Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber: Season 1/ Episode 2 “X to the X” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

From using Greyball tech, battling for New York, and then the rise of Lyft, we speed through Uber’s greatest hits in episode 2.


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Travis declaring war on Lyft

From using Greyball tech, battling for New York, and then the rise of Lyft, we speed through Uber’s greatest hits in episode 2.


Aired 3/6/2022
Network Showtime
Directed By Daniel Gray Longino
Written By Sarah Acosta
Introduced This Episode
Gabi Bridgett Gao-Hollitt
Erich England Fred Armisen

Recap

Battles Aren’t Won By Sticking To What’s Legal – Emil, Travis, Bill, Erich

Erich England (Fred Armisen) prepping to fine someone and get their car towed
Erich England (Fred Armisen)

Travis looks to Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos as guides on bringing Uber to the masses and becoming a prominent, dominating entity. But, in each municipality, some government entity on the side of taxi and limosine services tries to impede growth. In 2014 Portland, that was Erich England, who’d used the Uber app to find and fine drivers and get their cars towed.

As you can imagine, Bill, while he planted Emil in Travis’ company to give guidance and reports, can’t ignore money burning and no course correction. So he decides to get more involved and ask for more transparency. Which, for Travis, leads to complicated feelings.

Generally speaking, he and Bill are on good terms but with Travis launching Greyball to keep Erich from harassing Uber drivers, having Bill know too much seems more like a liability. Yet, being bold is how you get and stay rich, so Travis lets the cat out of the bag on how he is fighting and claiming victories in Portland and other places that think they can run Uber out of their city.

It’s All About Maintaining Their Loyalty, As Long As It Benefits You – Angie, Travis, Bill, Gabi, Austin

Gabi (Bridgett Gao-Hollitt) talking to Travis after her performance
Gabi (Bridgett Gao-Hollitt)

What are Uber’s values? Heck, what are Travis’? This is something he ponders, and for viewers, as we watch him throw away Angie for what appears to be a younger woman, Gabi, we see who Travis is. Heck, even how he talks about Bill, notes their relationship is based on getting Bill his return and beyond that, there is no loyalty there. What they have is a business relationship and while they are friendly to maintain it, what they owe each other is simple.

But don’t see Travis as cutthroat. As shown through Austin, if Travis has power and influence over you, you’re strangely less likely to be taken advantage of. Perhaps it is the power dynamic, the ability to be a paternal role that he cherishes, and maybe gets him off? Either way, when it comes to Austin, his boots on the ground recruiting drivers and working with them to handle disputes, he praises her. He puts Austin on a pedestal in private, in public, even at major events.

In fact, beyond their professional relationship, Travis seems to know Austin personally. Hence, he made sure her hotel room lacked alcohol since Austin is a recovering addict. The type of detail that leads you to want to know more about this relationship.

Just Because I Paved The Way, Doesn’t Mean This Is A Public Road – Travis

Travis’ domination is swift from Portland to New York. But, one thing that wasn’t expected was the rise of Lyft. In fact, the show sidesteps its founding and becoming a competitor. It goes directly to Travis fighting municipalities to Lyft already being massive and stealing drivers. Thus presenting Uber’s next thing to dominate.

Things To Note

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Does Travis have a preference for Asian girls or Gabi being Asian was just a coincidence?
  2. What is Travis’ story with Austin?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Uber vs. Lyft war

Review


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Highlights

Travis’ Relationship With Austin

CEOs like Travis, who seem larger than life, live on a tightrope regarding public perception. Their followers exalt them and make them feel like Gods. Yet, to outsiders, they are the epitome of evil. The person who exploits the system to make riches and give what they must to keep their followers sipping the kool-aid.

But what Travis gives us is a reminder that it can be very easy to damn someone, and their company, from the outside. If you are at the bottom, it can also be effortless to call BS on why someone has achieved such heights.

However, what Travis’ relationship with Austin does is make Travis seem like he has a genuine relationship with someone. As shown with Bill, and so many others, Travis prefers relationships where he gets more out of it than the other person. The kind of relationships where he can control the narrative and the other person can easily be discarded, as Angie was.

Austin talking to Travis after being tempted to drink

Austin is different. He treats her as someone indispensable, and I think it is because he truly respects and adores her as a person. Their relationship isn’t purely transactional in terms of her being a VC, his girlfriend, or an employee. Through her, we see the humanity of Travis, and through Gordon-Levitt, we’re reminded that it is easy to paint a rich person as an ass because they didn’t take no where you might.

Yet, it doesn’t mean in every last relationship and in every opportunity, they only sought ways to exploit people. Sometimes, especially with those closest to them, they accepted their flaws and compensated for them, rather than saw flaws as weaknesses that either had to be fixed or used to eliminate that person from their life and business.

On The Fence

Still, So Many Faces Who Are Hard To Put A Name To

Super Pumped still has that issue of introducing so many faces but never really giving you a clear understanding of why they are part of this show. It’s understood that anytime Travis conquers a city, the recognizable guest star representing the city is there to potentially give the show a boost. But what about everyone else? Who are these people running around questioning if something Travis does is ethical or executing the potentially illegal act?

Who are these people in Bill’s life? Are they simply characters to show he had a life outside of Travis? To present he had a family, co-workers, and not every last moment was spent monitoring Travis’ every move? Will others get the Austin treatment to be more than a minion, or should we expect through this show’s run a bunch of faces we know do something, but you’d be hard press to describe what?

[ninja_tables id=”64417″]

Travis declaring war on Lyft
Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber: Season 1/ Episode 2 “X to the X” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Overall
Super Pumped puts way too much on Gordon-Levitt's shoulders, and while his knees aren't shaking yet, the weight is definitely appearing to get cumbersome.
Highlights
Travis' Relationship With Austin
Disputable
Still, So Many Faces Who Are Hard To Put A Name To
78

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