Another week, another fully bonkerinos episode of The Morning Show to take in and process! Let me first warn you I will be mounting a rather #brave defense of one of the strangest characters to ever grace our screens: Cory Ellison. Yes, you heard me right, and I will give you some time to prepare while we check in with our other friends at uba.
After their post interview hookup, it seems Alex and Paul are on their way to whatever love looks like between two people that rich. Their sex bonanza has continued from the Hamptons to Alex’s penthouse, and the super subtle needle drop of Annie Lennox’s “I Put A Spell on You” pretty much sums up how they are feeling. I mean, the man makes Alex breakfast, for godsake! They even have a conversation about their feelings and being scared to get emotionally invested in something since they are both workaholic control freaks. Alex is no doubt a control freak, but I do take slight issue with her pretending she likes to work. The only thing this woman likes doing is leaving her job at the most inopportune times and showing up uninvited at her co-worker’s homes! Still, they are cautiously optimistic about this fledgling relationship — though they are going to keep it under wraps for now. The board and the press won’t like it, and it’s more important that this deal goes through.
Of course, this immediately falls apart, thanks to what I can only assume is a drone shot of Alex and Paul kissing on the balcony of her palatial penthouse. The story hits the press as the whole cast of TMS is gathered at a… fundraiser for FIT hosted by uba and Valentino? I can’t explain why this is happening, but we do get a cameo from Pierpaolo Piccioli, who has been the creative director of Valentino since 2008. My favorite fake outlet, “The Vault,” publishes the story about Paul and Alex HOOKING UP. From Alex: “Fucking Vault, they’re the ones who outed Bradley, they don’t give a shit.”
Not for nothing, this is also the first time Alex has referenced that Bradley is bisexual. I mean, I guess Laura called her after her sex tape got hacked to talk Bradley off a cliff, but still it’s very funny to me that Alex has never once been like “Hey you are dating someone I’ve known for years! How is that?” Anyway, The Vault is famously the same outlet that outed Bradley last season — thanks to Cory. (We’ll get into it later, I promise.) It doesn’t really matter, but it did make me laugh!
More importantly, this party is also where everyone learns that Roe v Wade will be overturned, which gives Chris a reason to come back to the show! Yay! I mean, boo that she is now The Issues Girlie™ — but I will take as much Nicole as they will give me! She is furious, and when the model /slash/ influencer types in the bathroom with her don’t really seem to care one way or another, she loses it, ranting (correctly!) about the fact that the people who will affected by this are the poor black and brown ones. Yanko warned Chris about the power of having a big social media platform wayyyy back in episode four, and now we’ve come full circle. She writes #ABORT THE COURT in lipstick on the mirror (great penmanship!) and takes a selfie, complete with middle finger. Well! That’s gonna be messy for her later, isn’t it?
Meanwhile, Stella is still weighing the opportunity to take Cory’s job — Paul’s apology offer for buying her code and making a fortune from it. Cory has been, well, not great to her, but not awful. Does she really want to take him out like this? Her team isn’t super helpful, they tell her that if the deal goes through, all will be well! The paperwork looks good and she will make a ton of money. But if the deal doesn’t go through and Cory finds out she was going to swipe his job? “Things would become… untenable at uba.” I bet! Thank god she also has Mia as a sounding board, and thank god they both look incredible in their party lewks.
Mia (who has one half scene where it is established that her hot photographer boyfriend is, in fact, still MIA in the Ukraine) tells Stella that there are only a handful of jobs at the top, and white men don’t “give them up willingly.” She’s right, and it feels like Stella is ready to twist the knife when Natalie Morales shows up again! She has been fired, without warning, from Hyperion. She thinks it’s because she disagreed with Paul, and wanted to commiserate with her friend, but Stella isn’t hearing her. She starts spouting all the PR lines about the deal, nothing is set in stone, but our lawyers have been digging, etc.
