“The Industry” Adapts and Grows in Its Second Season

“The Industry” Adapts and Grows in Its Second Season

In its first season, Industry was the show par excellence in the workplace. Its characters spent endless hours at Pierpoint & Co., the fictional bank that tapped into their relentless drive to succeed. We didn’t see much of the actors outside of the context of their profession, and they saw themselves as one with their work, especially the American seed Harper (Myha’la Herrold), a young graduate, and Eric (Ken Leung), his boss. on the cross product sales desk. Harper and Eric have made a new life for themselves across the Atlantic, and it’s clear they’d rather not think about what they left behind.

Now in its second season, Industry must adapt and expand. The first sign of growth in HBO’s surprise success is pretty literal; IndustryThe first batch of episodes averaged about 50 minutes each, while the first episode of the follow-up, which premiered on Monday, is closer to 60. But moving on from the ruthless slaughter known as Reduction in Force (RiF) after quarantine, Industry evolves in a deeper sense. It’s always about work; slowly but surely, however, it focuses on the TV set’s other main focus: family.

Work and family, of course, are not mutually exclusive. Succession-a show Industry is frequently compared to and, this season, invoked explicitly – is about the chaos that ensues when your siblings and parents are also your co-workers. Neither Industry suddenly turn into It’s us, delivering plenty of high-octane antics that gave Season 1 its propulsive thrill. Having survived both the RiF and a global pandemic, Harper and his colleagues are still reminded that their employer is indifferent to their individual well-being. “Home trading has shown us that we can do more with less,” their boss, Bill Adler (Trevor White) coolly explains, as CPS teams from London and New York square off in a fight for survival. To help keep an eye on London’s progress, Adler replaces Danny Van Deventer (Alex Alomar Akpobome), a clean-lined Wharton alum going by DVD. Harper and Eric are no longer the only Americans on the floor.

Unlike its first iteration, Industry no longer has to convince us to care about these people and their success. Writer-creators Mickey Down and Konrad Kay, themselves former bankers, no longer have to explain the craft or teach us its standards. Transatlantic baking should hover over the action, but in truth, we’re already invested in more interpersonal affairs. For example: Last season, Harper backed his emotionally abusive boss against Pierpoint’s in-house reformers out of sheer self-interest. How has the dynamic of her and Eric changed now that he technically owes her his job?

To answer this, Industry presents a rival for Harper’s admiration. Hedge fund manager Jesse Bloom (Jay Duplass) has killed the market upheavals that have accompanied the coronavirus; in a show whose protagonists are all amoral at best, Bloom elevates detachment to an art. (Duplass, a nebbish guy who recently played a self-effacing academic, is slightly misinterpreted as a crass American. He just doesn’t have that Bobby Axelrod energy, though Bloom’s 15-screen platform view in the middle of an English mansion conveys its character to him.) More telling of Industrythe new management, however, is Why Bloom came to London: to reconnect with his estranged teenage son.

The relationship between Harper and Eric — and now, that between Harper and Jesse — has always had filial undertones. In season 2, Industry turns this subtext into text. Parent-child relationships are everywhere the show turns; As Eric reflects on his newly vulnerable position, we follow him to his young daughters. (To illustrate that he is not on time, his widely granny sweatshirt also makes an appearance.) In the beginning, Industry was content to portray its characters in accordance with their image of themselves as automatons of their own invention. Now it’s peeling back the facade, going straight to the source of their dysfunction. Everyone on Industry has a void that six-figure bonuses cannot fill. To paraphrase Tolstoy, every void looks just a little different.

Take Harper, a Mr. Ripley figure with a CV made to match. The young scholar fled New York State to escape an overbearing mother and the absence of her twin brother, a tennis prodigy. But when Harper stumbles upon a mysterious Instagram account, she realizes her family trauma has followed her across the ocean. Harper cherishes her lack of attachment; she spent confinement locked in a hotel suite, resisting calls to return to the office. Unfortunately, not everything in the outside world can be filtered through his computer screen.

Harper’s longtime foil is Yasmin Kara-Hanani (Marisa Abela), a posh publishing heiress pursuing a career of her own. Yasmin’s family fortune has always informed her perspective, from her fluency in multiple languages ​​to her easy dealings with ultra-wealthy clients. This season, however, we meet the man who made his legacy. In the midst of a divorce from Yasmin’s mother, Charles Hanani (Adam Levy) decides to fix his absence from his daughter’s life. Her re-emergence coincides with Yasmin’s foray into Pierpoint’s private wealth management office, run by the glamorous Celeste Pacquet (Katrine de Candole). Yasmin’s soft skills were a liability on the hectic trading floor, but here they are an asset – although she may be less interested in the job than her new boss, an older woman she meets after hours and is initially mistaken for a high-end prostitute. (Jokes write themselves. After all, PWM is just another way to make the 0.01% feel cared for.)

Even the supporting characters fit right into the overall theme of the season. Working class Oxford townsman Robert (Harry Lawtey) discusses his childhood with a single mother obsessed with getting him into the upper crust; his revelations explain why he is repeatedly attracted to dominant women. Gus (David Jonsson), whose time at Pierpoint has been derailed by a misguided affair, reveals that his father is Ghana’s ambassador to Angola. While attending their brother’s graduation from Eton College, his sister urges him to get back on track. It’s his responsibility to pass on the privilege they grew up with, she says, and it’s the least he owes his parents for turning a blind eye to his homosexuality.

From the start, Industry became interested in the cycles of evil. The show began with calls for systemic change when a new recruit dies of overwork, then traced the slow disappearance of said change at the hands of the status quo. This interest in institutional toxicity continues in Season 2; the show features a freshman as naively optimistic as its older counterparts once were, and a familiar face returns to mistreat the Pierpoint crew as they mistreat her. But by broadening its focus, Industry shows how these cycles extend well beyond the four walls of the office. Hurt people hurt people, as they say – and before they put on their Savile Row costumes, the hurt starts at home.

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