The Morning Show
Julianna Margulies has entered The Morning Show. Margulies’s Laura Peterson, a longtime UBA heavyweight journalist, has come to stir the pot. In all fairness, almost every person on this show is stirring a pot, sometimes multiple pots, usually without any idea why they are stirring those pots. This show is messy is what I’m saying. And it’s about to get messier. Laura is doing the big Alex and Bradley interviews ahead of their reunion on morning television, and it seems she and Alex don’t necessarily get along. I mean, you’d think with the leverage Alex seemingly has in regard to coming back, she’d get a say in who does this interview, but she does not.
Alex’s desperation and paranoia are growing by the minute, and a national interview with a woman she doesn’t trust isn’t helping. She wants her return to UBA to be a success, but she’s constantly living in fear that she’s going to be outed regarding her complicity with everything that went down. It was Bradley who last week reminded Alex, and us, that Alex was in cahoots with Fred and planning on getting Bradley fired to keep the status quo alive and well at TMS before the news of Hannah’s death. We are also the only ones privy to the fact that Alex is doing everything in her power to make sure no one ever finds out that she and Mitch had sex (twice). While the former is what makes Alex a fraud in light of her new feminist-hero label that she’s been leaning into, it’s the latter that Alex seems most afraid of getting out.
There’s a lot of tension in the room as the interview gets under way. Alex has already forced Laura to do her interview in just four hours when Laura’s team had asked for two days, and she’s doing some real diva shit by refusing to come out of her room until Laura’s arrived. She wants to be in control here. But she isn’t. She’s unnerved by a question about Hannah, although she ultimately gets it cut. She has to sit and listen to an excoriating excerpt from Maggie Brener’s book about the culture at UBA that she was a part of, and you know that ticks her off. And finally, Laura really does her in with “What was the nature of your relationship with Mitch Kessler?” Alex is taken aback — this question was definitely not approved — and her pause as she gathers herself to come up with a suitable answer is so incriminating. “He was my best friend,” she finally says. Oh, she lets Chip have it afterward for letting that one get through. He says the question he approved was worded very differently, and honestly, it’s 50-50 if Chip is telling the truth here because it still boggles the mind that he’s so unbelievably forgiving to Alex. He ultimately saves her ass, though, and in the edit, he has them take out the long pause, which makes the “best friend” response seem much more believable. Still, he gives Alex’s face a nice long look as if he’s trying to suss out whether she’s lying or not.
So Alex survives her interview with Laura, but she’s still worried about Bradley being left alone in a room with her. Even before she sat down with Laura, Alex was warning — maybe threatening — Bradley to watch what she says. The women have a lunch together in which Alex makes it clear to Bradley that getting their story straight about what went down their first time co-anchoring behooves them both. Bradley goes off on her whole “I know what I’m doing! I’m a veteran of this industry! We’re newspeople!” spiel that she likes to give every three-to-six days to anyone who will listen. So Alex makes it even clearer: No one can find out that she was working with Mitch to get Bradley fired because that leads to Bradley interviewing Mitch behind Alex’s back and interviewing Hannah the day before she died. That last part hits Bradley where it hurts. Furthermore, no one wants it to get out that Alex chose Bradley as her partner on a whim simply to piss off the network because that might lead to more questions about if Bradley is qualified for this job in the first place. Bradley seems to fall in line after that.
And yet that Mitch Kessler question unravels Alex a bit. Alex wants to make sure Bradley is ready to spend time with Laura, who is tagging along as Bradley heads out to cover the Iowa caucus (don’t all these 2020 touchstones make you shudder?). She calls her just as she’s about to step on the UBA private jet to warn her that this isn’t some puff piece, citing the Mitch question. When Bradley questions why Laura would ask, Alex’s response is, “She’s not a very nice person.” She also wants Bradley to know THAT SHE MOST DEFINITELY DID NOT SLEEP WITH MITCH because, apparently, the only lesson Alex has learned throughout this scandal is self-preservation. Honestly, I’m surprised she didn’t dress up in disguise as a flight attendant on the UBA jet to keep an eye on Bradley and Laura. I would not put that past this show.
