Silicon Valley: Two Days of the Condor
June 15, 2015 10:00 AM - Season 2, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Richard awaits the verdict of the arbitration with Hooli, while the rest of the Pied Piper team works frantically to keep the livestream of the fallen condor-cam-remover-man up and running with many thousands of viewers.

Richard and his not-legally-an-attorney attorney are not optimistic about their chances for a favorable ruling from the judge, given that Richard openly admitted to using a Hooli computer to test his Pied Piper algorithm. Gilfoyle suggests nuking all of Pied Piper in the event of an unfavorable ruling, so that there is nothing to turn over to Hooli. (Richard: "No one would believe that." Gilfoyle: "Two weeks ago we accidentally erased one-third of Intersite's entire library." Dinesh: "I think we've established our ineptitude beyond a reasonable doubt.") Richard balks, claiming he'd rather see where this livestream goes, even if Hooli ultimately owns it.

Dinesh, Gilfoyle, and even Jared are scrambling to modify their software and hardware to keep up with the demand for their livestream (inflated after Buzzfeed, Reddit, and Manny Pacquiao link to it), as the technician tasked to remove the condor came has fallen in a ravine and is 127-Hours-ing his way to survival on camera.

Meanwhile, Erlich says goodbye to Ferreting Neighbor Noah, whose real estate agent just got him a great deal on his house so Noah can move to ferret-enlightened Arizona to raise his ferrets in peace. On the tails of many setbacks (e.g., Jian Yang's failed pitch, Erlich's business acumen literally on trial), Erlich is ready to sell...until the agent comes by with buyers who have cash in hand and calls the place a total teardown. Maybe it's one insult too many for Erlich, or maybe it's Jared's (aka Donald's, aka O.J.'s) utterly earnest speech about the magic of working at Pied Piper. But Erlich won't be insulted on the transom of his own home (even as the team destroys it to accommodate the hardware they need to keep the livestream viable), and he dismisses the buyers, as well as the idea of selling. Not only that, but Erlich decides to power through his carpal tunnel to help Dinesh modify the code to keep up with demand.

The judge is ready with his ruling early, which Richard's non-attorney takes as a bad sign. Indeed, the judge rules that Richard must turn over the ownership of Pied Piper's underlying IP. The bad news hits Richard hard, and he texts Jared with instructions to delete it all, reversing his position on not being a destroyer of cool shit. Then, however, the judge rules in the matter of wrongful solicitation (when he hired Jared), which alerted him to the illegality of Jared's original contract, which prevented Jared from seeking other employment, and therefore violated Jared's rights. Gavin does not care about this count, having already won Pied Piper, but the judge assures Gavin that he isn't getting it...because by looking into Jared's Hooli contract, the judge also looked into Richard's Hooli contract, and finds that Richard's contract was also unlawful, unenforceable, and null and void. And thus, Hooli has no claim over Pied Piper, given that Richard never legally worked there.

Richard then has to scramble to alert his team NOT to nuke all of Pied Piper, overcoming such obstacles as a drained phone battery, keys kicked into the sewer, not knowing any of the gang's phone numbers off-hand, emails sent from a bus driver's phone going to spam, and running slower than a mother pushing a stroller. Luckily, the team delays executing Dinesh's delete-it-all program to drink to Pied Piper, then to steal a lemon from Noah's yard for their beer, and then again to steal a better lemon. Richard makes it home just as they are deleting...but Dinesh's code is borked (or is Gilfoyle's hardware choked?), and Pied Piper is saved.

That is, until we learn that Raviga has purchased all of Russ Hanneman's shares in Pied Piper, giving Raviga 3 board seats (to Richard and Erlich's 1 each), and then deciding to fire Richard as CEO of Pied Piper.

