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Silicon Valley Season Premiere Recap: Mo' Employees, Mo' Problems (Plus, Did You Miss T.J. Miller?)

Silicon Valley Season 5 Premiere HBO Richard

Erlich Bachman may not be around to cause chaos when Silicon Valley kicks off its fifth season, but Pied Piper CEO Richard still has plenty of fires to put out… and wastebaskets to throw up in.

Silicon Valley Season 5 Premiere HBO Dinesh GilfoyleSunday’s premiere begins with Richard getting talked out of a depressingly tiny, fluorescent-lit office space — Gilfoyle compares it unfavorably to a CIA black site — and reluctantly splurging on an expensive new set-up for Pied Piper. He’s worried about spending Laurie’s money too fast (“She’s eleven months pregnant, and highly irritable”) and nervous that they’ve only hired three coders so far, when they need 15 to work on his decentralized Internet. To be fair, Dinesh and Gilfoyle are rejecting all of his candidates for highly relevant reasons like “his beard hair looked like head hair, and his head hair looked like beard hair.”

Even Mr. Beard Hair isn’t an option after Richard runs into Gavin Belson at a fancy gala and discovers that Gavin has hired every coder that Richard’s interviewed so far, just to screw him. Pied Piper’s attempt to acquire struggling start-up Optimoji goes sideways when the annoying guy behind an annoying pizza-delivery app — Sliceline! Get it? — lets it slip that Gavin’s poached all of Richard’s coders and he’s desperate. Then the Sliceline guy swoops in and hires all of Optimoji’s coders before Richard even has a chance to, enraging Richard to the point where he walks out with a stack of their pizzas as retribution.

He realizes, though, that Sliceline is just re-boxing Domino’s pizzas and losing a dollar on every order. So he hatches an evil plan to use the $13 million he has in the bank to buy up all of Sliceline’s pizzas and bankrupt them, so he can hire their coders back. A smart plan… except when it works, he’s now stuck with 50 engineers, more than triple what he intended to hire. Laurie signs off on it, though, when Monica vouches for him, and soon, Richard is giving a pep talk to his 50 new employees. And yeah, you can guess how well that goes.

He stumbles through some pseudo-inspirational gibberish (“We’ve got a lot of men and women here… and we should remember that”) before fleeing to his office to panic-vomit in a wastebasket. Unfortunately, his office has glass walls, so his new hires are all watching him as he crouches on the floor, mid-hurl. Well, it’s good to know that even with Pied Piper thriving, some things never change.

Silicon Valley Season 5 Premiere HBO Jian-YangElsewhere in “Grow Fast or Die Slow”:

* I didn’t really miss departed cast member T.J. Miller, did you? The absent Erlich Bachman did get a mention in the premiere, as his nemesis Jian-Yang assumed control of the incubator house — and quickly rented out Dinesh and Gilfoyle’s bedrooms to Chinese guys during the day while they’re at work. When Jian-Yang forged a “letter” from “Eric” that awarded him the house, he learned the letter could serve as a will in the event of Erlich’s death. But apparently, shipping a fat white dead body to China and back is prohibitively expensive.

* Gavin got a rude awakening when he tried to get the coders he hired away from Richard to work on Hooli’s “Box 2.0.” They mocked it as “antiquated,” so he banished them all to the far reaches of the Hooli campus to wait for their stock options to vest. But based on the pre-orders, the Box 2.0 looks like it’ll be massively profitable, so who cares about innovation, right?

* Typical Laurie Bream: gives birth in the morning, shows up for an afternoon meeting totally unfazed.

* Jared, as always, was a highlight. While getting Richard dressed in a tux for the gala, he gushed, “You’re going to look like Richard Gere from Pretty Woman. Maybe tonight you’ll fall for a radiant sex worker.”

What’d you think of the Silicon Valley premiere? And did you miss T.J. Miller? Grade it in our poll, then hit the comments to share your thoughts.

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