Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 30, 2017)
HBO’s Silicon Valley returns for its third season in this two-disc package, and this set includes all 10 episodes from that year. The plot synopses come straight from the Blu-ray menus.
Founder Friendly: “Richard (Thomas Middleditch) decides whether to leave Pied Piper for good, while the rest of the team weighs their options.”
Season Two ended with a bit of a cliffhanger, and “Founder” picks up from there. Add to that a new character played by the always-entertaining Stephen Tobolowsky and the show launches the season well.
Two in the Box: “The new and improved Pied Piper impresses Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani) and Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) but worries Richard. Jared (Zach Woods) and Erlich (TJ Miller) each face housing issues. Gavin (Matt Ross) suggests a controversial move.”
“Box” is all about transitions: intellectual, physical and technological. It moves along important aspects of the overall narrative and comes with plenty of amusement as well, especially when we meet Pied Piper’s new bottom-line obsessed sales team.
Meinertzhagen’s Haversack: “Richard searches for a way around Jack. Gilfoyle opens himself up to recruiters. Dinesh draws unwanted attention from a recent purchase.”
“Haversack” offers a bit of panache, as it goes down a nerdy Ocean’s 11 path. The combination of goofy laughs and narrative intrigue make it another winner.
Maleant Data Systems Solutions: “The Pied Piper guys struggle to phone it in. Erlich faces competition. Monica (Amanda Crew) takes a stand. Gavin makes a decision about Nucleus.”
I always liked the “Big Head” character, so it’s good to see him get a little piece of the pie here, especially since he finds himself in an unwitting competition with Erlich. The fact the Piper boys can’t help themselves but overachieve also amuses and adds to this episode’s strengths.
The Empty Chair: “Richard lets his ego get in the way at an interview. Dinesh, Gilfoyle and Jared misplace some hardware. Erlich pitches his plans to Big Head (Josh Brener).”
The big twists in “Chair” seem a little cutesy/convenient. Still, “Chair” delivers a lot of comedy, so those moments overcome the weaknesses.
Bachmanity Insanity: “Richard’s new relationship is threatened by his neuroses. Big Head and Erlich’s launch party has snags. Dinesh falls for a foreign co-worker.”
“Insanity” involves women and romance, a rare theme for this sausage-oriented series. Richard’s lunacy seems a little contrived but it’s still amusing, and Erlich’s grandiose party helps turn this into another solid show.
To Build a Better Beta: “The beta version of Pied Piper receives an unexpected response. Monica worries about how to deliver criticism. Erlich faces financial woes.”
With “Beta”, S3 moves along at a nice clip. It’s not the funniest of episodes, but it throws out some decent humor and adds enough to the overall narrative to deliver the goods.
Bachman’s Earnings Over-ride: “Erlich struggles to come clean to Richard. Jared’s latest fashion makes a splash. Gavin faces a major life change.”
“Earnings” offers a look at how the mighty fall, and it develops well in that regard. It mixes story/character elements with laughs, mainly related to Jared’s awful company jacket.
Daily Active Users: “Richard looks to bridge the gap between Pied Piper and its users while Gavin works to reclaim his former glory.”
Season 3 heads toward its conclusion with Pied Piper on the rocks. One assumes they’ll rebound in some way by the next episode – every year shows the company about to collapse before they gain a triumphant resurgence – but we’ll see. In the meantime, “Users” sends us toward the finale well.
The Uptick: “Richard and the guys of Pied Piper consider their company’s future. Gavin’s comeback is threatened.”
Remember when I predicted a miraculous happy ending? No spoilers, but… well, to say I wasn’t wrong would be right. Even though the sunny finale lacks a surprise factor, it still gives the season a fitting conclusion and leaves us fairly interested to see where things go next year – even without the cliffhanger that we got in S2.