Hi, hello. [Taps mic.] Um, what the hell is Bradley Jackson doing?
One minute she’s holding her own up against Alex Levy on live television and making it very clear to the Head of the UBA News Division that she’s not afraid to say things like, “I know I’m not supposed to ask you questions because you’re technically important,” the next minute she’s holding back tears in a public restroom, telling Alex she’s “a nobody” and “doesn’t have the right to tell the head of a network to fuck off.” Yeah right, sister. I don’t believe one bit of the wilting flower small-town girl act she pulls in front of Alex. Bradley Jackson may be a lot of things, but she’s not naïve and she’s not one to hold back her feelings, regardless of whom she’s talking to. Let’s look at the evidence, shall we?
Bradley goes to her late night meeting with Cory — she orders a bourbon on the rocks because she’s tough, remember? — and is confident, sharp, and refuses to ingratiate herself with this powerful man. She doesn’t scare easily, she tells him. Cory likes it. He wants her to be a field correspondent for The Morning Show and sets up a meeting for her with Chip. Of course she’ll take it. Bradley may be trying to pull off a certain hard-ass persona, but she has dreams too, damnit!
During her interview with Chip — who most definitely does not want to take this meeting, like, at all — she starts out the consummate professional, pitching story ideas she thinks would be perfect for the show. But from the little Chip hears while he’s doing 20 other things, he tells Bradley to stop — she’s just not the right fit for this show. Bradley goes off. She insults him in basically every manner possible, ending with blaming the downfall of broadcast journalism on him. Sure, Chip isn’t the head of a network, but he is the EP of a successful morning-news show, and she’s not afraid to tell him to fuck off. I mean, she doesn’t use those words. But she uses worse words.
After she spectacularly blows up her chance at a big break, Bradley goes outside to cry while leaning against a pillar. A moment of genuine human emotion that isn’t anger! From Bradley! Plus, crying while in public is a New York rite of passage, so this is a big moment for several reasons.
But of course, she hasn’t blown up her chance at really making it — because Cory Ellison gets what Cory Ellison wants. He straight-up told Bradley that he “vowed to own the world one day and kick everyone’s ass into submission,” so why would anyone think he wouldn’t just do whatever he wants, whenever he wants? Cory Ellison is the number-one supreme creep on this show populated by supreme creeps. That lounge singer (it’s Rozzi Crane) was even singing “Creep” as Cory approvingly watched. The Morning Show is not subtle, people!
Right now, Cory wants Bradley Jackson. Well, more specifically, Cory wants to use Bradley Jackson to mess with Alex’s head — especially as Alex refuses to budge on her contract until she gets co-host approval. Cory wants to remind Alex that he’s the one in charge, and so he invites Bradley to the Big Event everyone’s been talking about, which happens to be a Leadership in Journalism awards ceremony honoring Alex Levy. When Bradley arrives, he marches her right over to the UBA table and sits her down next to Alex.
If you’ve been yearning for dramatic cuts to people looking shocked and uncomfortable, oh boy, is this episode for you! It’s here where Bradley puts on her best “oh, gee, oh boy, I can’t believe Cory’s doing this, I don’t know why I’m here” act. Bless Alex, whose response is “that makes two of us,” with a smile.
Alex is already on edge. She doesn’t want to be at this event, making a speech in front of a room full of reporters who she knows are only thinking about her involvement in Mitch’s scandal. It’s only been days since the news broke. On top of that, her contract negotiations have her spinning out: Yes, she’s worried that the network stalling means that what Mitch told her about being replaced was the truth, but she’s also determined to fight until she gets more creative control. It’s a heated situation, is what I’m saying. So having Cory make a power move by way of Bradley isn’t helping things.