I hope to see everyone back for season 3!
posted by joan cusack the second (33 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I neglected to mention in my recap both the team's ultimate success in maintaining the livestream until the technician is rescued, as well as the foreshadowed ousting of Gavin and promotion of Bighead to CEO of Hooli, with the reveal of Gavin's guru working the Hooli hotdog cart.
posted by joan cusack the second at 10:08 AM on June 15, 2015


I thought Gavin's guru was simply having a hot dog.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:26 AM on June 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Did I miss it, or was Carla not in this episode? I think I remember them mentioning in this episode or the last that all of their new employees quit, but I figured they meant the ones that were in the background and were never named, so I expected to see her during the events of this episode. Interestingly, the Pied Piper website still lists her, but has faded out Richard's picture, so it would seem to be up-to-date with this episode.
posted by noneuclidean at 10:29 AM on June 15, 2015


I thought Gavin's guru was simply having a hot dog.

I re-watched it, and you may be right, Pope Guilty. It's definitely not the guru who affirms someone's hot dog order, and the guru actually takes a bite of something with mustard, though I still somehow get the impression that the guru hangs around this hot dog cart a lot to beef up his "intuitions."
posted by joan cusack the second at 10:32 AM on June 15, 2015


I thought the guru was eating a pretzel.

I liked this episode as a finale, very suspenseful and most everything got tied up. Magical.

But, while the "illegal contracts because of non-compete clauses" felt very realistic, I'm not certain that would be enough for arbitration to rule in Richard's favor. Maybe my understanding of arbitration isn't complete though.

My favorite part was when the judge mentioned Donald, and I was like "Who? Oh yeah, his name isn't really Jared. He's such a Jared."

Interested to see how things are sorted out next season, since didn't Richard make one of the terms with Raviga be that Monica votes for Raviga? Was she convinced to vote to fire Richard? Threatened to be fired herself?
posted by dogwalker at 10:45 AM on June 15, 2015


But, while the "illegal contracts because of non-compete clauses" felt very realistic, I'm not certain that would be enough for arbitration to rule in Richard's favor. Maybe my understanding of arbitration isn't complete though.

Hooli is entitled to Pied Piper because Richard's contract with Hooli states that anything he creates on their time or with their equipment belongs to them. Richard's contract is illegal and unenforceable, therefore Hooli isn't entitled to anything.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:56 AM on June 15, 2015


Right, I understand the ruling as it is in the show, I'm just not convinced it would play out that way in real life.
posted by dogwalker at 11:15 AM on June 15, 2015


While sort of satisfying, I find it strains credulity that an illegal clause would invalidate the entire contract - Unenforceable racial covenants don't invalidate transfer of home titles, for example - or that the superstar not-quite attorney wouldn't have caught that himself. Still a funny episode.
posted by mzurer at 11:16 AM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd be hard pushed to believe that any employment contract for a big corporation wouldn't have an 'unfenforceability and severability' clause stating that if any portion of the contract is unenforceable the rest of the contract remains intact. Mind you it's no less believable than deleting one third of intersite's entire library.

I enjoyed this episode much more than last weeks, particularly the understated moment of triumph of 'we kept it running until the end' and the setup for next season pitching Richard against Monica (I do assume she was forced to vote with Raviga or lose her job, or else perhaps she refused and lost her job thus ceding her voting rights to another Raviga person? We'll find out next season I guess)
posted by TwoWordReview at 11:18 AM on June 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I can't get over how much I enjoyed this episode. It had a ton of good suspense in it, and every time the fallen guy on camera was part of the scene crying for help and everyone was just going on business as usually, I found myself laughing out loud. Not because someone got hurt, but because it's so true to the way that we've depersonalized much of what happens on the internet so that it's simply part of our background entertainment. When it became a meme, as it was happening, it was too perfect.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:27 AM on June 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I liked the episode too, but I was so stressed out during Richard's quest to try and stop the guys from burning it down that I wished I had something strong to drink on hand.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:09 PM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I thought Gavin's guru was simply having a hot dog.

