Short and Distort
We finally get to the part of the series where someone shorts a stock as episode 4 of The Exchange begins. This was a long time coming and we recognize that every show or movie about the stock market has such a moment.
Saud and Amir have dinner. The latter mentions National Cement, which will be their target for squeezing shorts. The bank does not have a problem with them but one of their clients does. He wants to movie his funds from Bank Al-Kout to Bank Al-Ghaud. Amir swears Saud to secrecy when he tells the name of the client to him, But we do not get to hear it. Adib teaches Jude how to “read between the lines” for her new project.
Nojood mentions once again to Farida how Jud would have been lost if Adib was not there for her. This is in continuation of her suggestion that Jude needs a father in her life for direction. Amir calls a meeting of his team to tell them of the short-sell. But this will be a two-part trade. One will be the execution part and the other will be the more important part where the team will have to work collectively to create doubts in the mind of other people about National Cement. They will release a research report which shows the company’s declining business.
Farida tells Munira in private that the stock of NC is stable and has the biggest market capitalization. One sell call will not hurt them. They take their concerns to Amir where it is revealed that Munira’s father is an active board member at National Cement. She says it is not behind her intentions. Saud and Amir promise to read Farida’s report but perhaps they are not in favour of changing their decision. They also tell them that a reporter from The Mirror might do an interview with the ladies, realizing that women are the future of the exchange. Adib does not know who will write the story, though.
Mohamed Rashed is the one who will take the interview and his reputation precedes him. Farida feels a little tense after learning about Munira’s father. Munira is excited about the interview & wants to portray herself as a pioneer of female empowerment. In the interview, Munira starts gaslighting Farida as the inferior child, who got by on the basis of her looks. She got all the attention and Munira was left to make her own way. Farida and Munira have a catfight in front of the cameras. On the ride home, Farida discusses the problem with her father. Adib tells her to stand her ground about the tricky situation she is in.
At home, Munira discovers that her father is vexed about the situation at National. He is even planning to run for the Presidentship of the Board. Munira calls Sad about it but he asks her not to discuss the short selling with her father. She does it anyway & even talks about her article, which makes her father proud. Jude says she is getting too much attention at school & Farida is anxious. The article is received very well by both households. Its content is appreciative of their shared rivalry, competitiveness, and ambition. Munira mentions the Board elections and Farida thinks that whoever wants to win the elections is behind the scheme. Saud arranged the newspaper article to distract the ladies from the National situation.
Munira & Farida meet at the cafe. They go to the office where the workers have made fun of the picture in the newspaper. The team discusses the short-selling strategy and at the end of the day, they emerge victorious. Hasan, Walid, and the “math queens” are applauded by Amir and the other executives. Munira learns that her father has won the presidential election. Moving forward, though, she asks Saud “to want in” on all the back dealings.
Farida throws away her research report, even though she worked hard on it. She takes away a valuable lesson from the ordeal. But she realizes that she is late to pick up Jude from school and rushes out. When she reaches the school, she learns that Omar has picked up Jude, making her tense about what is going on.
The Episode Review
There are some things that the makers just iron out at the conclusion of each episode. For instance, the ending of episode 3 was quite dramatic when Farida is shocked to learn that Jude has come of age. One might have expected to see something on that note in this episode but it never comes. This lack of continuity is quite frustrating as a viewer when the show itself is so good.
Munira is such a shark that most would be intimidated and impressed by her in real life. Her characterization is extremely bold and defiant, just like the show. The contrast between her dealings and Fardia’s at the exchange are clear in episode 4. Both were pivotal in concluding the successful short selling but Munira seems more fish in the water.
Despite the looming threat of Saddam Hussein’s chequered impression on the country’s history, I do not think so the show will go there. It will be better served remaining focused on the feminist undertones and the agenda proposed to us till now.
You can read our full season review for The Exchange here!