Silicon Valley shakes everything up in fourth season premiere Success Failure

Gregory Wakeman
[Image by HBO]

By the end of Success Failure, the fourth season opener for ‘Silicon Valley’, it’s made clear that while the war between Pied Piper and Hooli is currently in the midst of a ceasefire, there’s still plenty of in-fighting to keep viewers hooked.

In fact, the structure and pacing of Success Failure bore more similarities with ‘Game Of Thrones’s’ opening episodes than previous ‘Silicon Valley’ season premieres. Now the lines have been firmly drawn into the sand, as Dinesh is made the CEO of the video chat company formally known as Pied Piper, Erlich is fighting Big Head’s father for power in the company, and Richard is off on his venture to create a new internet, all of which will unfold with them under the same roof.

But it’s not just Pied Piper that’s undergoing a reshuffle. Monica has found herself pushed firmly to the side at Raviga Capital by Laurie because of the fact that she sided with Richard in the season three closer, while, even though they’d just successfully launched the box in China, Gavin decides to push Jack way, way, way down the Hooli ladder all because he made them fly twenty-eight minutes out of their way during a trip from Shanghai to California.

Most shows normally take a couple of episodes to establish and set-up such overhauls to its characters. So it speaks volumes of just how well written, performed, and directed Success Failure is that ‘Silicon Valley’ achieves this reorganisation in such a seamless, quick, and engrossing manner. After three seasons at the helm of Pied Piper, you can understand why Richard is so frustrated and jealous that Dinesh is the centre of attention, while writer Alec Berg tows the line between keeping Richard’s acting out both relatable and perilous enough that his proposed sacking is understandable. Thankfully Richard comes to his senses first, though, and decides to quit and focus on his own project, meaning that everyone can still live together . In fact, it’s delightful to see the original Pied Piper team all back together again, especially since the potential from the new dynamic and conflicts are already immediately apparent.

First and foremost, though, Success Failure’s main duty was to provide hilarity, and there were two scenes in particular that were an instant reminder of why ‘Silicon Valley’ has proven to be so hugely popular since it premiered back in 2014. The opening sequence of Richard pretending to be an Uber driver and then picking up a potential financier not only established just how desperate Pied Piper’s predicament had become, but increasingly escalated and became more and more awkward, especially when it was revealed that Dinesh was actually on the toilet during his section of the video chat.

Then there was the re-appearance of Chris Diamantopoulos’ Russ Hanneman, who in one fail swoop manages to prove that his enthusiasm, drive, and momentum really can bring the best out of people, even if this usually manifests itself in an outlandish and perverse manner. Fingers crossed Russ Hanneman comes through on his promise, helps to finance Richard’s idea and isn’t just a fleeting participant in the fourth season, because every time Chris Diamantopoulos appears on screen as the character he manages to provide a personality and energy that you can’t take your eyes off of.

Come the end of Success Failure, though, it’s the similarities between the conflicting characters that have become really apparent, even though the warring parties from Hooli and Pied Piper don’t actually share any screen time together. Richard and Gavin are so consumed by power that they take different steps to stand out from the crowd, while Laurie and Gavin each decide to punish their subordinates by moving them to desks in front of male toilets. It’s a particularly disgusting, but still amusing parallel and image, and one that proves that ‘Silicon Valley’s’ characters actually have much more in common than not. Of course their pursuits for greatness mean this is something they’d never ever actually admit or even see themselves. Which is exactly what makes ‘Silicon Valley’ both so captivating and hilarious, and why it’s so great that it’s back.