The Exchange (2023) is an Arabic drama focused on two women, Farida and Munira, who struggled in the male-dominated industry of the stock market in 1987. Created by Anne Sobel, Adam Sobel and Nadia Ahmad, this series is inspired by the women who had to struggle to make their mark in the financial sector in the 1980s. Starring Rawan Mehdi, Mona Hussain, and Jasem Al-Nabhan.
The Exchange - Episode 1 Summary & Recap
The series starts of with a fire alarm ringing of the Kuwait Stock Exchange, and two women, Farida (Rawan Mehdi) and Munira (Mona Hussain), were there. Then, it flashes back to the events 7 months prior where we learnt that Farida was a newly-divorced mother of one.
Farida’s divorce from her then-husband, Omar had just been finalized and so, Farida and her daughter, Jude is now living with her parents. Farida’s father is the Editor in Chief of a newspaper, and indeed a powerful and wealthy man. However, he does not pamper Farida and instead encouraged his daughter to look for a job. Farida understood where her father is coming from but was also worried as she had not worked in 13 years.
Things got extremely real for Farida when she was asked to pay for Jude’s private school tuition which Omar now refuses to pay. Omar suggested that Jude should go to a public school instead. He also mocked Farida by claiming that her father had to pay him a handsome amount as compensation for the divorce since he took care of her all those years.
Its not just her ex-husband and her father, society is also putting pressure on Farida by showering her with endless gossip. Out of peer pressure, Farida bought an expensive dress and attended an auction held by one of her weathy friends, Yara. Yara is the wife of Amir Hashem, the Vice President of the Bank of Tomorrow.
During the auction, Munira who works as a trader clerk for the Bank of Tomorrow made an eye-catching entrance. Munira and Farida are cousins, but they seem to share some jealousy for the other. Throughout the night, the two threw snarky remarks at each other.
Trying to keep face during the auction, Farida went up against Munira for an auctioned statue, even though she couldn’t afford it. And although, Munira ended up winning the auction, Farida ended up in a public pinch. Yara revealed another similar statue by the same artist and this time, Farida was pressured to purchase it.
On the way back, Munira gave Farida a lift home and told her that she had a proposal for Farida.
Munira’s workplace, the Kuwait Stock Exchange is mainly a men’s playground. Munira is the only female there, so she had to maintain a strong exterior. A portfolio manager, Saud notices her detailed work and her strength in mathematics. Therefore, he approached Munira with a chance of promotion, but she had to prove herself to be able to get information before anyone else does, especially on Kazima Shipping.
Omar happened to be a manager at Kazima Shipping and so, Munira proposed that Farida find out some information for her. In exchange, Munira would pay Jude’s tuition fees. Farida immediately got to work and sneaked into her ex-husband’s house for info. However, when she got it, she sold it to Munira to pay for the auction statue. Farida claimed that she got a job to cover for Jude’s education.
It turns out that Farida went behind Munira’s back and approached Amir Hashem with the Kazima Shipping info instead. In return, Amir gave Munira a job as a trader clerk and Munira’s information was not deemed as valuable anymore.
Additional Observations From Episode 1
- Jude wants Farida to stop smoking and although Farida promised her daughter to stop, Farida still continued to have her one last cigarette.
- Jude plays violin in her private school.