The Morning Show Season 3 Episode 4, “The Green Light” delivers. Not just in its epic needle drops, but also in its tantalizingly dramatic relationships that see our favorite UBA employees use and abuse others to get what they want. But first, before the tangled web that the news network leads is exposed, UBA shows out at up-fronts, an event for networks to promote their upcoming slates and to beg ad executives for more money. Of course, up-fronts would not be complete without a few self-flagellations, with comedian Retta(playing herself) poking jabs at Cory Ellison and the #Jemimagate from last week’s episode.
I will say, though, it is nice to see that The Morning Show is continuing its reckoning with race beyond just one episode in “The Green Light.” All too often, in the real world, race and racial inequality are more like a hot button topic that flares in headlines and then cools quickly, shelved once again until the next public misstep. In this episode, however, not only do up-fronts address the racial scandal, but also at a later network party at Cory’s house on the Hamptons, Chris continues conversations with UBA executives about how to do better. She suggests not just equal pay for herself, but also equal pay for all workers of color, most notably those that don’t have such a public platform and attention.
While Chris works angles for good to get what she and her fellow POC employees at UBA want—and deserve—Bradley, Alex, Cory, and Stella work their angles in a way that leans more towards manipulation. In other words, what these four are advocating for is not necessarily anything that they need, but something that they want.
First up is Bradley Jackson, who, after being absent all last week, returns with a vengeance by tackling hard-hitting news stories and attempting to patch things up with her ex, Laura Peterson (Julianna Margulies). She and Laura meet up at the Hamptons party and while Bradley attempts to play nice, Laura becomes a bit prickly with suspicion over Bradley and Cory’s relationship. Certainly, Cory has long been positioned as a third wheel of sorts in this relationship, even going so far this episode to intervene in a conversation to remind Bradley that she must do what he asks since he’s done so much for her.
While Bradley is stuck in a bit of a triangle, Alex avoids the Hamptons party altogether by taking Paul Marks on a nostalgic trip to Coney Island, complete with roller coasters, pinball machines, and boardwalk prizes. Say what you want about Alex, but she certainly knows how to charm people and get what she wants; this time, it’s for Paul to reconsider making a deal with UBA. While the main thrust of this adventure might be manipulation, Alex and Paul surprisingly have a pretty real connection, with both admitting stories from their childhood and discussing why Alex feels the need to fight so hard for a network that doesn’t treat her with due respect.
She and Paul seem to have met each other’s matches with their battle of wits, their confident ego, but also their yearning and longing for human connection. This is especially true when Paul comes to her defense in a shocking moment where Alex is verbally attacked by a vendor, exposing how difficult she’s had it in the years since the Mitch Kessler scandal as she’s become the punching bag for the public’s mixed emotions. Maybe Paul and Alex aren’t truly the emotionless shells of wealth and notoriety that they seem, but use that as shields to protect their real selves from hurt. I, for one, can’t wait to see where this relationship goes—and not just because Jennifer Aniston and Jon Hamm are the on-screen couple we never knew we needed!
While Paul and Alex’s connection is tinged with humanity, Stella seems to take a turn for the worse by copying Cory’s playbook a little too closely. Tasked with making a deal with ad executives that would allow UBA to receive a lifesaving loan, Stella meets with two disgusting caricatures of men with wealth, power, and influence. After trying to trick them into a deal by promoting UBA+ as a scandal that gets clicks, she is forced to compromise her integrity to close the deal. What’s worse, though, is that this isn’t the only time that Stella plays hardball this episode.
Referring back to the newstory that Bradley Jackson jumps on, in the world of The Morning Show, was a recent bombing at a hospital in Ukraine that multiple news networks are racing to cover (Side note: I’m hoping for a little more development of the war in Ukraine as using it for essentially a B-plot is making me a little uncomfortable). Mia uses her relationship—the nature of which is still unclear—with a photographer to gain exclusive access to the inside of the hotel. Once she receives the photos, however, Mia wants to bail on the story since it would put the photographer in danger. Stella, however, pushes Mia to publish the photos anyways, essentially saying that it’s the photographer’s fault for putting himself in a position of danger and he should know the risks that come with such a job.
Stella certainly might have learned a little too much from Cory about dancing with the devil. As it turns out, though, both of them have overlooked the cost of these deals. In an almost jump-scare, Fred Micklen (Tom Irwin) shows up at the Hamptons party, announcing to Cory that the deal he and Stella just made for the loan from Sloan Company will be overseen by him. Essentially, as he crudely states, he is Cory’s sugar daddy, owning him and UBA once more.
But would we rather have Fred controlling us or Paul? As he and Alex make a grand entrance in the eleventh hour, they just might be able to maybe save the day. Or, perhaps, their partnership might just make things that much worse. Only time will tell!