From Bradley and Alex’s showdown at a hotel lobby to some fan favourites returning to the combat zone, the second episode packs in a resounding punch.
Story: Alex returns to UBA after a span of nine months. Things have changed, and she claims she’s turned a new leaf too. Bradley, on the other hand, is insecure about her position in the network now that her “big sister has been invited to clean up her mess.”
Episode 1 of The Morning Show was a lukewarm, even somewhat dissatisfactory a pilot that left the audience with a vague idea about what the show could possibly deal with this season. The answer? Unfulfilled aspirations and Coronavirus.
The second episode of The Morning Show — titled It’s Like a Flu — offers the kind of high strung TV drama that the first season so unapologetically endorsed. Alex (Jennifer Aniston) makes her triumphant return to UBA, recceing her seat of power before her grand return is officially announced. Cory (Billy Crudup), understandably, is excited. As controversies outside the UBA echo chamber keep getting louder, a desperate Cory pulls all strings to resurrect the network.
Bradley (Reese Witherspoon), however, is nearly not as excited. Still shaken with being sidelined for the evening news segment, Bradley is insulted by Cory’s oblique suggestion that maybe she’s not enough to bump up the network ratings. Furious at being "overlooked", Bradley declares she’ll take an indefinite “sick leave”.
The second episode dives headfirst into the fraught equations between key UBA players. Evidently, not many are elated with the prospect of Alex returning. The answer? Cory plans an intimate dinner and invites all his colleagues for a ritualistic ice-breaking session. But the hugs are cold, the jibes sharp. And for those who’ve been waiting for Bradley to settle her scores with Alex, season 2 has them finally confronting each other at the hotel lobby where Bradley blames Alex for not holding her side of the bargain up. Alex is defensive, as usual, and she scurries away inside the elevator in fear that her contentious past will keep haunting her present.
Coronavirus also crops up at the dinner table conversation, setting the scene for what appears to be one of the most important themes of this season.
On the other side of the world in the picturesque Lake Como, Mitch (Steve Carell) enjoys his sabbatical. This is the first time we see him after Bradley and Alex’s explosive exposé on his sexually predatory behaviour. He stares into the azure blue seas from his luxurious villa in leisure, reads the newspaper and sometimes even strolls to the nearby cafe for a helping of gelato.
The Morning Show has always equivocated their stance on #MeToo. Last season, Chip Black (Mark Duplass) was heard saying, “I’ll say it – we’re being too fast to judge men in the court of public opinion. I agree with you. The whole #MeToo movement is probably an overcorrection for centuries of bad behaviour that more enlightened men like you and me had nothing to do with.”
This time, Mitch is confronted by an American woman who is outraged by Mitch’s cushy lifestyle. While Mitch is silent, another woman comes to his defence, grilling her for her “feminism.” What ensues is a highly problematic take on cancel culture that honestly can make even the most patient viewer uncomfortable.
Another major character also makes his grand return to the show, much to the excitement of this writer. But more on that next time, any more hints maybe count as spoiler.
Verdict: The second episode of The Morning Show is a worthy follow-up to the first episode. If you have appreciated Hindi soaps and dramas, you will relish this flashy and gorgeous guilty pleasure that is two slaps and a brawl away from being the brazen popcorn entertainer.