Silicon Valley 4.5: “The Blood Boy” Review

NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Silicon Valley” are present in this review



Silicon Valley brought its ongoing story developments to some surprising new paths this week, as the partnership between Richard and Gavin inevitably gets rocky, while Dinesh starts finding himself especially eager to separate himself from his super-hacker girlfriend. “The Blood Boy” brought up an inspired and surprisingly understated disagreement between Richard and Gavin, while surprising developments at Raviga might spell an interesting career change for both Laurie and Monica as well.

The episode begins with Richard bringing Gilfoyle and Jared to a meeting at Gavin’s mansion, giving us another hilarious peek into just how much of a rich eccentric Gavin has become behind closed doors. Most blatant among these eccentricities is Gavin bringing in a, “Blood boy” during Richard’s work meeting, believing that a transfusion from Bryce, the blood boy in question, will help keep Gavin young and fit. When Gavin then disagrees with Richard wanting to stealth launch the new internet idea by having a big public release, and the blood boy agrees with it, Richard and Jared both lose it at Bryce, leading to Gavin insisting that Richard go to Bryce’s place and apologize.

This began as an effectively silly conflict that plays well into how much of a weirdo Gavin is, creating an especially eccentric obstacle for Richard to contend with. Richard is even surprised to discover that Bryce claims to be smart when it comes to tech, and could only get close to Gavin by being a blood boy, since no one as good-looking as him is taken seriously in Silicon Valley. This is kind of a cool idea for a conflict, though sadly, the show eventually wimps out of it. After Richard discovers that the supposed organic food place that Bryce goes to actually sells nothing but pot and munchies, he goes to rat Bryce out, only to see that Bryce beat him to the punch, resulting in a hilariously identical fit of enraged off-screen destruction from Gavin. That’s funny, but it does drop the whole issue with Bryce by outing his agenda as fake, which just feels too easy.

More than the comical consequences of Gavin’s blood boy being a fraud though, this results in a surprisingly serious self-reflection from Gavin, after he admits to Richard that the big release idea for Richard’s new internet was more to make himself look good than anything else. Upon coming to the realization that Richard nonetheless made Gavin look good in a subsequent news interview, something Gavin wouldn’t have done if he was in Richard’s shoes, Gavin signs over his P2P networking patent to Richard’s full ownership, while also transferring the giant self portrait that Richard’s formula was written on. This was a surprisingly heartfelt and selfless gesture from Gavin, especially as he starts preparing to go away to an unknown location, with Richard having to accept that Gavin is well and truly gone for now. It was great to see how well the show made viewers sad about Gavin having to leave too, despite how much trouble he’s caused Pied Piper over the years. We should be happy he’s gone, and yet, it feels heartbreaking in a strange way.

This week’s Silicon Valley episode also offered two subplots, with Jian-Yang disappointingly sitting out this week’s episode, beyond a quick appearance in the opening. The first of these subplots involves Monica coming to realize, with some help from Erlich, that a baby shower being thrown for Laurie by Monica’s rival, Ed Chen is actually an attempt to oust Laurie from Raviga. Monica being caught between loyalties at her business made for fairly compelling material, especially since it forced her into a begrudging team-up with Erlich, whom she normally detests. The way that this subplot’s resolution played against expectation was great too, as Laurie later tells Monica that she is aware of the coup, since she is actually pregnant with her fourth child, which was amusingly dropped very casually, to outstanding comic effect. Nonetheless, Laurie debates leaving Raviga, and offers Monica a chance to come with her. This is a really interesting prospect, one that could have Laurie and Monica mirroring Richard when he left Hooli back at the start of this series. Again though, if this is where the show is going with Monica’s character, why the hell did Silicon Valley bother with the clumsy retcon of putting Monica back at Raviga after Season Three?

The remaining subplot involves Dinesh getting more and more anxious about being hopelessly entangled with Mia, after Gilfoyle claims that she can destroy him and the Pied Piper operation at any moment. When Dinesh thus finally decides to come clean to Mia about his genuinely accidental destruction of Gavin’s place at Hooli, thinking it will help motivate Mia break up with him, he is shocked to see that it actually has the opposite effect, as Mia is overjoyed that Dinesh was honest, having known about what actually happened since they first started going out. This has Dinesh forced to attend Mia’s sister’s wedding, though the wedding ends up getting raided by the FBI, who arrest Mia on the spot! This seems like a lucky break for Dinesh… Until it comes out that Dinesh was the one who called in the tip, after Mia rewarded his honesty by telling him about a secret hack she did. Oh no. Despite Dinesh’s celebrating, there’s no way he’s home free here. It’s more than likely that Dinesh created a self-fulfilling prophecy by doing this, worrying so much about a potential destruction of his work that he made it a certainty. I seriously doubt that this is the last we’ve heard of Mia, and Gilfoyle will no doubt be more amused than ever when this inevitability comes down on Dinesh’s head!

Silicon Valley overall delivered a very reliably strong episode in, “The Blood Boy”, moving the show to some good, logical new places. All three storylines ended with an effectively unexpected conclusion, as Monica gets the chance to enter a new business venture with Laurie, Gavin makes a departure to find himself, and Dinesh gets his girlfriend arrested by the FBI. All three of these resolutions are bound to build up to exciting new developments later in the season, though it is a shame that the actual blood boy conflict had to end on a bit of a whimper, since that was more about giving Gavin an excuse to leave, and putting Richard entirely in charge of his new internet operation. Silicon Valley is often at its most exciting when it’s effectively evolving without its occasionally clumsy story pivots, as it’s doing here, and with Richard, Dinesh and Monica now all seemingly being ‘free’ of their respective worries, we’ll have to see if this ends up creating more problems than it solves.

Silicon Valley effectively brought the show to more exciting new places across its storylines this week, as Gavin must confront what he is, and Dinesh does something very bad to get rid of his girlfriend.
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Gavin's heartfelt moment of charity and self-reflection at the end
Laurie and Monica repairing their business relationship
Dinesh ratting Mia out to the FBI
Blood boy being outed as a fraud deflates his conflict