The morning show
My least favorite year
Photo: Erin Simkin / Apple TV +
And we are back. It’s been almost two years since the final of The morning showthe first season of, and it feels like the world is a whole different place than it was in December 2019 – and you better believe The morning show capitalizes on it. If you’re here to get a bit of a getaway from what we’ve all been through, you should probably turn around. It’s pretty clear that the show won’t back down from real-world news, and based on that quick trip through the empty streets of Manhattan after the March lockdown before sending us three months back to December 30, 2019, it’s sure to assume this season will be hyper focused on the period leading up to the first days of the pandemic. A time, you may remember, full of confusion and fear. So that should be fun!
In the show, of course, they have no idea what to expect. As usual, the folks at UBA have enough self-inflicted drama to focus on anyway. Before we get a glimpse of New York on lockdown and before the show drops us just as we’re about to ring in 2020, The morning show kicks off season two by showing us the immediate aftermath of the finale. It’s hard to forget, but in case you need a little reminder: Alex and Bradley took to the airwaves to expose the fact that UBA CEO Fred Mickland was silencing women and many Powerful people in the network, including Alex Levy herself, had helped foster a pervasive culture of silence and fear as sexual misconduct raged. The season ended with the UBA stream going down, and now we see what was going on in the studio at that time, which, unsurprisingly, is the most chaotic.
Alex is taken out of the building by his team, Bradley wants Alex to promise they will stay together before they are left alone. Cory Ellison, director of information with a touch of madness, is brought before the executive board and dismissed for his attempted mutiny. At the same time, Fred Mickland is simply put on administrative leave until council can determine the truth behind these allegations. If that last track really puts a strain on you, as it should be, don’t worry: our One True Drama King Cory dresses the board with a speech that starts by calling them out of touch, understands a bit about the content being aired being “Cave paintings” watched by “the last remaining savages” (Apple TV + really goes after it, huh ??), and ends with Cory stating that “this is a battle for the soul of the universe” . I hadn’t realized how much I missed Cory until that very moment.
When we arrive at UBA on New Years Eve, eight months after Alex and Bradley’s big time, things look a lot different than you might have guessed. Bradley is in the middle of a NYE-themed song and dance number with his new TMS co-presenter Eric (a very game Hasan Minhaj), who is miles away from Kelly Clarkson’s Truth-Teller Bradley Jackson and not even in the same universe as I AM TIRED Bradley Jackson. Meanwhile, Fred Mickland was fired, and somehow Cory became the new CEO of the network. He picked Stella Bak (Greta Lee, welcome!) To replace him as CIO at UBA, while Mia became TMS’s new executive producer. Oh, and Alex Levy is exactly nowhere to be found and hasn’t spoken to Bradley since she left the show. But most importantly: RIP to that ridiculous brown wig that plagued Reese Witherspoon’s head last season; Bradley is a blonde now. What a world!
As she explains to her producer, the reason for this new and perky Bradley is that she was told that if she played the game a bit and did as TMS asked, she would have more freedom to be herself. . Not at all like what someone would do who repeatedly said she was fed up with bullshit, especially after everything that happened with Hannah, but you know what? Bradley Jackson didn’t make sense as a character last season, and it looks like we stick with that. Now, on the other hand, Bradley would still rather do hard-hitting news than light fodder for the morning show (she says), so when Marcus Ray, the host of UBA’s evening news show , is ousted for emotional abuse from her staff (UBA is really a rotten tree), she wants to be considered for the job.
Bradley decides to go see his old friend Cory to talk to him about it. The exchange is awkward. On Bradley’s side, she seems to be hinting that the two friends haven’t seen each other much since everything went downhill. She misses him, she said. He is very careful in his answer. So that could be part of the reason why this whole conversation seems superficial. Bradley also takes the time to remind Cory that she thinks she was the one who got him fired and he somehow owes her for that. The look on Cory’s face makes me believe Bradley doesn’t have all the facts in this story. This follows, of course, because we find out why Cory is so weird during this conversation. First, obviously, because Cory is weird. That’s why we love it. Second, because Cory already knows they are replacing Marcus with Eric from TMS. In fact, everyone except Bradley knows this is happening. You would think Bradley would be able to sense that something is going on here, but no, apparently Bradley trusts everyone now, even though his entire time at UBA has been filled with lies and betrayals.
