The Empty Chair
Written by Megan Amram
Directed by Eric Appel
Richard grows increasingly anxious over the state of Pied Piper as tech-buzz builds around Jack’s dismissal and possible replacements.
After learning how much money Jack spent on new office space and amenities, Richard decides to take action: They’re going to break the lease, dismiss the sales team, have a fire sale of everything in the office and put everything into hiring engineers to code the platform.
When Richard gives the sales team notice, Jan asks if he has the legal right to do so. Code/Rag has reported Richard’s tech is mediocre and that’s the reason no one will take the CEO job. Jan assumed Richard had been fired by Laurie.
At Big Head’s incubator, Erlich dictates a contract with terms decidedly in Erlich's favor. Big Head expresses concern, but Erlich tells him every successful partnership is about "committing fully, blindly and without concern for the consequences."
Richard calls Laurie to confront her about the rumors. He demands she set up an interview between him and Code/Rag reporter C.J. Cantwell to set the record straight. Laurie insists Richard meet with her head of PR to work on his communication skills first.
At the Hacker Hostel, Big Head tells Erlich his business manager has some questions before Big Head signs anything. Erlich plays up his disbelief and tells Big Head they need to pave the road of their partnership with trust. A moment later, Big Head takes a call from Laurie, asking if he wants to interview for the Pied Piper CEO job. Upon hearing the news, Richard storms out for his PR meeting in a rage.
Richard arrives at the Raviga offices and is directed to a conference room where a woman is sitting. Assuming the woman is the head of PR, Richard launches into a tirade against Laurie, revealing how much he still wants to be CEO.
Meanwhile, over drinks, Laurie confides in Monica that she made a mistake firing Richard as CEO. Laurie is only pretending to review other candidates before reinstating Richard.
After Richard finishes his rant, the publicity director walks into the room. The woman he’s just vented to introduces herself as C.J. Cantwell, and heads off after saying she has everything she needs. Richard chases after her, but Cantwell says unless he has a better story, she’s going to publish the following day.
Later, Big Head comes to the Hacker Hostel to sign contracts with Erlich, and Richard tells him about the interview with Cantwell. Big Head says in passing he bets Richard wishes he could scrub the internet like Gavin Belson. Hearing this, Richard takes Big Head to tell the story to Cantwell; she agrees to spike the one about Richard.
Richard and Erlich return to the hostel after a board meeting and announce Richard has been reinstated as Pied Piper's CEO. Jared introduces him to the engineers they've hired to develop the platform via video chat -- made affordable as they work remotely from around the world.