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Silicon Valley Season 1, Episode 8 Review

Silicon Valley Season 1, Episode 8 Review

‘Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency’

The season finale of Silicon Valley season one shows just how great the script is. In the pilot episode, Richard tests his app, calculating the ‘Weissman Score’. A Weissman Score is a tool that was created for the show that measures the effectiveness of compression algorithms. In Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency, Pied Piper surpasses the theoretical Weissman score of 2.89, and achieves a 5.2, thus winning the battlefield. This creates a whole host of investment opportunities, leaving Richard feeling like he did at the end of Minimum Viable Product. What I really like about the series is that it is so well-rounded; everything seems to come together so nicely at the end.

At the end of Proof of Concept, we saw that Pied Piper’s presentation was interrupted when Erlich was attacked by one of the judges. He had a good reason of course because Erlich slept with both his wife and his ex-wife. Pied Piper’s lawyer is threatening to prosecute TechCrunch for the assault, but to solve things outside of a court room, Pied Piper are offered a ticket to go through to the final battlefield stage. Erlich also uses his powers of persuasion to get himself an upgrade at the hotel.
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Richard and the guys decide to check out the competition, so they head down to listen to Hooli’s presentation of Nucleus. They are shocked by the amount of extra content that Nucleus has to offer, as well as the fact that Hooli have managed to achieve a perfect 2.89 Weissman score. Richard cannot believe that they have achieved this goal, and he realises that they don’t have a chance of winning at the Battlefield.

Back at the hotel, Jared is suffering from a lack of sleep, and he comes up with an idea that he thinks will solve their problem. He thinks that in order to beat Hooli, Pied Piper need to work on a pivot. This pivot is a change in the original concept to a new and better version. Jared leaves the hotel to conduct some market research, coming up with new ideas for Pied Piper. One idea focuses on locating rats, while another tries to keep children safe from abduction – a clear play on the classic tale of The Pied Piper of Hamelin.

Richard, Dinesh, Erlich and Gilfoyle try to come up with a solution to their problem and create a new idea for their app in such a short space of time. Erlich delivers a motivational speech, stating that “We’re going to win even if I have to go in there and jerk off everyone in the audience!” This distracts the guys into working out how he would go about doing this. Meanwhile, Richard has an epiphany, and he goes off to work on the new idea for the app.
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The next morning, the moment of truth arrives, and Richard and the guys head down to the presentation. Erlich asks Richard about the changes, but Richard says that there is no way that he can explain them in that amount of time. This means that Richard has to deliver the presentation. Richard presents Pied Piper to the battlefield, but the software has changed dramatically. He had previously deleted all of the other features, leaving the most important function: the compression engine. Richard’s brand new compression code achieves an impossible 5.2 Weissman score, and as a result, Pied Piper win the battlefield.

You may think that this ending is a standard cliché – the company that we were all rooting for wins the competition – but the writers have delivered something quite special. The show is circular, as Richard starts off the series with a panic attack, and ends it on the same note. What’s great about the episode is the fact that all of the work that has gone into the previous seven episodes seems irrelevant, because Richard changes the app right at the last minute. However, with a show like Silicon Valley, it’s all about the journey of how one man created a terrible music app without realising the potential that it had for compressing files.

The season finale leaves everything open for season 2, which promises to be every bit as chaotic. It will be interesting to see how Richard copes with running a gigantic global company and to see if he’s finally gotten over the panic attacks. It’s also worth watching the closing credits, as the creators pay tribute to the late Christopher Evan Welch, who plays Peter Gregory on the show.

★★★★

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