"Night sweats can be a precursor to bedwetting, and that is very serious." That's Richard's bad doctor, the kind that's been popular in comedies for some time and whose medical advice is best ignored.
"How serious?" asks a very stressed Richard, "Like, uh cancer?"
"No, but it's embarrassing. That's what children do."
Richard's check-ups are good expository moments, and this is a bit of a standalone episode, so first he'll bring us up to speed. "I have to get a working beta of my platform before CES in January, I just took money from a guy who is a nightmare, I hired six new people, we're going to have to spend a bunch of money on offices... it's like every second there's a new question that I have to solve." That'll make for rough nights, and it's no help when, later, Jared moves in to Richard's room (the team discovers he's been discreetly sleeping in the garage to save them money) and starts speaking German in his sleep, a language he claims not to know.
The potential offices look great, with high ceilings and exposed brick — "why would anyone hide brick?" Dinesh asks — but taking leave of Pied Piper's incubator home is emotionally fraught, especially for Erlich. We see him interviewing a possible replacement for Pied Piper, a Christian dog service app thing. He stops the founders mid-pitch, and you're not sure what he's going to object to, but he chooses perfectly. "Christianity is borderline illegal in Northern California."
Later, wearing a kimono, he adopts Japanese customs he's learned from Google Translate and Wikipedia to present Richard with a parting gift, his own kimono. After all, "the Japanese have the most advanced business culture in the world."
But then there's a hitch that stalls the moving out plot line. While the team is packing up, they learn that Hooli has basically poisoned all potential servers against them, leaving them without a web host. "That's how these guys operate," Jared explains, "I mean, when Bill Gates got married on Lanai, he rented ever helicopter on the Hawaiian islands... although in that case it was a positive, because now you can imagine that wedding any way you'd like."
That's when Gilfoyle proposes that, instead of spending their money on offices, they stay where they are and build their own servers. It's an interesting hardware tutorial, and not altogether unrealistic. Larry Page and Sergey Brin built their own servers after their creation of Google, for example. Jared voices the popular opinion, “Servers are essentially a utility: You wouldn’t dig a well for water, or build a generator for power,” but Gilfoyle is something of a prepper, and in the end they don't have a choice. Erlich emerges from his room where he's been eavesdropping to tell everyone that it's decided: they're staying. "Okay but I don't want to stay here," says Richard. "I don't want you to either, Richard," Erlich concurs, "So it's agreed. Welcome home, fellas. Should we smoke some pot to celebrate?"
Over at Hooli's new XYZ headquarters, we're treated to some top-quality slapstick. "Co-Head Dreamer" Davis Bannerchek (Patrick Fischler) is complaining about Big Head (whom Gavin Belson still calls Bag Head) whose sham position is intended to make Hooli's intellectual property lawsuit against Pied Piper look legit, but he's wasting resources on a potato gun. "Perhaps they're developing it as a non-lethal form of crowd control," Hooli CEO Gavin defends Big Head, "I actually think that it could kill somebody," says Bannerchek. For contrast, he then shows off his own progress.
We see an adorable monkey, and Bannerchek narrates."Kiko was rescued after a Nicaraguan land mine severed both his arms. My team, using technology developed at Somerville, was able to devise an array of sensors that can non invasively detect signal from the neurons in the motor cortex of the brain, so without surgery, we have given Kiko the use of a usable prosthetic appendage." With his new arm, Kiko proceeds to masturbate furiously. Belson is horrified, but defending his work, Bannerchek says "What Kiko chooses to do with the technology is not important." Later in the episode, he resigns, leaving Big Head sole Head Dreamer
Meanwhile at Erlich's, a NIMBY neighbor rolls over in a motorized wheelchair — the least funny part of his character when it's played for laughs later — and questions what's going on as the team starts to construct the server/data center." Before Richard can say too much, Erlich pulls him inside and, paranoid and puffing on his joint, says "It's no ones business what we do here... we're not zoned for business." Richard is obviously pissed, "I just moved my entire business here."
Later, Dinesh is meddling with the servers and ends up cutting power to the entire neighborhood, sending the neighbor over. He's going to report them, which could get their equipment seized. It's probably no worse a situation in the garage than the hilarious reveal of Erlich's massive pot grow last season. Fortunately, Richard, who can't sleep between his stress and Jared's german babble, is up to see that neighbor playing with a pet ferret, which the show has set us up to know are illegal in the area.
In their matching kimonos, Erlich and Richard confront the neighbor with their knowledge of the ferret and blackmail him into silence about the data center and into taking in Jared in his guest house. "You're always going on and on about this is such a good neighborhood," Erlich berates him, "Do you know why your shitty house is worth 20 times what you paid for it in the '70s? Because of people like us moving in and starting illegal businesses in our garages. All the best companies, Google, Apple, Aviato, all of them started in un-zoned garages. That is why Silicon Valley is one of the hottest neighborhoods in the country."
Illegal businesses as the bedrock of the Valley: Good one, Mike Judge. This was an excellent episode with just a few shortcomings and I think Silicon Valley will continue to delight the real nerds with its relative verisimilitude. We're basically back where we started but with servers in the garage now, and I wouldn't mind seeing some actual growth from Pied Piper that could show off the larger office dynamics of tech companies. We do get a bit of that, though, from Hooli's Nucleus division. We're shown a great little set piece there: Gavin wants to give the public a taste of the service at an upcoming boxing match, but he doesn't realize that Nucleus is actually weeks behind. How many? No one knows, because everyone is lying to their superiors. Maybe the lean start-up can pull through to win after all.
Previously: Silicon Valley Recap: Three Comma Club