“There Are Some Women…” is a brutal examination of a self-cannibalizing industry spitting out the bones of its most devoted adherents.
This recap of Industry season 2, episode 4, “There Are Some Women…”, contains spoilers.
For the last couple of weeks, Industry has made a point to deliver at least one white-knuckle moment of suspense, usually in completely unintelligible banking terms. And even though most of us – okay, me – don’t have a clue what any of the terminology means, we get it. A deal is down to the wire. A client might fall through. The details don’t matter, really; it’s about the feeling, and you know that whatever is at stake matters in some way and that whoever lays their head on the guillotine won’t have to wait long until they hear the whoosh of the blade.
Industry season 2, episode 4 recap
But “There Are Some Women…” doesn’t really have a moment like that. Instead, it plays like a slow dirge as one man marches towards his inevitable demise. You can feel it coming, even if it isn’t necessarily clear how the end will come – by his own hand or someone else’s. The most telling moment of the episode is that Eric is eventually given the unceremonious chop by someone he hired. In this world, you nurture and raise a creature just for it to eventually eat you.
I wouldn’t say this episode seeks to make us sympathize with Eric, but it definitely wants us to understand why he needed to calcify his feelings for his own protection. Even his closest mentors were racist to him. But he took what he needed from them; learned at their feet, followed at their heels. He learned to put up with it. So, he’s probably not surprised when the people he mentored start tightening the hangman’s noose. But it still stings. How can a man known colloquially as “The Terminator” be reduced to this?
It’s about compartmentalization, really. Eric learned to close off the parts of himself that were vulnerable and protect them with callouses. But that meant being closed off from his family, too, and presumably his friends, though we’ve never been given reason to believe he has any. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that in finance, the only way to survive is to lop off the pieces of yourself you’re least attached to, like Aron Ralston – the climber James Franco played in 127 Hours – hacking off his own arm to save the rest of himself.
What emerges as a theme in “There Are Some Women…” is what happens when you realize the cost of those sacrifices. It’s about the slow realization that if you’re willing to give away so much of yourself eventually you’ll be forced to part with something you’d have rather kept. There’s a surprisingly sympathetic moment here when Harper casually reveals to Robert that Nicole made a move on her and that sudden realization that he isn’t special or unique to her visibly crushed him. He’d essentially prostrated himself at her feet for the sake of a sale, and to her, he’s just another asset to be used.
We don’t see Robert reckon with this news, but we presumably will soon. But we do see Yas reach a similar personal crisis. Hers isn’t related to sacrifice, per se, but to the fact she’s never had to sacrifice anything. Even during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, which for many was the worst and most trying period of their lives, Yas, the heiress of a publishing fortune, never worried about money. She never altered her lifestyle. She simply did what she always had, which has always been whatever she wanted. But now, in moving her father’s finances to Pierpoint, or at least attempting to, she’s opened the door of a closet rackety with skeletons. Daddy’s various indiscretions have tied most of his money up in long-term non-disclosure agreements, buying the silence of women. He’s adamant that he still has many lifetimes’ worth of dough left, but I’m not convinced. And neither is Yas.
Yas’s coke-fuelled meltdown about this takes the place of the usual high-pressure sale moment. It’s a different tone, but no less effective. Marisa Abela is sublime here, and Harper no-selling her reaction is great too. That faux-sympathetic “I’ll get you some water” moment is basically Harper saying, “Welcome to the real world.” She’s probably long overdue a visit.
The other significant development involves Harper hooking up with DVD, presumably in a kind of “keep your friends close…” plot, since she immediately explains to Bloom that she’s keeping an eye on him because she’s well-aware that he’s “a sales guy”. And you can never trust those. But it must be depressing when every platonic and sexual relationship you have has to operate on these terms; when the people you like and trust are always the ones who end up wielding the axe that cuts you down to size. Really, there’s no wonder these people take drugs.