Silicon Valley, episode 2 recap: The cap table

ITworld's Melissa Shaw watched episode 2 of "Silicon Valley" so you don't have to.

Credit: HBO

When we last left Palo Alto, Richard had a decision to make: sell his possibly revolutionary algorithm for $10 million to his Google-like employer hooli or accept $200,000 in VC funding and run his own show. He spent most of the episode looking like he wanted to vomit (and did), eventually deciding to enter start-up life. Welcome to Silicon Valley, the one HBO show in which you are grateful not to see the N disclaimer before the opening credits.

ICYMI: Silicon Valley episode 1 recap: Minimal viable product

Credit: HBO
Thank you for being a friend

It’s nighttime at the incubator, whose exterior looks like the West Coast cousin of The Golden Girls’ house. Hooli executive Jared shows up to crash the “launch party,” which is just the regular nerds sitting around like they always do. Jared is so socially awkward; he makes Richard look like Steve Ballmer. Jared also says he’d like to join Pied Piper if they ever need someone with his “business development skillset.” And you know he has them because that’s how those guys talk.

Credit: HBO
Red alert, its a stripper

It turns out Erlich hired a stripper for the “party,” the only amusing part of which is when Dinesh delivers “erotic” mood lighting that makes the living room look like the deck of the Enterprise under Red Alert. The guys seem super-excited to see her, don’t they? Three-quarters of them run off to the kitchen like virgins.

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I dont have a P&L projection, but I do have a sweet hoodie

Cut to the next day, when Richard shows up to pick up his $200,000 from VC billionaire Peter Gregory, only to be outed as a business idiot who has no idea how to establish or run a financially solvent company. Richard did wear his business hoodie, so props for that. Gregory gives him 48 hours to come back with an “air-tight” business plan and other scary business-sounding things or he’s out. Gregory is yet another character with extremely weird speaking patterns and vocal inflections, and seems to eschew most eye contact. Is there something in the water in Palo Alto?

Credit: HBO
He went to Jared

Richard needs someone who knows business. Like every other American who needs information, his first stop is Wikipedia, but then he remembers Jared and his business skillset. He’s in. Erlich seems threatened by the fact that meek, solicitous Jared knows what he’s doing, which is probably not hard given he’s eating a Pop-Tart and wearing a bathrobe when he intimates as much.

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John Wayne in a mansion

Hooli head Gavin Belson finds out Jared left for Pied Piper and he is not happy. To invoke some calm, he tells his Siri-like app to play John Lennon’s “Imagine” and it responds: “Cueing John Wayne in a mansion. Not found.” Belson swears and makes that face we all make when our voice commands go awry. Billionaires, they’re just like us!

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You cant handle the truth…well, you probably can

Jared and Richard (mostly Jared) do 1-on-1 interviews with the incubator residents to defend their place in the nascent company (and its cap table). Gilfoyle gives a Jack Nicholsonian, “A Few Good Men”, 52-second, one-breath speech about his abilities in security and networking that you will no doubt hear poorly repeated from some sys admin very soon.

Credit: HBO
Marketable skillz

Dinesh’s contribution, in a nutshell: “I’m the only one of these clowns who can code in Java.” You can stay.

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Google joke, incoming

While Gilfoyle and Dinesh spend most of their “interview” downplaying the other’s contributions and asking for a greater share, Big Head gives the most honest – and worst – interview ever, admitting he doesn’t have special skills that set him apart from the others and isn’t useful, other than serving as Richard’s best friend. (He does appear to have a massive bladder.) Jared notes that Gregory demands a lean business plan: “I don’t think the CEO of Microsoft has a paid best friend.” Replies Big Head: “Sergey Brin does. Larry doesn’t do shit.” Zing.

Credit: HBO
Im outta here

Dejected, Big Head realizes he may have been a bit too honest in his interview and when he hears his housemates confirming the fact that he brings nothing to the company, he gets upset and leaves, disillusioned with everyone’s love affair with the bottom line. (Psst, it’s called business, man.) The most impressive thing about Big Head so far is his ability to talk without moving his lips. Richard catches up with him and Big Head notes he’s leaving Silicon Valley: “You know, everybody’s right, man, there’s nothing for me to do on Pied Piper.”

Credit: HBO
The VP of Spite

Caught between a $200,000 check and his best friend, Richard decides to grow a pair and declares he is keeping Big Head on staff, despite the cap hit, possibly ticking off his investor and losing the money. Funny thing is, Big Head arrives to inform Richard that Belson just offered him a promotion and $600,000 a year to steal him away from Pied Piper: “So you’re like the VP of Spite?” Dinesh asks. Big Head asks Richard to do him one favor: “If you run into Gavin ever you have to act really upset about it, you know?”

Credit: HBO
Richard holds up the line at the bank

Richard gets his $200,000 check and hands it to a bank teller for deposit. She examines the check and is apparently super up on her valley who’s-who because she knows who Peter Gregory is and is impressed. OK. She’s also the third woman with a speaking part in this episode - a new record. Sadly, the check is made out to Pied Piper and since the company is not registered with the IRS or in any way official, it cannot be deposited.

Credit: HBO
Richard is dumb

To add insult to financial injury, Richard gets a call from the VP of Spite, who’s at his sweet new gig and notes hooli programmers are reverse-engineering Pied Piper to develop a version that won’t get them sued but will beat Richard to to market. How’d they get Pied Piper? Well, that would be Richard. Remember, he sent the brogrammers a copy last episode after they offered to “help.” Dun dun dun…dumbass.