Ladies and gentlemen, here are four words I never expected to write: RICHARD HENDRICKS GOT LAID! You heard me! I said Richard got lucky! As Russ Hanneman famously said of Jared: “This guy fucks!” So with great surprise, I add Richard to the Silicon Valley Sexytime List. It took him four seasons to get there, but so what? A win is a win, no matter how ugly.
But first, let’s dig through an episode so concerned with secrets that it feels like an M. Night Shyamalan movie — and that’s before we get the Haley Joel Osment cameo and an out-of-left-field shock ending that made me say WTF?! Every year, we get an unsatisfying episode that feels mostly like filler. “Customer Service” fits the bill this season.
The pre-credits sequence finds the Pied Piper gang suitably freaked out by the gigantic photo Gavin bequeathed them before he went off to find himself. Richard suggests they stuff Gavin in the one place big enough to hold his effigy, the garage. “Where I sleep?” asks a worried Jared, before adding, “It’s cool to face your fears.” It’s only a matter of time before Jared will awaken to Gavin’s picture ordering him to kill. It’s not so far-fetched when you remember the notorious sleep problems Jared had in season two’s worst episode, “Server Space.”
Soon after, an angry Russ Hanneman shows up to chew Richard out for taking “his” idea to Gavin. When Richard claims ownership, Hanneman responds in his usual manner. “Fuck you, Richard Hendricks!” he bellows in a nice bit of inadvertent plot foreshadowing. At least Russ is talking to Richard — he’s the only VC in the Valley who will. But when Richard invites Russ to pony up funds for Pied Piper: The Next Generation, Russ responds by pissing in Erlich’s Little Yellow Corvette. “I don’t think he knows that’s not your car,” Gilfoyle says.
Not even Laurie’s new company, Bream/Hall, is interested in PP:TNG. The company name reveals that Monica not only is a partner, but that she also shares a last name with Arsenio, Monty, and Annie. Professional Badass Laurie Bream’s ninja move stunned Ed Chen and Raviga so much they could barely recover. Two weeks before the new firm officially opens, Erlich tries to sweet-talk his way into a job. Laurie gives him a “dudebro, please” look and sternly declines his request.
With no one to fund him, Richard’s idea looks dead in the water. As usual, Jared nonchalantly supplies an idea that inspires his CEO. He mentions the latest trend in condos being sold before they’re built. Richard realizes that, if he can get a client first, he can then pitch them on the idea of investing in a currently nonexistent product. Jared puts together a list of potential customers before he, Richard, and Erlich head out to pitch to them. Thankfully, they take the familiar Aviato van rather than the piss-filled Corvette.
Everyone on Jared’s list is excited to invest in PP:TNG, until they discover that Gavin’s no longer involved. Without him, the doors slam shut on Richard. One door manages to stay open out of pity. It’s at Fiduciated, an insurance company whose blonde compliance officer, Liz Tinsdale, is willing to hear Richard’s pitch only because he traveled to the office. Erlich thanks her by relentlessly flirting with her. She remains rather unimpressed; Richard remains unequivocally terrified.
Liz wants her CTO to listen in, and when he shows up, longtime viewers get a blast from the past. It’s Dan Melcher! Melcher has a sordid history with Erlich: Back in “Proof of Concept,” we learned that Erlich slept with Melcher’s wife. Melcher was one of the judges at TechCrunch Disrupt, and his fairness toward the original Pied Piper was contingent on whether he remembered Erlich’s indiscretion. Erlich learned that Melcher remarried, so the heat was off until the new Mrs. Melcher took a sexual fancy to Erlich. The twice-cuckolded Dan Melcher responded by beating the shit out of Erlich onstage during Erlich’s Steve Jobs–ian introduction of Original Pied Piper.
