Friends, I stand at a crossroads. As ever, I am filled with joy to discuss my beloved program, but this time? I am also filled with dread. Yes, we have made it to the Racism in America™ episode of the season, and boy is it a bummer! Please strap yourselves in and prepare for metaphors that will fall on you like anvils!
Remember that pesky little hack? If you thought The Morning Show was simply going to drop that plot in favor of any of the three million other things they have decided to tackle…well, it would be fair to think that! But no, we are picking up two weeks later, which means there is a now a website called uba leaks dot com, where all the documents and texts and such from the hack live. How do we learn this information, you might be wondering? Why, from a cameo by June Diane Raphael as a conservative news host, of course!
You can tell how much fun she is having in these cameos, and I hope she made roughly one trillion dollars for it! The glee in which she reports that Sybil, AKA Holland Taylor, referred to new TMS anchor Chris as Aunt Jemima in an email is really something special. It should be noted that while these emails were out there for anyone to find, Cory is the leak in this case, as he is still trying to get rid of Sybil so he can sell uba to Jon Hamm. What a sentence to get to type! God, I am lucky.
When the news gets out, Sybil does what any rich white woman would do: She find another rich white woman and tries to sway her to her cause. The white woman in question is of course Alex, because Bradley Jackson is a TRUTH TELLER and Sybil couldn’t deal with all of that. But she does want to go on Alex Unfiltered and tell her story. For some entirely unknown reason, Alex is suddenly an ally? Sybil tries to lean on the sisterhood angle and whooo boy Madam Levy ain’t having it!“It’s funny how now all of the sudden it becomes about sisterhood and solidarity, cause you need something.” This is an EXTREMELY wild thing for Alexandra Levy to say out loud, but god help me that is why I love her!
The leak is causing problems all around the damn building, because Layla found a document with all the junior staffers garbo salaries and threatens Mia that she might not have a staff by tomorrow. This leads to the worst all-hands staff meeting I have ever seen in my life, where Layla and Julia get two words in before Yanko goes on a horrid rant about wokeness being out of control and diversity only being used to check boxes and a thought experiment wherein Alex finds out she is black. Chris simply leaves this meeting because she is both beautiful and smart, but not before dragging Mia for not finding her a producer. Mia, babe, what is going on there? Get your co-anchor her own producer! Mia, in turn, rants to Stella about how much she is asked to do with literally zero resources or support. The solution is clear: They are gonna get drunk, charge it to the company, and invite Chris.
Except Chris is currently very busy lying on the floor, indulging in the time honored tradition of a good mope, which I hugely respect. She and her husband argue a bit about why she took this job, what she should do next, but before they really get anywhere, Alex drops by. One thing Alex Levy is gonna do is pull up to someone’s house unannounced. You could be in Connecticut, upstate New York or even Italy during a pandemic, and Alex will find you. We don’t see their conversation, but then Chris pulls up on Stella and Mia outside of the bar and says that she will be the one to interview Sybil. On TMS. Let’s play some damn ball!
Well, first Alex has to convince Sybil to get on the field. Sybil wants the safety and comfort of being interviewed by Alex, not getting her ass dragged on TMS by Chris. “Thems the breaks kiddo!” Alex cheerfully responds as she posts a black square on Instagram. Okay fine, she doesn’t do that, but she does say “it’s time for you to stop behaving like some fragile white woman.” Sybil does some out loud soul searching (“why would I do that”) but circles back around to how unfair it is that her family’s legacy will be in ruins because she wrote one tasteless email. Again, Noted White Ally Alex is like babe you paid a Black woman less than a white woman for the same job, you gotta face the music. What happened to Alex in these last two years? Who is this woman?
Now, we all know I am quite literally paid to lovingly mock this show, but I gotta give them some props for this interview. While I do not think there is a world in which this interview would be allowed — the legal issues alone! — but honestly they commit to staying on Sybil’s ass! It starts out okay: Sybil gives Chris her rote apology, tries to reaffirm uba’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. But the moment Chris asks if Sybil thought she was unqualified, the flopping begins. Sybil tries to argue that she technically wasn’t qualified, but you ain’t gonna get my girl like that! “Were you aware that I was Q tested more than any other person who has ever anchored the show? That I had to have eight different approval meetings in addition to the strategy discussions about my hair? And I still found time to spend weekends with four former anchors developing my on air skills?” And Chris isn’t done! She doesn’t understand why Sybil used a racialized image when discussing her. “Is that how you see me? Is that how you see us?”
I should say that Nicole Beharie is phenomenal in this scene — she is clearly mad, but the top note of her performance is exhaustion, and that makes it feel extremely real. I mean, she’s a Black actress; I am quite sure she pulling from life here! For a brief, shining moment, I feel very proud of my little TV baby, The Morning Show! The interview ends on a banging note, with Sybil trying to move on from a climate where racial division is exploited. “That’s every climate, wouldn’t you say? But yes, we will move on from institutional racism, right after this break.” Chris says dryly. SLAM DUNK PERFORMANCE!!!!!!!! Sybil leaves in tears, and I would not be doing my job if I didn’t point out that her attorney is Enid Wexler from Legally Blonde (2001).
We get yet another gorgeous moment from June Diane: “Sybil Reynolds didn’t just step in it, she danced a foxtrot.” Complete with desk dance! Amazing! Oh, and uh, the board votes to remove Sybil. Yikes! This is good news for Cory, who runs to his boyfriend Jon Hamm to tell him the deal can go through! But Jon Hamm isn’t interested anymore, because he wanted a legacy media company with an untarnished record. Uh, good luck there, buddy! Also? Tig Notaro’s character is named Amanda. LOL. Bless this show.