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Silicon Valley "The Empty Chair" & "Bachmanity Insanity" - Double Review: "No More Jack Barker"

Silicon Valley Season 3 Episode Guide
3.01 "Founder Friendly" - Review!
3.02 "Two in the Box" - Review!
3.03 "Meinertzhagen's Haversack" - Review!
3.04 "Maleant Data Systems Solutions" - Review!
3.05 "The Empty Chair" - Review!
3.06 "Bachmanity Insanity" - Review!
3.07 "To Build a Better Beta"
3.08 "Bachman's Earning's Over-Ride"
3.09 "Daily Active Users"
3.10 "The Uptick"

Silicon Valley 3.05 The Empty Chair
Directed by Eric Appel & Written by Megan Amram

Silicon Valley reaches the halfway point in its third season with The Empty Chair in an episode that saw the fallout from Jack Barker's unexpected early departure from his role as CEO of Pied Piper, in one of the episodes that didn't actually end on a super depressing note. However it shows that the series is trying desperately to reset the status quo back to normal and this episode was a push in that direction, putting Richard in the position of the underdog as he tries to fight back.

However things aren't going to be easy for Richard. He finds out that he's effectively the person with the most power in Pied Piper without Jack, and eventually ends up through series of unfortunate events becoming increasingly more frustrated, so that when he walks into the conference room he ends up venting his issues in what turns out that C.J. Cantwell (Annie Sertich) was listening, and overhearing everything including a comment on Peter Gregory.

This event has devastating consequences of course and Richard needs a get-out plan quickly and in steps Big Head. As it happens it appears that Gavin doesn't always make the best decisions and and they usually end up coming back to haunt him, like we saw here as Big Head came across the search engine re-optimization Gavin ordered.

But of course things aren't always that simple and Big Head has by doing this breached his agreement with Hooli. It also means that the team's base of operations is forced to change again as they once again return to a living room, albeit with a fancy new chair for Richard and the addition of a team of engineers. It's not quite the same status quo as before but things aren't far off from where they used to be.

We got to see a great scene with Dinesh and Gilfoyle's plot that came about as a result of Gilfoyle accidentally selling Dinesh's drive. We got some great focus on these characters in what turned out to be one of the funniest moments of the episode, and Jared's salesman approach was a nice one. However they did keep Jack's chair and were able to present it to Richard for use in the living room.

It's safe to say that The Empty Chair was another solid episode of Silicon Valley and as we reach the halfway mark of the season. We got to see that at the same time of the interview that actually Laurie was planning to make Richard head of Pied Piper again, and aside from Richard's misplaced outburst, things are actually so far looking relatively good for the team, which makes things a little more optimistic than normal.

Overall Episode Verdict: B+
+Dinesh/Gilfoyle's subplot.
+Big Head to the rescue.
+Richard's outburst.

Silicon Valley 3.06 Bachmanity Insanity
Directed by Eric Appel & Written by Carson Mell

Considering that it's been a while since we've had a downtime episode, especially with all the Pied Piper drama that we've been having lately it was no surprise to see Bachmanity Insanity put a halt to the ongoing plot in favour of a quieter episode. This one was funny but not quite Silicon Valley at its best, and it looks like the series seems to be better when it's focused more on the ongoing narrative.

The main problem with Bachmanity Insanisnity was that the romantic storylines were a bit too predictable. It's rare that the show dips into relationship humour but we had some here and it certainly made for an interesting change of pace. Richard's storyline almost led to a relationship, but ultimately ended up splitting up with his potential new girlfriend Winnie, a Facebook employee, over coding issues, with him preferring tabs over spaces in coding. Richard did however ignore the comments that she was attracted to founders of new tech companies though, even if it didn't ultimately lead anywhere.

And Dinesh meanwhile found himself flirting with Estonian code Elisabet in a different storyline that saw Gilfoyle discussing how Dinesh had no idea how attractive she was due to poor screen resolution. Thanks to Gilfoyle's input in both parties' relationship attempts we sort of saw the downfalls in both coming, and as a result Richard ends up losing a girl who might actually be interested in him thanks again to his own stupidity more than anything whilst Dinesh doesn't fair much better.

Meanwhile, Erlich's storyline continued with Big Head this week as Erlich spent half a million dollars on a tech blog thanks to access to Big Head's cash, and his spending habits didn't stop there as he went on a Jordan Belfort-lite spending spree. This inevitably backfires though because he's actually spending too much, and is told that the company isn't in the best position financially anymore, having wasted Big Head's fortune. And this news couldn't have come at a worse time, because he's just about to go on stage. This was probably the most story-heavy story that we had so far, and as a result, I felt it was one of the stronger parts of the episode, but on the whole there wasn't actually much going on otherwise.

So whilst Bachmanity Insanity was a flawed episode of Silicon Valley it was still a solid one, diverting its attention from the main plot and allowing Richard, Dinesh and Jared to attempt to become more romantically involved even if it led to only Jared succeeding. However the episode probably was a little too predictable, and needed a greater focus, meaning that it unfortunately suffered as a result.

Overall Episode Verdict: B
+Erlich's spending spree
-Too predictable?

Look out for the next episode of Silicon Valley this Sunday at 10pm on HBO, and remember to let me know what you thought of these two episodes in the comments section below.

About the Author - Milo MJ
Milo is an Arsenal FC supporter and loves TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Justified, The 100, The Americans and Person of Interest. He reviews Black Sails, Hell on Wheels, Murder in the First, Narcos, Preacher, The Shannara Chronicles and Veep for Spoiler TV as well as books, films and games for his own blog The Fictional Hangout and contributes to comic reviews on a weekly basis for All-Comic.
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