Martin Starr’s sullen, hyper-intelligent satanist Gilfoyle on Silicon Valley was, during Season 1, a bit of a cad. We saw his sexual relationships with female hackers and California groupies, who apparently loved nerds like him. In Season 4, he’s been reduced to one half of the Pied Piper odd couple, trading barbs with Dinesh and brooding in the background of shots focusing on Richard. Episodes like Season 4’s “Team Building Exercise” show that Gilfoyle is right where he belongs. When Richard recruits Jared to his new internet project, Gilfoyle can barely contain his jealousy. It’s a sweet little turn of events that proves HBO’s satire truly has an affection for its nerds.
Like a true adolescent, Gilfoyle can’t bring himself to tell Richard he wants to be on the team, too, so he annotates Richard and Jared’s list of possible systems engineers with lame insults. The fact that the disses are pitiful, Jared tells Richard, proves that the usually silver-tongued Gilfoyle is beside himself with grief. Richard rolls his eyes and offers Gilfoyle a job, only to be insulted (because Dinesh is watching). Moments later, Gilfoyle corners Richard and Jared in another room, framing his acceptance of their job offer as charity. No one cares, and they’re all back together again (except for Dinesh, who’s moderating Periscope and solving the company’s “dick problem” after looking at, and then deleting, one errant digital penis at a time.
The fact that Silicon Valley tore its core group apart only to piece them back together, one episode per character, with no real consequences or changes in the men as a result of their character arcs, feels a bit hollow. However, as Judge shuffles his oddballs into new combinations, we’re beginning to see which characters deserve more screen-time with each other. Richard and Jared are always delightful, as are Dinesh and Gilfoyle when left alone, but tossing Monica and Erlich into scene after scene together feels like they were both picked last in gym class.
As we see when Gilfoyle contends briefly with rejection, none of these techie nerds like to be the last nerd chosen.
Silicon Valley airs Sundays on HBO at 10 p.m. Eastern.