Industry Season 1, Episode 5 recap: Learned Behaviour

Marisa Abela, Freya Mavor in Industry Episode 5 - Courtesy of Amanda Searle/HBO
Marisa Abela, Freya Mavor in Industry Episode 5 - Courtesy of Amanda Searle/HBO /

In Industry Episode 5, Eric pressures Harper into enticing Felim back to the company. Meanwhile, a scathing expose on the company is published.

Industry Episode 5, “Learned Behaviour,” is an interesting entry into the HBO show’s first season. It spends a lot of time looking into why certain characters on the show act the way they do — and questioning if they can ever truly change their ways. Framing the storylines in Industry Episode 5 is the release of a scathing exposé written by a former Pierpoint employee on the company’s intense, toxic workplace culture. The very same culture that led to Hari’s death (Remember him? No one on the show seems to.).

As the star of the show, the main storyline of this episode revolves around Harper. When Eric goes offsite for the day to work, he assigns Harper the task of winning back Felim. Since he left the company, Eric has been feeling the pressure to recoup the loss. At one point, he tells Harper that without Felim, it’ll be hard to get people paid around here.

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Through the grapevine, Eric has heard that Felim’s new company might be shorting him, especially in light of the Italian referendum. He knows Felim won’t see him face-to-face after the debacle with his wife, so he enlists Harper to find a way to get a meeting and win him back.

Harper tries to contact Felim’s assistant, Luke, but he curtly tells her that he’s been instructed not to take any calls from Pierpoint. She sends Felim an email with the subject: COLD MILK? — Remember Felim’s weird obsession with milk and dipping his fingers in it? Well, Harper does — and in the body of her email, she tells him that Eric has a tip regarding the Italy situation and him being short-changed by his new coverage.

Harper then uses the next-best tool to track someone down: Instagram. She finds a local bar Luke is planning to visit that night and crashes the party, offering to buy him a bottle of champagne from Pierpoint. She persuades Luke into putting her down for a ten-minute meeting the next day. The only caveat is that Felim won’t even look at meetings led by anyone who isn’t senior staff, so Harper tells him to book it under Daria’s name.

Industry Episode 5
Brandon Cook, Myha’la Herrold in Industry Episode 5 – Courtesy of Amanda Searle/HBO /

While at the bar, Harper’s ex-boyfriend Todd, the guy she cybered with back in an earlier episode, appears after using Harper’s location to find her. Todd wants to fix things with Harper, and he gets off to a good start by making her a sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving. He apologizes for running out on her before. Harper didn’t finish college because she had a panic attack triggered by her brother during her final. Todd tells her she should talk to someone about that, but she dismisses him. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t there.” “It’s not an apology if you put yourself at the center of it.”

Instead of talking out their issues, Harper initiates sex with Todd to get out of an uncomfortable conversation. Also, wow, the sex scenes on this show sure are steamy.

The next day at work, Daria gets a notification regarding the meeting Luke scheduled with her. Harper lies and says it was a mistake, and there is no meeting. But Daria isn’t stupid. During the lunch meeting with Felim, he tells her the main reason he came is that her email amused him. His usual at the local cafe he regulars includes a glass of cold milk. However, Harper doesn’t have much luck persuading him to return to Pierpoint, even if he does agree there have been some difficulties in the transition phase. To make matters worse, Daria makes an appearance after Harper told Felim she wouldn’t be able to make it. Felim, detecting something isn’t right with the meeting, leaves.

Industry Episode 5
Andrew Buchan, Myha’la Herrold, Freya Mavor in Industry Episode 5 – Courtesy of Amanda Searle/HBO /

On the drive back to Pierpoint, Daria scolds Harper for lying to her and the shady way she’s been conducting business. She thinks the recent expose is just the tip of the iceberg and that things will change at Pierpoint soon. It sounds like she’s asking Harper to pick a team, the right side or Eric’s side. Daria also says that if Eric is pressuring her, she needs to know. I have a feeling Daria might have been in Harper’s shoes once concerning Eric. Finally, she warns Harper that if she lies to her again, “you have no idea how cold the floor can be.”

Back at Pierpoint, Eric returns from his offsite trip and immediately makes a beeline for Gus. I haven’t mentioned Gus yet because, honestly, I’m not sure what the show is doing with him at this point. In Industry Episode 5, Gus tries to hone in on the good favor Harper has cultivated with Eric on the floor by answering Eric’s line while he’s out. Eric is pissed that Gus would do that when he didn’t receive express permission and screams at him in the middle of the floor while everyone watches. It’s an obvious power play, as Gus didn’t technically do anything wrong and certainly didn’t cause any profit loss. Yet Eric screams at him anyway.

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Then he asks for a debrief with Harper. She’s forced to tell him that Felim didn’t go for their plan. He appreciated the Italy tip but doesn’t want to return to Pierpoint, even if he doesn’t have to deal with Eric face-to-face anymore. Harper then admits to Eric that she messed up. Daria was at the meeting, and she was forced to tell her that Felim left Pierpoint because of a personal slight from Eric. That enrages him, and he chews out Harper in an even harsher fashion than he did Gus.

