Wow, okay, this show is so messy. That’s not news or anything, but it just felt so apparent in this episode, which included all of the following: Alex’s return (again) to TMS, a trip to rehab gone wrong, a head injury, a lengthy hand-washing segment, Cory Ellison on late night TV I guess, Alex getting cancelled, Alex getting Covid, a nightmarish memorial service, Bradley skewering Maggie Brener in an interview, Claire is back for some reason?, and Jennifer Aniston and Julianna Marguiles both saying the words Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk to each other, among other things!! Sure, that last one on the list is a true blessing for us all but come on, this episode is doing too much. This episode needs to relax.
Speaking of episodes of television and also people incapable of just taking it down a notch for chrissakes, Alex Levy, everybody! As previously mentioned in these recaps, Alex Levy’s entire focus this season has been her impending “cancellation” due to the probably already very widely speculated on news that she and sexual predator Mitch Kessler were consensually humping. Er, well, humped twice many years ago. We watched as Alex tried to eschew the feminist icon moniker that was bestowed upon her once she and Bradley outed UBA for its massive coverups of sexual misconduct. Then, when that wasn’t possible any longer, we watched Alex completely unravel once she learned Maggie Brener would be dedicating a good portion of her TMS tell-all to the confirmation of this relationship. Her fear of losing everything brought her to her knees in Las Vegas, and then it put her on a plane for Italy as a deadly pandemic ramped up. Even after her final few hours with Mitch, in which it was quite clear that those two were MFEO, Alex was set on covering up her indiscretions and putting on a full denial front, regardless of what it meant about her moral compass. She watched as Mitch struggled with learning from the consequences of his actions but still didn’t seem to see how that applied to her.
And then Mitch drove off a cliff. Or, well, if we’re being technical about it, Mitch didn’t not drive off a cliff. In “Testimony,” The Morning Show seems to be trying to say that Alex has resigned herself to being cancelled, or whatever her fate may be. It seems to be trying to say that Alex Levy wants to change. There are a few moments that point in this direction. She takes that more formal statement Mitch gave her after agreeing to lie about their relationship and she stuffs it in a drawer. She’s not going to use it. She tells Cory very matter-of-factly that she slept with Mitch, she doesn’t regret it, it’s going to come out in Maggie’s book, she’s going to get cancelled because of it, and she is going to give back the money UBA gave to her because she is leaving TMS for good the day before the book is released. She doesn’t care that Cory says UBA will support her, and none of us care for that unhinged pinball machine metaphor. Alex has made up her mind.
Perhaps the biggest sign that Alex has decided to face what’s coming for her is that after doing a show together, Alex goes to see Laura and find out why she hates her. When Laura reminds Alex about how she was only friends with her to further her career, how she’s pretty sure Alex is the one who outed her at work, and how Alex dropped her when Laura’s career took a hit, Alex doesn’t deny it — which she definitely would’ve done like, five days ago. She doesn’t exactly take full responsibility for it, but she doesn’t deny it.
And isn’t that the thing with this whole episode? Sure, Alex isn’t hiding from what she did or what’s going to happen to her because of it, but she isn’t exactly examining her past or really getting into the consequences her actions had on other people. I just keep thinking about how Mia deserves a much bigger apology from Alex than she’s ever gotten. But sure, in her mind, Alex is changing.
After much angst in her bubble bath, Alex decides to go to Mitch’s memorial service. This event is truly cursed. The only people who speak are Mitch’s uncle, who I don’t think knows where he is, and resident scumbag Dick Lundy, who gives a eulogy-of-sorts so icky I’m surprised the venue doesn’t offer to hose people down as they leave. Alex arrives late and immediately runs into Fred Micklen first, followed by Mitch’s ex Paige. That’s a real one-two punch for ya. Paola is there — Alex got her a flight over — and Alex tells her about her promise to Mitch to help Paola get a leg up in the industry and warns her that the clock is ticking on how long Paola will be able to cash in that favor. But mostly, Alex is there to say a few words about Mitch. She drops the bomb that she saw Mitch in Italy the day he died and she says she wants people to know that he was beginning to understand the effects of his actions, that he wanted to be better, that he felt remorse. In the end, though, those words seem like she might be talking about herself, as well.
