'Silicon Valley' Season 6 Episode 4 'Maximizing Alphaness' sees Richard punch employee while Gavin becomes 'anti-tech evangelist'
Episode 4 of ‘Silicon Valley’ Season 6, is so far the best one. ‘Maximizing Alphaness’ is one of those rare episodes that covers a lot of bases in less than 30 minutes. You are left wondering if you watched a double-episode. Let’s look at what all of the main characters had to deal with.
Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch)
Richard, post-the acquisition of Hooli, was stuck with a large number of new employees he had no idea what to do with. One of them was Ethan (George Basil), his former manager in Hooli when he was a young coder.
Of course, it's not easy for a man to accept his former employee as his new boss, but things were worse for Richard. Ethan made fun of Richard at every opportunity he got -- his old photos, his coding errors from back in the day and even an annoying nickname, “Patches”.
A patient Richard tried to put up with it until he no longer could. When Richard asked Ethan to stop, he refused and that resulted in Richard punching his forehead. Unsurprisingly, only Richard got hurt in this altercation.
His lawyer and head of human resources asked Richard to apologize. But when he did, it was Ethan who apologized back. Near the end of the episode, we saw Holden (Aaron Sanders) asking Ethan if there was going to be any more problems from his end. A visibly scared Ethan said no and quietly left.
Jared Dunn (Zach Woods)
Jared, the show’s only character one can sympathize and empathize with, found out that his birth parents were still alive. Growing up in foster homes, Jared had never found the love and affection of a family.
That explains why he was so devoted to Richard and his PiedPiper family. But now with this bit of information, Jared decided to go meet them -- they live nearby in Santa Cruz. One can hope beyond hope that this would turn out to be a happy occasion for Jared, but we know that’s not true.
Jared’s birth parents told him they had to give him up because it was interfering with their travel plans. If that wasn’t bad enough, Jared learned he was their third child and immediately after giving Jared up, they decided to have another child.
They named that child Donald, which as you may remember is Jared’s real name. They then introduced Jared to his birth-siblings as a solar panel salesman and bid him farewell. Things did not get any better for Jared, even back at work. Gwart (Nandini Bapat), Jared’s newfound pet-project dumped him.
She sent him an email saying she had found employment elsewhere -- presumably with Laurie Bream (Suzanne Cryer) -- and that she was terminating Jared’s employment with immediate effect. A helpless Jared wondered if he could return back to Richard, but a menacing (and evil-looking) Holden told him he had already been replaced.
Monica Hall (Amanda Crew)
Monica, despite not being a traditional tomboy, has always been one of the guys. She has never cared for mentoring women or addressing sexism in tech. Even in the previous episode, she goaded one of Hooli’s board members to sign the deal by saying he shouldn’t need women’s (his wife’s) advice to make a decision.
But suddenly learning about a Women In Tech (WIT) event, she felt the need to be invited to join the panel. Back at work, she was handed over “Foxhole” -- an app used by military personnel to cheat and often solicit prostitutes -- by Richard, who felt a woman heading it would change the app’s unfavorable optics.
But not wanting to have anything to do with it, now with the WIT panel on her mind, Monica decided to be sly about it. She handed the app over to Priyanka Singh (Krishna Smitha) and pretended it was a mentoring opportunity.
As the panel, when she was questioned about “Foxhole”, a casually cool Monica said she had nothing to do with the project. It would soon end up biting her back. The event’s moderator then invited Priyanka on stage to talk about the app, who in a short span seemed to have rehauled it completely. As Priyanka explained how they were using the app to unionize sex workers and even making the platform available for women, Monica realized she had been upstaged.
Gavin Belson (Matt Ross)
A post-Hooli Gavin was in an existential crisis. He dabbled with writing a book. That had nothing to do with tech at all. It was a coming-of-age tale of a young sailor from Maine everyone described as terrible.
During an interview at a book reading event, Belson went on a rant after the interviewer called him a tech failure. His rant was about how tech was killing everything. The very next day, he realized the interview had gotten traction and now everyone in the media was calling him an “anti-tech evangelist”.
Bertram Gilfoyle (Martin Starr)
Gilfoyle’s storyline in the episode was the most fun to watch. A former-Hooli, now-PiedPiper employee named John (Henry Phillips) was assigned to help Gilfoyle get acquainted with the Hooli phones.
A cold and seemingly soulless Gilfoyle ignored him until he noted John was playing chess on his phone. A chess aficionado himself, Gilfoyle manufactured a scenario where he and John ended up playing chess against each other. But ever so slyly.
New episodes of ‘Silicon Valley’ premiere Sundays at 10 p.m. on HBO.