I think the main reason Eric is angry is because he’s scared for his own job. He knows Sara has it out for him, and this new information from Harper in Daria’s end could spell the end of the line for him. So, he gaslights Harper and tells her the only reason she’s at the company is that he was looking out for her. “You see how I carefully elided the fact that you’re also a f—ing liar? Or is that how you sustain the delusion that you actually belong here?” Once Eric leaves, Harper breaks down in tears.

That night, Harper takes comfort in Todd, who she notes is acting more affectionate than she’s ever seen him act before. But then he gets up and puts on a vest that she recognizes from the bar. Todd stole it from one of her clients. They start arguing, and the night takes a definitively ugly turn. “You know what you look like on CCTV in there? You never think of the consequences.” “And you blame everyone for f—ing up college but yourself.” After that, Harper kicks him out.

Industry Episode 5
Conor Macneill in Industry Episode 5 – Courtesy of Amanda Searle/HBO /

In Industry Episode 5, Yasmin’s relationship with Seb becomes increasingly messy & so does her working relationship with Kenny.

It looks like Yasmin and Kenny might finally be getting on the same page in Industry Episode 5. Note that I said “looks” since things quickly go sideways. Yasmin meets with her friend Maxim and pitches Pierpoint to him. She manages to get him and his company interested in working with Pierpoint. As Kenny is the VP, the next step is setting up a meeting between him, Maxim, and Maxim’s business associate.

Jealous of Yasmin’s success with Maxim, Kenny undermines her position by booking a steak restaurant he likes rather than letting her handle the meeting destination. But then, when Yasmin shows up, she finds Kenny alone with a conciliatory martini for Yasmin, having arrived early to apologize to her. As an Irish guy, Kenny was put through the wringer upon first starting at Pierpoint. So, he felt like it was his duty to ensure Yasmin had just as tough of a time as he did.

He apologizes for the unforgivable things he said to her during the grad dinner. It looks like they might be able to move forward — but it doesn’t last long. As I mentioned above, this episode addresses a lot of people’s learned behaviors. Can Todd change? Can Eric? Can Kenny? Based on the dinner with Maxim and Yasmin, it doesn’t seem like it. He gets so nervous during these meetings he has to be drunk to get through them, and the minute he is, he turns into a mean drunk.

Kenny obviously resents Yasmin because she comes from money and a posh educational background. He says at much at dinner and also implies that the only reason Maxim showed up is because something is going on between him and Yasmin. Post-dinner, Kenny suggests they go for a nightcap, and Yasmin recommends a kitschy local bar.

There, Yasmin, Maxim, and his associate chat in Spanish about planning a real meeting later on. Kenny takes offense, thinking they’re talking about him — which they are, but Yasmin tries to smooth things over. It doesn’t matter. He wants to humiliate her. So, Kenny pays for a girl to give Yasmin a dance while watching her become visibly uncomfortable as the dancer strips in front of her. We know Yasmin isn’t a prude. This entire thing is just a really gross exercise in humiliation from Kenny, yet again.

Besides Yasmin’s work life, her romantic life is also in shambles. I don’t know why she and Seb are still together. They seem to hate each other and Yasmin is actively cheating on him. At the start of Industry Episode 5, they argue over Seb’s house plant, which Yasmin hasn’t been “nourishing.”

Later, Seb finally realizes Yasmin is messing around on him when he turns the Bluetooth speakers on in the kitchen and inadvertently hears Yasmin masturbating to a video of Robert upstairs. As payback, he cybers with a cam girl and intentionally leaves the laptop open for Yasmin to find when she gets home. Yasmin takes the sock off of his penis and shoves it into his beloved plant.

Industry Episode 5
Myha’la Herrold, Harry Lawtey in Industry Episode 5 – Courtesy of Amanda Searle/HBO /

Robert takes his first work trip with Clement to Amsterdam in Industry Episode 5.

“First business trip away is always a baptism.” The other main plotline in this episode revolves around Robert and his first work trip to Amsterdam alongside Clement. He’s continued to keep their client Usam happy with nights of wild partying. We also start to see why Clement has taken to Robert, even taking him for a suit fitting. Clement reveals that he is secretly Scottish, “and they say social mobility’s a myth.” He has dealt with a lot of pushback during his ascent through the business world.

Like Robert, he doesn’t have the same sophisticated upbringing as people like Gus and Yasmin. Also, like Robert, Clement wasn’t close to his father. They didn’t speak for the last 20 years of his life. “Mine oiled his hair with Brylcreem and brushed his teeth with Colgate. And once I switched the tubes. All you need to know about him is that when he finished brushing his teeth, he combed the toothpaste through his hair.”

Robert comments that Clement never talks about where he’s from, and Clement tells him that they eventually stop asking, “But they never stop caring.” They’re underdogs, and so he kind of takes Robert under his wing. Their relationship could be seen as something of a parallel to Eric and Harper’s. But then he gets a reality check when he inadvertently walks in on Clement shooting heroin. I wonder if Robert sees a potential glimpse of his own future at that moment. But as Clement says, “it’s only an addiction if you can’t afford it.”

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What did you think of Industry Episode 5? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!

Industry Season 1 is now streaming on HBO Max and through other HBO-partnered services. Episodes will also continue to air linearly Monday nights at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.