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‘The Morning Show’ 3×07 review: “Strict Scrutiny” pushes UBA to the brink

By October 23, 2023No Comments4 min read
The Morning Show

If there’s one thing The Morning Show has shown consistently for the last three seasons, it’s that UBA always strives to be on the cutting edge. Of course, this makes sense for a top-ranked news network, chasing after the biggest headlines and reporting on them with truth and dignity. While this mindset is something we could only hope for in the real-world news system, it trickles down to take a negative hold of the UBA employees and associates.

For the past six episodes of the third season, we’ve watched Alex, Bradley, Cory, Stella, and more push their hardest to get what they want amidst a tumultuous climate. Now, as we near the end of the season, they’re all pushed to their limits, facing major decisions and debilitating meltdowns. 

After that steamy (ahem) climax to Paul and Alex’s will-they-won’t-they dynamic in the previous episode, “Strict Scrutiny” sees them in a bubble of domestic bliss. Dubbed their ‘lost weekends’ — a seemingly better version of the lockdown bubbles we witnessed other relationships undergo — the two hide away from the public eye and grow closer together. Whether it’s deliciously homemade frittata or conversations about their feelings towards commitment, Paul and Alex have quickly grown into each other’s mirrors, reflecting the best parts and causing a self-examination of some of their worst.

It’s a disappointing, but not necessarily surprising, development later on in the episode when a picture of Paul and Alex in an intimate position threatens to surface and disrupt their easygoing connection. Alex and Paul are both clearly scared of how deep their relationship has gotten. However, they both disguise it under fear that the UBA board will not appreciate the new network owner wooing one of the network’s shining stars. Though it’s unclear what exactly will happen with the photo or their relationship, it won’t be good since they’d rather act like nothing happened between them than own up to being together. 

The picture isn’t the only murky bit lurking in Paul’s life. Though we’ve cleared up his history with Stella, I’m still not convinced about his hurried, private phone calls or his mastermind plan to take down Cory. The other half of that deal does rest in Stella’s lap, and I’m also not so sure which direction she’s leaning. I believe that Stella would be a wonderful choice to head up UBA. But, just like her old friend from college, I also have concerns about her making a deal with the devil that is Paul Marks. Personally, I hope that Stella and Cory pull one over on Paul, but he’s still able to be in love with Alex. Is that too much to ask?

Speaking of Cory, though, I don’t know if he even has the mental bandwidth to take on Paul after this doozy of an episode. Cory has held it together pretty much for three seasons straight, to the point where his Joker-esque smile and easy brush-off of problems seems almost maniacal. But suddenly that smile is stretched a little too thin and his sarcastic eyes are revealing his inner pain. We all remember that secret he’s helping Bradley cover up, right? And how that means Cory can ask Bradley to pretty much do whatever he wants? Well, this time, it’s a trip to Connecticut to visit a pesky mole who’s poking around in the Department of Justice about UBA’s deal with Paul, unintentionally threatening to upend that very secret. 

Imagine Bradley’s surprise when the lady in the nice house is none other than Cory’s mother (Lindsay Duncan), a woman who was not only formidable enough to raise someone like Cory, but also was a prominent committee member of several politicians’ campaigns. Add that to her overt implications that Cory and Bradley should be together as well as her interesting recoiling from any mention of UBA or the news in general and Martha Ellison is quite the force to be reckoned with. While I’m still not totally clear what she was seeking to discover from the DOJ or whether or not she even likes the company of her own son, it’s all worth it to witness Cory jam out to The Beach Boys’ “Kokomo” as his hype song and sing a hauntingly touching version of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” with his mother. 

While Cory is on the edge of a complete break, it appears that Chris — who I’m glad is back after a few episodes of being absent — has officially reached her melting point. After commenting several times that she’s uncomfortable being the face of social justice after her racial reckoning with former UBA-head Cybil, even she can’t back down in the face of the latest news break — the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Buckle up, because next episode is about to get all the more messy as our favorite fictional newscasters tackle the latest in a series of stressful and current unfortunate events. 

Featured image courtesy of Apple TV+

Kellie Innes

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