HBO’s attempt to illustrate the tech industry in a fun and awkward way has turned out to be a tremendous success. The shows unique portrayal of geek cultural had fans roaring, and after only three episodes into season one, HBO announced that Silicon Valley would be returning for a second season.
Throughout the season, viewers follow this insanely dynamic group of characters on a quest to develop the next marketable string of code or groundbreaking software suite. Having a misguided tech genius, a Pakistani pervert, a Satanist, an obsessive business professional, and an aggressively hulking self-proclaimed profit for creativity in one house creates endless opportunities for witty dialogue. Combine that with two eccentric yet sensitive rival millionaires that run competing tech firms, and the character development becomes outrageous. Scenes that could be labeled as “fluff” are minimal and the only boring character on the show is filtered out almost immediately.
With the conclusion of season one, Silicon Valley did not leave fans disappointed. The powerful ending tied everything together nicely but still left room for the story to be developed. However, small hints were made about how some of the characters could be presented in season two, and it’s these small changes that might give the show a whole different feel.
Be aware that SPOILERS from Silicon Valley first season will follow.
5. Peter Gregory: The Man in the Shadows
Argued as being one of the funniest characters on the show, Peter Gregory has an undeniably unusual presence and a very particular way of doing things. His intelligence and self-image typically smother his ability to be personable and he’s usually left looking like a malfunctioning robot in social situations. But when unorthodox business decisions result in millions of dollars in revenue, his clients and employees are always left smiling.
Unfortunately during the filming of season one, Christopher Evan Welch (Peter Gregory) died from lung cancer. Welch’s death came while filming the fifth episode of the season, which resulted in the script being rewritten. The cast and writers both seemed to agree that Peter Gregory’s character could not be discarded from the show. For the rest of the season, Peter Gregory was frequently mentioned but never seen.
It had been undecided whether Peter Gregory would continue to be a character on the show despite Welch’s passing. In an interview with Larry King, T.J. Miller mentioned that Peter Gregory would be much like “Charlie” from Charlie’s Angles. However Mike Judge, creator of Silicon Valley, noted in a more recent interview that this situation will need to be handled in a comedic way to stay with the tone of the show.
In the season one finale, Peter Gregory is predominantly mentioned in the final scenes of the show; suggesting that he will not be gone as of episode one of season two. The number of episodes that will include the Angel Investor of Pied Piper is still unclear, but regardless Peter Gregory will continue to be acting as the “wizard behind the curtain” for the next season.
4. Richard and Monica: Geek Romance
It’s hard to imagine any of the Silicone Valley cast with a lady interest. This isn’t surprising based on the dramatically lopsided guy to girl ratio in the tech industry. Towards the end of the season the group attends TechCrunch Disrupt and it’s mentioned that the start-up community is roughly 2 percent female. The creators of the show decided to keep true to the realities of this male dominated industry and didn’t try to water it down by being politically correct.
Monica, Peter Gregory’s assistant, is the only main female figure in the entire show. There have been a few other female characters throughout the season, but their contribution to the story was less than worthwhile. After Richard spends most of his career vomiting in front of Monica, the final episode shows that there may be a chance for a romantic encounter between the two.
It’s when Monica feels like Pied Piper will be left in the gutter with every other failed start-up in the Valley that she finally extends a sexy olive branch to Richard for drinks or dinner. Sure it may be out of pity, but this seemingly harmless gesture could send shockwaves through the entire second season.
For an industry where the culture is completely male dominant but filled with professionals intimidated by women, Richard and Monica’s potential love life could dismantle the entire dynamic of the house. Richard is easily influenced through peer pressure but knows when not to listen to his talented yet socially moronic friends and colleagues.
Once sex is added as a factor, Richards’s ability to think progressively to preserve the Pied Piper project may be completely compromised; leaving Erlich, Dinesh, Jared, or Gilfoyle to make the decisions. This twist will ultimately result in a catastrophic meltdown leaving Richard where Monica liked him in the first place; poor and unsuccessful.
