silicon valley review

A hilarious episode of Silicon Valley is a guarantee at this point, but it’s the episodes where everything comes together all at once that are the most satisfying. Once we can catch our breaths from laughing, that is.

In “Terms of Service,” we have the first perfect comedic mash-up of the season, a key example of how well the show can fire when all of its absurd and dark humor hits at once and every character is on their A-game. And it’s all brought together thanks to a sound effect.

A Big (Kid) Problem

Dinesh is doing just fine as the new CEO of PiperChat and their user base is growing astronomically. He’s become as cocky as we always knew he could be and shows off his product on numerous interviews and meetings with investors knowing that he’s the best and that their platform is the best and that everyone else is dumb if they don’t think so.

That arrogance all comes crashing down when Richard informs him of a pretty big problem with their chat platform’s user base – a third of them are under 13.

The reason you always have to be 13 to sign up for online services like social media pages and chat platforms is because of COPPA: the Children’s Only Privacy Protection Act. This is to prevent children from having their privacy violated, and to keep them away from online creepers.

It’s also something that Dinesh neglected to implement in PiperChat, and as their lawyer informs them, they’re pretty much done as a company. When this is found out, Dinesh is going to be personally responsible for billions of dollars of fines, as each and every instance of a violation (which is any time an underage visitor joins or chats) is a $16,000 fine. PiperChat is done, and Dinesh is throwing up on himself, his confidence shattered.

The Bubbles

This brings us to the best scene of the season thus far – the bubbles. My god, the nonstop bubbles. Has such simple a sound ever signified so much and been so funny?

During their discussion of their company’s new problem, the group sits in the main room in front of a computer displaying the current daily active users. A cute and absurdly cheerful little “Bloop!” plays every time it goes up. Each and every bubble is a new $16,000 fine. Every sound a dagger in Dinesh’s future.

It’s the soundtrack to what’s really the perfect storm of reactions. We have Dinesh’s newly greasy head start to break from the nearly nonstop audio reminders of his incoming fine. We have Gilfoyle adding some bubbles of his own as he pops open a bottle of champagne and just starts drinking it all in, literally and figuratively. Jared is doing his usual “calm talk-down that’s speaking from a voice of reason but somehow manages to be way more unnerving than anything else,” and Bachman is there in the background smoking from his bong and yelling about his money. Even Richard is doing his pitch-perfect facial reactions to the goings-on! There scene showcases each character’s comedic strengths like this, a non-stop barrage of jokes and popping bubbles that’s the clear highlight of the show.

Jack Barker, On The Rise

In Hooli-land, Jack Barker has taken to his new exile in a strange way – by thinking it was a carefully conceived plan by Gavin Belson to inspire him to think outside the box. In reality, it was just a punishment for making him spent a few more minutes on a private plane, but Barker doesn’t get it. His plans seem ambitious, as he wants to use the middle-out tech on every single thing in their library.

But Belson wants him destroyed, and when he finds out that the man is using PiperChat, he goes after the company once again just to find out who he’s talking to. Petty, thy name is Gavin Belson.

Vindication 

Silicon Valley is a true revenge of the nerds tale, although it can get a bit frustrating because they keep getting to the verge of respectability and then squandering it. But still, we live for the times when our crew gets to take out the bullies. It’s never so deliciously easily as it is here, as Dinesh’s own damn mouth actually manages to save him.

During all of those Bloomberg interviews, Dinesh was being so cocky that he repeatedly said that PiperChat was basically ripped off from Hooli. So when Belson asks Dinesh to meet him for dinner, he’s not trying to acquire the company, he’s trying to steal it. He demands Dinest turns over the company (and all of their users) over to Hooli, and actually gives him a five-second countdown to take the offer before he sues him to oblivion. He doesn’t even get to the number three, as Dinesh sees that this is a way out from his incoming legal issues.

Now, they’re Hooli’s. It’s wonderful.

But now where will the Pipers end up after here? Working on the new internet with Richard? It looks like yet another step back for the pitiful team, but we will soon see.

NOTE: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the title of the episode was “Intellectual Property.” This has been fixed.

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