“Daddy” finds the post-pandemic trading floor an even more hostile place than usual, as old habits begin to resurface and some new ones further complicate already testy dynamics.
This recap of Industry season 2, episode 1, “Daddy”, contains spoilers.
When it debuted in 2020, Industry was something of a surprise. It came out of the gates as another darkly funny workplace drama about a cutthroat business attractive only to deplorable sociopaths, reminiscent of Succession, but then it gradually revealed itself to be a drug-addled sex-mad extravaganza of debauchery, reminiscent of Euphoria. Everyone in it is awful, and the plot revolves largely around these uniquely awful people trying to feel their way around a career without totally succumbing to baked-in personal traumas and complete moral decline. It’s like watching androids trying to pass as human survivors in a post-apocalyptic future.
Industry season 2, episode 1 recap
That’s an apt comparison since Season 2 of Industry is very specifically about how the pandemic has ravaged the trading industry and the economies that keep it afloat. The premiere, “Daddy”, is framed mostly in Harper’s perspective, since she has been working from her disorganized room at a chain hotel for the entire period, where she mostly lounges around in a robe, goes swimming, and complains about the burgers. With the company’s New York branch sending an emissary to shake things up on the trading floor, Eric is adamant that Harper returns to the office and realizes her full and ruthless potential, though she returns to find the place almost unrecognizable – and her colleagues aren’t pleased to see her.
It’s through Harper and her hotel that we meet a new character, Jesse Bloom (Jay Duplass), a fellow American who has also moved to the U.K. after making a killing as a hedge fund type during Covid. Jesse seems like quite a nice guy, but Harper obviously sees him as a mark, and there’s an air of mystique about him that is obviously going to form at least part of this season’s backbone.
Harper might need the connection, though, since things aren’t looking great at Pierpoint. Eric is stressed out by the arrival of the New York rep, Daniel Van Deventer, he’s frustrated by Harper having lost her edge while working remotely, and Robert, who is now on Eric’s desk, isn’t making any outgoing calls. That last one is part of a string of details about a now-sober Robert having lost his confidence and sense of self-worth; he can pull the train into the station but can’t get any passengers to disembark, sexually speaking, and he doesn’t seem to have much of an identity beyond the coked-up city boy we saw all throughout the first season.
Others, meanwhile, have risen to positions of new power and confidence. Rishi, now engaged to an upper-middle-class woman with a podcast, is almost unrecognizable as he berates Harper for spending so long out of the office, and Yasmin has positioned herself as the de facto queen of her desk, relying on her family contacts and the absence of Kenny. She’s even taken to bullying the new hire, Venetia, mostly to make herself feel better.
But Yasmin’s fortunes take a turn when she loses her largest client in Maxim Alonso, who she sleeps with in light of the professional relationship being no more, and at whose party she meets Celeste Pacquet, a Pierpoint managing director who works with individuals of particularly high net worth and whom Yas initially, and amusingly, mistakes for a sex worker. She might represent something of a lifeline for Yas, since the loss of Maxim, her volatile relationship with Harper, and the return of Kenny, who’s in recovery, all seem to make the trading floor less than ideal for her.
You get the idea, then – everyone’s struggling in different ways, though most of them related to personal excess in the last season and ambition in this one. Given this isn’t exactly a happy-go-lucky show, odds are that things will get worse before they get better, and there’s a virtual guarantee that many people will be hurt along the way. That’s what we’re here for, I suppose, though what that says about us is anyone’s guess.