Oh, Alex Levy done did it now. Her surprise announcement that previously unknown local field reporter/southern twang with a temper Bradley Jackson would be joining her as co-host of The Morning Show leaves everybody reeling. And once Cory Ellison tries to cover UBA’s ass by going along with Alex’s big moment at the Leadership in Journalism Awards ceremony and informing the press present that Alex and Bradley’s first show will be that very Monday, giving them only the weekend to figure things out, well, it’s all chaos from there. But, as Cory so eloquently tells his boss Fred — who is, uh, very pissed — “chaos is the new cocaine” and it seems everyone’s hopped up.
Obviously, Bradley’s in shock since her life just changed while she was sitting in that stuffy ballroom. She’s whisked away by producer Mia Jordan (Karen Pittman), and spends the cab ride to the studio screeching about how she definitely does not want this job and she most certainly does not want to be the fall guy for The Morning Show. This is a nightmare, apparently.
It’s definitely a nightmare for Chip, who thinks Bradley is a lunatic. He’s growing increasingly less in control of his own show. This is never more apparent than when the staff is paid a visit by Cory, who tells them that this is a new era for The Morning Show in which “women make the rules and give voice to the silenced” and Mia declares she’s going to be producing Bradley, even though Chip never okayed that decision. How Chip isn’t in the hospital with ulcers yet, one will never know. In fact, the only character on this show who seems to be having any fun is Cory, even if his idea of fun is metaphorically setting things on fire and seeing what happens. Is he the Joker? He tells Fred that Alex being “unhinged,” as Fred calls her, is actually the best thing that could ever happen to this show. It’ll surely give them the ratings boost they need as “watching a beloved woman’s breakdown is timeless American entertainment.” People will eat it up! Cory is a true freakshow on legs and will haunt my dreams and also he’s possibly the best thing about this show?
We should talk about that “unhinged” woman, though, shouldn’t we? Because if anyone is reeling post-Bradley announcement, it’s Alex Levy. It’s true that naming Bradley Jackson as her co-host in a public forum was a legit power move to stick it to UBA for not taking her seriously, but it’s also true that this move was akin to tossing a live grenade into the air, and Alex knows it. She’s still mad as hell when she has to go sit in front of the board members and answer for herself — she’s technically in breach of contract and could be fired — and instead of begging for forgiveness, she goes all in. This scene, with Aniston in her fabulous red coat dressing down a table of mostly men about how they don’t have the power anymore and how she’s the one America loves, and that from here on out they’re doing it her way, is instantly iconic. I want to turn this scene into liquid and bathe in it. Let me wash my face in Alex Levy refusing to be jerked around and underestimated anymore. Alex Levy has no apology for those “bozos” because they don’t deserve one.
Alex is still riding that high (is sticking it to the man while wearing gorgeous outerwear also the new cocaine?) when she comes across Bradley in the studio being the most inconsistent character whoever lived. Bradley is pissed that Alex has thrust this job on her and she refuses to be some sidekick on a fluffy morning show. How many times must we say it: She is a real journalist! She wears leather jackets! Again, Alex knows just how to cut through Bradley’s bullshit. “Just try taking advantage of the situation being presented. That sounds like something you might enjoy,” is a particularly beautiful burn hurled at Miss Viral Video.
Of course, even Alex is completely aware that what she did at that awards ceremony was part power move, part impulsive reaction after Cory told her that she’ll never get her way. She hints as much to her husband, er, her “husband” Jason after she spent the day fighting with Chip and the writers about having more creative control, including taking on the interview with Ashley, the Mitch accuser. Alex wanted control, but now is exhausted at the idea of having to continually fight for it. Maybe you just wanted to blow up your life, Jason suggests. He might not be wrong.
Later, Alex even admits to Bradley that she doesn’t know why she did what she did, why she picked her. Bradley gets fed up that Alex hasn’t shown up to the rehearsals she promised and so confronts her about, well everything. She wants to know why Alex hasn’t acknowledged her all weekend. Alex didn’t know Bradley needed someone to hold her hand. “Sometimes partners hold hands,” Bradley tells her as I roll my eyes. Finally, Alex is straight with her: “I don’t have a fucking clue what I’m doing.” Alex is running on instinct and impulse and all she really knows is that she thinks she likes Bradley (that’s news to me!) and they’ll figure it out.
As much as that admission is disconcerting and definitely adds some weight to Jason’s theory about Alex wanting to blow everything up, it’s still obvious that Alex has some self-preservation in her yet. After arguing with Chip and Mia about the interview with Ashley, Mia comes to chat with her. She doesn’t think Alex should be the one to do the interview because there’s some conflict of interest there. It becomes clear that Mia had an inappropriate relationship with Mitch, and Alex definitely knew about it. Alex asks why any of that is her fault since Mia never came to her asking for help and furthermore, from where Alex sat, it looked like Mia knew how to take care of herself. Oh guys, the look on Mia’s face after hearing that is devastating. We don’t know exactly what happened between Mitch and Mia, but we do know that Mia’s been paying for it both personally and professionally. Mia presses the Ashley thing: Ashley is enamored of Alex and there’s no way she’ll ever get an honest interview out of her. And that won’t be a good look for Alex or TMS. Eventually, Alex decides to give the Ashley interview to Bradley.
And then Monday arrives. Alex walks into the studio and grabs Bradley’s hand, everything Bradley wanted — but it’s only so she can lean in and whisper these words of comfort in her new co-host’s ear: “Don’t fuck it up.” You guys, this is exciting!
This Just In!
• Mia walking into Mitch’s dressing room, knowing exactly where the button under his desk is — YES, THAT BUTTON — and hearing the door lock was chilling.
• So, Mitch, still the worst, thinks it would be a great idea to do a documentary on the problems with the Me Too movement, and oh, another great idea would be to enlist the help of a disgraced film director played by Martin Short. Neither of these things are great ideas. Mitch figures this out the longer he talks to his director friend, who has some pretty horrifying thoughts on consent and the women who spoke out against him. This man is a monster and Mitch tries to separate himself from him immediately, terrified that they are considered the same. But dude, come on, we already know about the button.
• You know who’s also really pissed about Alex’s announcement? Daniel, who definitely thought he’d be getting called up to the big seat. Chip convinces him to stick around since this thing is for sure going to blow up, but I don’t think it helps by having Daniel be the one to “play Alex” during Bradley’s rehearsals.
• Cory takes Bradley on a $30,000 shopping spree at Barneys after hours because his creepiness knows no bounds. He’s clearly super pumped that he’s found the perfect person to help him disrupt TMS and the UBA norm. He also seemed to thoroughly enjoy that when the salesperson asked Bradley what her favorite silhouette is, Bradley’s response was “pants.” I mean, we all enjoyed that, but he just seems incredibly amused and entertained by her.
• If Cory could never utter the phrase “it’s a feminine space” ever again, that would be great. Anyway, he’s a psycho who’s really going to lose it when things stop going his way, right? So that’s cool.