Industry season 1, episode 5 recap – “Learned Behaviour” nourishment

December 8, 2020
Jonathon Wilson 0
TV Recaps


A damning exposé shines a harsh light on Pierpoint in “Learned Behaviour”, as the company and the graduates attempt to navigate its glare — mostly by having a lot of sex.



A damning exposé shines a harsh light on Pierpoint in “Learned Behaviour”, as the company and the graduates attempt to navigate its glare — mostly by having a lot of sex.

This recap of Industry season 1, episode 5, “Learned Behaviour”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

I’m not counting the sexy scenes in Industry, but it certainly seemed like there were a lot in “Learned Behaviour”. Sometimes it feels like this is just par for the course for an HBO show, and fair play, since it’s good for word of mouth, repeat viewings, and – let’s be frank – web traffic. So I hope the overworked graduates at Pierpoint continue sleeping together in various combinations as explicitly as possible, but I do also appreciate it when all the sex and excess has some additional utility in fleshing out characters and developing storylines. I’d say that was the case here, as a damning exposé written by a former Pierpoint employee shines a harsh light on the company’s incredibly toxic workplace, and everyone from the graduates to the higher-ups has to navigate its glare. These people have a lot of steam to blow off.

Take Harper, for instance. She had a mare last week, and in “Learned Behaviour” she’s given another seemingly impossible task by Eric: To bring the company’s incredibly lucrative client Felim back on-side, which is going to be difficult since he refuses to meet with anyone, least of all Eric, and has instructed his staff not to take any calls from Pierpoint. Harper attempts to finesse him by making light of his creepy milk obsession and then uses hip Millennial social media expertise to track down his assistant, Luke, in a local bar, angling for a meeting that she has to list Daria as the lead on since Felim won’t even get out of bed for anyone other than senior staff.

See? This is stressful, so the presence of Harper’s ex, Todd, seems like a pretty convenient way of getting one’s mind off work. The conversation might not be great, but after a while, there isn’t much to talk about anyway.

The problem with this kind of self-care is that there’s always the next day. And Harper seems to have some kind of weird condition that makes her reflexively lie about everything even when the truth would have done, so when Daria is notified of the upcoming meeting she tries to blag it, then tells Felim she isn’t coming, then looks rather stupid when she turns up after all. Apparently, there isn’t enough cold milk in the world to repair Felim’s relationship with Pierpoint, so that leaves Harper and Daria to endure a really awkward drive back to the office during which they discuss Harper’s consistently shady way of doing business, Eric’s pressuring way of leading, and a coming storm ushered in by the exposé that’s going to fundamentally reshape the workplace culture at Pierpoint one way or another. When the smoke clears, will Harper have picked the right team?

All of this occurs in Eric’s absence, so when he returns he’s pissed, and not just because he finds Gus answering his phone (this is, by the way, virtually the only thing Gus does in the entire episode.) He takes Harper aside so she can debrief him about Felim, and he does not take his refusal to return to Pierpoint well. The news that Daria had to be informed that it was Eric personally slighting Felim that caused him to leave in the first place is even more aggravating for him, and he takes it all out on Harper, reducing her to tears with a savagely personal rant. He’s right about one thing, though – she kind of is a liar.

Harper’s day gets even worse when, at home, she discovers that Todd stole a vest from one of her clients at the bar, and it erupts into an argument in which he chews her out as well. “Learned Behaviour” is not a good outing for Harper. When Yasmin returns home and catches both her and Todd arguing in the street in their underwear, her shocked-but-really-just-tired reaction is shared by all of us, I think.

Industry season 1, episode 5 recap - "Learned Behaviour"

I really like Yasmin – I think she’s the most interesting character, but I do wonder sometimes if that’s just because I hate Kenny, and he’s always giving her a hard time. Industry episode 5 tries to redeem him somewhat, mostly by making him look pathetic and stupid and get all candid when he’s faced with the prospect of schmoozing clients. And it’s Yasmin who secures the meeting in the first place! Admittedly it’s her friend Maxim and his company who’re potentially looking at doing business with Pierpoint, but at least she showed some initiative, something which Kenny obviously resents – one assumes because he doesn’t have any of his own.

Kenny’s excuses for his awful attitude towards Yasmin didn’t hold much water for me, and when he quickly got drunk and started being just as unpleasant to Yas as usual, I felt pretty vindicated in mistrusting him. Obviously, he’s bitter about Yasmin’s posh background and resentful of his own social awkwardness and lack of charisma, but it’s no excuse, especially once he realizes he’s out of options and just starts trying to torment Yasmin with paid lap dances.

To be honest, I don’t much care for Yasmin’s work subplots, since her romantic escapades tend to be the focus of almost every episode, and the will-they-won’t-they she continues to enjoy with Robert is a pretty fundamental part of the overarching narrative. That takes some turns in “Learned Behaviour”, though I must confess I’m thoroughly confused about what the show is doing with Yasmin’s boyfriend, Seb. Until now he has seemed like a decent if exceedingly dull guy, but here he manages to send Yasmin into a frenzy, though only as a direct response to something she does which is way worse but that I’m not sure he totally understood the context of. Let me explain.

So, at the start of the episode, Seb and Yasmin have a childish argument about whether or not Yas is nourishing Seb’s plant – that isn’t a metaphor, either, by the way, even if it’s symbolic of the deeper issues they have regarding responsibility. Yasmin has been preoccupied sending Robert dirty pictures, so she’s a bit unconcerned with Seb’s botanical woes, which is emphasized later when she masturbates in the bath to a video of Robert masturbating with her panties on his face. Problematically, though, her phone connects to the kitchen Bluetooth speaker, so Seb hears what she’s listening to. As payback, he masturbates – there’s a lot of masturbating in “Learned Behaviour” – with the help of a cam girl, and Yasmin later discovers him fast asleep with the laptop still open and the rather pathetic sock still around his junk, so she tears into his beloved plant.

I have some questions! First and foremost, what did Seb think Yasmin was getting off to in the bath? Obviously, he could hear another man grunting, but he has met Robert once for all of about five minutes, so surely he can’t have identified him from that? Maybe he just figured she was watching p**n or something? And was getting caught part of his payback scheme, leaving the evidence all over the place, or did he just dopily fall asleep? It really is impossible to tell with this guy.

Robert is in “Learned Behaviour”, by the way, but he’s mostly used as a vehicle for dispensing more backstory on his boss, Clement, since the two are away in Amsterdam on a business trip. This is surprisingly good stuff since Clement has a similarly working-class background to Robert and had a difficult relationship with his father. It’s hard to get a bead on Clement as a character, really, since we’ve seen him be rather enigmatic and also quite nasty without ever really getting a sense of what his overall endgame is. He doesn’t seem hopelessly driven like the graduates, idealistic like Daria, hapless like Kenny, or ruthless like Eric; he’s a little like all of them but also nothing like any of them at the same time. That makes him, at least to me, one of the more interesting figures at Pierpoint, and it’ll be fun to see how his relationship with Robert affects both characters. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest there’ll probably be more sex and drugs in Robert’s life either way.

Thanks for reading our recap of Industry season 1, episode 5, “Learned Behaviour”. For more recaps, reviews, and original features covering the world of entertainment, why not follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page?

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