Last week when I reviewed the penultimate episode of Silicon Valley I was pretty upset with how the final season had turned out and didn’t expect the final ever episode to satisfy in the slightest. But before watching it I discovered that it was the first episode all season to be written (and directed) by show co-creator Alec Berg, the man who’s also behind HBO’s Barry, and that did give me some vague hope that it might not be the disaster I thought it could be.
The main complaint I’ve had all season is the tired formula the show relies upon, as each time it looks like they’re going to succeed, something terrible happens, but then they pull victory from the jaws of defeat. And for a big chunk of the episode it looked like that was going to be the case again, the episode begins with the gang about to succeed, about to finally launch Pied Piper, only for Richard to notice a mistake the software has made and so naturally obsesses about it.
And what a mistake it is too, as it turns out that the new version of the software built on Gilfoyle and DInesh’s AI has learnt how to break any encryption software in the world. Which means that privacy will come to an end, but not only that but all financial software will be accessible to all, and even worst than that, nuclear codes could be revealed as well. Richard naturally freaks out initially, refusing to believe it, but then they discover they have no choice but to deliberately fuck up the launch of Pied Piper.
Of course it isn’t that simple as that, and in this double length episode they drag the whole thing out for way too long, but by the very end they succeed at failing, and technically save the world, even if it is from themselves. And then we get a quick round up as to what happened to everyone and that’s that. Six, long years, of miserable failure, ending with the suggestion that they’re mostly happy, but little more than that.
To start with the positives, it doesn’t join Dexter, Lost and How I Met Your Mother in the realm of worst ever final episodes like I feared it might last week, and at least the characterisation was back to normal in this episode, presumably because Alex Berg was the scribe behind it all. So Richard was slightly irritating but not in full on cunt mode, Jared was weird but not in a ridiculously over the top way, Gilfoyle was simply chaotic neutral, and Dinesh, well, for once he actually did something honourable, but it was in a believable manner.
There were also some decent enough jokes during the (just under) fifty minute running time too, with Berg using the “Ten years later” set up the episode weaves in and out of to create some pretty funny moments, from the fact that Laurie Breem is now in prison to the cameo from Bill Gates who ponders upon the idea that what supposedly happened to Pied Piper doesn’t quite add up, while Erlich’s eventual fate raised a smile, even if it wasn’t exactly the subtlest piece of comedy the show has ever pulled off.
Meanwhile back in the present day, Dinesh got some strong moments that almost redeemed how naff his character has been this season, with him admitting how “I will sabotage your sabotage” generating a laugh, as did the response from Jared where he uttered with something close to pride “That is the most courageous act of cowardice I’ve ever seen”. Dinesh’s final race to save the day provided a good few amusing moments too, even if it meant that it adhered to the show’s tired formula, yeah that was the slight difference in that he was ensuring that they failed, but as that’s what they wanted it wasn’t that big a change.
And on the downside, a lot of the storylines for various supporting characters were weak, with the outcome for Gavin Belson where he was faking writing romantic novels being a tired and surprisingly irritating joke, the Pied Piper “rat-ageddon” pay off was way too on the nose and obvious to be funny, and Big Head becoming the President of Stanford was a joke dragged out to a quite frankly dumb extent that became tired a long time back.
I also found myself wondering what the point of it all was too, as a satire of the world of Silicon Valley it ran out of areas to explore years ago and had just been repeating itself to death over the past two seasons (at the very least) and when it tried to present us with a sentimental ending with the group revisiting Erlich’s old house and reminiscing about the past it seemed unearned, and against what the show had always been about, as giving the show a saccharine ending felt point blank weird.
“I guess it could have been worse” really shouldn’t be an epitaph for a once great sitcom, but it is a slight relief that it wasn’t the abject mess the rest of the season was. At least there were some amusing moments, at least the characters were vaguely likeable once again, and at least it had the odd joke which made me laugh out loud. But thanks to this really rather piss poor final season it won’t be a series I ever revisit, I feel glad that it’s over and that I can finally stop watching it, and that’s pretty disappointing given how much promise Silicon Valley once had.