'Silicon Valley' Season 6 Episode 5 sees Gavin Belson jeopardize PiedPiper by asking for his actions to be investigated
With Hooli now in Richard’s ownership, he would also be investigated. Additionally, while the investigation is on, there could be no merger between Hooli and PiedPiper products, something that would put a stopper on their gigantic Hawaii deal with AT&T
‘Silicon Valley’ is full of episodes where nothing goes according to its characters’ plans. But episode 5 of season 6 -- ‘Tethics’ -- outdid itself on that front. The episode began with a meeting with Russ Hanneman (Chris Diamantopoulos), a multi-billionaire who claims to have “put the radio on the internet”.
Russ pitches the idea of “RussFest” -- visibly a cross between Burning Man and Fyre Festival -- to the PiedPiper team. He wanted them to provide free internet, given that the festival would be held in the middle of nowhere. Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) refused.
PiedPiper was in the middle of testing in Hawaii, and if all went well, they would soon be in a gigantic deal with AT&T. But things never go the way Richard wants them to, do they? Gavin Belson (Matt Ross), post-PiedPiper’s takeover of Hooli, turned into a kind of tech ethics evangelist.
He wrote a code of conduct for all tech companies to follow and went on TV to ask them all to sign “Tethics”, short for tech ethics. While Richard might want to believe that “No one in town is ever gonna sign this hypocrite's hypocritical garbage,” and aired views such as that on Twitter, he soon faced backlash, not just from journalists, but also from AT&T, with whom they were about to enter a deal, and even from PiedPiper employees.
Gavin, in the meanwhile, in an attempt to humiliate Richard, called him to speak at a Tethics event -- the groundbreaking for his new institute of Tethics. While Jared Dunn (Zach Woods), who was back to being Richard’s confidant, read through the code of conduct, Richard realized something that would help him.
Running quick searches, he realized that all of Gavin’s codes were stolen from different places -- restaurants, FMCG companies, cafes and more. Richard decided to expose Gavin to the world. He made a tiny mistake though; typical of Richard. He underestimated Gavin.
Before his turn to speak at the event, Richard told Gavin about his plan and that he, as someone who had fought for ethical behavior in tech all his career, would not stand for Gavin’s hypocrisy.
And before he could speak, Gavin went to the dais and confessed about his hypocrisy. He even said his behavior as a predatory capitalist was not just unethical, it may have bordered on the criminal. He urged the attorney general to look into his actions at Hooli. And that was a masterstroke.
With Hooli now in Richard’s ownership, he would also be investigated. Additionally, while the investigation was on, there could be no merger between Hooli and PiedPiper products, something that would put a stopper on their Hawaii plans.
And in the event the investigation found unethical or even criminal behavior in the past, it would be Richard, as the present owner of Hooli, who would have to pay the fines. In the meantime, Gavin could easily use this to his advantage and buy PiedPiper for much cheaper than it was.
As Richard pondered on this death knell to his company, he ran into Hanneman. And in the most unlikely of scenarios, it was Hanneman who came to his rescue. He told Richard that he had proof that the attorney general had once let go of a corrupt businessman just because he had donated half a million dollars to his campaign.
That corrupt businessman was Hanneman himself. He said he would blackmail him into putting an end to this on the condition PiedPier would work with RussFest. The episode ended with the PiedPiper team standing in the middle of a desert with Hanneman, planning for the festival.
New episodes of ‘Silicon Valley’ premiere Sundays at 10 p.m. on HBO.