Like any stressed-out modern-day woman stuck in a ballroom full of her peers, Alex flees to the bathroom to take a breath. But this woman has had enough, so when Bradley appears to start apologizing for the awkwardness and to lament about how stupid she feels about it all, Alex has no time for Bradley’s act. Just as she did on-air, Alex asks the questions that cut directly through her bullshit: If she was so uncomfortable, why didn’t she leave? It’s here that Bradley offers the aforementioned explanation that because she’s not on Alex’s level she can’t just go around telling heads of networks whatever she wants. But after seeing her interactions with both Cory and Chip, we know that’s a lie.
As if Alex’s evening couldn’t get any worse, she runs into Cory in the hall and decides it’s time they stop pretending they aren’t at war with each other and put their cards out there. Alex isn’t going to sign her contract unless she is given co-host approval. She’ll walk if she doesn’t get it. “Then walk, Alex. I don’t want you to be unhappy,” he tells her in the smarmiest way possible. For good measure, before he walks away, he wants her to know that they bought this award for her.
Instead of breaking down, Alex gets the same look on her face she had right before she decided to try and skewer Bradley on-air. Alex refuses to be helpless and roll over. She’s wearing a power-red jumpsuit for Chrissakes, she’s not going down without a fight. And so Alex gets onstage to accept her award and in a very public forum, full of reporters with phones, announces that things are changing at The Morning Show, and her new co-anchor isn’t going to be just another middle-aged man. No, it’s going to be Bradley Jackson. Now, that’s a power move. One that could ultimately bite her in the ass, but a power move nonetheless.
Alex’s night definitely could’ve gone worse — Mitch could’ve showed up. He was planning on it! Mitch “It Was Consensual” Kessler is still squarely in the “Rage Over a Keurig” stage of things, and his anger is only made worse after he learns UBA isn’t paying out his contract and he starts getting screamed at by women in the street. When Chip pops by to tell him to stop reaching out to reporters in an effort to tell his side of the story, Mitch goes off. He goes off on Chip. He goes off on the Me Too movement. And eventually, when you think he cannot sink any lower, he takes the famous “First they came” poem and hijacks it on behalf of sexual predators. It is as messed up as it sounds, and eventually Chip just has to walk away.
Sure, in the end, Mitch makes the right decision to not ruin Alex’s big night by showing up at the ceremony — he gets as close as donning his tux and sitting in his car outside the venue — but it still seems hard to imagine buying any type of redemption arc for this guy.
This Just In!
• Wow, wow, wow. Talent Booker Hannah (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) should go pay a visit to Succession’s Shiv Roy — the two of them can form a Women Who Pressure Sexual-Assault Victims for Their Own Gain Club. Hannah stops one of Mitch’s victims from speaking out on Your Day America by telling her she should come on The Morning Show to tell her story. On YDA, people might think she’s just an angry woman being used by a rival show to hurt TMS. On TMS, she looks brave for standing up to Mitch in his own house. Those things aren’t necessarily wrong, but Hannah is clearly doing it to save TMS’ ass.
• How about Fred (Tom Irwin) telling Cory that they should put some women’s names on the shortlist for Mitch’s replacement just for optics’ sake in case it gets leaked? Everyone on this show is disgusting! There’s also some friction between these two dudes, but I think it’s clear who will come out the winner.
• 100 percent not here for Bradley Jackson’s home-life subplot.
• Hey! Mindy Kaling shows up as Audra, host of The Morning Show rival, Your Day America. It’s mostly just jarring, but I shall withhold judgement until we meet her again.
• Could people just maybe find someone outside of work to hook up with? We learn that weather guy Yanko (Nestor Carbonell) is having a “serious relationship” with production assistant Mia (Bel Powley). He’s extremely freaked out by the Mitch situation and so wants to cool things down — at least while at work. She does not. Stop locking your doors at work, people!
• Too bad Chip tells Daniel (Desean Terry) to be more easygoing if he wants to be considered for Mitch’s replacement, because honestly I’d love to hear his thoughts on why The Gilmore Girls Broadway musical is “neo pro-life rights propaganda.” I need a full review.
• “Two Fucks” Jackson is such a ridiculous and glorious nickname. I treasure it.