Natalie Morales is good enough in this scene that the fact that we did not know about this friendship until roughly one second ago doesn’t really matter. Immediately, she knows that Paul has offered Stella something, and her face falls. “This is how you are with him,” she says sadly, reminding her how badly things went last time. Then she leaves, and Stella is forced to think about what — and who — she is becoming.
But what of Cory? Where have he and Bradley fluttered off to? Well, someone with a lot of political influence has been calling the DOJ about the Hyperion deal, and thus making the attorney general nervous about the whole thing. This person must be stopped, and Cory has to go up to Connecticut in person to do it. Bradley happens to be in office after he gets this news, to reassure him that Hal isn’t gonna talk to the FBI, so that’s all taken care of. Sure it is, Bradley.
Cory wants her to come to the Nutmeg State with him to take care of this whole DOJ thing. She reminds him that she has to be back by 5 to “do the news,” and it’s clear he thinks that having THE Bradley Jackson with him will make this whole thing go easier. They pull up to a gorgeous home, and Cory takes a moment to blast “Kokomo” in the car, much to Bradley’s confusion. Steeled, he knocks on the door, and a bewigged Lindsay Duncan opens the door.
Wig issues aside, mother and son chat about politics and business all seems well! Martha shows Bradley her office and even gives her a Mondale/Ferraro pin, as Martha was Geraldine Ferraro’s press secretary. She refuses to talk business until after they eat dinner — she got lobster! — and Cory tries to gracefully decline. You know, Bradley’s gotta do the news, and there is the party and everything, so they really can’t stay for long.
“Well. We’ll just have to make the best of the time we have,” Mommy Dearest murmurs, then excuses herself. Where to, you might ask? The laundry room of course, because it’s time to fold laundry passive aggressively! Cory runs downstairs to try to fix it, and she immediately lays into him about how long it’s been since she came to see him. Finally, he agrees that they will stay for dinner, and as he’s heading up the stairs, she hits him with one last zinger. “It’s strange… you look just like your father right now. You’re about the same age as he was… when he left us.”
Unsurprisingly, the night does not get any better! Martha bullies Cory into making lobster, then tells Bradley she’s too upset by the screams, but Cory never minded. Bradley, who thinks all of this is “garden variety mom shit,” twists the knife further when she confesses to Martha that she and Laura are working on things. While they eat, Martha tells a story about Cory’s “fire” — how she taught him to fight back when he was being bullied, how proud she is of him. Bradley reads this as an opening, and asks if there was something that Cory wanted to discuss. He glares daggers at her but reluctantly asks his mother to stop calling the literal DOJ, and her reaction is basically “OH SO YOU WISH I WAS DEAD?” He tries to win her over with a long (long!) duet of “Ain’t No Mountain High” and it almost works! Bradley is touched, though it’s more about her own mother than anything else. He apologizes for not being there, and then Martha turns right back on him. “He’s managing you. That’s what he does… He is alone because he should be alone. I want you to leave now.”
It’s giving Mommy Dearest, frankly!!! I know that Cory is manipulative and… well, just kind of odd and generally chaotic. And yes, he is in love with Bradley, and I have not forgotten that he outed her last season, but as far as morals go on this show, he really isn’t that bad. I mean, do I need to mention again how Bradley used altered footage of a federal crime to get evening anchor??
And perhaps I have too big of a soft spot for him, and perhaps I am just drunk on love (for this show) but good LORD if that is what he puts up with as an adult, what was Martha like when he was a kid? I mean, it’s pretty much just the WASP version of Bradley’s mother, and even though it takes a while, she recognizes that when they are back in the car, asking if his mother has always talked to him like that. “She’s been through a lot. It’s hard, she’s been on her own for so long, and what she did — no one really appreciates it.” Hmmm spoken like a boy who took care of his mother his whole life, methinks!
So when Stella comes to see him after he’s returned, and he’s struggling to put a cufflink in, clearly seconds from a panic attack, she decides she can’t turn on him after all. But what’s this? He tells her to take the job! Cory wants Paul to trust her, wants to see how it plays out. We’ve got three episodes left, time to buckle up!