did Industry offer only the clearest (and most unscrupulous) example of how capitalism and patriarchy and whiteness work together to maintain a structure in which those excluded from either system indulge in the illusion that the only path to success is to keep these systems intact?
By that I mean: action Industry to teach us all the importance of intersectionality by illustrating what happens when we refuse to see conflicting and intersecting forms of discrimination and exclusion while focusing on a seat at a table that necessarily has few vacancies ?
If that sounds too jargonal for an alleged show about tensions at a banking institution that turns its final minutes into a climax every episodethen just bear with me.
When we last saw the guys at Pierpoint & Co., we saw them turn a hunting trip into a metaphor for a survival-of-the-fittest competition where only the smartest — and most callous — come out on top to have. This is the world where not only Harper (Myha’la Herrold), Eric (Ken Leung), Daniel (Alex Alomar Akpobome), Yas (Marisa Abela), Celeste (Katrine De Candole) and Robert (Harry Lawtey) live but persist. And as “There Are Some Women…” shows, they do so even as they understand its blatant injustices – and perhaps most shockingly – its violence. Because that’s ultimately the kind of word we should be using to describe what exactly those same characters endure and pass on on any given day.
Take Eric. While Harper has clearly taken steps to distance himself from him, he’s long been a force to be reckoned with. After all, he is “The Terminator”. Every time he talks about his approach to his job, there’s an indifference that has clearly calcified over the years. And now, as he grapples with the uneasiness of being furloughed, we witness where it all came from. And the more you hear about his mentor (that MAGA hat alone in his office!), the more awe-inspiring it is at how adeptly he’s compartmentalized the racism he’s faced for years.
That said, at one point he made a conscious choice to ignore those comments but blindly follow in his mentor’s footsteps. But how can you so decouple this behavior in an office without asking how else it affects your business acumen?
It goes back to how Robert was only too happy to make Nicole’s advances a welcome part of his job – that is, until he realizes that such a sexual dynamic was less of an outlier than usual for this Pierpoint client. One that Harper had nipped in the bud, something Robert either didn’t know he could do or felt all too powerless to do. How power structures so many relationships Industry and across so many different layers (class, race, gender…) it becomes all the more insightful when you find people like Yas and Harper tackling such a topic head-on.
Indeed, their candid conversation about privilege (especially in COVID times: “I’m not guilty,” Yas says when Harper confronts her about not wanting to assuage her colleague’s guilt) was revealing precisely because it was so casual was. Of course, Yas would mindlessly miss when they would get their raises: to her, it’s all pocket change. Yas’ privilege has made her forget many power structures that Harper can never overlook.
And lest you think it’s all about race, Industry‘s pairing of Harper with Daniel puts an end to that. Or rather, it brings in a rarer relief. As the two previously joked, they come from very different backgrounds. (Remember she remarked that his last name, Van Deventer, didn’t sound “very black”?) He’s, much like Eric (not coincidentally), kind of a model minority, the kind of worker and colleague that bosses do brings to say this are “well spoken”. That’s why Harper might feel equally comforted and suspicious of him.
What should one say of their (probably very girl-esque) connection then? The cynic in me wants to believe Harper when she rightly owns the nicknames thrown her way (like “restless soul” and “craven capitalist”) and concludes that she’s close to Daniel stops so she can (and can) keep a better eye on him. away from Bloom): “He’s a salesman. His job is to persuade,” she tells Bloom when asked if she trusts him, revealing as much about herself as she does about her new fling at the office.
What is perhaps most depressing about how their close intimacy is immediately recontextualized by Harper’s work-centric approach is, as it reminds us, in Harper’s mind — and in Industry‘s world – no relationship can ever be anything but a transaction. There’s a soullessness that dictates their work, and you can see each and every one of these characters trying to break old habits while others remain untouched. Capitalism as a system requires that those who wish to succeed never dare to question, let alone threaten, its foundations – no matter how racist or sexist or discriminatory they may be.
Of course, I cannot end this diatribe (I mean a summary) without focusing on Eric’s fate and the two lines that seal it, which together illustrate the way this capitalist (and yes, patriarchal and discriminatory) system operates uses individuals as disposable containers for their own perpetuation:
“If you stop producing, you’re just an expense.”
And then: “You know, nobody owes anyone a tomorrow here.”
There is no place for empathy. For understanding. To care. Just an endless push forward that requires you to keep producing more lest you become waste yourself. Or worse, get turned into trash.
- I’m not saying I am This near Purchasing a Hoodie from Pierpoint & Co (wouldn’t it go great with a Waystar Royco hat?), but neither am I Not says that.
- Celeste has a wife! I was just as surprised to hear that as Yas, but ho boy does this further mess up their mentor/mentee relationship. Then again, the two are clearly nimble enough to control the flirtatious aspect of their dynamic…or are they both trying to play each other? You never know with these people.
- “Are we still rich?” Come on Yas, is that really the main thing on your mind when your dad tacitly admits he’s been treated to multi (hundred?) million dollars in #MeToo? I mean, it’s not surprising given what we know about her and how self-conscious she’d feel if she didn’t have her wealth and connections to fall back on, but damn, it capped a masterclass in what to say (and not to say). had to be said (and unsaid). Did you notice that no one said “sexual harassment”? And how her father could hardly bring himself to pronounce the acronym “NDA”? Of course, everyone has limits as to what they’re allowed to do, and they’re all bound by how much they value their position, whether it’s racist jokes or sexual advances — or, in Yas’s case — allegations of molestation against her own father. But this “industry” is obviously built on blind eyes all around.