That’s a lot to digest, and much like The Morning Show Season 2 came out swinging after COVID by including it in their story, The Morning Show Season 3 is taking on some of the biggest stories of the day, even if, for now, they’re only touched upon lightly.
A lot has changed in the wake of COVID for UBA. After Alex Levy shared her bout with COVID with a worldwide audience, her popularity has risen to new heights.
While she’s basking in parting ways with the berth that made her famous and allowing herself a little more sleep in the morning, not everyone is pleased with her ascension to almost god-like status at the network and with the audience.
Cory needed the assist with his push for UBA+, and while it’s not an outright success, it wouldn’t have been a contender without Alex.
Bradley Jackson, too, has moved on from TMS and is now an evening anchor, luring the audience with her unique ability to extend to both sides of the aisle.
But The Morning Show Season 3 Episode 1 shows that the dust is never settled. There is always a story that speaks to your heart or a pitch you want to make, and no matter how cherished or successful you may be, there is pushback from those above.
Cybil: So, what did Alex want?
Cory: Too much, as usual.
Bradley once went on air and shared her personal abortion story. That got a nation talking, but since The Morning Show Season 2 aired, the Supreme Court lobbed the abortion issue back to the states, radically compromising women’s choice across the country.
Given Bradley’s past, it was an excellent move to begin the season with a story so near to so many hearts, and it was very interesting that, like Bradley herself, the story didn’t crush opposition but instead focused on the availability of Mifepristone to terminate pregnancies.
Texas circumvented case law to change its availability, which allows for a fictional story to be told based on legal opinion vs. the moral definition of abortion. Abortion is a tricky conversation in any circumstance, but The Morning Show handled it admirably once again.
It’s a touchstone issue for women’s health that goes hand in hand with women’s perceived value, which is always alight at UBA.
Bradley had sidestepped her role at UBA to become involved with an activist funneling the drug over the border. It’s a big story but not big enough for mainstream media to get involved without a fight.
Instead, Alex Levy was preparing to go into space with tech billionaire Paul Marks in a deal Marks cut with Cory to prove that his rocket and space travel were safe. Who better to prove the point than UBA’s sweetheart?
Of course, Cory needs capital to keep UBA+ afloat, and to get it, he not only wanted to float Alex in space but the idea that Marks could buy UBA. He hoped to make the secretive deal so favorable that he’d get no board pushback.
But you can’t trust much of anything with a woman like Cybil Richards leading the board.
Alex accidentally discovered the deal when she and Paul were getting to know each other. First, were sparks flying between the journalist and the Elon Musk type, or were my eyes deceiving me?
Alex: I have to ask you. What is going on here?
Paul: Aren’t we just talking?
Alex: No, I don’t; I mean all of this. What are you getting out of the 13-minute joy ride on the morning show?
Paul: I don’t; well, I thought maybe we should get to know each other a little bit before this deal goes through.
Alex: What deal?
Things were going swimmingly until Marks revealed he wanted to get to know her before signing on the dotted line for a sale nobody knew was on the horizon.
That began a tectonic shift in Alex, who hit the road with no intention of going into space.
Bradley already experienced the shift when Stella Bak slammed the door on her abortion story just before Bradley received an award for her journalism during the January 6 melee, the American Alliance of Journalists First Amendment Award, of all things.
It was as if she was being rewarded for keeping her mouth shut and standing in line, much like Alex felt when she realized that her space journey was a sham to lure a man without any journalistic talent or integrity to buy UBA.
But the reasoning was sound. Pointing to the next election, Stella made it clear that they’re protecting Bradley as a valuable asset who can speak to all voters rather than only those belonging to one political party.
It’s too bad we don’t see more of that advice in the real world.
Alex thought women could stick together in the UBA world, but trusting Cybil was an error she likely wouldn’t make again. Cybil went from acting like she was on Alex’s side to throwing her under the bus for insubordination.
With friends like her, well, you know the story.
Alex and Bradley may no longer be working side-by-side on TMS, but they’re in lockstep nonetheless. From the outside, it sometimes seems like UBA considers them interchangeable.
To be fair, Bradley wasn’t the first choice to take Alex’s abandoned space chair. That honor would have gone to new TMS co-host Christina Hunger. The married, former Olympic athlete and mother had no desire to escape Earth’s orbit, so Bradley took her place.
We don’t know much about Christina yet, but if Nicole Beharie brings her to life, we already know she will be memorable.
Bradley’s out-of-orbit experience met with some technical difficulties, which afforded us another side of Paul Marks. He wanted America’s sweetheart on the rocket, which he didn’t receive, and then viewers were left to decide whether space was as safe as they contented when, in mid-sentence, they lost contact.
It was the perfect place for a cliffhanger, even though we knew nothing would happen to those on board. We’ve got season photographs to prove it. That sense of unknowing spanned the premiere and The Morning Show Season 3 Episode 2 beautifully.
Apple series are known for their grasp of this concept, to let the viewers hang for just long enough before righting the ship. We’re rarely left without answers for long, and I can’t think of a better compliment when contrasting programming can leave viewers dangling without answers or a reason for far too long.
In the end, Alex left a well-planned and highly publicized event to follow a story that amounted to, unfortunately, nothing. Also much ado about nothing was UBA’s cyber attack.
That’s not to say it accomplished nothing, but rather that these attacks are so frequent now that they aren’t even the story, only the catalyst for stories with a more personal angle.
At first, it seems like the big story will be Bradley’s personal message to Laura, outing their relationship (if it hadn’t been already) and realizing that what hackers could find on her would put that to shame.
Cory Ellison and Bradley Jackson have been through it together, so much so that he’s fallen in love with her, a declaration he made to her and might have been what sent her straight into Laura’s arms in Montana.
Networks are used to working with scandals, and their PR team will likely have no problem keeping anything too salacious from becoming a significant story.
Internal records released to every employee and the public at large, though, is much different.
Even with all the lessons learned through #MeToo and whatnot, people still speak among themselves behind closed doors, believing that what’s done there will never see the light of day.
People are willing to allow for personal irregularities. We’re all human, after all. But they won’t stand for a corporate giant belittling their employees’ worth or speaking out of turn in ways they’d never do if the mic were on.
Cybil had no intention of paying the ransom, and you can’t help but wonder what else might leak as a result of that stance.
She thinks she’s just allowing Bradley to take the hit, but if we know anything about anything, it’s that where there is one secret, there are more to follow.
Building stories around events we understand, like abortion, January 6, Elon Musk, and cyber hacking for ransom, make The Morning Show Season 3 feel very prescient and real.
The premiere perfectly sets up interpersonal strife, corporate shenanigans, and power grabs while introducing new characters and forging interesting new relationships.
Just when you think that there isn’t any good TV to sink your teeth into, The Morning Show returns with everything we’ve been craving. We can’t wait to see what’s next.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.