Industry Season 1 Episode 1 Review: Induction

Television

HBO’s new drama, Industry, is exciting, jaw-dropping, and irresistible. 

The show follows five recently hired graduates at a prestigious bank, Pierpoint & Co., as they struggle to prove their indispensability to their employers. Of course, that is never as easy as it seems.

The stakes are high, and the competition runs deep on Industry Season 1 Episode 1.

Out of everyone, the most promising character so far is Harper. She shone the brightest on “Induction,” completely stealing the show. She had the most compelling quotes and scenes, making us root for her.

Whenever she was on screen, it was impossible to pay attention to any other character. Harper made it clear she has to work twice as hard as her fellow graduates to stay at Pierpoint, and the extra work she put in paid off through her magnetic presence. 

Eric: Why are you here then?
Harper: Well, it’s not a very political answer, but I think mediocrity is too well hidden by parents who hire private tutors. I am here on my own.

Her storyline was compelling too — Harper had to submit her university transcript to her employer, but a quick text to an old friend told us she does not have a transcript. She most likely never went to university in the first place since she asked this friend to make her a fake transcript.

That did not mean Harper swiftly submitted the forged document, though. We spent a considerable chunk of the premiere watching Harper grapple with the decision of whether to upload the fake transcript or come clean. 

Harper did not let this choice affect her abilities at work. She submitted the fake transcript in the end because she realized how important Pierpoint & Co. is for her, and how important she is for them.

Harper was up against powerful forces. A young American woman, most likely without a university degree, is competing against privileged graduates. And as we saw at the end of the episode, these other graduates refuse to play nice with her.

Ruth and Yasmin, two other characters, showed their true colors when they made racist comments about Harper, thinking nobody could hear them.

This moment was a cruel yet necessary reminder that with every passing second, Harper’s employment at Pierpoint & Co. is in further jeopardy. She cannot play safe — she has to stand out to her supervisor, Eric, to prove that Pierpoint needs her.

And Harper certainly proved with her first successful business deal that she is not there to play games and make nice with the other graduates.

Industry showed she is a force to be reckoned with, and we should be paying close attention to her. 

Well, Harper, you certainly caught our eye, and we are definitely curious to see what happens next.

I think this is the closest thing to a meritocracy there is, and I only ever want to be judged on the strength of my abilities.

Harper

Hari was another graduate that piqued our interest immensely.

At first, it seemed like he does not have a home because he stays at Pierpoint overnight. However, this notion was quickly disproved when we discovered that Harper and Hari are neighbors. 

We slowly realized that Hari overworks himself to prove to his supervisor, Lucinda, that he should be at Pierpoint & Co., even if that means consuming a large number of pills and caffeinated drinks to work through the night.

Hari’s drive is even more apparent when he realizes he messed up documents for an important meeting. He breaks down in tears, unable to handle the possibility of failure, even if it was only one error.

Hari’s emotional reaction begs the question — what on earth does he have to lose to go through these extreme lengths to prove his worth? Why does he work through the night and take over other graduates’ projects? 

Whatever Hari’s reason may be, we might never know because he overdoses on pills after breaking down in the bathroom. Robert, another graduate, finds his dead body collapsed in a stall.

This twist was surprising, considering that Hari is a main character, implying he would appear on future episodes. If he died on Industry Season 1 Episode 1, then what is his purpose going forward? Will he appear in flashbacks, or was the promotion of his character simply to throw us off?

Only time will tell. It was disappointing for the writers to hide the truth like that, but we hope Industry will explore his past, despite his sudden and unexpected death. 

Pierpoint is the world’s preeminent financial services institution; we expect you to behave like you have a stake in it. Act like an owner. Enrich your clients, enrich us, enrich yourselves. So look at the guy or gal next to you. Really look. Do you think you’re better than them? Maybe you are. But half of you won’t be here in six months.

Eric

There were two graduates we did not learn much about — Gus and Yasmin.

As of right now, Yasmin seems pretty one-dimensional, but we have only seen one episode. Hopefully, her character will prove to have depth and complexities as we discover more about her.  

However, Gus is very intriguing, despite not knowing much about him. His circumstances prompted our curiosity regarding his character.

He works in the same department as Hari does. Although it seems that they did not know each other very long, Hari’s death profoundly impacted Gus.

After receiving the shocking news, Gus finds himself looking at Hari’s desk, where his late friend’s sweater vest and an unopened box remain. The box — containing Hari’s business cards — piqued Gus’s curiosity, meaning Hari had to have been important for Gus to be affected like that.

However, when Gus’s roommate, Robert, asks him if he wants to talk about Hari, Gus politely declines.

Hari evidently meant something to Gus, but we do not know to what extent since Gus seems like a pretty private person. However, this incident had us dying to learn more about Gus, and we will pay close attention to his character in the future.

Finally, there is Robert, a graduate desperate to please his detached and uncaring supervisor, Clement.

Robert had a big arc on “Induction,” but there was nothing particularly exciting about him. He seems to be one of those graduates who spent their college years as a typical frat boy, partying his nights away.

It is easy to assume such a thing because when Robert is not working, he is either at a bar with some friends, or hooking up with a stranger in the bathroom of a club.

Robert seems to take his job seriously during the day, but he does not seem to have the same high stakes as the other characters do. However, that might change because when Clement finally notices Robert, he is high and hungover at work.

If Clement only notices Robert when he is high or hungover, what will Robert do now to impress his supervisor? His current tactics are not working, so we imagine he will change the game, hopefully spicing things — including his character — up.

People seem to have forgotten, the more you enjoy sales, the more money you make. But if you’re gonna stay out all night, iron the box lines out of your shirt.

Clement

There are other main characters on Industry, such as Daria, a Vice President at Pierpoint; Eric, Harper’s supervisor and mentor; Theo, a golden employee; and Kenny, Yasmin’s supervisor.

It will be exciting to see how these established employees will affect the five graduates as they struggle to survive at Pierpoint. We will have to watch upcoming episodes to see what happens.

We want to hear from you, Fanatics!

What did you think of the Industry Season 1 premiere? Did you think it was a strong premiere? Will you stick around for future episodes? Do you think Harper will get caught? Who is your favorite character so far?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Sarah Novack is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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