The Morning Show repeatedly tries to up the ante with its too-many-to-count subplots. Yet, what we get is a bland show with stellar production value.
Story: Bradley and Laura are attracted to each other, indicating Alex could now be in trouble. Daniel is frustrated with being sidelined again and again, and Mitch could have contracted COVID-19 and will now quarantine with his new friend Paola.
Episode 3 of The Morning Show ended on a rather shocking note, with Bradley (Reese Witherspoon) planting a kiss on Laura’s (Julianna Margulies) lips. The kiss was unforeseen for all those who had been expecting Cory (Billy Crudup) and Bradley to eventually get together. Beyond Bradley’s romantic interests though, the kiss was a testament to Bradley finally coming on her own, making her own decisions than being swivelled around by her self-serving colleagues. The kiss almost felt like Bradley’s response to Alex’s (Jennifer Aniston) reservations against Laura.
The episode picks up the strands from the earlier episode, in which Bradley and Laura sleep together. This is important; because it is at this precise moment that Bradley decides to lay bare all the events that took place after she was announced as Alex’s co-host in the last season. She reveals after the debacle, she was suspended and Cory was fired. But weeks later, it was Bradley who convinced the board to hire Cory back and give him the position of CEO. It’s the first time this season that The Morning Show has tried to use a shocking revelation. But it feels exactly like it is supposed to, like a contrivance.
Its discourses on sexuality are even more unsettling, and perhaps not in the best of ways. When Laura advises Bradley to come out as a queer journalist, Bradley rebuffs, saying she does not like being labelled. It is at once funny and hilarious to hear Bradley say she does not want to acknowledge her identity, when all she has done in the two seasons is use her small-time journalist tag as a badge of honour. There is no problem with shows not taking stances unilaterally, but the gripe with The Morning Show remains that it wants to incite conversations, but insists on playing it too safe.
This episode sheds light on the bureaucratic chokehold of UBA on its most celebrated anchors. Both Bradley and Daniel (Desean Terry) are tired of being overlooked and are now desperate to claim their share of fame. They both want to moderate the high-profile debate. Daniel is shoved to a corner by his own colleagues, who claim that Daniel lacks the “it factor” required to be a global star. In a bid to perhaps display his “it factor,” Daniel takes up a gig where he delivers a Neil Diamond’s America rendition. Shocking? Yes. Impactful? Not quite.
In another part of the world, Mitch (Steve Carell) sips margaritas with breakfast while helping his new friend Paola (Valeria Golino) make a documentary about sexual harassment. Of course, they are interrupted by the news that Fred (Tom Irwin) is about to launch a smear campaign against Hannah, who died last season of a drug overdose, to clear Mitch and his own name. Mitch is moved, and swears to protect Hannah’s image, asking Cory to settle the lawsuit with Hannah’s family. Oh, Paola and Mitch may have contracted COVID-19, too, in the meantime.
It is borderline frustrating to watch a show that has a lot happening, and yet there is no progression. Some cheeky observations, like streaming giants taking over TV viewership (The Morning Show plays on Apple TV’s own streaming platform) or Twitterarati cancelling celebrities, are injected into the narrative for dynamism, but everything else is bland and slapdash, despite its high production value.
Verdict: The Morning Show repeatedly tries to up the ante and the drama. So there are discussions about racism in the workplace, with respect to Daniel, Yanko and Stella. There is an obvious coronavirus subplot that develops at snail speed. But even with all its frills and general visual splendour, The Morning Show never really seems to hit the sweet spot between style and substance.