“Two Day of the Condor” is one of the strongest episodes of Silicon Valley yet, turning California labor law and server stability into compelling television. It didn’t have the equivalent of last year’s perfect dick joke, but it had something better: Dramatic tension, and sweet lady justice.

Last week, Richard admitted that he used a Hooli computer to work on Pied Piper, setting himself up to lose the company to Gavin Belson. Meanwhile, just as I predicted like some sort of clairvoyant wizard (and, uh, because it was really obvious) the live feed of the condor camera-removal man who got trapped at the end of “Binding Arbitration” rapidly gains traffic, thanks to BuzzFeed, Reddit, and a Manny Pacquiao tweet.

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The team is thrilled by its stroke of accidental viral misfortune porn luck. “Even when his sobbing shakes the camera there’s no blocking at all, and the quality is great,” Gilfoyle says. Traffic keeps climbing. Once the livestream goes viral in the Philippines, they need to scale up. Dinesh, Gilfoyle, and Jared frantically try to keep the servers running as more and more Filipinos tune in. “Do you want to do a verbal SWOT analysis?!” someone yells as they try to figure out how to put out the fire without killing the servers.

barrette game strong

It’s mayhem, but as Jared says: “It’s magical.” This is what these guys live for: Chaotic creation. It’s a joyful scene, and I love that they never, ever care about the desperate pee-drinking condor guy, ignoring his writhing to focus on the number of people tuning in. It’s an affectionate, sly way of making fun of a strain of callousness flourishing in Silicon Valley.

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Another sly move: The coders quit, which means Carla, the female coder whose introduction doubled as a way to explicitly address tech sector gender disparity in the show, has just sort of faded into the background, just as pretty much every conversation about the role of women in tech ends up producing little more than hand-wringing.

While Gilfoyle sweats through his shirt to keep the servers up, the judge rules in favor of Hooli, granting it ownership of Pied Piper’s underlying intellectual property. Richard texts Jared to tell him to delete everything as a way to prevent Hooli from profiting from his code, but then the judge continues: Since Richard and Jared’s Hooli contracts contained unenforceable non-compete clauses, their contracts are not valid. Richard retains full ownership of Pied Piper. Belson’s career is smoked, and we get a Sheryl Sandberg cameo as Big Head gets anointed tech’s next great white male savior.

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failing upward never looked so chill

Richard’s phone dies before he can tell the team not to delete its code, so he races around trying to find a way to contact them. The team dillydallies, insisting on a toast.

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“is this a wheat beer? i can’t drink it this without a lemon”

Thomas Middleditch is a king of frantic slapstick, and his dash through northern California to prevent his work from being lost was tense and funny, giving the usually low-stakes show a jolt of tension as everything Pied Piper has worked for over the past two seasons is on the line. Richard doesn’t make it back in time to stop them, but Dinesh’s deletion code doesn’t work, sparing the sweet sweet compression algorithms from an untimely death.

Pied Piper is on an upswing, but Richard’s career isn’t. Laurie Bream buys Ross Hanneman’s board seats, which gives Raviga a majority stake in the company since Monica already has a seat. The first order of business: Firing Richard. As the guys celebrate their victory running the livestream and defeating Hooli, Richard gets his ouster call.

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Richard has consistently sucked at being a leader all season, and the Raviga coup is both realistic and almost inevitable. For every quivering, limp-handed jab Richard made at being assertive, he did something else so dumb it undid any progress. His ousting sets up some conflicts for next season, since Monica betrayed Richard, and the rest of the team is still on board, and I’m very curious what the writers will do with him.

The founder who gets fired and claws his way back to power is now practically a Silicon Valley trope, with Steve Jobs as the archetype and Jack Dorsey as the latest example. I’m sure that Richard will be back at Pied Piper by the end of next season.

Stray thoughts:

  • I wonder if this is the last we’ll see of Hanneman?
  • My Gizmodo-doesn’t-exist-in-Silicon Valley theory was proven wrong by a loyal reader.

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Contact the author at kate.knibbs@gizmodo.com.
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