I actually rewinded to check to see if he was having "one with everything."
posted by bondcliff at 1:10 PM on June 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'd be hard pushed to believe that any employment contract for a big corporation wouldn't have an 'unfenforceability and severability' clause stating that if any portion of the contract is unenforceable the rest of the contract remains intact. Mind you it's no less believable than deleting one third of intersite's entire library.

Additionally, everyone in the legal field that is involved with California employment contracts knows that noncompetes are unenforceable in California (with a very narrow exception that is inapplicable here).
posted by Falconetti at 1:23 PM on June 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was so stressed out during Richard's quest to try and stop the guys from burning it down that I wished I had something strong to drink on hand.

I was yelling at the tv during that whole scene! I usually only do that during hockey games.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 2:25 PM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Okay so that's over with for now. And the hole in my TV watching schedule just got bigger. So what else is everybody watching that may fill a similar niche?

And once again, thanks to the OPs and everybody who joined in on the Silicon Valley discussions. It has been so nice being able to share thoughts about this show that nobody else seems to watch.

posted by sardonyx at 4:19 PM on June 15, 2015


Happyish is still on but if you thought nobody watches this, nobody REALLY watches Happyish (except me). I hate finale season.
posted by bleep at 5:02 PM on June 15, 2015


I really enjoyed the finale-- so much better than all the drama in that other HBO series... Also, as someone hailing from the Philippines, all the Manny Pacquiao and Philippine references made me really laugh. I can really imagine the video going viral here.
posted by Carmine Red at 6:13 PM on June 15, 2015


I was sorta meh on the past few episodes, but this was a nail-biter. I also was yelling at the screen! (Really Richard, just ask someone at Philz if you can use their charger!)

I appreciated Jared's conversation with Erlich about why he likes working at a startup. Jared comes off as such a spineless pushover, you forget that he's actually a savvy businessperson who could work anywhere but chooses the chaos of Pied Piper because he likes the thrill.
posted by radioamy at 7:41 PM on June 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I loved this episode, especially all the sick Dinesh and Gilfoyle software vs hardware burns.
posted by town of cats at 7:54 PM on June 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I adored everything about the hardware side of things; the on the fly hacking (and fire!) and jamming the breakers so they don't flip! Hell yeah i'ts a fire hazard but uptime at all costs! I was certain Erlich's house world burn to to the ground, especially in light of the teardown comment from the realtor.

But mostly it was trying to keep shit running when the odds where against them. It reminded me a bit of working at an ISP in the late nineties. I think I even worked with the Gilfoyle archetype. Well I worked with several of them, but one really was Gilfoyle (meets Al Jourgensen). I miss those days and God damn I loved that the got consultants that made this believable; if a little over the top. I even got warm tinglies when Erlich threw on his wrist braces. Respect man.

(Saved by a kernel panic.)
posted by [insert clever name here] at 11:24 PM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Additionally, everyone in the legal field that is involved with California employment contracts knows that noncompetes are unenforceable in California (with a very narrow exception that is inapplicable here).

Which doesn't, of course, prevent companies (even well-funded ones, with lawyers!) from putting those bits in their employment contract anyway.

I enjoyed the episode anyway.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 12:40 AM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I loved how they played up the absurdity in this episode. How they were so dispassionately watching the man's suffering, only getting excited over the number of viewers. Again how dispassionate they were over the fire, only caring about keeping the system running. And the extended joke about wiping the files, how they kept finding something new to do that postponed doing what they were supposed to do (& unknowingly not do) while Richard frantically tries to reach them.
posted by scalefree at 5:50 AM on June 16, 2015


Additionally, everyone in the legal field that is involved with California employment contracts knows that noncompetes are unenforceable in California (with a very narrow exception that is inapplicable here).

Which doesn't, of course, prevent companies (even well-funded ones, with lawyers!) from putting those bits in their employment contract anyway.


