Silicon Valley Review: “Chief Operating Officer”
While the past few weeks of Silicon Valley have been struggling to find its rhythm, "Chief Operating Officer" orients the show back on track with grace and hilarity. The previous two episodes leaned a little too heavily on over the top antics that felt too ridiculous within the show’s established mood, but this week’s show tips the scale back to its strength in finding a way to turn the everyday drudge of the tech world into a laugh-out-loud lampoon.
This is due in part to the excellent pacing of "Chief Operating Officer." Past episodes saw the show delivering a fistfull of the absurd before an additional fistfull of dramatic plot progression that never felt natural. The previous episodes felt like it was trying to prove it had earned its dramatic plot progression rather than intertwining the comedy with the plot in a smart way.
“Chief Operating Officer” on the other hand perfectly hops between plot threads right before they start to drag. The cute but funny romance-movie inspired A plot of Richard stuck in a “love triangle” between a fellow CEO and his COO never felt forced. It was intelligent commentary on how the often-introverted heads of the tech world find themselves at a lost when trying to make people-oriented decisions. Richard’s shortcomings and lessons he learns felt believable for his character as compared to past episodes, with the writers finally putting his poor business decision plot lines to rest by having Richard appoint Jared as COO. Sure, this move comes a little later in the series than it probably should have, but the writers should be applauded for moving forward in a direction that critics and fans have been asking for in such a natural yet comedic way.
Fans also finally get a great Gilfoyle B plot that has been long overdue. Martin Starr’s acting chops have been underutilized throughout much of the show since the writers can lean on his unmatched dry delivery, so to have a plot where we see him show a bit more emotional depth was welcome. Not to mention that his Bitcoin related gag that ran throughout much of the show felt extremely in character for both Gilfoyle and the archetype he lampoons in the real tech world. This helped the callbacks to the Bitcoin gag throughout the episode to never feel tiresome and always offered a comedic break from some of the plot-heavy elements of the episode.
If there’s but one thing to critique the episode for, its that Dinesh’s character seems to be devolving into the silly and unintelligent foil that Erlich Bachman played in the show. Sure, we’ve seen Dinesh make mistakes and play the fool before, but it felt earned as this would only happen when Dinesh would get placed in a position outside of his control that he couldn’t handle. Dinesh leaking the Seppen fridge information to the mole is very out of place given his general lack of trust in other people that was peppered throughout the first few seasons.
Still, “Chief Operating Officer” firmly corrects the path for Silicon Valley that it almost fell off of during its past two episodes. It’s easily one of the best episodes of the entire series and reconfirms that Mike Judge is a master at walking the tightrope between believable satire and exaggerated lampoon. If the rest of the season plays to the same strengths as “Chief Operating Officer” did, season five should have no difficulty in achieving the same quality as the show’s prior seasons.
Chandler Copenheaver is a senior majoring in public relations. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Senior / Public Relations