It wasn’t until the New Years Eve show in Times Square that Bradley learned the truth. It’s a shame because this little country boor is having a blast! But Eric feels so guilty about lying to her face repeatedly that he breaks the news to her. When Bradley finds Cory, she lets him have her. She calls him a “weasel” and throws a whole bunch of kisses at him before officially ending their friendship or something. It is not really convincing. Cory wishes she could just believe he has her best interests at heart.
Oh, wow guys, how can Bradley do this once she finds out who Cory wants to hire to replace Eric and join Bradley at TMS? Cory loves messy drama – never believe anything else. Cory wants to bring Alex back. Of course he does! As the bigwigs discuss Eric’s stint on the evening news, people get honest about Bradley. She is not doing very well. As usual, Cory is the only person who really stands up for her, but he is rejected. Stella would get rid of her completely. Mia points out that Bradley only works with someone more poised and seasoned sitting next to her, like Alex. This is when inspiration strikes. Literally no one else in the room thinks it’s a good idea, but Cory doesn’t care; he will convince Alex to come back The morning show.
It will take some time to convince, but maybe not as much as you might think. Alex blew up UBA and became something of a feminist icon, but most of the time she hid in a beautiful cabin in Maine writing her memoir, chopping wood, and getting the stories wrong. Hans Christian Andersen. She looks sad. And the news from her enlightened agent that she thinks her book needs more about Mitch – especially an explanation of the true nature of their relationship – only pisses her off. When Cory arrives at her snowy door telling her all she wants to hear, how she was all she needed in the first place and that only she can save the network, and if she comes back, it’ll be on her heels with a new insane deal it gives her a ton of power, she hesitates a bit. Even if she wanted to go back, she said, she can’t. And of course, she ends up telling Cory that she “would rather die than go back”, but at this point you know she’s just putting on a good show.
This is exactly why Cory doesn’t give up on his little TMS dream. He leaves Alex a voicemail message in which he tells her that she is destined for greatness and that what she has done so far is not. “You haven’t done your biggest job yet,” he says. Alex doesn’t listen to voicemail until the NYE ball drops. She just came out of a party after a psychic played by Kathy Najimy told her she was running away from something (what the hell is this scene?). She’s upset, and she knows the psychic (!!) is right, and when she hears her voicemail, she’s in tears. Leaving now means her whole story is about Mitch and the sins she admitted to committing, and she clearly wants more than that. It doesn’t hurt that Cory frames her as Alex just filling the presenter’s desk for a year until she kicks off her own prime-time show. She does not officially accept the job, but things are looking up for old Cory Ellison.
That is until, amid the confetti and belts of “Auld Lang Syne,” he glances at a news chyron in Times Square and learns that Hannah’s family is suing UBA for wrongful death. Ah, yes, this UBA ship continues to sink.
• Yanko is the saddest meteorologist. Despite Yanko and Claire reuniting at the end of the first season, we learn that after all with Hannah and UBA, Claire has left New York and is starting over at home. Yanko looks heartbroken and also a little angry – that’s why we get this great response when someone on the street asks him for a weather forecast: “The Earth is going to crash into the sun, but tomorrow night you will need of a fucking sweater. “
• The last time we saw Chip, he punched Mitch’s face on the hall floor of an apartment before leaving Alex a voicemail in which he confessed to leaking Mitch’s investigation in New York City. Times to save his job because he’s always been in love with her. Obviously, things haven’t worked out the way Chip had hoped, as we find him working at a local news station and proposing to his very sweet girlfriend. Does he seem rather happy? Free drama? It cannot last long.
• The morning show really takes pleasure in hammering home that no one was prepared for the horror that 2020 has in store for us. From Mia’s “Jesus, 2019 sucked” after hearing a list of things that could be included in their year-end package, to her bluntly passing a little report on a strange contagious disease in China , and this very threatening zoom on 2020 in the bright lights of Times Square, everything stings. Prepare to relive the horror, folks.
• I’m already obsessed with Holland Taylor on the UBA board and the promise of many more showdowns with Billy Crudup’s Cory Ellison. The association I didn’t know I needed!
• One thing that hangs over everyone and is sure to come into play later is Maggie Brener’s revealing book on what happened at UBA and The morning show before it implodes. No one knows what’s in it, but everyone is scared.
• Please no one ever uses the phrase “The baby’s new year begins to be crowned” again, for all holy sakes.