Sunday, June 11, 2017
Silicon Valley recap: Season 4, Episode 8, “The Keenan Vortex”
Eager to pass on his hard-won wisdom, whether anyone wants it or not, Richard (Thomas Middleditch) tells Keenan Feldspar (Haley Joel Osment) on tonight’s episode of Silicon Valley to enjoy his success while it lasts because “this can be a tough business.” Keenan, who’s such a good bullshit artist that he wins Richard over by admitting that, yes, he really is a bullshit artist, swats away Richard’s warning, and no wonder: The wheels of Silicon Valley are greased for operators like him. But in the trip-wired world of smart nerds like Richard and the rest of the Pied Piper crew, there’s rarely time to savor a victory before it blows up and knocks them back on their asses.
In the short space of “The Keenan Vortex,” Bachman (T.J. Miller) loses his Bream/Hall job just days after landing it, and the deal Richard just landed with Dan (Jake Broder) and Liz (Leisha Hailey), which was supposed to pump his company with an infusion of cash, threatens to bankrupt it instead. Pied Piper’s pied piper, “adorable little wombat” Keenan, seduces every member of the team, with his eight-figure checks and all the comforts of his multimillion-dollar man cave, convincing them for a minute or two that he can solve all their problems—and then turns out to be just another snake-oil salesman, like nearly every other big name in the valley. Once again, by the way, it’s Monica (Amanda Crew) who comes through for Richard, letting him know that “Keenan’s tech is dog shit” and promising him Round A funding for his peer-to-peer network if he breaks free of Keenan and proves he can get a network of mobile phones to do the work of a server.
At least Keenan’s unmasking explains why he attached himself to a blowhard like Bachman. Keenan played Bachman’s thirsty ego like Josh Bell plays the violin, turning Bachman into a human bargaining chip in his attempt to squeeze even more money from Bream/Hall. That ruthlessly ingenious move is typical Silicon Valley, both buoyantly absurd and creepily plausible.
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