Recap: Silicon Valley ‘White Hat/Black Hat’

Last week’s episode of Silicon Valley set things up for a face-off between Pied Piper and End Frame. But unfortunately, the “bake-off” isn’t quite as entertaining (or fruitful) as one might hope it would be.

The episode opens with Russ popping in with alcohol to see Richard.

“We have to drink this entire bottle of Tequila today,” he says. Of course, the tequila is Russ’s own brand which (big surprise) means “three commas” in Spanish. Drink to re-billionizing!

Richard asks Russ to write a check so they can pay their developers, but Russ says no. He wants to leave him hungry (Richard works better that way). And when everything goes through with Intersite, they’re going to finish off the three-comma tequila together.

The real team that should start drinking is those at Nucleus, though. In an effort to deflect the company’s flat-lining development, Gavin attempts to shroud the company in mystery until their next platform roll-out (apparently he doesn’t plan on using Big Head’s potato gun idea). He assures the higher-ups that Nucleus is on track, otherwise someone will be held responsible.

Hmmm. Held responsible.

Soon Gavin calls Davis Bannercheck (Patrick Fischler) and assures him that if he doesn’t take that job with MIT, his name will be all over XYZ and inexplicably linked to the brand (which would unlink Gavin from failure).

“I’m glad I did this. . .”

Richard thanks everyone for forgoing their salaries this week and says they’ll get bonuses if when they win the bake-off with End Frame. While on LinkedIn, he soon discovers that it looks like Seth Lee, a piece of shit from End Frame who’s in charge of the maintaining the system, got fired, probably because EF assumed Pied Piper had hacked them.

“He’s getting fired for no reason,” says Richard. “He’s probably pulling his hair out somewhere, wondering where he screwed up.”

“I wish I could see that,” says Gilfoyle. “Piece of shit.”

While Richard was walking on the dark side last week, this week he’s back to his old ways of being a softie. Soon, he Gchats Seth Lee to say he heard he was no longer with the company. Seth immediately asks to meet.

Meanwhile, dynamic duo Erlich and Jian-Yang are doing business with Monica and Laurie Bream at Raviga Capital. On their way in, they spot Monica outside smoking, which Jian Yang makes a comment about to a Raviga colleague inside, causing the colleague to treat Monica’s addiction like a propensity for killing kittens.

“What are you doing? People are lunatics about smoking here,” admonishes Erlich.

Richard meets with Seth at a public park, where a children’s birthday party is going on. Seth admits that he’s literally been tearing his hair out, especially since Gilfoyle’s been sending him pics of balls and people choking (which translates to “Choke my balls”). In the most passive aggressive terms, Richard tells Seth he wasn’t fired for having a bad system and indicates that Gilfoyle just happened to snatch a Post-It with log-in info. Before Seth can respond, Richard pats himself on the back and says he’s glad he did this and that it felt good to be honest.

However, that moment quickly passes, as Seth flips out and leaves in a huff of expletives for the young birthday-party-goers to absorb.


Richard is worried. Does this mean Seth is going to rat them out? Or maybe even hack their system.

“He’s not gonna do shit,” says Gilfoyle. “He’s a coder.”

“By definition, we’re all pussies,” assures Dinesh.

At Raviga Capital, Monica gets in trouble for smoking. In fact, Laurie Bream views smoking as the worst of all drugs (no one ever died from secondhand heroin). And if Monica is having trouble breaking it to her that she’s a smoker, it’s going to be even harder to get her on board with Pied Piper’s link to porn. Erlich assures Monica that they can do this and that “Jian Yang was born to bring it.”

In order to get Laurie on board, Erlich pitches Smokeation, an app that helps locate the ultimate deviants: smokers. Laurie likes the idea, and Monica tells Erlich that things are looking good for this partnership. Until Jian Yang starts lighting up with cigarettes he pulls from Monica’s purse.

Back at Nucleus, Gavin gets Bannercheck back on board, his scapegoat in place and ready. But it doesn’t last long. In his first meeting, Bannercheck discovers that the tech team has nothing to offer and quits. Nucleus is back in Gavin’s hands. (This seems like a rather hasty development, especially given how talented Patrick Fischler is. Why not bring him back for a little longer than two half scenes?)

Feeling paranoid, Richard asks to meet with Seth again, and when they meet at the same public park, Seth assures him he’s not going to do any of the things he threatened to do (including skull fucking). Seth asks Richard to apologize to Gilfoyle. Richard says Gilfoyle couldn’t care less. He then once again pontificates that he’s glad he did this, but unfortunately more damage has been done. Because Gilfoyle doesn’t care about him, Seth feels that Gilfoyle doesn’t think he’s worthy or good enough to build an unhackable system. Once again, he leaves the park in a cloud of obscenities in front of impressionable children.

Given how well his second meeting with Seth went, Richard is panicked that Seth is going to sabotage their data transfer with Intersite. Right before Richard’s next panic attack, Russ stops by with tequila and tells Richard to drink up with his “money guy.” Pushed to the edge, Richard says he’s not their money guy because he stopped paying them, and then promptly throws Russ and his shitty tequila out of the house. Russ assures him it’s not shitty tequila and soberly says he thought he had something special with the team.

“You never know if someone likes you for you or the money,” says Russ, on being a billionaire.

He takes Richard outside to show him an orange car with doors that extend vertically. Thinking it’s a gift, Richard softens, only to discover Russ bought the car for himself to prove he wasn’t an asshole.

Then, the worst that could happen happens and Richard’s fears are realized: Intersite calls and says that Pied Piper’s upload is deleting all of their data. When everyone at Pied Piper tries to fix the issue, they’re locked out. Is Seth Lee a genius revenge hacker?

No. As it turns out, the tequila bottle is the issue. When Russ came in, he put the tequila bottle down on the computer, right on the delete key. Russ leaves, with his tail between his legs (although given his affinity for vertical car doors, that tail could run up his back).

The next day, Richard, Monica, and Erlich speak with the CEO of Intersite and explain how they deleted 9 hours of data (even if End Frame can’t delete files as fast as they can).

The Intersite CEO throws everyone out.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that your sites are some of my primary destinations,” says Erlich on his way out the door.

This is a pretty grim low point for Pied Piper. Can they recover from this? Were you expecting more from this “bake-off”? Next week, it looks like Richard finally meets with someone he should be talking to: Big Head.

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