Photo: Nick Strasbourg/HBO
I realized this season of Industry is set up to bog us down in the details of the lives of Harper, Rob, Gus, and Yasmin. Last season was a quick and brilliant look at the characters’ individual worlds, but its main focus was to show us the world of work at Pierpoint. This season, the show goes in depth on each character. Where do they come from? What motivates them? Why do they do what they do?
In Yasmin’s case, she discovers that she doesn’t know as much about herself as she thought. When she, with a smirk, tells Maxim that she would like him to transfer her family’s assets to Pierpoint, he warns her that now is not the right time and implies that the Yasmin’s father has cash flow problems. Later, Yasmin invites Celeste to a party to celebrate Hanani Publishing only to find out that the publishing business has been sold to another company. years from. Yasmin confronts Maxim and tries to make it look like he’s hurt by the end of their date, but Maxim, breaking his usual gentlemanly facade, basically tells it like it is: Yasmin has no idea how or where his family’s money is, and the obfuscation isn’t it doesn’t come from him; It’s from Yasmin’s father.
Celeste and Yasmin coke in the bathroom, where Yamin lies that she fixed the issue with Maxim. Then Celeste drops the bill they were using for the cocaine on the floor and sexyly orders Yasmin to pick it up. It’s a moment of deja vu; it’s exactly the kind of thing Yasmin would have done to Robert last season, but now she’s the one in command. Conscientiously, perhaps even resentfully, Yasmin pays the bill. But when it looks like an affair may be happening between the two, Celeste leaves the party, saying his wife is keeping her on a weekday curfew. Yasmin is surprised, but I can’t tell if it’s the existence of a woman or if Celeste is the kind of person who is faithful to a spouse.
So where is Yasmin going? Inside Harper, Rob and Gus’ apartment! Why is she doing this?!? She’s on good terms with Harper and Rob! Either way, what follows is an extremely uncomfortable interaction. When she shows up, Robert goes to bed immediately, and Harper has to entertain a drunk and stoned Yasmin, who immediately makes a line on the coffee table. In an attempt to open up (?) to Harper, Yasmin launches into a long rambling monologue about how she didn’t care about money at all during the height of the pandemic, contenting herself with buying various pairs of perfect white pajamas while trying to process body images in New York. I understand that Yasmin is starting to realize that she might not be as rich as she thinks. I also think Industry is excellent at serving horribly awkward interactions. Still, given that we’re all also experiencing the pandemic, Yasmin seems like a very big privileged baby right now.
Maybe because she feels guilty or because she feels cunning, Yasmin makes her father breakfast the next morning, taking the opportunity to sit down and ask him to agree with her on the family money. What emerges is a disturbing and opaque response about the women his father had relationships with, some of whom he paid off and who signed NDAs. He says that’s just the way things have been handled legally, and he has nothing to be ashamed of. But we, and Yasmin, know that you don’t pay someone and make them sign an NDA unless something incriminating is at the heart of the matter. When she tries to tell Celeste about it, Yasmin learns that she overthinks small things and that Celeste plans to work with Yasmin for fun.
The episode is light on everyone: Harper goes to what was supposed to be a dinner party with Jesse until the DVD crashes the evening with his heavy stuff, forcing Jesse to cut the night drinking short. She seems annoyed by DVD for this, but that doesn’t stop them from (ultimately) have sex later at Harper’s apartment. Turns out DVD is the kind of guy who mistakes his ass-eating enthusiasm for a personality trait. Either way, it’s kind of a tender moment until Harper wakes up in the middle of the night and calls Jesse, who’s also on a date. Harper is anxious – Was Jesse impressed with Jesse’s DVD straight-edge businessman presentation the other night? He was not. Harper and Jesse have a borderline sexual conversation about how Jesse should listen to what Harper says because they have similar restless personalities.
Harper offers Jesse to bypass FastAid, a chain of brick-and-mortar pharmacies that could potentially be involved in Rican’s efforts to make healthcare accessible worldwide. The catch is that DVD advised Jesse to buy FastAid earlier at the bar. Had Jesse followed through on the DVD proposal, it would have been a win for Pierpoint. But Harper tells him to bypass FastAid through another bank. The bottom line is that Harper moves in an entirely self-serving manner. Pierpoint risks losing his position in FasAid if Jesse pursues Harper’s game. She not only features the FastAid shorts, but herself as Jesse’s one and only financial darling, even at the cost of jeopardizing her job.
