Silicon Valley is a show that seems to live to blow things up. You can never get too comfortable with the states of things in the world of the show, because the proverbial sands are always shifting. This can sometimes be to its detriment. To illustrate that point, before the fourth season debuted my mom asked me what had happened at the end of the third season, and it took me a little pondering to remember enough to piece it together. In the first two episodes of the fourth season, we’ve already seen Richard leave PiperChat, Dinesh take over as CEO of PiperChat, and then Dinesh selling PiperChat to Galvin Belson and Hooli. “Intellectual Property” is practically the third reboot in as many episodes. So where do things stand now, at least until they shake things up again?
Richard is still following his dream of revamping the internet, which, at least to a layperson, seems like an insane idea. Of course, Richard seems like he may be on the verge of being driven insane by his attempts to complete this goal, so perhaps that makes sense. He’s not sleeping and he’s walking around in the pool wearing his clothes. Fortunately, this means a trip to see Andy Daly’s doctor character, and it also allows Thomas Middleditch to do what he does best, which is be twitchy and weird. He’s a particular brand of intense twitchy this time around.
Monica lets him know that the late Peter Gregory once had the exact same plans for the internet, which at first inspires and encourages Richard, until he learns some harsh truth. The idea, Richard’s idea, has already been patented…by Gavin Belson. Yes, it’s another roadblock for Richard and company…or is it?
Because you see, Belson has been fired by Hooli for the PiperChat fiasco, with Jack Barker taking his place, and the episode ends with Richard going to Gavin’s house at night with a proposition. One can only assume these two longtime nemeses will reach an uneasy alliance to try and save their respective careers. That’s an intriguing notion. It’s nice when the core group has to expand their worlds a bit, and Richard and Gavin could be an interesting combo, from a storytelling, and a humor, perspective.
Meanwhile, Erlich tries to salvage Jian-Yang’s recipe app by proclaiming it is actually a “Shazam for food,” which gets them an offer, providing they show them a worthy demo. Of course, they have no demo, a complicating measure. Monica tries to use this information to undermine the douche-y bro who has risen up in the company and usurped Monica’s position, and it almost works until a drunken Jian-Yang blows the secret, at which point the guy suggests to Laurie that Monica spearhead the project, meaning Monica’s plan has backfired. Erlich and Jian-Yang have a fun dynamic in small doses, but it can be a bit one note, and it feels like the show has a limited idea of what Jian-Yang can do as a character. It’s fine, but you can’t really rely on Jian-Yang too much.
Elsewhere, Big Head tries to get into Stanford, and once again fails up by being asked to be a guest lecturer, which is funny enough. Dinesh also begins dating a women, Mia, who bonds with Dinesh over a shared hatred of Gilfoyle. They end up spending the night together, which Dinesh happily gloats about, until Gilfoyle gets in his head again. Mia, it would seem, is a super talented hacker, and now Dinesh is worried about what will happen if they ever break up. Of course, the gang has run afoul of hackers in the past, so that’s not a new obstacle. It’s just a new way of framing things. Hey, this is a show in its fourth season.
“Intellectual Property” feels like it will finally set up some multi-episode story arcs. I don’t think Richard and Gavin will only last for one episode, although at this point who knows? I’d like to see the churning slow down a bit so they can dig into these stories. The characters are still great, and the performances wonderful (including Zach Woods as Jared, who was unfairly overlooked in this review), so the show is almost always good. It’s just that when they take the time to build stakes, it can be great.