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Silicon Valley - Hooli-Con - Review: "Sabotaging the Competition"

Silicon Valley 4.09 Hooli-Con - Review:
Directed by Mike Judge & Written by Chris Provenzano

In the penultimate episode of Silicon Valley's fourth season, the gang heads to Hooli-Con. It was interesting to see the timing of this episode's release, as close to e3 as possible, and I'm not sure how much of that was intentional given that this episode also revolved around a similiar tech convention. But regardless, it still proved to be an effective episode nonetheless, and a welcome breather from being mostly set inside the team's home.

The team's intentions at Hooli-Con of course are not exactly a hundred per cent by the book, and Jared isn't exactly keen on taking their side in this method, as although Richard views it as forced adoption, his retort is quite a simple one - "As a product of forced adoption, I can tell you there will be consequences", and of course it's Silicon Valley, so you know Jared is right on this approach. The whole idea of getting Hooli-Con attendees to connect to the Pied Piper app by piggybacking off the events' wifi is an idea that's so risky it's destined to go wrong, and as a result, it's no surprise when Hoover, Hooli's head of security, is suspicious when Richard tries to sabotage his ex-girlfriend Winnie's laptop. Thankfully for the Pied Piper team though Jack Barker isn't exactly wanting to believe that Pied Piper are up to something, and decides to let it slide for now, almost firing Hoover. It turns out though that Jack should have been worried, because things are about to go south for him almost as fast as they went south for Pied Piper.

Richard is banking on nobody deleting the Hooli App after the conference to keep Pied Piper's users in business. Richard is right about one thing, at least in my case - nobody deletes their old apps. I've had a couple of games that have been sat on my phone for ages and haven't been used, and I'd imagine it's something that Richard is counting on for success. Gilfoyle realises that they need a hacker to execute the plan properly, so they turn to Mia, who still doesn't know that Dinesh set her up but will extract vengeance upon whoever it is when she finds out who's responsible. You just know that the revelation that Dinesh betrayed her is coming soon, but at least for now Mia is more than willing to provide the answers that Dinesh needs. It's highly likely that this status quo is going to change, and with there one episode left to go, I can see it happening soon, especially as Mia believes that she can get online and track down who betrayed her in the prison library.

Erlich has taken the side of the viewer in the clamping down on the optimism that the team has ahead of Hooli-Con. The fact that Erlich knows that everything that the team does will backfire in some way is something that I was waiting for ages for somebody to admit, especially as it is something that seems to happen on a week-to-week basis, particularly in regards to Erlich. He can never go anywhere without something going wrong. Erlich's way out it seems of the constant torment of being shit on it seems doesn't come in the form of death as I feared it might during last week's episode, but instead from a one-way ticket to a Tibetan Monastery to join the unexpecting Gavin Belson. This seems like a much more appropriate exit for Erlich to take than getting burnt to death in his palapa, and much more fitting giving that he has essentially failed to achieve anything of importance during his time spent in the Valley. Jian-Yang agrees to fund the trip with his shady, corrupt Bejing-located Uncle being able to get Erlich through without having to worry about applying for a Visa.

If Erlich is not going to appear in the next episode, which looks likely, this is a good send-off for his character. Despite Thomas Middleditch's Richard essentially being the main character on Silicon Valley it has always seemed that T.J. Miller has had as much of, if not more so of an influence, his character always playing a key role. It'll no doubt be weird next season without him, so hopefully a new cast member can be brought in that will have a similiar impact. All of Silicon Valley's casting choices have been nothing short of spectacular, so I have faith that if a new character is brought in, he or she will be handled well.

Erlich's suspicions quickly prove to be right though at Hooli-Con as the gang have themselves caught in the act by Hoover who is still investigating despite Jack Barker almost firing him. They've been caught on CCTV too, so it would be hard for Pied Piper to disapprove it. But there's an ace in the hole here as Richard's past history with Gavin soon comes into play and it turns out that they find a common ground with Hoover and are willing to let it slide in order to hurt Jack Barker in return. Their gambit soon pays off, and as a result, enough phones download the app so that they can move FGI's data into it, thereby abolishing the need for a costly auxiliary data server. And then to top things all off, Jack Barker and Keenan Feldspar's big VR mobile launch tech event literally goes up in smoke, with it failing so badly that Hooli phones all over the audience explode one by one. Certainly not the result that they would have wanted, something which would no doubt cause public opinion to turn against the both of them, and for once, Pied Piper get a rare victory, even if it is one that isn't completely free of its own moral dilemmas.

As always, we'll see how long that victory lasts.

What did you think of Hooli-Con? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to check out the Season Finale of Silicon Valley this Sunday at 9pm!

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, Silicon Valley and Veep for Spoiler TV and will be covering Castle Rock, Counterpart, Krypton, The Mist, Marvel's New Warriors, Rise, Marvel's Runaways, Snowfall, Succession, Star Trek Discovery (which now actually has a trailer!) and Trust. 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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