Of course, Dan Melcher is in no mood to hear Erlich’s pitch. “You fucked my wife!” he says angrily. “I fucked your wives, plural!” corrects Erlich. Richard’s attempt to broker peace is not well received. “I don’t know what you’re selling,” Dan says, “but it’ll never happen here.” Dan goes on to explain that he was tech-company poison after Oracle fired him over Erlich’s ass beating. He rebuilt his career at Fiducated and wants no more trouble. As Dan is ranting, Liz pops in to ask him if he’s done some domestic chore at home. “You two are married?” Richard asks. “Engaged,” Liz says. Erlich gets a smutty look in his eye. Playing on Dan’s fear that he’ll screw Liz, Erlich blackmails Dan into vetting PP:TNG.
“You don’t come off in that story as well as you think you do,” Gilfoyle informs Erlich after hearing the news. Neither Gilfoyle nor Dinesh will come off well in this episode either, as the two frenemies square off over the secret contents of each other’s cell phones. The first test of PP:TNG accidentally merges their data, copying each other’s information into both phones. “Why do I have a flyer for the Anton LeVay Fun Run?” Dinesh asks before realizing he finally has a leg up on Gilfoyle. “If you look at my embarrassing shit on the phone, you will mock me endlessly and without mercy. But you already mock me endlessly and without mercy. So I have nothing to lose.”
Peacemaker Jared becomes the “keeper of the phones” until Gilfoyle can fix the error and reverse the process. While he’s doing that, Richard is going over compliance issues with Liz at Fiduciated. As Richard rambles on about not wanting to “settle” for the dearly departed PiperChat app, Liz looks at her messy, geeky fiancé and starts wondering if she’s settling for less as well. This fear leads her to jump Richard’s bones when their review runs past midnight. Thomas Middleditch adds sexual slapstick to his impressive résumé of physical comedy, though I wish we could have seen him saying “GULP!”
The next morning, a guilty Richard seeks Jared’s counsel. If Dan finds out he slept with Liz, he’ll pummel Richard and the deal will be off. Jared asks if Liz is in love with Richard, and when Richard humbly states that’s impossible, Jared once again fans the flames of sexy Richard-Jared fan fiction. “You’re a catch,” he says to Richard. “Deal with it!” Gilfoyle interrupts Jared’s advice session to ask for his phone, warning that if Jared listens to his conversation, he might hear sexual things. Pointing to Richard, Jared says, “I can handle that.”
Meanwhile, Erlich can’t handle that he has nothing to do anymore. This leads him to a muffin store where he gets into a macho shouting match with a man named Keenan (Haley Joel Osment). Erlich accidentally gets involved in Keenan’s meeting, and after refusing to stand down, earns his good graces. Or maybe it was all the Bream/Hall swag he was carrying. As I told you back in “The Lady,” people LOVE company swag! Regardless, Erlich returns to Bream/Hall with Keenan, who turns out to have a VR headset that VCs are dying to invest in. Keenan’s business would be a major get for Laurie and Monica, and Erlich can deliver him in exchange for a job. Will it now be Bream/Hall/Bachman?
Back at Hacker Hostel, Gilfoyle fixes the glitch in PP:TNG. All he and Dinesh have to do is plug their phones in, and the merged data will be removed. But Dinesh doesn’t want to do it. He senses Gilfoyle’s nervousness about his data, and decides he’s going to look at it. Gilfoyle acts as if he doesn’t care but then sneak-attacks Dinesh. Slapping him, he retrieves Dinesh’s phone and flushes it down the toilet. Dinesh slaps Jared to obtain Gilfoyle’s phone, which he crushes with a rock. “I win!” yells Dinesh. “This proves you had something bad!”
Whatever secrets Gilfoyle had on his phone, they can’t be as bad as Richard’s sex moves. “It was the worst sex I’ve ever had,” Liz says before tearing Richard’s performance to shreds. If nothing else, it made her realize that Dan was a keeper! She signs off on the project just to get away from Richard. As he’s leaving, Richard is confronted by Dan, who tells him that Liz “told him everything.” Richard sighs in relief when he realizes Dan meant about her project approval.
A nervous Richard rides the elevator down with Dan. “It goes without saying,” Dan suddenly says to Richard, “that Liz can never find out about that whole thing between us.” Smash cut to credits!
If the show’s implying what I think it is, I sure hope Richard was better in bed with Dan than he was with the future Mrs. Melcher.