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'Silicon Valley,' season three, episode three: The box is here to stay

All is not as it seems at the devastating end of this ep.

Sweet dreams, Erlich.

The thing we love about "Silicon Valley" is that they get us. They know it's a show for geeks, and it's made by geeks, and they aren't going to make naive mistakes like that time Steve McQueen drove around San Francisco via magical portals through space and time.

If you haven't tuned in yet, you can catch up here on the recaps of episodes one and two. This week's plot was fairly simple: Richard tries to go over Jack Barker's head, which doesn't work. Jack tells him that "the box is here to stay." The fellas continue working on the algorithm while pretending they are creating the physical data-compression box that Jack and the sales team have promised to the denizens of dystopian subterranean server stacks. But at the very last moment of the show, the plans for this caper are spilled across the floor of the fancy new Pied Piper digs, thereby scuttling the project we spent an entire episode watching them develop.


The wild caper the Pied Pipers come up with to rescue the original plans for the algorithm leads to a discussion of something called Meinertzhagen's Haversack, based on the legendary exploits of a World War I British spy named Richard Meinertzhagen. As posited by Jared, this plan means they'll emulate Meinertzhagen by creating a fake "battle plan" (the plans for the data box) while really working on the original algorithm.

But Mike Judge is a geek. The writers are geeks. The whole show is geekery, so they know we are going to Google Meinertzhagen's Haversack and see that a key element of the ruse is that the British spy allowed a false set of battle plans to be "discovered" by the Turkish forces to throw them off their real plans, thereby ensuring an important British victory.

I'm not the only one who noticed this — I see you, awesome Redditors — but this is definitely a minority opinion: Richard fucked up on purpose. This time. (Some eagle-eyed viewers even noted knee pads on Richard and a possible alliance between Erlich and the Japanese fish-sitter.) Frustratingly, we have to wait a week to see if I am correct, but mark my words, constant readers. Mark them.

In other fact-check news, there was a Hamilton reference! But it wasn't really a reference to the Broadway show currently obsessing a certain segment of the population. Erlich simply refers to the actual Alexander Hamilton as being half-black, which by most accounts was not true, but still dogged the ten-dollar founding father throughout his career — John Adams actually referred to him as "that creole bastard," which was super not cool. For more information, either listen to the show or read the biography it's based on.

The "Oceans 11" homage that takes up a solid third of the show is beautiful. I kind of wish Carl Reiner had just stuck his head into one scene just for giggles, but really, that's the kind of pop-cult subtext that tickles all my funnybones. And in a final note of joy, Richard's primary-care physician, played by Andy Daly, shows up in the trailer for Maria Bamford's upcoming Netflix series, Lady Dynamite. He's probably not the same doctor. It's probably a coincidence. But it's a great excuse to show you the trailer. The only other tech tie-in is that Bamford is a comedy machine.

Good recap? Or recrap? Hit me on Twitter with your views, thoughts and insights. The show airs Sunday nights at 10 pm on HBO, so check back here in a week.

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