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WeCrashed - Episode 1.08 - The One With All The Money - Review

It's S-1 filing time and the WeWork offices are in complete chaos. Unsurprisingly, Adam and Rebekah's initiative to provide an non traditional filing didn't have the expected result, and the company is scrambling to deal with the blowback. So let's get started on the final dive into WeWork's downfall!

The management team (including the guy of former -"COCK" written on his forehead at Summer Camp- fame) is spiraling and they finally convene at Adam and Rebekah's place to discuss how bad, exactly, the situation is. The investment banks did not appreciate Rebekah's little ideological manifesto, which apparently included a photo spread (I don't even dare to imagine what the pictures could be of). One does wonder if spurred on by her WeGrow ventures, she confused the S-1 filing with a coloring book.

"It’s a financial document, that no one reads!"
"Well, they do read the Wall Street Journal and they’re working on a story."
"There’s a story?!"
"Well, maybe about late night parties, tequila shots and uh, a brick weed in a cereal box on an international flight?"
Damian, by the way, is looking increasingly flustered and it seems like he's the one feeding stuff to the Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, the investors are also freaking out, and actually want the IPO to be postponed, or to lower the initial evaluation from 47 billion to... 20. Meaning that had the company gone public, if anyone had invested at that initial evaluation, they would be "getting fleeced", which was pointed out by Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez at a congressionnal hearing.

As a result, Adam is in full damage control mode and filming an explanatory video supposed to reassure, well, everyone. It does not go well since he both can't concentrate and can't pronounce "paradigm" correctly. Rebekah, of course, swoops in with her (probable) three weeks of acting knowledge and tries to help him with his lines. I desperately wanted to see her try and get him to do another accent, like she did during that ill-fated play, but alas, we will have to make do with Damian's expression of barely contained horror as he watches the scene unfold, all while suddenly being informed that the WSJ is running the story. When Adam finally succeeds in getting through the script without faltering, everyone rejoices (from relief, more than actual celebration), except Damian, whose eyes are glued to his phone, reading the first sentences of what is the beginning of WeWork's end.
"Damian! My PR guru! How was it?"
"I think we’re finished."
The article is too much for the board, who finally realizes the extent of Adam's "eccentricities" and votes him out. Rebekah and Adam are not having it though, and immediately lawyer up asshole (with "all" the lawyers), in order to confirm that legally, the board can't actually fire Adam. Adam, however, dearly wishes to fire the entire board, in retaliation. Unfortunately (or fortunately, for everyone else), there's a little something called state law, that requires them to actually have a board. Amid disturbing whirring noise from the smoothie-making machine, as Rebekah asks for some kind of disgusting green juice to be made (of which I can only assume she got the recipe from Elizabeth Holmes) until it fits her exact specifications, one of the lawyers explains that while Adam's shares are still 65%, him firing and replacing the board isn't actually a great move either (big surprise). There'd be massive legal action, they have no time, and when Adam and Rebekah start throwing names such as "Warren? Bill? Barak?" in the air as board member replacements, you can tell the lawyers are one green smoothie away from quitting.

While Adam is deep in denial, Miguel gets tasked with reassuring the WeWork troups. I can't imagine how it feels to be working for a company that suddenly gets destroyed in the press and not knowing if you still have a CEO, or, more to the point, a job. Miguel, as we know, isn't great at the public-facing stuff and this is clearly the last thing he wants to do. Valiantly, after grabbing a mic, he tries to pretend everything's fine, but the speech gets derailed fast.
"No one is getting fired yet!"
"YET"? mouth striken employees in despair, as Miguel begins to sing. Yes, sing. Fortunately, and never has his arrival been such a relief, Adam walks in and saves Miguel from further attempts at PR. Because crisis PR time it is, and Adam has hired a team to take over WeWork's image and make it great again. The crisis team also takes over the Neumann residence, to Rebekah's despair. Her floors! Her couch!! Everyone must wear booties!!! The image of her and Adam pushing the "confidential" white board by skipping across the street, all while covering it with Adam's jacket to hide it from spies (?) has been living rent-free in my mind ever since I saw it.

Despite Adam refusing point blank to give up his CEO position (and Rebekah's right to choose a successor in case of his death), he finally, after someone explains it to him, understands that he's going to lose everything. Especially since in the meantime, the Uber and Theranos stories made big headlines and investors are far less enclined to give him any leeway. If he stayed, not only would WeWork go bankrupt, but Adam would lose all his money. Adam then turns to Masa for help, but Masa is done too. He'll block the IPO if Adam proceeds with it, and Masa has deep, very deep pockets, which are now turning against Adam. When someone takes a picture of Adam, looking visibly flustered and barefoot on the street, which goes viral, he and Rebekah finally decide it's time to let it (the CEO position), go.

Miguel is trotted out for yet another announcement (no, he doesn't sing this time, to everyone's relief), and this one is pretty huge. Guess who's taking over as CEO? That Cameron guy who tried to help WeWork with its IPO, to tidy things up before going public. He's off to a brilliant start, too.
"I assure you, WeWork’s best days are ahead of it!"
5 seconds later, in front of the board.
"We’re fucked.”
As it turns out, the board finds out that WeWork has about two months before it runs out of money. What they didn't realize, apparently, is that with Masa as the only investor, WeWork's business model was to expand as much as possible in new locations (which means construction, which means funds) in order to dominate the market, regardless of cost. Layoffs aren't an option since they mean severance pay, with money the company doesn't have. Adam still owns majority shares, which is another issue. So the only solution is to buy him out.

Masa makes several offers, which Adam refuses. Because his altruism only goes so far, if he's going to leave, he's going to to do with a golden parachute. And at first, it seems like he wins. Because Mada relents and admits that Adam is actually the crazier one, in Masa's earlier analogy. And it looks like Adam will get off scott free, even though his employees are filing for unemployment and the company is falling apart around him. He and Rebekah jet off to Israel, kids, nannies, and everyone else in tow. But Masa makes one last phone call, which Rebekah takes because Adam is off swimming.

Turns out, as Masa puts it, it isn't the crazy one, or even the smart one, who wins. It's the one who has the most money, and in this case, it's Masa. He doesn't plan on giving one cent of the settlement package to Adam, and Rebekah, who'd pretended money didn't matter in the end, and they just needed to start over, starts shreeking about losing all the money as she reaches for Adam in the water. Adam's eyes, apparently, are sensitive to seawater and he stumbles blindly as Rebekah keeps screaming into the waves, and the camera pans out.

In the end, everyone sued everyone. Adam and WeWork sued Softbank, the WeWork employees sued Adam, and the list goes on. All in all, quite a wild conclusion to the WeWork saga. I was worried, five minutes before the end, that Adam was actually going to be able to set off in the sunset with 0 consequences (havaing not read up on the actual final happenings), but thankfully there were at least some, even if in the end, he still was able to leave with 480 million dollars. This spring really was the Startup Downfall TV era, and I honestly enjoyed it all a lot, whether it was about WeWork, Theranos, or Uber (I couldn't get through the Anna Delvey show though, so I'm not including it here). How did you enjoy the finale and the series overall? As usual, sound off in the comments!

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