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industry 1.8.3
photo: Amanda Searle/HBO


‘Industry’ episode 8 recap: ‘Reduction in Force’

It’s judgement day for all the graduates.

Industry So Far

Daria wastes no time in changing the office culture after replacing Eric. She enacts a new collaborative approach with their clients and jettisons dead weight like Clement. To escape the stress of the workplace shake-up and the impending RIF Day, Yasmin invites all the grads over for a dinner party to celebrate their year together. It doesn’t go as according to plan with her breaking up with Seb and then inserting herself in between Robert and Harper while they hook up. Now the interns work on their final pitches to management on why they should be hired at Pierpoint.

A Team Player

Yasmin is invited by Daria to a CPS meeting in the morning. The pair have been discussing Yasmin’s transfer to the department if her services are retained. Their newly close relationship irks Harper. Afterwards, since it might be the last time they may see each other, she and Robert share a personal moment outside the building. After a brief conversation, she tells him it’s been fun and they share a sweet kiss.

Everyone is nervous the day of the presentations. It’s exceptionally tense when Bill Adler, a global head at Pierpoint and powerful man in the industry, visits the office to sit in on the talks. Before it’s her turn, Yasmin checks in with Kenny to see if he put in a good word for her. He says he didn’t which causes them to bicker until he admits to pulling her chain but it’s unclear what kind of recommendation he gave.

When the time comes, she underwhelms with her pitch and stumbles during the panels questioning. When asked about her team’s dynamics, she plays the role of good soldier emphasizing the positive work environment and not mentioning her experiences with Kenny. This earns her a key ally in her department head, Hilary.

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Photo: Amanda Searle/HBO

A Change of Heart

Harper constantly rehearses her speech but the pressure is getting to her. In a meeting with Daria, she practically begs her boss to stay at the company. Also, she brings up Nicole’s sexual assault for the first time and blames Daria since she’s the one who introduced them. Daria dismisses the accusations and though she thinks Harper has the ability and talent to do the job, she questions whether all the lying and questionable practices would be a good cultural fit.

Harper has another panic attack during her presentation and is unable to continue. Fearing she blew her chance, she receives a phone call from Adler inviting her to the executive suite. When she arrives, they are joined by Eric, who’s been able to convince his clients, including Phelam, to do business where he ends up. Adler would prefer that to be Pierpoint and proposes that both Eric and Harper be hired if she amends her statement that led to the dismissal in the first place.

Sara tries her hardest to convince Harper that what she and Daria are doing will result in positive change and bringing Eric back would revert things back to the status quo but is unsuccessful. In the end, she chose her mentor and self-preservation. Little did she know that her new boss ended up vouching for her and would have been able to stay without the aid of a back room deal. With Eric back in the mix, his first order of business is to sack Daria.

Status Unknown

After his kiss with Yasmin, Robert rides his new motorcycle to visit Clement. He tries to return the custom suit his old boss had tailored for him and asks for any words of wisdom before his RIF speech. Clement advises him to tell the panel what they want to hear.

Robert immediately charms Adler with his view on client relationships but his nose begins to bleed during his talk. Despite explaining he has nosebleeds when nervous, his reputation as a party boy proceeds him and some are unconvinced. His evaluation is highly contested with Sara and Daria failing to see his worth but he has a powerful champion in Adler. When the other grads are receiving their decision phone calls, Robert is out joyriding so his status is still unknown.

Drop the Mic

Gus has been invisible the whole year after Hari’s death. He never caught on with anyone after his team was disbanded and is surprised to hear Sara saying how people speak highly of him during their lunch in the executive suite. After beating around the bush, she is more direct with him. Though she values his skills, she is more concerned of the PR hit if he were to ever reveal what happened with Hari. For that very reason, he has a place at Pierpoint if he wants it.

Before his presentation, Theo approaches him in the break room and reveals how he and his fiancée called it off. He invites Gus for a getaway at his parents’ vacation home but realizes it’s not available during the weekend. Tired of the BS, Gus humors him with a rain check. He carries this new demeanor into his presentation where he only says the phrases in the office pool and peaces out. As he leaves, the entire office gives him a standing ovation.

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Photo: Amanda Searle/HBO

The Verdict

In one fell swoop, the cold-hearted assassin, Harper, not only reaffirms her loyalty to Eric, but foils both Daria and Yasmin’s plans. Now her ex-boss is out of a job and her frenemy is stuck at Foreign Exchange Sales with Kenny. The irony of it all is Daria eventually backed her after questioning her fit.

The season finale of Industry also had some great scenes. Gus’ boss departure is the way any disgruntled employee wishes they could leave a company and he made some extra cash on the way out. Robert even finds that fatherly figure he’s been looking for in Clement and they share a tender moment together.

One interesting aspect of the show throughout the season is the behind the scenes looks at investment banking. In “Reduction in Force” we enter the room where all the decisions are made and hear all the trash talking about the grads. In addition, we see the blatant chauvinistic attitudes that dominate the field and what women like Sara and Daria, who are in high-ranking positions, still have to endure.

They may have good intentions but some of their actions seem more as power plays than for genuine change. In particular, Sara’s inability to connect personally with both Harper and Gus during their private chats make it seem more that she’s using them as pawns rather than looking at their best interests.

The season one finale brings a definitive conclusion to this class of graduates at Pierpoint & Co. It sets the stage for some juicy character interactions after all the double-crossing next season and I’m curious to see if we continue following these new full-time employees or are introduced to a new class of interns.

All episodes of Industry are available on HBO Max.

'Industry' episode 8 recap: 'Reduction in Force'
Industry E 8: 'Reduction in Force'
The season one finale brings a definitive conclusion to this class of graduates at Pierpoint & Co. and sets the stage for some juicy character interactions after all the double-crossing next season.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Interesting look at the decision making process.
Gus leaving the company with style.
Whiny, desperate Harper is her worst side.

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