RECAP: SILICON VALLEY, S3EP9 – FOCUS GROUPS, PIPEY AND THE ELEPHANT
So it turns out that Pied Piper isn’t doing as well as we thought. Are we surprised? Not really, because the show has been pulling this act for a while now and you get used to it. What sets this episode apart is its resolution, but we’ll get to that later.
The episode starts with Laurie’s install party and the breaking of the news that Pied Piper’s daily active users (DAU) are much lower than they should be. Jared’s behavior to this news really highlights how good the show is at visual comedy. This is reinforced by Silicon Valley's strong writing, with Gilfoyle grilling Jared and calling him out for lying. The continuation of that as a running joke throughout the episode provides some great laughs. Monica sets up some focus groups to try to find the problem, and find the problem they do. Regular people don’t understand how to use the system and when Richard steps in to explain it, the episode turns it up a notch with the humour.
The low DAU numbers result in some of the engineers leaving Pied Piper, tying the main plot to Gavin’s plot. Gavin’s plot was amazing this week. While his first animal of the episode (the possum) wasn’t able to make it to the meeting, the elephant was a homerun. Not only that but my prediction from last week about Jack joining Hooli came true and of course they would build a box. It’s a game changer for the series as now both companies have two separate products launching, with Gavin’s box seeming like the more successful one. The icing on the cake was both Gavin and Jack getting lost in the server room, providing a nice throwback to early this season.
Richard's decision to pump the last amount of money the team had on educating consumers didn't go so well. All of his classes on how to use the program failed to produce the results they hoped for. It was kind of obvious this was going to happen, considering it took him ages to teach that first focus group how to use it. Also Pipey didn’t help at all but was a nice nod to the Paperclip that came with older Microsoft Office products.
The real kicker was the end of the episode where we find that Jared has paid for users. There was a hint that maybe Gilfoyle knew what Jared was doing and I do believe he did, but for the sake of the company Gilfoyle found it best not to say anything. The scene that ran through the end credits was dark as fuck. And to play it through the entirety of the credits was a ballsy move but it was moving as hell. The show got super real, super quickly out of nowhere, especially with no music playing and just the sounds of keyboards heard in the entire scene.
It was a very dark note to end the episode and I have no idea where they’ll go with that next week. The only thing for certain is that the season finale is going to be big and emotional, with the showdown of the two products. Two enter the ring, only one will leave. Hopefully it’s the Piper crew that come out on top.