After leaving Las Vegas early due to a back injury, Alex (Jennifer Aniston) is AWOL. Her producer and confidante Chip (Mark Duplass) saves face at UBA by saying he’s been in regular contact with Alex, but he has no idea where she is. Alex’s absence leaves UBA scrambling for someone to temporarily cohost ‘The Morning Show’ with Bradley (Reese Witherspoon).
As for Bradley, she’s still going strong with Laura (Julianna Margulies), though their relationship is still a secret. Network CEO Cory (Billy Crudup) has heard a rumor about the two, but has been actively trying to squash it in the press, while still sniffing out proof for himself. He wants a big name to fill in for Alex, and asks Laura, who accepts, allowing Cory to observe Laura at work with Bradley.
Meanwhile, Stella (Greta Lee) is still grappling with the aftermath of a racist attack that happened in last week’s episode. Yanko (Nestor Carbonell) came to her aid, but the network wants to suspend him for violently attacking Stella’s harasser, even if Yanko’s intentions were good. He and Stella are still at odds over his non-apology for appropriating the phrase ‘spirit animal’ on air, and Stella’s execution of the network’s wishes further drives a wedge between the two. Stella also goes toe-to-toe with Holland Taylor’s Cybil, who is more interested in making money than in Stella’s vision for UBA as an equitable and progressive network.
Bradley and Laura’s relationship is leaked by the press during their first time co-hosting together. Witherspoon anchors (pun intended) this episode, as the series’ two other top-billed stars, Aniston and Steve Carell, do not appear this week. Bradley’s personal life has been exposed without her consent, and her reaction makes Laura feel minimized as a priority. Witherspoon is vulnerable and fiery in this episode, and an unwelcome visit from Bradley’s brother (Joe Tippett) digs into Bradley’s desire to become the person she wants, and the fear she’ll never escape her small-town roots.
Season 2 has been full of planting seeds of storylines that are ready to bloom, or even explode, as the second half of the season charges along. One character reminds UBA viewers that the network’s premium streaming service will drop on March 13, 2020 (good luck with that!). Daniel (Desean Terry) goes off-script on the air again, this time calling out a network personality (Dave Foley) for making an abrasive comment about him years earlier. Mia (Karen Pittman) discovers the contents of an excerpt from Maggie’s (Marcia Gay Harden) upcoming UBA exposé, revealing more of Mitch’s (Steve Carell) behavior before his firing from UBA.
And speaking of Maggie, she’s still going forward with her exclusive interview with Audra (Mindy Kaling). It hasn’t happened yet, but is eagerly being promoted by UBA’s rival network. After Alex’s explosive encounter with Maggie last week, and given that Season 1’s events were barely touched on in this episode, there’s a fallout on the rise. UBA won’t be the same by the end of Season 2, and not just because a pandemic is on the horizon.
The Morning Show drops Fridays on AppleTV+.