of bugs me because surely, surely, what was deleted was a copy of the content after it was uploaded to Pied Piper. I guess what I'm saying is I Call No Way™.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:27 PM on June 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Drezdn, that's an interesting take on the problem. I think you're likely right, in that Richard can't succeed when he sees himself as the bad guy. Although mathematically, he was just turning two negatives into a positive.
posted by sardonyx at 6:30 PM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


The motif of talking about things "mathematically" was my favorite thing in this episode. And the technical details were my least favorite thing. My husband and I were talking afterwards about under what conditions the events of the episode could possibly come to pass and our eventual verdict was "it is a pretty thin little plot they put together for this episode, pretty much."

I feel compelled to inform you that, inadvertently or no, this episode aired on "World No Tobacco Day" which apparently happens annually on May 31st. And now you know.
posted by town of cats at 6:45 PM on June 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


We sat and couldn't figure out how the whole delete key thing worked. It made no sense. Plus, the porn company surely has backups? It was a very weak plot point, and not the best episode for it.
posted by Catblack at 6:53 PM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Richard's stupidity in this episode drove me to drink. Like literally I had to pause and go make myself a gin and juice before starting again. I get that he's conflicted about success and the hack but I could not buy at all that he'd immediately go spilling the beans to an outsider and former enemy about how they got the deal specs. No fucking way he does that. It's a goofy show and I like it for that but the thin veneer of reality is what keeps me coming back. This episode had way too much Stupid and felt lazy as well as goofy.
posted by mediareport at 8:00 PM on June 1, 2015 [9 favorites]


If you're wondering how he eats and breathes, and other science facts, just repeat to yourself "It's just a show, I should really just relax."
posted by bleep at 8:08 PM on June 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


I like the show a lot.

Except when it makes me throw things at the TV.
posted by mediareport at 8:25 PM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


So Gavin is gonna be booted out of Hooli after Nucleus fails and Bighead is going to be his replacement, right?
posted by dogwalker at 2:03 AM on June 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


Then Bag Head could buy out Pied Piper.

Noticed that the Condor Cam is still running on Richard's computer.
posted by drezdn at 4:45 AM on June 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


I loved this episode. Yes, the idea that you could actually delete all that content with the delete key was kind of weak, but it's not like everything else in the show is totally realistic. It's a comedy. Let's just all pretend that's how deleting files work and enjoy this show.
posted by bondcliff at 5:52 AM on June 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


The FTPing only makes sense if they were given write privileges to the InterSite server (perhaps to upload the compressed files), but even that doesn't make much sense. It would be insane to give that kind of privilege to their server. You give them read access to their files and write access to a specific folder to put the compressed files in. Kind of dumb, but I can overlook it.

Because Silicon Valley only gives victories if they are soon washed away with defeat, here's how I think things will pan out. On the Hooli side, Gavin surely knows that Big Head is not competent and that Nucleus is a huge turd, so if assigns Big Head to be in charge of Nucleus he's hoping to make Big Head the scapegoat for it's failure. I imagine Gavin would tell the board it was 100% Big Head's project and Gavin wasn't really involved at all. Nucleus will somehow succeed with Big Head in charge and the board will take away some or all of Gavin's powers and give some/all to Big Head. Big Head's success would also further the Hooli lawsuit against Pied Piper. Alternately, as dogwalker says, Nucleus fails and Big Head gets promoted while Gavin gets demoted.

On the Pied Piper side they'll get eventually get a pretty solid victory ala their Tech Crunch presentation, until shortly afterwards when the lawsuit moves forward instead of getting dismissed. I expect some sort of Big Head betrayal will be involved. Big Head and Richard's relationship I expect will develop parallels to the Gavin/Gregory relationship, once friends becoming rivals.
posted by Green With You at 8:24 AM on June 2, 2015


I thought this episode was pretty bad. I think this show is at its best when it lets its characters be characters instead of automatons that exist to parrot the writers' clever jokes, but they clearly couldn't help themselves here with the two meetings between Seth and Richard, the weak plot contrivances, etc. I was pretty bored the whole way through.
posted by invitapriore at 12:30 PM on June 2, 2015


Tres Commas, though.
posted by radioamy at 8:07 PM on June 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


If that porn site IT guy doesn't have on demand backups I'll eat my hat. You could get sued for that level of incompetence. At worst it was an embarrassing faux pas. No way CEO lady leaves that kind of money on the table.

I've done worse.
posted by Bonzai at 8:33 PM on June 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Normally this type of thin plausibility wouldn't bother me. I mean, it's TV. But just now I was listening to the Nerdist interview with Mike Judge, and he talks about how he consulted with a Stanford-trained engineer to get the equations right for the whiteboard in the season 1 finale. The vast majority of people wouldn't know (or care) if the math even approached accuracy. But your average viewer is going to be skeptical that you could remotely erase a shitton of data from a major company's server just by hitting "delete." Seems like a big oversight, and kind of a bummer considering the bordering-on-pedantry level of detail put in previously.

But seriously, where can I get some Tres Commas Tequila?
posted by radioamy at 9:08 PM on June 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


If Gavin is pushed out, Patrick Fischler seems to be dancing around for some reason. Which is great.
posted by rhizome at 12:11 AM on June 7, 2015


Because Silicon Valley only gives victories if they are soon washed away with defeat, here's how I think things will pan out. On the Hooli side, Gavin surely knows that Big Head is not competent and that Nucleus is a huge turd, so if assigns Big Head to be in charge of Nucleus he's hoping to make Big Head the scapegoat for it's failure. I imagine Gavin would tell the board it was 100% Big Head's project and Gavin wasn't really involved at all. Nucleus will somehow succeed with Big Head in charge and the board will take away some or all of Gavin's powers and give some/all to Big Head. Big Head's success would also further the Hooli lawsuit against Pied Piper. Alternately, as dogwalker says, Nucleus fails and Big Head gets promoted while Gavin gets demoted.


No Big Head must be seen as brilliant and successful in order for the lawsuit to be successful. Gavin's crusade to destroy Pied Piper fails if Big Head is responsible for nucleus' failure. There does not yet appear to be a limit to how deep Gavin is willing to dig this hole.
posted by edbles at 2:53 PM on June 8, 2015


And yeah whenever tech stuff is accurately modeled I sort of shrug and say whatever it's a metaphor. Basically they needed to fuck up internally in an embarrassingly stupid way and anything that would have been a technically correct version of this would have required too much explanation to appear embarrassingly stupid to a lay audience.
posted by edbles at 2:54 PM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Since Dan Lyons has been taking on a greater writing responsibility, I don't think it's going to be a particularly mind-bending outcome, whatever it is. The guy has a sense of humor, but not a particularly incisive wit, which I think leads to something we've seen in the papers before, punched up well. Big Head is certainly lurking around as a plot force even more than Fischler, but for him to be elevated as a primary antagonist is a bit of a stretch to me.

The lawsuit is kind of a open question, but Lyons did do a lot of reporting on the SCO-Novell source-code ownership debacle, so I'm guessing some plot points will be derived from that.
posted by rhizome at 4:26 PM on June 8, 2015


Big Head is certainly lurking around as a plot force even more than Fischler, but for him to be elevated as a primary antagonist is a bit of a stretch to me.

I think Big Head could take Gavin's place at the top of Hooli without becoming a primary antagonist on the show. It just neutralizes Hooli to a large degree, which I think is actually more realistic.
posted by dogwalker at 5:42 PM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


« Older Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell:...   |  Penny Dreadful: Above the Vaul... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments

poster