Silicon Valley suffered a devastating loss during its first season. After the fifth episode was completed, series star Christopher Evan Welch, who portrayed bizarre brilliant billionaire Peter Gregory, died. Mike Judge and company chose to have Gregory be present, but always off screen, during the final three episodes of season one. However, they tackled Welch’s death immediately in the first episode of season two, having Gregory die by the end of the first half hour.
Gregory’s death is handled with Silicon Valley’s typical smart, hilarious writing, and it sets in motion the events central to season two’s arc. Without Gregory in the corner of Pied Piper, Richard (the great Thomas Middleditch) and his team are missing the strong backing of Raviga Capital, Gregory’s firm. They must now deal with Laurie Beam (Suzanne Cryer), the new CEO, a woman whose social skills and halting speech are even more off putting than Gregory. Moreover, Beam deals in numbers and not the heart, so she only sees Pied Piper as an investment rather than an idea that can change the world.
Pied Piper also finds themselves being sued by Gavin Belson (Matt Ross) and his Google-like company, Hooli, for copyright infringement. The lawsuit and the void left by Gregory make it near impossible to raise the capital to help Pied Piper see the light of day. In steps Russ Hanneman, played with perfect douche baggery by Chris Diamantopoulos. Hanneman is an early innovator of the dot com era who became a billionaire when AOL bought his program for streaming radio on the Internet. Obnoxious and over the top, Hanneman has lived off the wealth and notoriety of that sale ever since. He saves the day by funding (with conditions) Pied Piper and provides enough many of seasons two’s funniest moments.
The second season of Silicon Valley doesn’t miss a beat from the excellence of season one. It continues to provide enough laughs and commentary on the human condition to make it one of the most binge worthy and intelligent shows being produced. Middleditch and his cast mates Martin Starr, T.J. Miller, Amanda Crew, Kumail Nanjiani and Zach Woods have that perfect ensemble chemistry you hope for from any workplace comedy. They have the timing and energy (or lack thereof) that makes every joke click and every gut punch resonate. The additions of Cryer and Dimantopoulos add to the show’s strengths and make season two a success.
Season Two of HBO’s Emmy nominated series is now available of Digital HD aqnd viewable through Google Play, Amazon, Vudu, PlayStation, Xbox, CinemaNow, Fios, Nook and iTunes.