Washington too. My team got ourselves a real lawyer, one that works way up in the top floors of one of those really tall buildings in Seattle, who explained it to them.
posted by scalefree at 5:55 AM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh god yes to Richard's freakout over deleting everything -- gave me flashbacks to the time a coworker accidentally wiped the entire drive instead of just the QA/test partition with some command like "rm -rf *.*" and then promptly vomited into the nearest trashcan when he realized what he'd done.

It takes a single typo to bork your company's IP if you're in the coding business, and this finale really nailed everything that [sucks/rules] about building apps and writing algorithms for a living.

The only thing missing was someone making a run to Costco for snacks during the livestream anti-meltdown.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:16 AM on June 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Unicorn on the cob, it reminded me of the time my coworker (WHO HAD A DEGREE IN COMPUTER SCIENCE) decided to del *.* in c:/ to "be really thorough" when the usual fix of del *.ntx in (a particular subdirectory, plus reboot) didn't work as expected.

I just...
I...
*headdesk*
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:33 PM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


My absolute favorite part was Gilfoyle busting through the wall to make a shorter path for the cables and then Dinesh later gleefully reporting to Richard that "Gilfoyle put a hole in the wall!"
posted by edbles at 8:02 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


And the extended joke about wiping the files, how they kept finding something new to do that postponed doing what they were supposed to do (& unknowingly not do) while Richard frantically tries to reach them.

What made this one funny was how you knew, as an audience, that it was an intentionally overly fabricated scenario that didn't even make much sense in the show's universe, but was simply set up as a device to keep the suspense going. There's no way that the entire group would have been that enthralled over lemons. But the self-awareness of this somehow made it okay to suspend disbelief and almost felt like a wink to the viewing audience.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:24 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Lemon sniper" is the name of my new postpunk-neo hippie EDM squatter collective.
posted by nevercalm at 2:01 PM on June 20, 2015


I thought this season of Silicon Valley was pretty weak overall because it didn't give enough victories to Pied Piper. The pattern of the episodes in Season 1 was that something goes terribly wrong, then it turns out to be better than they could have expected, and then a complication shows up. This episode did hit the notes nicely, as did the first episode of this season, but I think the season in general would have been a lot more fun if this could have been the season where we watched them build the company up, actually get a real staff and an office, and realize how different things are when you're playing in the big leagues. I hope Season 3 gives us that! (And at least it'll give it to us from Bighead's side, either way.)

I also really enjoyed Carla and hope they bring her back.

I just knew the condor egg was going to come back, and the frantic "keep the stream running" scene was out of the show I know and love. Also great to see Erlich finally competent after having it rubbed in his face how incompetent he is.
posted by capricorn at 5:30 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd also add to this that while the ending seemed like a bombshell (and was also frustrating because it made the whole Hannemann plotline a pointless detour), they've been telegraphing this whole season that Richard is a terrible CEO. His treatment of his new hires caused them to quit, he developed night sweats when facing pressure, he lacked the public speaking or persuasion skills to convince investors to stick with his company, he constantly questions his own decisions and changes his mind whenever Erlich or Russ tells him to, and he also doesn't have business or financial sense.

I'm not sure if the show has given us a better CEO yet--Jared has some of those skills but definitely not public speaking/persuasion nor is he an innovator, so all I can think is maybe Monica, who does after all need to redeem herself to Laurie. Nonetheless, Richard should be CTO if he wants to actually capitalize on his skill set, or else if he wants the CEO spot back he will need to spend Season 3 learning how to be a leader.
posted by capricorn at 6:28 PM on June 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Why does Pied Piper deserve victories? Laurie was pretty accurate when she noted how terribly the company has been mismanaged.
posted by bleep at 10:59 PM on June 28, 2015


So, wait... Erlich trades free rent for a stake in people’s ideas, but does he also spring for all of the supplies and food as well? Seems spendy.
posted by blueberry at 6:34 AM on January 9, 2016


Sometimes it works out- doesn't he own a chunk of Grindr, for example?
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:11 AM on January 9, 2016


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