Friday, November 1, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Morning Show' - Alex Receives an Award and Makes a Powerful Statement in 'A Seat at the Table'

AppleTV+'s The Morning Show - Episode 1.02 "A Seat at the Table"

Alex engages in contract negotiations as she prepares to accept an award. Bradley is courted for a new opportunity.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of AppleTV+'s The Morning Show.

"A Seat at the Table" was directed by Mimi Leder with story by Kerry Ehrin & Jay Carson and teleplay by Kerry Ehrin

Who is allowed to wield power? Historically, it has predominately been straight white men. Even to this day, that remains true. The systems may be in place to hear and respect women's stories. And yet, it's still presented within the framework and desire of straight white men. They are the demographic proclaiming that the #MeToo movement has gone too far. Social media outrage and cancel culture is now going after mediocre white men who don't do anything too notable. That's certainly not true at all. There is merit to the accusations being discussed and the vital reporting done to ensure the abuse comes to light. But there is a whole lot of manipulation going on behind-the-scenes to create the sense that the people in charge are listening without having to deal with too many consequences over the exposure of one man's abusive behavior. Cory is new as the president of the news division. Handling the claims against Mitch appears to be his first big decision. However, he is now looming large over The Morning Show set in the hopes of framing how this important property to the network's brand can move into a new era. He may not see Alex Levy as an important part of that future. He sees her as expendable. She doesn't feel that way. She has power in this world. She demands respect. That's what she craves. She is the public face of how the network is handling this scandal. That's the responsibility forced onto her as the anchor of the morning news. It's a responsibility she used to share with Mitch. Now, she is out in the cold fighting her own battles. At times, it feels as if she doesn't know how to wield her power to get what she wants. She flexes her influence to prove that she can be a skilled operator in this world as well. And yet, what exactly is power? This show basically views it as people who use other people in order to manipulate someone else into doing what they want. Cory may see a flash of excitement within Bradley Jackson. She may have a valuable and refreshing perspective that can revitalize the brand. However, Alex sees all of this as the network trying to prove to her that she is easily replaceable. The executives have long been looking for someone new to slide into her chair. That's why her contract negotiations have stalled so severely. She has to make a public announcement in order to be treated seriously and as if she has a voice in what happens next. She doesn't like Bradley though. She is startled when this newcomer from rural America sits down at the network's table for her award ceremony. Alex is seated next to a total stranger while she's being celebrated. Bradley explains that she is staying because she doesn't have the power to walk away. That may not be true either. She is perfectly frank when meeting with Cory and Chip. She tells them exactly how problematic their shows are. She dodges the question of why she has moved so often in her career. A correspondent job is what they are discussing for her. Chip is against the idea because he sees it as a major mistake. But Alex makes the announcement anyway. She will be sharing the desk with Bradley Jackson. That's how she perceives regaining power. It puts Bradley in the middle of this war between the star and the network executives. Her voice is just as valid and necessary to the conversation though. She'll have to move her entire life to be the co-host of The Morning Show. She gets the promotion over the much more qualified Daniel Henderson. That too highlights how white women have a certain privilege in the world as well that frequently comes at the expense of communities of color. Hannah may have her skills in keeping the woman accusing Mitch of sexual misconduct from speaking with their direct competitor. But Daniel is the one told that he is too black to be seen as a viable candidate for the job. He fights back against that narrative. And yet, it's unlikely that he could have changed many minds through one casual exchange at a fancy event like this. So, power fundamentally seems like something constantly being used to hurt people in pursuit of the selfish interests of a select few. That is slightly cynical but also presents as a conversation the show feels the need to scream at the audience in order to get the point across.