3. Erlich: Tyrant to Team Member
Every team needs a leader, but for this business incubator the participants got Erlich Bachman. When he is first introduced Erlich is a free spirited frat boy starving to be considered intelligent. He only cares about his share of the company and minimally offers abstract solutions for complex problems. He gets stoned in the dessert in an attempt to create a new company name, hires a graffiti artist/suggested felon to design a logo, and will cheaply vilify the competition when failure is inevitable.
During his time with the crew, Erlich seems to develop a compassion for the computer nerds he tries to manage. His actions usually come across in typical caveman-esc style; aggressive, narrow minded, and desperate. But by the end of the season he shows a genuine interest in the people that have been developing his geek empire and enthusiastically tries to start contributing.
It is the small motivational comments and gestures that show Erlich is becoming one with his team. He empowers Richard during the TechCrunch presentation by saying, “I set em’ up for ya, now knock em’ dead.” And he also shows his team spirit by voluntarily participating in a mathematical puzzle that solves how every guy at the convention center could be jacked off in less than ten minutes.
Elirch’s willingness to participate with the team that he once dictated has thrilled fans, but how will the sweeter side of Bachman pan out in season two? Elrich’s gritty and unbearably aggressive personality filled out a team of genius defeatists quite well. If fans are to expect a softer side of Erlich during season two, then who will fill his shoes?
2. Jared: Insanity Unleashed
Managing a group of proficient coders with an elitist mentality is nearly impossible. Jared signed on to assist with Pied Pipers startup, but he might not have been fully prepared to manage an organization where the employees only care about one-upping each other, and nothing else. Budgets, designated workspaces, deadlines, and public perception are all scoffed at by the Pied Piper Team, and it’s this lack of recognition that slowly starts to break Jared down.
It can clearly be seen that Jared is stressed through a majority of the show, but he always managed it well. Despite paying a small fortune to get a picture of an American Indian having sex with the Statue of Liberty on the garage door of the house, or being locked in a shipping container for days attempting to get to TechCrunch Disrupt, Jared seems to keep it together. But every man has his limits and Jared reaches his after many sleepless nights, getting arrested, and being forced to forfeit all control of the team during the biggest event of the year.
Almost completely opposite to Elrichs transformation, Jared devolves from a calm and collected guy into a complete raving lunatic. While the team is preparing for their final presentation, Jared is off doing surveys to determine how the company should pivot. However his ideas are desperate and creepy; like his suggestion to make an app to track kids.
A few good nights of sleep might help Jared regain his composure, however there is the possibility that the traumatic few days at Techcrunch altered him permanently. At the start of season two it will be interesting to see if Jared will return to his obsessive, organized, and controlling self, or if he will fill the role that Elrich is slowly leaving behind; the unpredictable maniac of the house that is detached from reality.
1. Big Head: Unemployed?
There doesn’t seem to be much hope for Big Head at this point. He left Pied Piper and joined on with Hooli for an outrageous salary. Gavin Belson bought him out thinking that he had the key to Pied Pipers algorithm, but this wasn’t the case. If Hooli would have won TechCrunch Disrupt, Big Head might have been employed for a very long time. But since Richards’s new string of code stole the show, it highlights that Big Head doesn’t have the magic touch Gavin Belson was looking for.
It seems inevitable that Big Head is going to get canned, but where is he going to go? Since his presence in the first season was minimal and his character is less than thrilling, this could mean the end for Big Head on the show. This wouldn’t be a huge surprise since Big Head was absent from most of the last half of the season and completely left out of the finale. But, in an unusual twist, what if he gets to stay in the Valley?
Richard could still be sympathetic enough to actually let Big Head back into the Pied Piper team. Erlich, Dinesh, and Gilfoyle will lose their minds if that decision is made, but their reaction is only slightly warranted. Big Head did abandon Pied Piper to work for the competition, but at the end of season one Pied Pipers code is primarily Richard’s creation. Everyone else’s contribution was deleted and it’s as though they are starting from scratch.
One thing is for sure; if Big Head does make this epic return, he will likely need to brush up on his coding skills and come up with something a little better than his first app: Nip Alert.
If you are also a fan of Silicon Valley and have your own theories about Season Two, let us know on Twitter @CYNOBS