It’s a Man’s World
Episode 2 of The Exchange sees Munira being discriminated against her brothers at breakfast by her father. Munira’s mother admonishes her dress sense but she seems unfazed.
It is Jude’s first day at her public school and Farida’s at work. She asks her daughter to be defiant at school and focus on her studies. Munira teases Farida about being dependent on her father when they meet for work at the exchange. Hasan, Munira’s manager, and all the other males, eye Farida. Even though they crib about more women working at the exchange, they cannot take their eyes off her.
Munira’s mother mentioned at dinner that “the men at the place will eat up Farida: because she is as sweet as chocolate”. That is the challenge for Farida now. If she can stand up to the men, she can make a place for herself. It is a test of her character. Also, it turns out that Farida is working with Munira now. She learns from Munira that her job in the place is that of fetching coffee and other menial things. It is how everyone starts. Saud rushes into their desk and asks Hasan to buy shares of Mobile Telecom in bulk.
He overheard Nabil saying that the owner wants to sell his shares at 12.2 Most banks have already been tipped off about it so they need to move quickly. Jude is hazed at the new school by Mays, when she proves she is good at studying. The task for Farida and Munira now is to procure those shares. They are going against each other as the boss wants to make sure he gets the shares. Nabil will only sell to one of them. He is a shrewd operator, a deluxe stockbroker in the exchange, who is the undoubted shark.
Nabil does not sell the shares to either and sells them to another, a man. His chauvinist attitude sparks Munira and she is out to prove a point. Farida is burdened with the task of preparing a report on Logic Warehouse. Saud believes they should not invest in it but his bosses do. Walid and Hasan tell Farida that they have lost the keys to the clearing house, without which they cannot clear their trades. They ask Farida to get them as “women are better at picking the smallest of details”.
She starts looking for the key all over the place in the exchange. The man who beat her to the Telecom shares helps her. He seems nice enough but takes an interest in Farida. His name is Khalifa Saber, trader clerk for the Bank of Kout. The girls at school talk crap about Jude in the bathroom. She hears it as she is cutting off her hair because of the gum that Mays spit in them. Munira goes to Saud to talk about Nabil. She is frustrated over the fact that he will not trade with her and feels Farida’s presence has just made things worse for her. Munira is assured by Saud that he will talk to Nabil and sort out the issue.
He also mentions to Munira that he was impressed with her for standing up to Nabil and asks her to make sure Farida feels she owes this opportunity to Munira, instead of competing with her. Khalifa shows Farida the ropes around the exchange. He advises her to flatter Nabil and asks her to fetch gifts; like Iranian pistachios. He gives his contact to Farida so she can buy them for Nabil. Jude seems perturbed by the fact that Farida did not come home for dinner. Both the mother and daughter lie to each other about the realities of their workplaces (and school).
She tells the truth to Adib when Farida leaves the room. He teaches her to play offence instead of defending. “Blitz”, he calls it. Attacking the girls with a big, brave sudden attack and strengthening her own position. Jude takes out eggs to take to school the next day. Farida gives pistachios to Nabil the next day.
He likes it and in front of Munira, confirms that Nabil will save the shares of MT for Farida. Munira is flustered with the move. She immediately goes to Saud to confront him about Nabil. She asks to come to the meeting and Saud agrees. Walid admonishes Farida for not getting the shares at 12.2 and Hasan asks her about the keys.
She promises to look for them that day. She once again runs into Khalifa and thanks him for the tip. He notices her looking for the keys and volunteers to help. By revealing that the house is a department with not an actual key and lock. The boys played a prank on Farida. Saud tries to convince Nabil to treat Munira with the same respect as the others. He gets agitated about the situation and says she does not respect him. Until she apologizes, he will continue to avoid her. She speaks out but Nabil gets even angrier.
He tells her how different she is from men. But she is insistent and ends the meeting with a huge victory, getting the shares at 12.2. She goes out to the bathroom across the street but stops in between. Instead, she barges into the men’s washroom and makes her own space. Munira gets a gift from the Executive Floor that makes the others jealous. When Nojood confronts Adib, he says he does not want to make the same mistake he made with Farida and let Jude believe that she can be thrown around by the others.
Farida meets with Amir. Saud is there too and talks about her “friendly conversations” with Khalifa. She mentions having a ladies’ room in the building. But they laugh her away. Munira uses the pager to talk with Saud, who is impressed with her feats.
The Episode Review
Tipping the scales indeed! The Exchange has managed to take a serious matter and turn it into a very watchable, fun ride for its viewers. Such is the tempo and manner of the presentation; you hardly notice the minutes passing by.
Episode 2 saw most of the defiant battles between the genders play out at the stock exchange. There were mixed results, of course, but it seems both Farida and Munira’s relationship will blow hot and cold.
It will be more zigzag than a straight line, keeping things interesting. New relationships are starting to develop and The Exchange’s cinematic universe just keeps getting more interesting. Jude’s defiance at the school might be a precursor of the things to come ahead. Right now, The Exchange is winning the battle of views!
You can read our full season review for The Exchange here!