Usually, Industry is a show where the business particulars don’t matter all that much. But this time, I guess it’s essential we know what Harper is dealing with. So, without further ado, here are the basics of where we’re at. (Did I ever imagine the month I spent interning in a Japanese securities firm would come in handy? No, but life is a rich tapestry.)
In the last episode, Eric and Harper were stressing about a block trade. A block trade is a privately executed trade that happens outside the market, hence the countdown last week where someone needed to buy shares before the market opened. In this case, the block trade is for shares of a health-care company called Rican. Felim should have been the main player in the trade, but Eric bungled that, so Harper got Jesse to buy the shares instead. Reminder: Jesse’s buying was contingent on the involvement of a socially conscious fund manager named Anna. (Whether funds can really be socially conscious under capitalism is a different question.)
In this episode, Eric, Harper, Felim, and Jesse are invited to a pheasant shoot in Wales. Originally, Pierpoint organized the shoot to celebrate Felim buying the Rican shares. But now that Jesse has purchased the shares, he and his upstart American manners are coming along, as is Harper, his point person. Eric makes it clear to Harper that their focus on the trip is to get Jesse to sell his shares to Felim, which would be a win-win for the firm and the desk. It’s a moment where Eric seems to be leveling with Harper, talking to her like an equal or team member. To further cement the safe and gentle feeling, he gives Harper a pen that he says his mentor gave him when he made his first big sale. But on the train to the pheasant shoot, Harper overhears a rep from Rican talking to a Pierpoint person and realizes there’s more to this sale than Eric is letting on.
Wales turns out to be a high-stakes comedy of errors, some less funny than others. Jesse spends the entire time ripping into Felim and all the classist Britishisms surrounding the hunt. Harper is excluded from the Pierpoint pitch deck and put into a tiny room facing the trash cans. Jesse and Harper are bad at shooting. They’re so bad that during an “elevenses” break, Jesse tries to shoot a rare white pheasant and ends up spraying a load of buckshot into Felim’s face. At a later social gathering, Harper confronts Eric and asks what he’s keeping from her. He refuses to say, telling her he doesn’t trust her and that they don’t work together — she works for him.
Harper returns to Jesse and tells him that the short-term strategy here would be to sell to Felim. He’d make a profit, and everyone at the firm would be happy. But Harper has a different, dicier long-term strategy. Remember that socially conscious fund manager Anna? She’s at the shoot too, and in talking with her, Harper has figured out that Rican can’t deliver on its promise to bring down costs and increase accessibility for health care in the U.S. market. If it can’t do that, it won’t get approval in the U.K. market. Rican is trying to conceal this fact to facilitate a buy to Felim, but Harper says that if Jesse keeps his shares and buys a controlling stake from Anna, while he may experience some short-term fallout, he’ll be backing a real changemaker in private health-care access in the U.S. and the U.K., not to mention potentially looking at a great long-term windfall. The next morning, Jesse doesn’t show up to a breakfast meeting with Felim, where he is supposed to sell his shares of Rican. Instead, Harper returns to London early and is back in the office. With Rishi’s help, she executes a sale. Jesse’s followed through on her suggestion and bought the controlling share in Rican from Anna.
In Yasmin-land, things aren’t going so well. She brings her father in for a meeting with Celeste, hoping that he’ll move the family’s money over to Pierpoint and score her some points with Private Wealth Management in the process. But her father makes it clear that he never took Yasmin’s proposal seriously and wasted Celeste and Yasmin’s time. Adding insult to injury, his half-erect penis is visible through his bike shorts when he gets up from the table — a classic Industry kind of shot that rubs salt into the wound of whatever character is struggling at the time.
In the elevator back to her desk, Yasmin is furious, barely holding back tears as she berates her clueless dad for disrespecting her at work. In a bid to make things better, she calls Rocco, the young son of the Italian client she met with Celeste in the last episode. She and Rocco have a rapport, so the two agree to meet for dinner, but Rocco asks that she explain crypto to him when they meet. I, too, would like someone to explain crypto to me while I eat dinner, and I guess the FX desk’s resident crypto guy is none other than Kenny, Yasmin’s old tormentor. The three go to dinner, and at first, it looks like it might be a repeat of last season when Yasmin had a disastrous dinner with Kenny and Maxim. But instead, Kenny notices a tattoo on Rocco’s wrist and realizes that Rocco, like Kenny, is sober and a member of AA. They hit it off as Yasmin awkwardly drinks from a very full glass of red wine.
Back in the office, Yasmin tells Celeste about Kenny and Rocco’s newfound relationship, but instead of being pleased, Celeste is coolly angry. She doesn’t believe the talk about breaking down silos and Pierpoint being one happy family. Her clients are her clients, and she doesn’t appreciate Yasmin bringing Kenny into the equation with Rocco. At a loss, Yasmin shows up at Robert’s door saying she’s looking for Harper, which I don’t totally buy. Whatever the actual reason is, she ends up on Robert’s couch drinking a beer and doing a few bumps of coke, which is strange because Robert isn’t drinking or doing drugs, and the overall vibe is a casual weeknight in. The two have a frank, slightly sappy conversation about how things might have been different if they’d just slept together. Robert tells Yasmin that she made it clear he was not on her level but that he would have eaten glass to eat her out. The two stare at each other and the music swells. For a moment, I thought the show would finally throw the two of them together, but Industry isn’t that cheesy. Instead, the two end up bursting into laughter. Robert gets up and goes to bed, and Yasmin leaves a voice note for her dad, telling him that she misses him and loves him.
The voice note is because Robert told her that maybe being the 12-year-old adoring daughter her father wants isn’t a bad way to get what she wants. But as Yasmin says she misses her dad a second time into the phone, I can’t help but think there’s a bit of truth there too.
• Sobriety is a theme this season, with Robert’s abstinence from drinking and drugs, not to mention Kenny’s exuberant preaching about AA. What’s the show trying to say about substances, if anything? Are we heading toward a “Yasmin has a coke problem” plotline? Please no.
• Gus again is peripherally involved in this episode. This time, he’s taken along to Wales by Jesse to tutor Jesse’s pouty son Leo. Leo and Gus have a flirty will-they-won’t-they thing going until Gus shuts Leo down, telling him his jaded diatribe on not wanting the life other rich kids like him at Eton have is tired and uninspiring. I think the show is not doing enough with Gus. I get that it’s hard to write him into the daily Pierpoint drama because he’s no longer at the firm, but still, it feels like the character is being kept around as a barely relevant side plot.
• No pogsboy911 this episode.
• DVD + Harper = cute? Cringey? Sincere? Self-interested? What do we think?
• On that note, is Harper trying to replace Eric with Bloom? But is Bloom really up to that task? No matter how charming and off-color he can be, I still feel that the person Bloom is most interested in is himself. Eric is also self-interested, but there’s a way in which he projects his self-worth onto Harper’s success that makes their dynamic seem somehow more mutual to me. Honestly, I’m just waiting for Bloom to screw Harper over.
• OH! Because some commenters brought this up in the episode-one recap — we got a Greg cameo!! For viewers who don’t remember, Greg was a character in season one who had a breakdown at a Pierpoint Christmas party and ran multiple times into a glass door. In this episode, Rishi and Harper do coke off of a novel that Greg wrote. Apparently, Greg left banking for book writing! Good for you, Greg!