If there’s one thing The Morning Show does in every episode of each season, it’s remind viewers that life is not perfect. In fact, most of the time, life is hardly even enjoyable. It’s a difficult pill to swallow. In today’s world, where there is already so much strife, pain, and suffering, I tend to lean towards television, film, and media as a form escapism. While reality TV certainly satisfies this need — catch up on the latest from The Bachelor franchise — The Morning Show entirely subverts that notion by hammering home the idea that times are hard, morality is murky, and people are not always easy to root for.
That was my biggest issue with this episode, “DNF.” I hesitate to say issue, as I do think it’s an intentional move on the part of the creators that I don’t know whether to root for our main characters or root for those that are rooting against them. Whether it’s Alex throwing caution to the wind and risking it all for Paul, or Bradley innocently moving forward with hard-hitting stories after breaking the journalistic code of ethics, I want them to succeed. But I also recognize that they have made and/or are currently making some pretty hefty mistakes.
But having characters that are easily delineated between good and bad just simply isn’t real life. Should we judge Paul for clearly hiding something about Hyperion and threatening to take UBA down with him? Or can we still feel happy with what Alex has found in him and genuinely root for their relationship? Can we still be mad at André for popping up in NYC after leaving the country, abandoning Mia, and leaving her wondering whether he’s safe and alive? Or should we take a page from Mia’s book and just bask in his good looks and charming nature and follow him wherever he goes next? (On second thought, maybe that isn’t too hard of a decision to make).
One of the characters I’ve always been on the fence about is Chip, and this episode did nothing to help me decide whether I like him or not. After Alex and Paul’s relationship is leaked to the press, she becomes the center of tabloid fodder again. Is Chip, as her loyal friend and trusted producer, supposed to defend her and make the best business decisions for her, despite not personally agreeing with her choice of men? And is his contempt for Alex and Paul because of a morality issue or because of deeper feelings he’s been harboring? Does any of this justify Alex firing him after Chip admittedly is always there to help her?
The one connection that “DNF” makes clear is that the political is almost always personal. This time, it’s the reversal of Roe vs. Wade and the personal autonomy of our favorite UBA females. We’re all familiar with the nuances, emotions, and implications surrounding this SCOTUS decision, stripping women of their rights and threatening to dismantle other minority rights cases and laws. The Morning Show takes this overwhelming breaking news and links it directly to Alex, Chris, and even Yanko (Néstor Carbonell).
Alex questions whether anyone has a right to even know about her sexual partners, let alone judge her. Her decisions on what to do with her body are her decisions and no one else should have a say in it —even if her lover might be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Chris, meanwhile, continues to be a hot-button face of social justice, amplified tenfold after her risky social media post last episode condemning SCOTUS. But her advocating for an issue that means a lot to her and to women everywhere should not mean that she should be the target of verbal threats and physical attacks. The one silver-lining is that she and Yanko reach some tentative conclusion that despite their many differences and opinions, they’re colleagues and friends and should treat each other with a certain level of respect.
Speaking of colleagues respecting one another, things are still up in the air for the future of UBA in regards to Stella versus Cory. With Cory aware of Paul’s potential power play, the snark and sarcasm is out in full gear, as he snaps at both Paul and Stella. It’s clear, though, that this time it’s all a show to cover up his hurt and vulnerability. I promise, I hold Cory to the same accountability for his actions as I do everyone else. I just can’t help but absolutely love his character when Billy Crudup plays him so perfectly.
And then there’s the tangled web that Cory, Bradley, and Laura weave, which is tightening, tangling, and tearing down more with each episode. With Cory’s mind on Paul and UBA and Bradley distracted by a potential whistleblower into Paul’s past, Laura is free to do some digging of her own. After a nudging from her own colleague, Audra, played by the fantastically sassy and catty Mindy Kaling, Laura decides to look into the documents from UBA’s data leak and figure out what is the true nature of Cory and Bradley’s relationship. But as Laura pulls on some threads, she uncovers something far worse than any romance, as Cory and Bradley’s cover-up comes to light. How will she react?
As we reach the tail end of the third season of The Morning Show, I’m left with more questions than answers. With only two episodes left of this season, here’s to hoping things work out for UBA and its employees. Although, it won’t be an easy fix. The show is desperately committed to showing the real-life truths that love is complicated, power rules, our mistakes haunt us, and the past is always lurking and ready to suck us back in.