Thicker than Milk
It is grandmother Habiba’s birthday and Khawlah has gone with Munira to pick up a present as The Exchange episode 3. She is planning on gifting a healthy goat for the feast that will be hosted at Adib’s place.
While talking with the vendor, Munira is intrigued when he says that sheep prices are up because cattle prices are down. They may even “double”, if things go as they are. Adib sweats over the preparations for the party as Farida faces yet another incident of sexism when she goes to the bank to open an account with Jude. Munira has picked up from her conversation and is now studying years of fluctuation in the prices of pork, cattle, and sheep.
She discovers that Saud took the same file about a week ago. Munira tracks him down in his office and he reveals that they have been tracking the prices for a while. The livestock position in their portfolio needs actionable information that they do not have yet.
Munira insists that the file instead is information enough but there is not a lot of clarity over what is to be done. Hasan will make the final decision. Munira goes through the report and intends to make a play on Al-Ra’ee. She believes that the bank should buy sheep and not beef. Hasan and Walid shoot down her request and pull the plug on her intended plan. It is a massive risk if they go with the sheep stock. Farida tries to pry but Munira is unwilling to share.
To prove her mettle and self-confidence, Munira goes on her own to buy from Nabil. He takes her to the side and asks if the investment is being made on the Bank’s behalf. She says it is for her exclusively but Nabil says the quantity has to be more than what Munira is willing to buy. She requests time and Nabil allows it, inspired by her gamble. They do settle on the price as well. She has EOD to return Nabil’s capital. Munira goes on lunch with Farida and sort of makes up for the coldness lately.
It becomes a “we thing” for now where the women team up against everyone else. They discuss Al-Ra’ee and Munira believes that sheep prices skyrocket after pork prices rise. The latter have been very high in recent times. She shows her the files for the prices but Farida is not fully convinced.
Why not the other way around? “Annualized coefficients”, says Munira. Farida agrees to the plan and they go out to take a withdraw. Habiba does not approve of the extravagance for the party. She concedes when the daughters mention the goat. Hasan and Walid do not approve of the ladies’ plan. Farida comes back home and meets Habiba. She instructs her to take the flowers outside.
Jude has been with the sheep all day. She has secured an emotional connection with the goat and is not ready to leave her side. Farida gets harsh with her daughter. Munira informs Farida that the stock they own has gone up in price. And according to their estimate, it will keep appreciating in value. Habiba goes to Jude and narrates a story from her childhood. She too had a lamb called Mahrous that she was attached to. But one day, he was gone. And that is how life is. Will Jude accept the same?
Nojood mentions that she needs money for the party. But Farida has invested her entire sum in the shares. She calls Munira in the middle of the night to ask for her money back. But the cousin is not too thrilled to learn about the demand.
She says it is an equal partnership and she will not sell the shares yet. They even fight about their respective mothers. The next morning, Farida discovers that Pork futures are up. This means that sheep prices are slated to increase too, if the trend holds. The bell goes off and the prices keep going up. They fluctuate as well in between. But eventually, the ladies get their “first victory”. Farida runs into Khalifa while making coffee for herself. She is cold initially but ultimately, she opens up and they joke around.
Habiba talks to Jude to console her for the sheep. Munira drives Farida home, who is still on a high of earning her first taste of money. While in the car, Farida notices a cufflink fallen on the floor. Moments before, she noticed Saud missing one and she even gave him a pin. She instantly knows what is up.
At the party, Habiba looks elated. She is in a great mood, even surprising her own daughters. Jude lashes out at Farida for not caring about her. Farida and Munira dance together, signalling this partnership is here to stay. Munira notices Jude while dancing and goes to her. When she comes back, she informs Farida that Jude is “now a woman”, meaning she has got her first period. A shocked Farida looks on and wonders what it will do to their relationship.
The Episode Review
The Exchange is getting very interesting. Even though the depiction of sexism gets too obvious at some points, the general outlay is impressive. Both characters of Farida and Munira are headstrong in their own ways and do not slight the intelligence of the viewer. They are different sides of the same coin. The female characters are all over the place – and rightly so.
In fact, a look back at episode 3 would lead one to believe that it is an all-female show! I did not expect to see such a flair in their characterizations. All of them carry themselves unapologetically and fearlessly. Little jolts of humour along the way soften the socio-political messaging but never take away the realization of what these women are trying to accomplish. This is real feminism; empowering, unapologetic, and ambitious!
You can read our full season review for The Exchange here!