In an adrenaline-fueled episode of Silicon Valley, we open with Nucleus' big debut, which, as we suspected, goes horribly awry. The live-streaming UFC-style fight that was supposed to promote Hooli's technology is buggy, even freezing at a pivotal moment. "Gavin Belson just shit everybody's pants," Erlich surmises.
Later in a meeting, Gavin asks just how terribly the rollout went, ticking off some of the recent memorable tech failures that haunt the Valley at large. "Was it Windows Vista bad?" he wonders. "It's not iPhone 4 bad... Don't tell me this is Zune bad?"
"I'm sorry Gavin," his colleague finally levels with him, "It's Apple Maps bad."
It's a good, if brief, exploration of possible corporate failings at a company with a revered leader like Belson. "Have I just surrounded myself with sycophants who are just telling me whatever I want to hear, regardless of the truth?" he asks his spiritual advisor, whose gulping response is a perfect "No."
Monica suggest that Pied Piper fire back with a live-stream of its own, and Erlich recalls he's got a friend, Double-A, who runs a particularly douchetastic energy drink brand: the brilliantly named Homicide. They've got a stunt coming up in the style of real companies such as Red Bull or Monster wherein an action bro dude named Blaine will be jumping in a branded Homicide-can shaped car from one building to another.
First, though, the team gets an injection of the truly corporate, courtesy of Jared, setting up a great gag for later. Jared wants to do a SWOT analysis of the plan to live-stream the Homicide jump, a kind of pro-con chart that is meant to measure Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. He pulls a ready-made SWOT board out from behind some shelves where he must have had it this whole time. "I've booby-trapped the house with corporate resources," Jared jokes.
It turns out that Erlich, whose character is growing a bit repetitive in its boorishness, was actually not very close with Homicide's Double-A. In fact, Double-A calls Erlich Kool-Aid, and before he can explain why to Richard, Erlich launches in to say that it's "cause I was cool and supportive" in college.
Actually, Double-A confides to Richard later, it was because he would burst in unannounced, and though he would provide weed and beer, "Even drunk and high I couldn't stand him." Double-A wants to do business with Pied Piper — "Your tech rocks" — but wishes to work with Richard, not Erlich.
Later, Richard finally confronts Erlich about what is basically his personality disorder, but it's not much of a scolding, and we don't see Erlich changing anytime soon. He even defends himself by saying that Double-A had his own nickname, "Double Asshole," in college.
Meanwhile, Dinesh and Gilfoyle get a good side plot to do with the actual jump. First they meet Gina, who works at Homicide and charms Dinesh. The way that Gilfoyle and Dinesh react to women is at once unsettling and hilarious. It's as if they can hardly believe what's happening. "Pretend you've seen a woman before," Gilfoyle advises Dinesh before the two discover that she's actually with daredevil Blaine.
Meeting Blaine, they notice an error in his calculations — he'll certainly fail in his attempt to jump between buildings — and when they try to tell him about it, he cuts them off and says he doesn't have time for them. It's a "tough one" for Gilfoyle and Dinesh: what do they do? Let him die?
Naturally, they SWOT analyze the situation. It's a good callback to last season's "optimal tip-to-tip efficiency gag," just some nerds nerding out over something particularly outlandish, in this case, whether they should "Let Blaine Die."
Just as Dinesh and Gilfoyle are reaching their bleak conclusion, Blaine comes in and apologizes to the pair. He reveals that he and Gina are married and have children, and says he was unfair to them, all with his back to the SWOT board. He even says he just caught a math error that would have killed him, and he's grateful to be alive.
Of course, at the last minute he turns around and sees their SWOT musings — which include such items as "Opportunity: Have sex with Gina." and "Blaine's last moment is realizing face is gone." You can check out the whole, meticulous and raucous board at EW.
At precisely the same moment that Blaine is ready to homicide all over Dinesh and Gilfoyle, Richard, who has returned to talk to Double-A without Erlich, is feuding over the deal. Feeling screwed over by him, instead of negotiating, he calls Double-A "Double Asshole."
But it turns out Erlich would never say that to his face. "What did you say?" Double-A responds, freezing the room. “I called you an a double asshole," Richard stammers, realizing he's struck a nerve, "because you know, you’re being an asshole, Double-A, double asshole, you’re twice the asshole, twice hole, double asshole.” Double-A then reveals he's got a colostomy bag: “Do you have any idea what it’s like to be 10 years old and carry your own s— around in a bag? To have two assholes?” It's time for everybody to leave, and quickly, and I sort of wanted to as well after this strange joke.
In the end, there is a live-stream of the Homicide event, but not from Pied Piper. A new competitor, as if we really needed one, is the team that "brain raped" them, stealing their idea in the board room in an earlier episode.
In summary, let's perform a quick SWOT analysis of this episode.
Strength: Gavin Belson's realizations, and his growing character.
Weakness: Erlich's and Richard's refusal to mature, and their narrowing characters.
Opportunity: Erlich and Richard to mature and become, you know, actual leaders.
Threat: getting bogged down in corporate logistics, with too many competitors and plot lines.
Previously: Silicon Valley Recap: The Monkey's Paw