Friday, November 1, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Morning Show' - Bradley's World Changes as She's Thrown Into a New Environment in 'Chaos Is the New Cocaine'

AppleTV+'s The Morning Show - Episode 1.03 "Chaos Is the New Cocaine"

In a weekend of turmoil, TMS scrambles to prepare for its new future.

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.

"Chaos Is the New Cocaine" was written by Erica Lipez and directed by David Frankel

Alex backs her network into a corner. She announces Bradley as her new co-host. In an instant, the executives have to get onboard with the plan and adjust accordingly. It presents a world in which things are incredibly scattered and can go flying off the rails at any moment. It can be exciting. Cory is invigorated by all of this. He views chaos as the precise thing that this show needs right now in order to be a dominant force once more. He sees a passion that has been lit within Alex again. He may have an adversarial dynamic with her. She felt powerless because he refused to concede co-host approval in her new contract. She saw this action as taking power back and controlling the narrative. She doesn't feel the need to apologize for that. She is seeking out her own agency in the world. The executives have been trying to push her out. She feels powerful because she is holding the network up. That comes across as a validation of every decision she makes. Of course, this episode slyly discusses how Alex basically knew that Mitch was having inappropriate relationships with their co-workers. She knew what was going on between him and Mia. She may not have known the precise details. But that also makes her a flawed figure when it comes to interviewing the people of the #MeToo movement wanting to share their stories in an honest setting. The show can promote all of this as a huge media event. One that started in turmoil and is spinning out towards triumph again. Alex navigated the show through the initial reaction. And now, there is excitement that comes from a shocking newcomer as well as one of Mitch's accusers coming back to the set to speak her truth. But again, Alex is a flawed narrator of her story. She fears that she is growing increasingly crazy. That can simply play into the narrative that the network needs to replace her sooner than later. Her co-workers may not trust her anymore. They may see her as someone aloof from the rest of the enterprise. She doesn't appear for the run through to actually build chemistry with Bradley. Instead, Alex only has contentious discussions with the woman she wants to partner with now. Bradley had no say in this decision. She almost feels like she wants to be set up to fail. She wants to fight back against that narrative as well. She doesn't want to lose any sense of her own identity in order to fit into a carefully packaged mold. That isn't who she is. Mia and Cory are the ones helping her feel comfortable in this new environment. They are the ones encouraging her to do this her way. She doesn't have to stand behind Alex. This can be a true partnership. A way to deliver the show into the future. If it flames out, then the show can reinvigorate and start anew with completely different hosts. Alex ties herself to this decision. The network could fire her for this action. They don't. They will be patient to see what the results actually are. But again, personal relationships need to command this set. They don't at the moment. It's an environment full of animosity and competition. Alex fights to hold onto a segment even though she may not be the right journalist to conduct it. Bradley wants to believe she isn't just being given everything. She needs to feel ownership over her vision of the news. She doesn't fit into one box. She challenges anyone who wants to package her that way. She agrees with Daniel's criticism about the move. But again, everyone has to work together in order to make this work. All of this may have felt a little inevitable to the audience. The narrative had to find a way to keep Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon interacting with one another. Alex and Bradley are two people who don't really know each other. It's all about what purpose each other can ultimately serve. That's the way the business views them and conditions them to view each other. They may not work. The first show won't begin until the next episode. Alex can be reassuring one moment and absolutely vicious the next. Bradley is tentative but also more than willing to speak her mind and call out falsehoods. It's very dramatic. But again, it still feels like a chaotic narrative that highlights big talking points without digging all that much deeper than that.