lingering questions

Where Does Industry Go From Here?

Photo: HBO Max

Spoilers for the season-two finale of Industry follow.

Huh. What does Industry do now?

It’s a difficult question following that season finale. Eric, who has spent the last eight episodes as the object of ire for people younger than him, who were taught by him and who want to replace him, is now back on top. To get there, he pulled some pretty shady dealings in the finale, somehow managing to get both his protégés fired while ending up back on the trading floor. It’s impressive work that illustrates why he’s been in this peak position for so long.

But, um … that leaves Harper, Industry’s main character, out of a job (on a show about her job), perhaps the boldest move yet in a series that has staked its reputation on bold moves. Also out of a job is Yasmin, who after cutting ties with her father for grooming her nanny is no longer of use to the wealth-management position she’s spent all season cultivating, leaving Yas without a home and walking out of restaurants without paying.

On the other hand, one person in a job is Gus, who spent most of the season as a kind of hanger-on after getting himself cut during RIF in season one. Now he’s managed to finagle his way onto a private plane with Harper’s other manipulative father figure, Jesse Bloom, reminding everybody just how good at this whole business thing Gus can be when he wants to. With all these updates and alterations to the Pierpoint & Co. roster, we’re left with as many questions as answers, so we’ve compiled them all to help process what we witnessed.

Why did Eric get Harper fired?
While Eric getting Harper fired could be seen as the final power play of the season, when he tells Harper “I’m doing this for you” in the elevator, it feels like he’s telling the truth. Their last spoken interaction before the firing was when Harper called Eric “Dad” on the phone (so as to not tip off Rishi to the play Eric and Harper were making), which left Eric, a father to two girls, positively dumbstruck. Ken Leung, who plays Eric, told Vulture that he believes it to be a protective move. While it could be seen as reactionary to all the shit Harper’s pulled on him this season, the longer that final moment lingers, the more fatherly it seems.

But how is it protective?
Well, for one, Harper is a lot less likely to go to jail for insider trading if she isn’t in a trading job anymore. After the stunt Jesse pulled on national TV to get the FastAid deal examined by the British government, Harper could be in significant legal trouble, something a father figure might not want for her. But on a deeper level, Eric just saw Harper pull off one of the shadiest moves the show has seen to this point: screwing over DVD and Rishi by forcing the hand of Pierpoint’s CEO. And she did it with panache. After all that Eric has gone through this season, it’s not a leap to say that he doesn’t want his life to become Harper’s.

How hard did Harper get outplayed by the end of this season?
Pretty hard, actually. Our resident wunderkind fucked around with some big dogs and found out how hard it is. She got outplayed by Eric, even if he did do it with good intentions. She got outwitted by Jesse, who shook her for all her information by giving her just the right amount of respect. And she got outlasted by Gus, who laid low all season before deciding to get his ass in gear and feed Harper the information she needed to accidentally let Jesse insider trade, then parlayed that into a job.

How much of this did Gus plan?
Unclear. Following the episode-six confrontation with his family, Gus played everything pretty much perfectly to end up in the best spot of anyone, career-wise, relative to where he began the season. He gets himself cleanly out of politics by admitting he let something slip to Harper, but what seems like a mistake turns out to have been a calculated decision: He tells Jesse what he did, and as a favor for both that and for getting his son into Oxford, Jesse hires Gus. It’s a reminder that the blue-haired Gus we knew in the first part of season two may be the happiest Gus, but when Gus wants to, he’s a natural in this industry.

What’s going to happen to Yas?
Yasmin is in a tough situation. She has no money because she never bothered to separate her account from her father, and after cutting herself off from him she doesn’t even have her own salary to fall back on. She’s also let go from wealth management because she can’t get them her father, and, after apologizing to Venitia for not being receptive to the story of her assault by Nicole over lunch, Yas walks out of the restaurant without paying. With the CPS and FX desks merging due to Eric and Harper’s conniving, it seems unlikely that Yas will be able to land a job back on that desk, so … what happens now? We’re not sure, but Yas becoming a petty criminal because she can’t live a life of luxury seems altogether more likely than ever before.

What about Robert?
That story does not appear to be going down a positive path. Given his righteous fight with Nicole and the merging of the CPS and FX desks, Robert isn’t in a great position career-wise. He’s also just … not great at his job? We’re going to root for Robert to go to therapy for his mommy issues and get the hell out of Pierpoint ASAP.

Will we get more Jackie next season?
We hope so. Jackie’s time in Berlin with the constantly falling-apart duo of Yas and Harper was one of the funniest moments of the season, and if the story takes Jackie from us like it did Greg, we will riot!

What about Rishi’s fiancé?
We hope so times two! We do learn in the finale that Rishi’s fiancé is pregnant, right around the same time as Rishi and Harper get it on. With Rishi managing to keep his job due to Harper being fired, it seems like there’s a lot of potential for that Ta-Nehisi Coates enjoyer to make her way back onto our screens, and we await the day longingly.

Where can I buy Eric’s Pierpoint & Co. purple sweatshirt?
HBO is selling it, those capitalist kings (although it’s sold out in my size).

Will systemic change ever come to Pierpoint?
No, lol. Why would you think that?

All Our Lingering Questions After the Industry Season Finale