'Silicon Valley' Review: The Most Awkward Moment In 'Hooli-Con'

(Each week, we're going to kick off discussion about Silicon Valley season 4 by answering one simple question: what was the most awkward moment of the week?)

The only thing more awkward than Richard Hendrix with a woman is Richard with an ex-girlfriend. There are scant few of them as it is, but it turns out that running into Winnie at Hooli-Con is enough to transition him into his usual "sputtering idiot" mode.

An Awkward Encounter

You might not remember Winnie because the woman on this show never get much to do other than provide punchlines, but she was briefly Richard's girlfriend back in the third season. You may even remember her because he dumped her after becoming angry that she used spaces over tabs in her code.

He hasn't spoken of her since, but the sight of her is enough to send him into peak Richard. They weirdly clasp hands as they meet and Richard is distressed to find out that she's there with her boyfriend, the maker of an app called PeaceFare. He points out how awkward it is that she's there with him, but she doesn't get it.

"Nothing," says Richard, spinning off into his usual word salad. "It's not. It's actually... It's cool. Totally cool. Cool beans. Beans, beans, magical fruit. The more you eat, the more you..."

She gives him the requisite look of horror that comes from talking to Richard.

Winnie's boyfriend comes over and discusses his company, which unknowingly sets off Richard's downfall, and Winnie and Richard haltingly say goodbye.

"Not that you asked, but you handled that very poorly." says Gilfoyle, who was fortunate enough to witness the entire thing.

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The whole reason the Pied Piper crew is at Hooli-Con is to save their company. As shown last episode, they need at least a quarter of a million more users in order to become self-sufficient with their data storage and the best way to do that is by installing WiFi pineapples at the most crowded convention that weekend.

Pineapples are a real thing, a gadget that can spoof a WiFi network. Here Pied Piper plans to use it to force anyone who unknowingly stumbles upon it to install their app. Is it legal? Of course not, but Richard thinks it's for the greater good, comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln in a pep talk with Jared. The team sets out to install them at key points at the convention, but Richard ruins it all when he sees Winnie's new boyfriend's laptop sitting unguarded. Richard was already incensed over the PeaceFare company, a game that gives virtual coins to virtual homeless people. Richard rushes over, hacks into the laptop, and replaces the screensaver with one that says PoopFare. This causes the owner to contact security, who immediately start finding Richard's pineapples stashed around the convention floor. And then worse things happen.

Silicon Valley Mad Jared

Jared Explodes

We all knew it was coming, but it was a little sad by how slight Jared's outburst actually was.

We spent the whole episode, nay, the whole series so far, getting tiny little glimpses into Jared's fractured psyche. This episode seemed that it would finally provide the payoff. Jared is distressed by Richard's idea to transform Pied Piper into malware and infect convention attendees and wants no part of it. "I cannot knowingly contribute to your moral decay," he states, which makes Richard consider that he shouldn't know about it at all, much like how Jared survived his childhood. So he keeps in the dark and allows the guys to do their thing and he continues on, ignorant and happy...until they are caught and end up in the Hooli security office.

"How was PoopFare for the greater good?" Jared asks. "You compared yourself to Abraham Lincoln. PoopFare! You reckless child!"

Jared has a great point – what the hell was Richard getting at in this episode? Why, when he's put his all into this last-ditch effort to save his company, would he ruin it on such a dumb thing? We've seen him do stupid things before, but when he's in crisis coding mode, nothing can bring Richard out of it. At the very least, we got amazing Jared payoff from this weird plot point.

Silicon Valley Dinesh Backpack

The Suicide Bomber That Wasn’t

That fear of going all-in for the jokes is also apparent in a scene with Richard and Dinesh, which seems to be taking a dark, dark turn before safely ending without any victims.

When Richard is about to be caught, he suddenly pulls out a wifi pineapple that he's hooked up to batteries and starts stuffing the wirey mess into Dinesh's bag. He shoves a "kill switch" into Dinesh's hand and directs him to walk into the most densely populated area he can find. "Remember, you press that button and poof, you're gone!" Richard excitedly tells him. "I'll get as many of those motherf***ers as I can," Dinesh promises.

Then Gilfoyle shows up to confront Richard over not taking Keenan's offer, and just like that, the terrorist bomber joke is dropped. It's not even mentioned when security comes over and catches them, killing the bit dead before it even had space to (blow) grow.

Silicon Valley VR The World

VR the World

Oblivious VR savant Keenan Feldspar has always been an obvious nod to real-life trolling manchild Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR. But nowhere is it more apparent than in the posters at Hooli-Con, which mimic Luckey's infamous Time Magazine cover that showed the world just how, uh, cool everyone can truly look while wearing a VR headset.

Feldspar also seems to be the downfall of Jack Barker, as they rushed to make a mobile version of his VR headset, one that starts to explode phones during their presentation. If there's one thing that Silicon Valley is still doing well, it's lampooning how dumb the whole industry can be.

Of course, we'll have to see how the Pied Piper team's data handles things after all their phones go down...

Silicon Valley Aviato

Exit: Erlich

We were all waiting to see how Erlich Bachman would exit the series after TJ Miller was confirmed to leave the show after this season, and the answer was...quite unceremoniously. That's entirely on purpose, of course. He's decided to leave the country and impulsively join Gavin Belson in Tibet after seeing a postcard from him in the mail, all because he realizes that Silicon Valley wasn't meant for people like him. "Every time we've gotten a whiff of success, a giant pelican by the name of Fate takes a four-and-a-half-pound shit right on top of us," as he so poetically puts it.

He leaves as the team is gearing up for Hooli-Con and none of them say anything nice to him as he goes. To make matters even more embarrassing, Jian-Yang, who bought him the one-way ticket, drives him to the airport. When they get there, Erlich tries to say some nice words, but Jian-Yang throws his bag at the curb, nearly missing a passerby, and speeds off in Erlich's Aviato van without a word or a look back.

The stinger shows Erlich meeting a newly shorn Gavin (in Buddhist monk's clothes) in Tibet, who looks about as happy as anyone would be to see the curly-haired loudmouth entering their tranquil home.