Robert not only has a sexually tinged relationship with his client but he fully fingers Nicole! They seem so pals that sometimes it’s hard to remember Nicole behaving extremely inappropriately. Then I have to remind myself that Robert is also an adult and should know better. That being said, Robert has a drink with Harper (before Yasmin arrives), and while they are discussing how much they were paid, Harper tells him that she is glad Nicole is behaving professionally. Last year, when they worked together, she and Nicole had “a moment.” Harper refuses to go into details, but Robert understands what she is talking about. He looks crestfallen and disgusted as he realizes Nicole’s dynamic with him isn’t special but just his MO. Later at the office, when Nicole’s name appears on the caller ID, Robert ignores her as a spurned lover, a jealous little boy, or both.
The person who basically splits this episode with Yasmin is Eric. I loved learning more about who Eric is and how he became. It reminds me of a moment last season when he was on leave and Harper saw him in the grocery aisle with his two daughters. The juxtaposition of terrifying Eric as a helpless father in a hoodie at the mercy of two preteens is so fruitful. In this episode, we see a lot more of it as Eric is on an indefinite “vacation” after the last upset episode with Felim. He’s been home so long his daughters are fed up with him, and he could probably stay home longer if it weren’t for pay DVDs in his office. This sends Eric into a rage – he won rank and the right to pay the people who work for him. How dare DVDs pay people! (But also, if I think about it clearly, did Eric think people wouldn’t have to pay their bills or shop until he decided to stop moping? Or is it that the bankers have so much money lying around that it’s not a problem?)
To get over the DVD head, Eric flies to Pierpoint’s headquarters in New York. Obviously, he thought it would be a power play, but instead of being welcomed with open arms, Eric is told by Bill, his supposed pal and big wig from New York, that he’s postponed their meeting until the next day. . The affront is loud and clear, especially when Eric is sequestered in his former boss’s office. As he wanders around Newman’s office looking for a pack of cigarettes, Eric calls DVD in London in a frantic attempt to intimidate him. This moment feels like a mirror of Yasmin’s pajama ride, a character using tried and true methods to stay who they think they are, but we can see the facade cracking.
Because he can’t meet Bill, Eric goes to dinner with Newman’s wife, who he worked with and had a romantic affair with. Around Chinese food, they remember what it was like when they both started working. When Newman’s wife comes to see Eric after dinner, he chooses to receive the check instead. The next day he meets Bill and finds out that the DVD has called ahead. Eric is sent to pasture and removed from the office. His machinations, his bravado – it all failed. While Harper and others on the desk earn money for the bank, Eric just doesn’t cut it. His years of service don’t matter to Pierpoint; only the bottom line does.
The episode ends with Eric returning to England and climbing into bed with his sleeping daughter. While lying there, we see a flashback of him in New York. It seems that after receiving the bad news from Bill, Eric went to see Newman’s wife and slept with her. Was it to feel powerful again? Feel needed? Sought? Either way, it was a moment that I found out of character. Throughout this season and episode, we’ve seen Eric unravel. Do we need to see him fall into this weak embrace, seeking comfort in a bed, when he never seemed like the kind of character who would value sex so much? Maybe I’m uncomfortable seeing our brash resident getting so sweet. Either way, Eric will no longer be Harper’s direct boss. Will it make Harper fly or fail?
• Gus is an intern for Aurore, the conservative politician who participated in the pheasant hunt in the last episode. There, he helps a distraught, angry man who claims someone left dog poop on his lawn, only Gus realizes it’s human poop. Gus then helps said man by being nice to him. Also Gus and Leo are adorable together. I still love Gus, but I don’t understand how this character fits into the show.
• That being said, in a separate universe, there’s a sitcom about Gus, Harper and Robert sharing an apartment and trying to make it in the big city. I like their easy friendship.
• Not related, but has anyone seen Body Body Body? I really enjoyed it, and partly because I just imagined a separate Harper timeline in which she’s a kid in a big house on the East Coast.