It took 12 long episodes of HBO’s “Silicon Valley” before the gang at “Pied Piper” was finally ready to expand. To do that, the latest installment in Season 2 brought on some crazy new characters, but only one with sticking power.
The episode, titled "The Lady," opened with Richard (Thomas Middleditch) and Jared (Zach Woods) interviewing new engineers to join them at the Hacker Hostile. Among them were a stoner who doesn’t work before noon, a guy who wrote “crushing it” on his resume and another who identifies as a literal cyborg.
Despite believing a pacemaker makes him something out of a “Terminator” movie, Richard and Jared actually want to hire the cyborg guy. This upsets Erlich (T.J. Miller) who reveals he’d been burned by the cyborg years ago while he was creating his company, Aviato. He is furious to learn Richard won’t give him a say in whether the company hires this guy and storms out.
From there, the episode followed up on last week’s big cliffhanger at Hooli. Now that Gavin Belson (Matt Ross) is so adamant about proving Pied Piper was developed at his company, he initiated his plan. To make Big Head (Josh Brener) look like a star Hooli asset, despite being one of the most useless members of the company, Belson unveiled Hooli XYZ. It’s a new creative platform, and he surprised everyone by naming Big Head its co-leader. Just like that, Big Head went from showing up to work and doing nothing, to showing up to work and doing nothing at a much higher pay scale. He’s even got an office and an assistant to help him in his day-to-day operations of doing nothing.
That was it for the lawsuit plot line this week as things shifted back to the Hacker Hostile. Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani) and Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) mention that they have a friend they both think is a perfect fit for Pied Piper, which is not a small statement given that neither of them can ever agree on anything. On their recommendation, Richard agrees to meet with Carla (Alice Wetterlund), who ends up stealing the entire episode.
Not only is she a talented programmer, but she’s also not some newbie to the dynamic of Dinesh and Gilfoyle. This makes her perfect to hit the ground running -- but not without having a little fun. When she arrives, Richard and Jared awkwardly give the new harassment policy lecture. Now that there’s a woman present, Jared has a very real fear the company is wide open to a lawsuit. Although his heart is in the right place, the funniest part of the episode was seeing Zach Woods’ masterful performance of a man trying so hard not to be sexist that he’s sexist.
Later, Dinesh notices Carla seems to be living very comfortably since getting her offer. She mentions getting a new Mercedes and shows off a new handbag. This leads him and Gilfoyle to wonder if it’s possible she makes more money than they do.
On the corporate side of things, the board gears up to meet for the first time. Monica (Amanda Crew), Russ Hanneman (Chris Diamantopoulos) and his girlfriend Nastia (Ksenia Lauren) join Erlich and Richard at Hanneman’s place. While there, it’s revealed Pied Piper’s new financial backer has a son. We learn Hanneman has invested in an app he can control from his phone. Whenever he wants, he simply taps a few buttons and a voice will come over his home’s speakers and give his son unwelcome commands like “go to bed” and “brush your teeth.” He simply has to act like the voice’s wishes are beyond his control, and he can make his son think that he’s always the good guy.
“I’ve disrupted fatherhood,” the billionaire says.
Things at the board meeting go off without a hitch until Hanneman brings up the idea of expanding the company’s branding from his billboard campaign last week. Although he controls two board seats, Monica, Richard and Erlich agree to form a united front to outweigh him. However, still scorned from the cyborg incident, Erlich sides with Russ and a large portion of the company’s already dwindling funds went to merchandise.
Erlich has spent a good portion of this latest season showing his business experience is a valuable asset to the company. That’s why it was so disappointing for him to do such a selfish thing out of mere frustration. While it looked like Erlich was now the show’s villain, he found redemption in a very unlikely place: Jian Yang (Jimmy O. Yang).
After Erlich drags the Hacker Hostile’s non-English-speaking roommate to a party for billionaires, they’re turned away once they learn there’s a $25,000 buy-in they can’t possibly pay. The next morning, Yang tells Richard they went to Taco Bell instead and Erlich spent the whole time crying. As it turns out, the former Aviato CEO is more than just a vain has-been. He’s a deeply troubled man who just wants a little respect in the tech industry.
Meanwhile, Richard and Jared tell Carla that Dinesh and Gilfoyle have taken advantage of the harassment policy to complain about her making more money. As it turns out, the newest character on “Silicon Valley” fits in better than we thought. It became clear as they spoke that not only does she not make more money than her two co-workers, she’s been actively messing with them by lying about a Mercedes and new bag the entire time.
High off the rush of putting out the company’s first harassment fire, Richard confronts Erlich and tells him he won’t be hiring the cyborg after all. Erlich initially protests saying that Richard isn’t giving him respect by not hiring a good employee. This prompts the best line of the night from Richard who says:
Suddenly, the Pied Piper CEO pulls out his phone and gives the cyborg a call. Unfortunately, as Erlich predicted, he leveraged their offer for another position elsewhere. With their friendship restored and the company up one new member, the episode ends with Erlich and Richard stepping outside to see a whole truckload of useless Pied Piper merchandise delivered to the house, with the original logo of course.
Tune in to HBO next week at 10 p.m. EDT after "Game of Thrones" for the Episode 13 of “Silicon Valley.”