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Silicon Valley - Terms of Service - Review: "Erlich buys In"

Silicon Valley 4.02: "Terms of Service" - Review:
Directed by Mike Judge & Written by Clay Tarver

It didn't take long for things to go south for the new Dinesh-run PiperChat, which almost seemed doomed right from the start. To his surprise Richard found himself cut off from accessing the backdoor to the algorithm that he had been promised in the deal by Dinesh. Dinesh however decided not to let Richard back in given his track record and after beefing up his company on the various interviews, labelling it as better than the previous iteration and Hooli's, Richard's anger at Dinesh grows to the point where despite wishing success for Dinesh he wanted to get back into the company by any means possible. Unfortunately for him it turned out that not even Jared was willing to let him back in, saying that due to his loyalties to Dinesh he could talk to Richard about anything but business. Of course, Richard doesn't want to talk about sports teams, their scores or pussy, rendering Jared basically useless.

It turns out Big Head has some sympathy for Richard as he knows what it's like to be shut out of a company and offers him a way back in despite handing him Skyrim Cheat Codes first. Richard only takes Big Head up on that offer after watching Dinesh's TV interviews, which go a bit too far to annoy Richard. However upon hacking back in Richard discovers a big problem that Dinesh now has to face, and that's because he didn't bother putting in a Terms and Conditions agreement at the beginning of his video chat the vast amount of his users are under the minimum age, leaving them open to be sued if anyone finds out, and if anyone does find out, the money that Dinesh could be charged is a considerable amount. When Jared does end up telling Dinesh about this after hearing about this from Richard, Dinesh is devastated, and breaks down in a bathtub. He's ruined his big shot, and Gilfoyle, naturally, being Gilfoyle, is there to rub it in, popping champagne in celebration. It certainly didn't take Dinesh long to let the role of CEO get to his head anyway, and with pride coming before the fall, it was almost inevitable that the fall would happen soon. In just pure Silicon Valley fashion though it happened almost too quickly, leaving Dinesh with very few options.

It was also quite amusing that Big Head was willing to Skype his dad, despite the fact that PiperChat was actually a video platform and he should have been using that instead of Skype. But again, this was just one of the little moments that really worked, and says something about the company that someone as important to it as Big Head would be willing to use another service rather than PiperChat itself. Erlich too had his own problems after hearing that Jian Yang had apparently come up with an idea connected to the Oculus Rift. Rather than hear Jian's proposal first Erlich immediately struck him a deal, 10% for free rent for a year and pool privileges. To his horror it was revealed that Jian's latest invention was merely an app with eight different ways of cooking an octopus. Whilst it's likely just to be a throwaway line at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if Jian's app eventually ended up making it big overseas in the future, giving Erlich a way back into the money that he hoped he'd be getting when he signed up for 10% of the profits.

It turned out that on the verge of disaster, Dinesh did end up with a buyout option but unfortunately by taking this on board he'd lose all of his rights to his beloved video chat in the process. Gavin meanwhile who found out about PiperChat after investigating into what Jack Barker was getting up to upon believing that he was conspiring against him found out that Dinesh was deliberately insulting Hooli Chat and essentially saying that PiperChat was an upgraded model in TV interviews. This allowed Gavin to put Dinesh in what would have been a tighter spot than normal had the age limit verification been introduced, but because the age limit verification had been introduced, it meant that Dinesh was eventually, all too willing to hand over control of the system to Gavin. This meant that Gavin was able to acquire PiperChat without the legal battle with Dinesh that would have followed, but in turn he unwittingly and to his horror had inherited the age limit verification problem, putting him in a very tight spot indeed, especially after looking on at a focus group of its users, all of which, bar one, were very distinctively underage, and none of them approved of the switch from PiperChat to Hooli.

Overall, this was another really strong episode of Silicon Valley. Perfectly paced it almost goes by too quickly and we're left wanting more, and it's almost hard to believe that this series is only half an hour long. It's just top notch stuff, with plenty of great moments. Dinesh's short-term outing as CEO was a great one that should teach him a lesson of not completely leaving Richard by the wayside in the future as to how useful he will be, and now with with Dinesh presumably out of the picture in terms of the CEO role it's going to be interesting what direction Pied Piper heads in next. Will they go with Richard's idea (whatever he ends up coming up with) or re-elect a new CEO? They don't have access to PiperChat anymore so this really could go in multiple directions. As always the humor remains consistently brilliant on this show, with some great one-liners in this episode (Jared's attempt at guy-talk was one of the most uncomfortably awkward moments of this episode and was timed really well), and next week can't come quickly enough.

What did you think of Terms of Service? Let me know in the comments below and check out the next episode of Silicon Valley next Sunday at 9pm on HBO.

About the Author - Milo MJ
Milo is an Arsenal FC supporter and loves TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Justified, Black Sails, The Americans and Person of Interest. He reviews Preacher, Star Wars Rebels, The Shannara Chronicles, Silicon Valley and Veep for Spoiler TV and will be covering Castle Rock, Counterpart, Jack Ryan, Snowfall, Succession, Star Trek Discovery (if it ever gets a premiere date) and Tales From The Crypt. He also contributes to comic reviews on a weekly basis for All-Comic. He also regularly watches and reviews films on Letterboxd, and you can find his ever-changing list of 300 favourite movies here.
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