Anyway, that’s the baggage Bradley’s carrying as she walks into her interview with Laura. Laura has been prepped in regards to Bradley, too. Ahead of Alex’s interview, Cory pulls Laura aside. The two seem pretty chummy, so I guess he can say things like “You put the L in LGBTQ,” which is truly one of the cringiest ways to dole out some exposition. There are like 3,000 other ways to let us know that Laura’s gay, but, as we know, this show loves to use a sledgehammer. Cory is worried about Bradley and her performance on TMS and asks Laura to look at how she works and perhaps give her some gentle guidance. Take her under your very capable wing, Laura, please.
It turns out Bradley and Laura get along great. Laura seems to put Bradley at ease during their walk-and-talk interview, and she gets pretty vulnerable, opening up about how much this job means to her and how at one point, she never thought it was possible but that there’s no way she’s going to let it go now. At the hotel, Laura tells Bradley about Cory’s request but admits to being pleasantly surprised by Bradley. She thinks she’s not being used to her potential on TMS. She’s better than that. Bradley’s flattered and maybe flirting a little? Back in New York, the women share a car ride back from the airport, and Laura wants to ask her one last personal follow-up question, just between them: “Did you actually get vetted for this job?” Laura wants to know. You can see the panic on Bradley’s face — it’s just the kind of question Alex warned her about. She can’t seem to form words, so instead, she kisses Laura. And then Laura kisses her back. They are making out in this car now? This moment had zero to minimal setup, but here we are.
Not long after, we’re whisked off to the big day: Alex takes the long walk from her dressing room to her co-anchor desk once again. Alex Levy is officially back.
In Other News
• Oh, Daniel. He remains, perhaps, the only person in America concerned about what’s happening in Wuhan, and his journey to get out of there before it shut down seemed traumatizing (bless him for thinking that being a VIP from UBA would earn him a spot on the last train out of the city), but he’s going to need to come up with a new tactic if he’s tired of being on the periphery of TMS — being a thorn in Mia’s side is not working for him at the moment.
• No one asked for a full-blown “Mitch Is Sad in Italy” story line, but we’re getting one. He can’t get rid of Fred, who shows absolutely zero remorse when it comes to Hannah’s death and wants to make sure they’re presenting a united front in regard to the lawsuit. He asks Mitch if Hannah was “unstable” before the incident in Vegas and talks about how if this goes to court, Hannah’s name is going to be “dragged through the mud.” You know it’s bad when Mitch Kessler is disgusted with you. Mitch doesn’t want to be lumped in with someone like Fred, so perhaps it’s a bit of this and a bit of Paola telling him all he can do is move forward that lead him to agree to help Paola with her documentary on an Italian court recently overturning a rape conviction.
• One of the more interesting threads being woven into this season is Stella growing increasingly frustrated that she was hired to help usher in a new era at UBA and is being thwarted at every turn. She has it out with Cory after Chip is rehired, but Cory clarifies that he has a vision — mostly Alex Levy — and she should get onboard. It’ll be interesting to see what moves Stella makes next.
• Cory and Bradley are very much still on the outs. When Bradley demands to moderate the Democratic debate in Las Vegas in the middle of a TMS commercial break, Cory doesn’t miss a beat or change the cadence of his voice when he asks if her mic is on because she can’t speak to him like that in front of a studio full of his employees. The tone is casual, but the message is definitely threatening.
• Chip’s back, and the only person who seems happy about it is his old assistant Rena. There’s no way in hell Chip would be allowed to have his job back, right? Sure, he was Fred’s scapegoat, but it seems wild that Cory wouldn’t find some way to persuade Alex to keep the stink of that scandal off of her TMS return.
• During a segment about Groundhog Day, Yanko comments on the groundhog being his “spirit animal,” and not long after, Ty lets him know that he shouldn’t be using that term. Yanko’s exasperated by this revelation — surely this incident will snowball into something bigger as the season continues.
• “Where I am, time has no meaning.” Really cutting to the core of our current national psyche there, Daniel.