HBO’s Silicon Valley entered its final season fall 2019, and this sixth installment kicked off with a bang, showing Richard testifying in front of Congress, poking fun at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s 2019 kickoff. The show has a history of spoofing tech’s biggest and brightest, from PayPal and Palantir co-founder Peter Thiel to Alphabet co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
Of course, Pied Piper (the fictional company featured in the show) isn’t in the same hot seat…yet. In fact, this is just the catalyst to the real story arc in the season.
It’s still all about data collection, following last season’s shift to blockchain in the wake of Bitcoin’s meteoric holiday 2017 price spike. If you recall in seasons prior, Richard (Thomas Middleditch) has no problems crossing moral boundaries, often to the chagrin of his right-hand man Jared Dunn (Zach Woods). He tricked the crew into exploiting Big Head’s (Josh Brener) position at Stanford, used pineapples to illegally install Pied Piper as malware, and faked user data on several occasions.
This time, Jared has enough, and by the second episode, he tenders his resignation. It’s set up in the premiere, as he revisits the incubator that started it all. Having successfully ousted Erlich Bachman (T.J. Miller), Jian-Yang (Jimmy O. Yang) teams with Big Head to run it. Jared takes pity on a programmer who reminds him more of first-season Richard and leaves.
When he does, we finally get to see that dark Jared that was always hinted at throughout the show. He finally explodes on Richard after he insults his new boss in a jealous rage and unleashes demons he’s clearly been bottling up for a while.
It’s reminiscent of the early, passionate Jared who once jumped down people’s throats for Richard.
Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) and Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani) maintain their frenemy bromance, and they finally have a legitimate Human Resources rep to deal with in this season. Throughout the show, the work environment at Pied Piper is hilariously bad and it’s nice to see someone finally lay down the law so Jared can be a more auxiliary wild card.
Meanwhile, Monica (Amanda Crew), Laurie (Suzanne Cryer), and Gavin Belson (Matt Ross) have problems to deal with on their own. Gavin has three months to restore Hooli to its former glory after an Amazon buyout strips its most valuable assets. Laurie is bringing her Chinese competitor stateside. Monica is trying to help Pied Piper as always.
Each is a powerful driving force that will certainly determine the end fate of Pied Piper, which is hinted at in the first few episodes.
Arturo Castro joins the cast for the final season as Maximo Reyes, a charming fanboy of Pied Piper who schmoozes Richard and offers him a way out. Unfortunately, he comes from a long line of slave owners and is essentially a cartel boss, so Monica and Jared both do their best to stop his involvement.
Richard finds out the only reason he’s interested in the company is for the data mining capabilities. It was initially supposed to be used to blackmail game developer Colin (Neil Casey), who explains to Richard that he’s collecting user data in direct opposition to the press conference he just gave.
Meanwhile, nobody in Silicon Valley will touch him after he bad-mouthed both Amazon and Google on live TV. He has no choice but to consider Maximo’s offer, especially since it jumped from $50 million to $1 billion.
It’s only two episodes in, and it’s clear this final season of Silicon Valley is raising the stakes as much as possible. Richard could end the show a billionaire, but he’s certainly going to have to sell out for it. Gilfoyle and Dinesh consistently have no issues with this.
By the end, we can be sure Richard will do something that isolates himself from everyone else while redeeming his character and remaining the same guy he always was. There’s no way judge will let him just succeed and become a billionaire. TV never works that way.
Still – the show is sure to end on a higher note than Game of Thrones and go out on top entering 2020. This charming cast and its lighthearted take on the tech industry is a must-watch for anyone interested in tech or comedy. I’m sad to see it go but love watching it walk away.