Industry: season 2 — sexy, tense and compelling

The first season of Industry surprised me, in a way. I guess I didn’t expect to find a show about young and hungry bankers to be so engaging. I think the fact that it was a sexy and up-for-it cast, fully prepared to embrace all that was required of them in terms of story and character — that helped.

And the fact that, at least in season 1, the characters were supercharged in every aspect. That made for tasty viewing. Highly sexed, incredibly competitive and driven, they worked long hours and played equally hard. Sleep, clearly, was for losers.

In many ways the show felt like Billions (2016—) meets This Life (1996-1997), the latter being a ’90s classic that launched the careers of people like Andrew Lincoln (The Walking Dead) and Jack Davenport (Pirates of the Caribbean).

With season 2 the showrunners wisely zeroed in on two women that drove season 1, namely Yasmin (Marisa Abela) and Harper (Myha’la Herrold). Yasmin’s story is one of rich girl trying to find her place within the cut-throat world of banking, using the tools she has at her disposal: her looks and grasp of languages, and her family contacts and money. Harper is a much more naturally skilled trader, with an attitude that gets her into trouble with colleagues and clients alike. It did in season 1 and it continues to do so in this season.

And there’s the thing, I don’t particularly like any of these characters. At one point Yasmin says to her boss, ‘We’re all cunts, aren’t we?’ It sums everyone up. Yet, like a car crash, I cannot take my eyes away from them as they power play and backstab each other any opportunity they get. Weirdly though, I want people like Harper to succeed, in terms of pulling off yet another one of her audacious trades.

On top of watching the characters fight tooth and nail for their careers, outside of their work I enjoy watching both Yasmin and Harper try and self-medicate away their demons with drink, drugs and sex. I say enjoy, it’s quite a tense watch, this show, but every scene is loaded with tension, both between characters and often the wider situation around them involving piles of money, which blips up or down on their many computer screens in an agonising way. Or from the simple fact that everyone seems to hate everyone else.

There’s a good quote Ray Liotta’s Henry Hill says in Goodfellas (1990) that I’m reminded of when watching this show, ‘See, your murderers come with smiles, they come as your friends, the people who’ve cared for you all of your life. And they always seem to come at a time that you’re at your weakest and most in need of their help.’

Despite how tense and exhausting Industry can be to watch, I’m fully on board and ready to see season 3 when it comes out. The two leads that have now established themselves in the show are immensely compelling and give superb performances in both seasons.

On that note, Marisa can be seen in the upcoming Barbie (2023) movie, starring Margot Robbie. And Myha’la is in the well reviewed comedy horror Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022), which is out now.

For Industry season 2, I give it 5/5 stars.

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