We’re at the halfway point of Season 2 of AppleTV+’s The Morning Show, and the story is taking shape for the remaining half of the season.
After (finally) picking up some steam last week, this week’s episode, “Ghosts,” opens as Cory (Billy Crudup) tries to squash defamatory press about deceased employee Hannah. Bradley (Reese Witherspoon) has lost her bid to moderate an upcoming Democratic presidential debate—it’s still pre-pandemic 2020 on the show, by the way. But, she’ll be hosting the post-debate analysis, and is heading to Las Vegas for the event with the UBA team, including her new, secret girlfriend Laura (Julianna Margulies).
Alex (Jennifer Aniston) did get the moderating job, but is more preoccupied with sniffing out who contributed to Maggie’s (Marcia Gay Harden) book, which is an exposé of the misconduct at “The Morning Show.”
Elsewhere, Mitch continues filming a documentary in Italy and is much more remorseful for his prior misconduct than he has been before. Yanko (Nestor Carbonell) and Stella (Greta Lee) remain at odds over Yanko’s non-apology for cultural appropriation.
Where “Kill the Fatted Calf” succeeded last week is where “Ghosts” falls short. Last week moved the story quickly, but this week feels as though the entire season will take place in the first three months of 2020. (The season premiere featured a montage of the empty streets of New York City before going back to New Year’s Eve 2019.) This episode takes place around Valentine’s Day, meaning that Season 2 has only covered a month and a half of real-time.
Yes, this season has seen some strides in development—Bradley exploring her sexuality, Alex’s explosive return to UBA, Mitch’s remorse for his behavior. But Season 2 leaves the impression that it’s all an extended preview for how The Morning Show will handle COVID-19, rather than an organic progression of the story established in Season 1. For several episodes, the big talking points have been Bradley’s secret relationship, the looming publication of Maggie’s book, and Mitch’s time in Italy. The growth here feels stagnant, but “Ghosts” at least feels like the next five episodes will really move along.
“Ghosts” does succeed in finally allowing Hannah Schoenfeld’s family some space in the narrative. Her family is suing UBA for wrongful death, and the negotiations have only been witnessed on UBA’s side so far. Cory meets with Hannah’s father (David Paymer) to inform him of the negative press Hannah’s about to get. For it to have taken five episodes for the Schoenfelds to appear onscreen is a bit distasteful given how important Hannah’s death is to the story.
There’s one thing for sure in this episode, though: seeds of drama have been planted, which will hopefully allow for a speedy (and soapy) rest of the season. Cory hears a rumor that could launch his power-hungry nature to new and traitorous heights. Alex’s hunt for Maggie’s informants becomes an explosive pursuit. Much of “Ghosts” takes place in hotel suites and conference rooms, but what happens in Vegas will not stay in Vegas.
The Morning Show drops Fridays on AppleTV+.