Welcome back! This week, The Morning Show is thankfully back in 2023, and I wonder how all that drama we learned about last week will come back to haunt this ragtag crew of, uh, famous anchors and network executives!
I suppose it’s important to remember this episode takes place sometime after Alex dragged Paul back to the negotiating table and landed in the Hamptons on a helicopter all triumphant and glowing from her success. It seems the deal is moving along rather quickly, as Laura is reporting on it from her desk at Your Day America, and Paul himself is at TMS, assuring the employees he isn’t like other power hungry billionaires — he wants to own a legacy media company because he believes in journalism so much! Bradley wants to know if he’ll be looking into the hack — no reason, it’s not like she deleted any evidence of a federal crime or anything. Mia wants to know if he’s planning on laying people off, and Alex…well, Alex seems to think asking pointed questions about Paul’s relationship with oligarchs and the police is flirting. She might be right, because the man is eating it up, despite Cory having somewhere between 10 and 20 mini-strokes as he listens. Then he drags Alex up to his office to remind her the deal is basically done. They’ve been working on it for two years, and the man has been vetted!
Naturally, this means Alex has no choice but to demand Paul be interviewed on her Emmy winning streaming program, Alex, Unfiltered. Everyone assumes Paul will say no, as he is famously media averse, but what’s this now? After one little chat in Alex’s dressing room, and the power of her bright blue eyes blinking away at him, he agrees to the interview. It will take place in two days, which isn’t really enough time to find any actual dirt on the man, which is…probably what he was hoping for. Chip, the most annoying sad sack slash producer in all of the world, has the bright idea to check in with Stella about the man in question. She’s been tearing at her cuticles at the mere thought of Paul — after all, maybe she knows something a little less than savory about him? At first, she tries to play it off that she and Paul didn’t work that closely together, but it is rather obvious that there is something more here. Let us recall her conversation with her ex-girlfriend Natalie Morales last week, shall we? That Stella was right to leave Hyperion when she did, etc? Yeah, so seconds after pretending she knows nothing, she tracks Chip down in the hall and tells him: “we need to talk,” tears welling in her eyes. Ruh-roh!
And what is our favorite reporter slash conspirator Bradley Jackson up to? Well, her domestic terrorist of a brother is coming to visit with his wife and young child, which I am sure will be a totally normal and regular family hang! Or….Hal will tell Bradley he is planning on turning himself into the Feds. It is quite a shocking move from Hal, one that I personally think points to him actually growing and becoming a better person. It might not surprise you to know that Bradley does not take this well. After all, Hal coming forward means that her cover up will be discovered and, you know, her whole life will go down in flames. The solution is clear: She must invite Hal and his wife Cheryl (Dr. Penny Blake, for all you Grey’s Anatomy heads out there) to set while she interviews a man who is in jail for his part in the insurrection. It would probably also help if she could meaningfully look at her brother while she is live on air, because she is fully ON ONE. I gotta give it to Hal: he does call her out for deleting the footage of him, but still using it to get a job ON THE DAMN EVENING NEWS.
It’s not the best headspace for Bradley to be in for her dinner with Laura, and of course the most emotionally present lesbian on the East Coast clocks this within seconds of Bradley sitting down and slurping a martini. “I don’t know where your head is, but it’s not here.” Bradley half explains that Hal is in town, then gets defensive when Laura rolls her eyes (LOL) and insists it’s nothing. Laura assumes Bradley is hesitant to start their relationship again because of her brother, and well, she’s technically not wrong? She takes matters into her own hands and drops by to chat with Hal, admitting she hasn’t always been as kind or generous as she should be to him, and she wants to make Bradley happy, but she can’t do that until she and Hal fix things. Hal is clearly confused, but also maybe kind of touched, but, I think the larger thing he is feeling is something along the lines of “Madam, this is very nice but I simply am dealing with my own personal federal crimes here!”
Over in the Hamptons, the Paul Marks interview of the century is taking place, and Alex is, quite frankly, being such a slut. (Complimentary.) Paul splashes in directly from the ocean, all devil may care and casual, as if he has nothing to worry about, Alex sees this and raises him one, tucking her shirt just so it’s cropped for the interview. Iconic!
True to good looking rich guy form, he’s blasé and confident, catching her off guard enough that she decides to drop the bomb. What about the Stanford Student (title of ep!!!) whose idea he bought for 50,000, forced to sign an NDA, and then got mega rich from? Did he not turn that code into “a predictive policing tool” for governments and the police? Also, was he aware this Stanford student then suffered from depression and a suicide attempt? We all know this student is Stella, yes? Paul looks shocked and admits he did not know this, and then manages to turn the tables yet again, giving a decent speech about taking a hard look at his life and making changes to be a better person. Look, I don’t know that it would work on me, but Alex Levy knows what it’s like to be…the worst, so this speaks to her. Speaks to her so much, in fact, that she pointedly lingers after the interview wraps, and WOW do they fuck!
This might be a good time for a reminder regarding just how much power Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon have on this show. There is one single reason this sex scene is so long: Jen woke up and said “I am 53, and I look like this. It is time to for the world to see it.” Kinda gotta hand it to her! Similarly, while I am sure the folks at AppleTV+ are probably a bit more hesitant to show an equally long gay sex scene, if Reese wanted to do it, they would let her! These ladies are running the table here, so let’s not pretend all the blame is the fault of the writers, shall we? Anyway, Alex has bagged herself a billionaire, and I am sure this will go super well and no one will ever find out about it!
And there is more relationship news to come! It seems no one in the Jackson family is immune to Laura’s charms, and Hal has decided that he will not, in fact, be turning himself in. A blow for, you know, doing the right thing, but certainly a weight off Bradley’s tiny shoulders. Free and unencumbered, she catches Laura on her way home and tells her she misses her. And for the first time this season, we see them kiss! I would rate it a solid B, but we are improving!
…of course that pesky little “covering up a crime” thing is gonna come back to haunt them, we all know that, but for now, let’s live in the delulu!