(Warning: Spoilers for the season 2 finale Industry ahead.)
for two seasons, Industry‘s intriguing anti-heroine Harper Stern (Myha’la Herrold) has managed to wriggle her way out of multiple failures and lies as a junior banker at Pierpoint & Co. If you remember from the HBO show’s pilot, part of her tenure was based on this pretense. She earned a degree from a prestigious university, though she never graduated from the state college that she actually attended.
At first, it seemed like Harper would be ousted sooner rather than later for her fake college transcript. But her boss, Eric Tao (Ken Leung), impressed by her determination and cunning, mercifully kept her secret — until tonight’s stunning season two finale, which ended with Harper’s resignation from the company.
in the IndustryIn his short time on the air, co-creators and writers Konrad Kay and Mickey Down have proven themselves adept at planting seeds and making them bloom in the most sudden and surprising ways. For example, it’s easy to forget that Eric has always had the upper hand in his power struggle with Harper this season because her transcript isn’t even mentioned. It also seemed like Harper, whose successful side deals with hedge fund manager Jesse Bloom (Jay Duplass) led to Eric’s removal from the cross-product sales desk, had completely forgotten that her manager would one day take that information against her she could use.
At the beginning of the season 2 finale, she and Eric manage to sell Adler (Trevor White), the global head of FICC at Pierpoint, on their pitch for a “superteam” to sell macro hedge funds that traders Rishi ( Sagar) does not belong to Radia) and Danny (Alex Alomar Akpobome). However, when Harper comes to work at the end of the episode, Rishi is present and seems privy to her intrigues. And the final scene, when Eric pulls Harper away from her desk and they take the elevator to Human Resources, is one of the most intense in the entire series.
“We liked the idea of her being lifted off the ground, having just returned from that triumphant win [and] taken in an elevator,” Down told The Daily Beast. “A lot of what happens on the show takes place in elevators. She has this last interaction with Eric, a callback to something that happened in episode one. It felt like they were actually showing vulnerability to one another for the first time. Eric says in his own way that he cares about her. And then he leads them on this death march [in the finale] through this corridor. It feels kind of spooky and surreal and spooky.”
At first, Eric’s decision to expose Harper reads like a delicious moment of well-deserved revenge. But Kay thinks there’s more ambiguity when he rats on her.
“His motivations are murky in a pretty good way,” Kay said. “Is that an act of revenge? And does he want to get rid of her? And does he really care about her welfare? Is she a danger to herself?”
“His motivations are murky in a pretty good way. Is this an act of revenge? And does he want to get rid of her?”
It’s important to note that early in the episode, Harper commits securities fraud after divulging information she received from Gus Sackey (David Jonsson) about Amazon’s purchase of Fast Aid to Bloom. Bloom tricks Harper into buying him shares in Rican, Fast Aid’s competitor for the NHS contract, while being interviewed on a cable news show. On the show, he fools viewers into thinking there will be an anticompetitive investigation into the sale — Harper tells him there isn’t — causing both stocks to move in his favor.
Surprisingly, when Harper confides in Eric about her mistake, he doesn’t whistle. It’s another indulgent gesture in their hostile relationship that makes the ending feel like a punch in the gut. Likewise, Kay suggests that his decision to oust her from Pierpoint for writing her might actually be interpreted as an “act of kindness” in this reckless environment.
“He’s basically using this little thing from her past to get rid of her before this bigger thing could possibly explode and hurt her even more,” he explained. “I think some people will think he’s doing the fatherly thing of scissoring a kid.”
Meanwhile, Yasmin Kara-Hanani (Marisa Abela) is finally disillusioned with what she originally thought was an empowering move to work in private wealth management under her dream boss and lover, Celeste (Katrine De Candole). Throughout the season, Yasmin was somewhat unrecognizable from the more principled version of herself that we saw in Season 1. In the finale, she tells Celeste that she doesn’t want to portray men like her father, who she found out had a child with one of the women he nursed. This leads to Yasmin angering Celeste and her father, who calls her a spoiled nepotistic baby before freezing her accounts and swapping the locks on her apartment. Still, it was a relief to watch her come down from her weird power trip.
“I think it was a slow wear-down,” Down said. “We discussed it in the writers’ room in such a way that as the season progressed, the traditional scales fell from her eyes about her father, about her privileges, about her childhood. And she’s been negotiating all season long.”
Similarly, fellow banker Robert Spearing (Harry Lawtey) spends the last few episodes of season two moralizing about his sexual relationship with predatory client Nicole (Sarah Parish). On the one hand, Robert is a grown man with a fetish for being dominated. On the other hand, he knows that Nicole attacked Harper and most recently the new Pierpoint employee Venetia (Indy Lewis). When he confronts her about her behavior in the finale – before she finally jerks him off – it’s hard to tell if he’s feeling like a victim or if he’s angry at himself for making it possible for her.
“I’ve seen different people assess the scene differently in episode four [Robert] and Harper talk about Nicole having a moment with Harper,” Down said. “Some people said, ‘Oh Robert is sad that he’s not the only one who has been harassed and abused by Nicole. He doesn’t feel special anymore.’”
“He knows Nicole is bad news,” Kay added. “He knows her behavior towards Venetia and Harper is reprehensible. But he just can’t help but feel his position is different. At the end of the day, he’s someone who really appreciates being put down.”
Perhaps the strangest and most unpredictable character of Season 2 was Gus, who mostly “walked in time,” as Down puts it, taking on random gigs and beginning a relationship with Bloom’s son. But in the finale alone, he manages to lose his job at Aurore (Faith Alabi) after the Amazon news, win it back after Bloom used the information, and then lose it again after telling Aurore he was the shared confidential information with Harper. However, he ends up on a private jet with Bloom, raising the question of whether he shared the information with Harper, knowing that he would ultimately benefit from it.
“It wasn’t on purpose,” Konrad admits. “Mickey and I went back and forth on this scene because we didn’t want it to feel too easy on some levels. It feels very lifelike, those insights and information and how little nuggets are passed on by roommates. With banks, there’s this whole idea of a Great Wall of China where you separate those two things. But obviously people are talking.”
Overall, the season finale benefited from an overarching sense of ambiguity rather than concrete conclusions. Viewers were asked several nerve-wracking cliffhangers and interesting questions about the future of these hard-working professionals, particularly where Harper will end up with such a big stain on her resume. Whether Kay and Down can see a future Industry Without the clever expat at the center, the duo remains closed.
“Answering that question would reveal too much about what we have in mind for Season 3,” Down said. “I mean, Harper is the focus Industry at this point. We love the character. We love them all. The interesting thing for us is that we wrote a version of the show that moves away from Pierpoint. Whether this is forever or something we go back to is at stake.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/obsessed/industry-creators-on-shocking-season-2-finale-harpers-future-and-season-3?source=articles&via=rss Industry creators on the shocking Season 2, Harper’s Future and Season 3 finale