HBO’s Silicon Valley Season 1, Episode 4 Recap: The Big Vision

While last week’s episode of Silicon Valley had me laughing out loud – mainly due to Dinesh’s dry commentary on basically everything – this week’s was less about random outbursts of giggles and more of a reminder of some of the darker parts of startup life.


Warning: Stop here if spoilers make you angry.


This week’s episode begins with Richard in the office of what might be the douchiest lawyer ever.  Between fist bumping Richard over the hotness of his receptionist, showing off his guitar that was signed by “Sergey and Larry from Google,” and then tuning out while Richard is trying to explain his big vision, this guy sucks all around.


big vision


That big vision of Pied Piper (or lack thereof) is the focus of this week’s episode. Richard comes back to the house after the lawyer meeting and sums it up when he says, “Do you know awkward it is to not be able to describe your own company?” (A problem that so many founders face as our companies pivot and shift on the winding path of entrepreneurship.)


Meanwhile, over at Hooli…

Big Head is demonstrating exactly how useless he was to Pied Piper as the tech bros try to enlist his help in unraveling Richard’s code. After it becomes painfully clear that Big Head knows absolutely nothing, he’s taken off the project but not reassigned to new work.


“When I come into work tomorrow, what do I do?” Big Head asks the conspicuously uncool HR guy, who responds, “That is unclear at this time.”


Partying with the illest and the chillest.

Highlighting both the ridiculous extravagance that Silicon Valley is becoming known for and the frat-like culture that gives all startups a bad rep, the Pied Piper team attends a toga party thrown by Peter Gregory. After Gregory’s assistant Monica assures Richard that his compression app is better than the “7 or 8” other compression apps that Gregory is funding because he has a “big vision,” Richard proceeds to freak out and get drunk.


toga party


The next morning, Richard wakes up still toga-clad in his bunk bed, only to have black turtleneck-clad Erlich bring him breakfast in bed. Turns out, a very wasted Richard promised him a spot on the board the previous night and it was all caught on camera.


Once he realizes what he’s done, Richard backtracks on the deal, leaving Erlich struggling to pull his turtleneck over his giant head in protest. He and Jared sit down to hash out the big vision before meeting with Peter Gregory, only to be interrupted by Big Head, who has wandered into the house after discovering a cadre of other unassigned workers on the Hooli roof. Completely useless but still pulling a paycheck, these dudes are just waiting out their contracts (until their options are fulled vested).


And, finally, the BIG meeting about the BIG vision.

Jared and Richard head over to Peter Gregory’s office, where Richard proceeds to completely lose it in the bathroom. Jared finds him in the bathroom, soaking his jeans in the sink in order to “disguise” the tiny bit of water he’d accidentally gotten on the front of them.


Jared’s feeble attempts to calm Richard down are both really sweet and completely ineffective and end with Richard literally losing his vision and curling up on the bathroom floor in his socks and boxers.


While obviously overdramatized, the majority of startup founders can probably relate to this scene. Who hasn’t had a dramatic freak out at some point, even if it wasn’t on the floor of a billionaire venture capitalist’s bathroom?


In the end, Erlich saves the day by swooping in at the last minute and providing the biggest skill in startup land (which just happens to be the one that Richard doesn’t possess): spouting a bunch of bullshit so people will give you money. Richard decides that Erlich really is the “Jobs” to his “Wozniak” and brings Erlich back onto the board.


The moment is saved from being too sincere, however, when Richard projectile vomits all over Erlich. This is a comedy, after all.


Photo Credits

Ken Teegardin | Keith Parker