Alex gets a fleeting taste of salvation that night and it’s all thanks to an unlikely source: Bradley Jackson. Thanks to Cory, who is extremely worried about Maggie Brener’s book now that he knows what it says about Alex in there, Bradley is handed a primetime interview with Maggie ahead of the book’s release. She gets to read an advance copy and realizes that while, yes, it exposes UBA and TMS, it really, really harps on what a terrible person Alex Levy is. Bradley goes all in during this interview. She wants to know why Maggie would go on and on about awful things Alex did and how Alex and Mitch had a sort-of relationship ten years ago, but doesn’t include the story of how Bradley ended up with her TMS gig thanks to Alex. No, it wasn’t an altruistic gesture, but what is, really? Certainly not getting money and publicity from publishing a tell-all book. When the exchange gets even more heated, Maggie reveals the story of what happened in Las Vegas as an example of things she could’ve included in the book but didn’t and Bradley immediately turns it around on her: That story only shows that Maggie had someone come to her door begging for mercy and she denied her that. Maggie had no interest in alluding to the fact that Alex Levy might be growing as a human being (I mean, that story definitely doesn’t show that, but Bradley can spin shit). “Who’s the worst person you ever slept with, Maggie?” She asks. It’s a great two-hander of a scene even if it is hilariously followed up with Laura Peterson being like, uhhh Bradley, don’t you hate Alex and didn’t you want her exposed exactly the way she is in this book like a month ago? No one can keep up! It’s fine, we’re fine.
If Bradley’s job was to protect Alex Levy, she does it well. Alex almost throws up with relief after seeing how many positive tweets and reactions there are following Bradley’s takedown of Maggie Brener. The gist: She shouldn’t be punished for Mitch’s crimes, especially when their relationship happened so long ago.
Alas, Bradley can’t save Alex from herself. Alex wakes up in the middle of the night to find the tides have turned: A video of her speech at Mitch’s memorial was leaked and people are appalled that they were led to believe these were mistakes Alex made in the past only to find out that she was just with Mitch, that she is still defending a sexual predator as of that day, and oh yeah, she went to Italy during a pandemic and then went right back to work, endangering her colleagues. People really fucking hate Alex Levy right now. She’s frantic and in the middle of her chaos, she trips on a pair of shoes, hits her head, and goes unconscious. I wish I was making that up, but I’m not!!
She wakes up in a hospital and thanks to a call from Doug, learns that Chip found her and got her to the ER. (Why don’t we see any of that?) Doug confirms two things: She’s definitely cancelled now, and she also tested positive for Covid. “Fuck,” she says to no one in particular.
In Other News
• Bradley drives her brother Hal to rehab and informs him that she won’t be coming back for him. She’s cutting him out of her life. He flips out, she hands him a wad of cash, and she tells him that she can’t force him to go inside but she wishes he would. She is gutted. No one sings a Simon and Garfunkel song.
• Laura is hunkering down in Montana until Covid is over because she has a heart condition (WUT) and wants Bradley, her woman, to come with her. Bradley should go because it sounds very idyllic but she won’t because as Laura has pointed out time and time again, Bradley chooses chaos.
• Yanko bumps into Claire and while the two are all smiles upon first seeing each other, once Claire learns Yanko is planning on going to Mitch’s memorial service, she goes off on him and also reveals she’s been funding Hannah’s dad’s lawsuit. And then…that’s it. Yanko doesn’t show up at the memorial service, but we never revisit this storyline. Like…why?
• Normally I’m here for Cory’s long-winded speeches full of metaphors but he whiffs twice in this episode, first with that pinball nonsense and then with his talk about the Princess and the Pea on the Peter Bullard show. I really need Cybil to show up and cut him down with one pithy sentence.
• More Doug! More Doug! More Doug!