‘WeCrashed’ on AppleTV+ traces the rise and fall of the billion-dollar startup ‘WeWork’. Episodes 1, 2 and 3 are based on how the founder, Adam Neumann, started the company and its initial growth.
Episode 1 recap: This is Where it Begins
In the present day, the board at WeWork has made a tough decision. Adam Neumann is freaking out when he’s called by the board. His wife, Rebekah, tells him fear’s a choice and nudges him forward.
Flashback to 12 years ago, the man struggles to make ideas work. Doesn’t help that his ideas were ‘onesies with kneepads for babies’ and ‘communal living in houses’. Everything he comes up with is shot down.
He meets Rebekah, a yoga instructor, and while the two don’t hit it off from the very first moment, she falls in love with him when he defends her right in front of her boss and demands that she be paid more.
After someone offers a tiny garage space for him to use as his office, Adam has the epiphany that his communal living idea can be transitioned to communal working as well.
He and his business partner, Miguel, an architect, manage to get an entire floor for their idea and start looking for investors, but continually find rejection.
During the process, Adam shows signs of using tactics to manipulate potential partners, as the real side of him begins to come out.
He baits an investor, Risakov, into investing $15 million and 18 cents into his company, WeWork, which, at the time, was nothing more than an idea.
Adam’s imagination is boundless. He doesn’t want to create just another office space, he wants it to be larger than life.
Back to the present day, Adam tries convincing the board that WeWork should still go through with its IPO. On the contrary, the board responds that the meeting isn’t to discuss that, but to fire him.
Adam and Rebekah leave the meeting, with the intention of a legal fight against the decision made by the board.
Episode 2 recap: Masha Masha Masha
Adam and Rebekah get married. As a wedding gift, her father gives him a cheque worth $ 1 million, much to his annoyance. He feels that this indicates her father does not believe he can provide for her, and he is determined to prove himself.
Her father’s friend tells Adam at the wedding that Risakov is notorious for not going through with investments, and he will be lucky to even get the 18 cents. And he’s right, Risakov is a no-show.
Adam calculates that WeWork will need at least $1.5 million to launch. He and Miguel had made $500 by selling their last company, Greendesk, to one of the partners, and they decide to put it all into this.
The rest is made up by the $1 million that Rebekah’s father had given him during the wedding. While she is shaken by the thought, she has full faith in her husband.
Adam and Miguel begin hiring prospective employees to kick start the business. The construction work also commences.
The entrepreneur has his eye on a real estate property at a prime location as the second location of WeWork, but the owner of the building, Stavros, is dependant on the whims of his parents and tells him they’ll never agree to lease it to a startup.
Adam uses this to manipulate him into making a decision by urging him to become independent and he bags the deal.
WeWork finally launches. And while people don’t show up right after opening, they come suddenly in packs. It’s a hit.
During an interview, it is revealed that the prime location was situated right in front of J.P. Morgan, one of the world’s biggest investment banks. It was a strategic move to increase visibility.
Episode 3 recap: Summer Camp
WeWork’s success gives rise to a culture of partying, drinking and making out right in the office. Multiplying this 10X, Adam organises a literal summer camp for those working in the startup.
As Adam talks to the crowd on stage, Rebekah gets a call informing her that her father is in legal trouble for tax fraud.
Shaken by the news, she says on stage that a big part of being a woman is to help men manifest their calling, something that would obviously cause a backlash.
When she is asked to write a character reference for her father, she starts to revisit her past trauma with her family and her lover, Aaron.
The legal team suggests that she apologize for what she said, but she refuses, wanting to understand the problem better.
In a flashback, it is revealed that her father was found guilty when he defrauded many under the facade of a charity for cancer. Ironically. his son, Keith passed away due to cancer a few years after the incident.
Aaron also breaks up with her as he cannot bear the weight of being with her. This exposes her innate fear of being alone.
When Rebekah talks to the women at WeWork, she realizes that there’s an extremely toxic culture in the company.
She sits down to have a talk with her father. He will be going to jail, but the length of the sentence depends on the judge’s verdict, which is why he needs the character reference.
In a heartfelt reference, she accepts that his father made mistakes, but claims that he has always inherently been a good man.
She makes a deal with the journalist who was going to do a story on her quotes regarding the role of women in men’s lives by offering him a job at WeWork as well as Employee Stock Options.
Rebekah gives a riveting speech that while she accepts it’s the job of women to help men, what she meant was it’s everyone’s job to help each other, as WeWork is a family. Everyone eats up her statements and she is quickly forgiven.
Vanesa, the head of communications, is fired as she was unable to deal with the backlash herself.
- There is not one dull moment, as the characters of Adam and Rebekah are very interesting and have some depth to them.
- The performances are very competent and it helps to have renowned actors like Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway headlining the show.
- Story of businesses are getting a lot of traction lately, and WeCrashed is the one entertaining story that will appeal to many.
- The narrative doesn’t quite understand whether to glorify or antagonise Adam Neumann, and is, thus, stuck somewhere in between.