The Morning Show
How terrible can Mitch Kessler get? I’m very happy to be back in the present day after our excursion to the not so distant past, since here, at least, everyone is aware of his depravity. Well, everyone but him.
For someone who likes to tell people he’s reexamining his own actions so much, he’s certainly doing zero reexamining of his own actions. Mitch has yet to show any remorse or admit any wrongdoing. To him, he’s the victim here. When we arrive back at his curbside chat with Hannah, he actually tells her that, when he realized she “used” him to get a promotion, it “took [him] off guard.” He doesn’t blame her, of course, but he was still surprised she could do such a thing. Reader, do you not want to hurl your computer into the sea? He only gets worse, by the way.
Later, Hannah comes to see him — Hannah is in a bad way, folks, especially after she tells Claire she was the one who reported Claire and Yanko to HR and that admission goes very, very poorly — and tells him she’ll anonymously corroborate his story about Fred’s silencing her with a job promotion. Hannah, who looks terrified the entire time, is trying to be brave. If she’s going to “help” Mitch, at the very least she’s going to set him straight about what happened that night in Las Vegas. She thought he was mentoring her, that he believed in her. She wanted to leave. She admired him as a journalist. That everything happened so fast, and she froze. “Did you freeze or try to leave?,” Mitch asks, accusing Hannah of retconning that night now that she regrets it. When she tells him she was powerless in the situation, he screams at her — SCREAMS — that she is playing the victim. That everyone knows what it means when the lead anchor is hanging out with the assistant booker. That she can’t be mad that she allowed herself to get seduced. Meanwhile, that look of terror has never once left Hannah’s face. She flinches at Mitch’s touch. She is clearly so broken. Okay, so now are you looking for something to hurl into the abyss? “America’s dad” is an actual monster.
Mitch isn’t the only person whose top priority is self-preservation at all costs. Alex Levy is showing us just how low she’ll go to keep her career intact. After Bradley tells her about Mitch’s contacting her about the interview, which, surprising exactly zero people, is a conversation that goes very poorly, Alex yells at her co-anchor about loyalty, about how this is going to ruin her (“There is no us. There’s you interviewing him, and there’s me getting fucked”), and, just for good measure, about how Mitch is clearly using Bradley because she’s an easy mark. Shockingly, Bradley decides to leave Alex’s fortress in the Manhattan sky, and Alex is immediately on to figuring out how to stop this interview from ever happening.
Well, keeping in mind that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” Alex turns to the one other person who does not want Mitch to go public about the culture of silence at UBA: Fred Mickland. Alex and Fred meet over lunch, which is hilarious because all of the bullshit coming out of their mouths makes me want to barf. Alex tells him about Mitch’s wanting to expose him and how they need to stop this and get rid of Bradley, because, well, gosh darn it, she just really cares about TMS. No one else but she and Fred seem to care about the integrity of this show! She apologizes for thinking Bradley was the answer to anything — she can admit when she’s wrong! Fred has some hilarious things to say as well. When he starts spinning a story about how he just knew there was something off and dirty about Mitch and he wishes he had trusted his gut feeling, I almost choked.
Alex and Fred are in agreement about getting rid of Bradley, but Fred informs her that, in light of the internal investigations that are about to come out, they’ll have to get rid of Chip, too. Admittedly, Alex doesn’t like agreeing to this, but in the end she still says yes to meeting with Fred’s top candidate to take over TMS. Turning on Chip? That’s real low, Alex.
Despite that hiccup, Alex begins to put her “Get rid of Bradley so she can’t expose my complicity in the TMS cover-up culture” tour in motion. She has Daniel come over to visit, in what must be the weirdest meeting of his life, to explain exactly how they’re going to phase Bradley out and make people fall in love with Alex and Daniel. He immediately calls his agent to put his move to YDA on hold since now his dreams of co-hosting TMS are coming true, which definitely seems like a call that will bite him in the ass. Sorry, Daniel, you’re for sure going to be collateral damage in this whole mess.
Alex then takes this tour to the man himself: Mitch Kessler. This scene, you guys! There are a lot of problems with The Morning Show, but the chemistry between Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell is not one of them! Alex is there to get Mitch to stop this interview. There’s no way it’ll happen, and it is time for him to crawl into a hole and stay there for a while. As if Mitch would agree to that. Things really start to heat up once Mitch calls Alex out on her continual denial of being complicit in what went down. “I may have fucked them, but you were cruel,” he tells her. True to form, Alex continues to deny that she has any culpability. Mitch refuses to back down, and, on top of it all, reminds her just how bad it’ll look if he takes the interview somewhere else and tells people TMS refused to take a look at itself. It’s then that Alex plays the only card she has left: She’ll be doing a lot of press about her impending divorce, and who’s to say she won’t start talking about a harrowing experience she had while on a remote with Mitch in which he got her drunk and she ended up in his bed, not remembering how it happened. “You wouldn’t dare,” he says. “Try me,” she spits back. Oooo, guys. This is getting good.
While Alex is trying to protect herself any way she can, Bradley takes the idea of interviewing Mitch on TMS to the person she definitely should have asked in the first place: Cory Ellison. Bradley goes on and on about how this will not only implicate Fred but force Mitch to admit wrongdoing and stuff about truth and journalism and whatever, but Cory doesn’t really need to hear it. “You had me at Fred Mickland,” he tells her. Never change, Cory!
The really hard sell is Chip. He’s understandably nervous about taking down the head of UBA on a UBA show, but as Cory reminds him, once he told Maggie Brenner about Fred’s complicity, there’s no turning back. The other thing that gives Chip pause is, predictably, how it will affect Alex. Cory has an argument against that, too: He knows for a fact that Alex is meeting with a replacement executive producer behind Chip’s back. Oh, you guys, when Chip calls Alex to see if she’ll come clean or not and she continues to lie to him, he is heartbroken. That “You know we’re always good” he gives her before hanging up the phone? It’s the saddest.
This Just In!
• Man, Maggie Brenner is cutthroat. Showing up in her leather jacket to tell Cory she knows that he’s planning a mutiny at UBA and that Fred gave her her big break so she’s definitely going to warn him? Daaaaaang. Don’t mess with Mags.
• Um, I guess we needed a scene where Bradley calls her brother so he can assure her that what she’s doing — fighting for the truth! — is just and good? Sure, it reveals that Bradley is the one who turned her father in for killing a kid while drunk driving, which I guess gives some layers to this character? I still maintain that Bradley should be 28 years old in order to make any sense. Remember when we first met her, and she was brash and confident and yelling at men about how exhausted she was? Where is that person?
• If you had told me at the start of this that Yanko — Yanko! — would be our precious angel, I would not have believed. Yet here we are, and Yanko is so excited that he can take Claire out on a real date. Of course, Claire is freaking out about her co-workers knowing they’re dating and even admits to Hannah that she is embarrassed to be seen with him (she also reams Hannah out for reporting them and betraying their friendship; it is harsh), so when she meets him for their date, she tearfully breaks things off. It’s too much for her. Poor Yanko — who brought her a single rose! — walks off into the NYC night, heartbroken.
• Nestor Carbonell saying, “Charcoal-grilled filet mignon is pretty exquisite,” forever and ever, amen.