The Exchange – Season 1 Episode 5 “The Silent Partner” Recap & Review

The Silent Partner

At the table, episode 5 of The Exchange begins with Jude proudly announcing that her article was well received. The teachers loved the assignment. But Farida has a vexed emotion on her face.

She is still thinking about the last day when Omar picked up Jude. She tells Jude that she has saved enough money to send Jude back to the British School. Munira expresses her frustration to Saud. She feels she is “leading a double life”; one at home with her family, and the other in the outside world. Munira is excited about the prospects of the executive meeting coming up with the firm, one that can pave the way for future promotion.

Farida wakes up to the sound of bombings. Nojood tells her that Iran has bombed another oil tanker. But this time it had a US flag. They fear it will get worse from here on in. Amir introduces the team to Majid, the IPO Lead Manager. The Bank is bidding on an IPO for Alpha Real Estate. Um Fahd, the wife of the erstwhile CEO, was a “silent partner”, before taking over from her husband, who died. She sunk the company into debt and needs capital to prevent bankruptcy. Fahd read the Mirror article and requested the women to meet her.

Farida still thinks the article was “window dressing”; that it has not significantly changed their position in the stock universe, while Munira has a different stance. Their briefing with Saud and Amir confirms Farida’s point. They will be in the room as a “mere formality”. When the two women read the Alpha files, they learn that Fahd was indeed trying to expand for the future.

They seem to think Fahd’s decisions were undermined because of her being a female. Plans for visiting the “Golden Tower,” which they feel is Alpha’s crown jewel that no one has heard of, are made. When they come back to their desks, Walid informs Farida she has made an error in one of her trades.

She shrugs off the allegations and blames the broker. In this case, Nabil. Now she must settle this with him personally. Farida remembers her promise to Jude and tells Munira she cannot make the meeting for Golden Tower. Nabil is pissed and Farida meets Khalifa in the canteen. He tells her “no matter what, do not let Nabil go with it to the clearing house.” If Nabil does not pay for it, the houses will make Farida pay for it personally.  Despite no mistake of her own, Farida lands in huge trouble. She confronts Nabil about “his” mistake, which is a really bold move.

But she gets shot down and cannot say much. Farida is picked up by her father who gets annoyed when he asks to drop her at the British School. The mood is tense as the NYSE has crashed by over 100 points on fears of war. Dr Badra says she has an open spot for Jude, but Farida must pay a hefty fee upfront, to avoid the last incident. Munira takes Saud to one of the apartments in the Golden Tower. Although Saud starts off flirtatiously about the idea of marrying Munira, he then asks seriously. She asks for some time to think. The next morning, the clearing houses decide in favour of Nabil. But something even bigger is going on at the office.

The markets are panic-stricken as fears of war surge. Markets in Asia have crashed. Jude has gotten into a big fight at school and calls Farida to pick her up. But she asks Jude to call Omar instead. When Nabil won’t sell to Farida and makes a sexist remark, Khalifa punches him. He is beaten up by his associates. Farida says she can stand up for herself and the two share a moment. Munira interrupts for the Alpha meeting. Fahd does not approve of the Bank’s plans. Majid says that Fahd needs the Bank more than they need her.

That is when Munira intervenes and tries to convince Fahd that the IPO will not just provide her with capital, it will allow her to make some noise and embellish her image in the markets, which is sceptical for no good reason. When Farida is asked for her opinion, she does not have much to say as she is unprepared. Munira drives Farida to Omar’s and they talk about marriage.

The former expresses her fear and lack of courage to dive into the institution of marriage. Farida is shattered to see Jude and hear why she got into a fight. The girl who brought in the article about Farida was a bigot and said she would go to Hell for defying the norms and stepping into a man’s world.

Omar asks Farida to stay with Jude for dinner, to give their daughter some normalcy. She agrees. The executives are working late and are concerned about declining markets around the world. Amir takes about Munira when Saud hurriedly lies about their engagement. Hearing that the Dow Jones has crashed on the radio, Munira rushes back to the office.

The Episode Review

There is always something to read between the lines, like Adib said, and that is exactly what the ladies do in the episode. Although the female centrism was a bit much in this episode with Mrs Sahiba, it turned out well. One cannot shed the feeling that Fardia’s coming-of-age angle is more strongly explored than Munira’s position in her household.

They have different arches that lead them to different paths. Episode 5 confirmed the variety in their struggles. It is almost as if Farida is one step behind Munira walking on the same path. Farida is looking to discover if she really can make it on her own while Munira knows it already.

She is fishing for an opportunity on the back of her hard work and capability. Saud is a tricky customer but Munira can handle him. The fear of a market crash was well introduced in episode 5. The presentation of the story remains compelling and sets up the show for an unexciting but assured finale.

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