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Industry - 2.03 - The Fool - Review

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It's not like I didn't already know this but wow, am I glad I don't work at Pierpoint. All the fancy parties and drunken nights out don't ever seem to make up for the sky high anxiety levels this work environment induces. And it's one thing when it's the sheer difficulty of the market situation, but quite another when your own boss/mentor is quietly tormenting you, and trying to force you to fail, all while regularly going behind your back.

Eric and Harper's relationship is hard to define. One moment he sees a prodigee in her and takes her under his wing in order to make her Pierpoint's new star, the next he's telling her what a terrible job she's doing. Both of them have something deep and career-threatening on the other: Harper's lack of a finished college education (let alone Ivy League), and Eric's actual job, which Harper helped get him back at the end of season one, by sacrificing her new supervisor. Never has their rapport been this fraught though, and the constant antagonism seemingly reaches its peak in this week's Industry episode.

After Jesse bought the Rycan shares at a discount, leaving Felim in the cold, Eric is pressuring Harper, to in turn pressure Jesse, to sell the shares back to Felim. Harper isn't a big fan of this idea, and she and Jesse go back and forth about what strategy to adopt. Meanwhile, they're all off to some kind of investor retreat in Wales, which involves cosy rooms in a castle, and being outfitted for hunting with mufflers, guns, and in Harper's case: a snazzy beret. With two pairs of nemesis on the grounds, this goes about as well as you'd expect. Eric finds a way to menacingly gift Harper with a pen for her good work with Bloom, sandwiching compliments in barely veiled comments about her having messed up the Felim deal at the same time, or going behind her back to talk to Jesse. Jesse ends up shooting Felim in the face, which somewhat puts a (bloody) dampener on the outing.

While I enjoy Jesse bringing leverage for Harper at work, and while their dynamic is entertaining, there's also a thrum of disquiet whenever Jesse abuses his position with her. Calls in the middle of the night, especially when they involve Harper finding an Oxford educated tutor for his son, or him blatantly telling her that no answer isn't good enough as to what they can do about Pierpoint/Felim, are little red flags that may be nothing, but might turn into something worrying as the season progresses. I want to like Jesse, but he frequently goes overboard with what he calls "the service" and I don't like him taking advantage like this, this early on (or at all).
Sidenote: I'd been wondering where I'd seen the actor who plays Felim (Andrew Buchan), and of course it was on Broadchurch (watch it if you haven't already). In the end, Harper finds a way and weaves her way into discovering what, exactly, is going on with Rycan's U.S. strategy of "democratizing healthcare", making an ally of the infamous Anna along the way. As the European market is (once again) just about to open, Harper and Jesse thwart Eric and Felim thanks to Anna selling some shares to Jesse, and him going all in. The shot of Eric sitting alone at the breakfast table is... chilling, to say the least.

On a lighter note, during this outing we also meet Jesse's son, and his new tutor who turns out to be none other than Gus! I'm glad Gus is (somewhat) back in the fold, and he uses the opportunity to ask for career advice. Here's to hoping Gus will find something worthier than desperately trying to have a billionnaire's son write a paper for a university he wants to quit and who doesn't seem to have any ambition. That said, I wouldn't be surprised to see Gus and Jesse's son engaging in another kind of relationship, if that lake dip was anything to go by.
And Gus wasn't the only one making heart eyes during this episode, personally I'd like to know what the hell Danny is playing at with Harper. He invites her to drinks, he comes to her place to finish the Bloom deal celebration, Rishi even says what we're all thinking as Harper keeps insisting on Danny staying: "Congrats on the sex". And yet, when it's finally only the two of them, he says he has to get some sleep. This, however, doesn't justify what Harper does next (and apparently does every time she doesn't get her way with someone else): turning to Rob and basically perpetuating their FWB status, if that. Firstly, Rob deserves better, secondly, it's been three episodes, and he seems to suffer from some kind of performance issue each time, what is this leading to?!
Even his heart to heart (although I'm not sure any of it was supposed to be serious) with a lost Yasmin, felt a little too... vulnerable. I am intrigued, but please let's not have Rob get hurt. Speaking of Yasmin, she actually came looking for Harper, and I do hope they manage to find a way back to their friendship. Yasmin is feeling insecure about her job, so it's a day ending in y. FX is making her feel inadequate, what with everyone finding more success than she does, and her new gig with Celeste has already hit a wall, when she dined with Rocco and "stole" him from Celeste, a major faux-pas she wasn't aware was one, until Celeste coldly remarked upon it.

All in all, an interesting episode that likely sets up the rest of the season (and I did appreciate the Succession-lite Wales extravaganza, this is definitely something that Waystar would orchestrate), and I'm excited to see what's next. Did you guys enjoy the episode? What did you think of Harper's choice to, well, basically declare war upon Eric? Will Yasmin ever find her place? As usual, sound off in the comments!

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