Silicon Valley: Is Richard A Bad Person?

Gregory Wakeman
Contributor
[Image by HBO]

There was a moment during the opening stages of Team Building Exercise where I genuinely found myself wondering if Richard Hendricks is actually a bad person. On the face of it the answer seems rather obvious, as the tech whiz kid has been unassuming and sweet, while still driven and morally sound, throughout ‘Silicon Valley’s’ opening three seasons.

But in the first three episodes of ‘Silicon Valley’s’ fourth season we’ve been presented with a new Richard. A Richard that almost ruined Dinesh’s Pied Piper video chat because he was so intent on making it his own. A Richard that violently destroyed a door after he learned that Gavin Belson owned the patent to his decentralised internet project. A Richard that has even decided to let bygones be bygones and team up with his former arch enemy that tried so hard to ruin him just so he can move ahead with his concept.

Gavin Belson was actually the one that suggested Richard had moved to the dark side. During the opening scene for Team Building Exercise, which saw Richard arrive at Gavin’s house in the middle of the night asking for a favour, Gavin declared, “I was just ousted from my own company – a company I built from the ground up. My legacy is in ashes … I lost everything because of something you did. And you turn up at 3 am asking me for a favour? Really? You’re a mean person, Richard. Do you know that? You are a bad guy. [Richard tries to explain, as he believes Gavin doesn’t understand his technology] So now I am stupid, too? I know what the technology is Richard, I have a patent on it. What the f*** is the matter with you? You’re a f****** sadist. You’re demented.”

While it’s obviously a stretch to consider Richard as a bad person, as even over the course of the episode he proved himself by asking Gilfoyle to join him and Gavin’s team, the above remarks highlight just how on edge and tightly wound Richard has been throughout the season so far. Who would have thought, then, that Gavin Belson would be the one to ease out Richard’s knots and set him on his way? And it already appears to be a genius manoeuvre, too, especially since Gilfoyle and Gerard are now on-board. It’s just going to be intriguing to see how Gavin tries to screw Richard, especially as it has already been established that he’s only interested in working with him because it will make Hooli obsolete, while there’s so much prior evidence that suggests he’s pure evil.

But while it is weird not to see Gavin as Richard’s enemy for the time being, Erlich doesn’t need such a foe as he is constantly tripping himself up. After inadvertently giving the idea of Seefood away to Big-Head’s Stanford students, who then meet with Coleman Blair Partners to create their own food based app, Erlich trades his equity in the company for a used Corvette. However, Jian Yang is then able to change the project as a filter for d*** pics, which sees him given $4 million from Raviga, and leaves Erlich with no money and just a car that he knows he looks like a fool driving.

It could be worse, though, he could be Dinesh. Who after repeatedly boasting to Gilfoyle about how much money he will earn from Seefood is still penniless but now has to erase pictures of penises from the Internet as his profession. Something that Gilfoyle takes great joy in, which proves that even though the line between friend and foe on ‘Silicon Valley’ has never been more blurred, the animosity between the duo will always be there. 

Funniest Moments 

  • Richard to Erlich: “You don’t really need to be replaced.” To which Erlich believes he heard, “True, I can’t be replaced.”
  • Big-Head to one of his students: “Your phone has technology inside it. So you’re doubly learning.”
  • Jared had a number of doozies in the episode, starting with his description of him and Richard as, “Butch Cassidy and his head of western development.”
  • Then he recognised Gilfoyle’s depressed state with, “Gilfoyle’s insults are normally well crafted. Almost poetic. Last week he referred to me as Frankenstein’s Bulimic daughter.”