Saturday, November 9, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Morning Show' - Bradley's First Week as Alex's New Co-Host Introduces New Controversy in 'That Woman'

AppleTV+'s The Morning Show - Episode 1.04 "That Woman"

TMS experiences severe growing pains as it embarks on a new era.

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.

"That Woman" was written by Adam Milch and directed by Lynn Shelton

At the conclusion of this hour, Bradley finally has the strength and courage to ask if Alex knew what was going on in Mitch's dressing room. It's the reasonable question any outsider to this set should be asking. It's important to know who was complicit in this horrendous behavior. Mitch was the man who abused his power in order to coerce women into giving him sexual pleasure. Many women have different versions of what these relationships were actually like. Mia discusses her time with Mitch as an affair. It was something elevated from the abuse of sexual misconduct. There were genuine feelings involved with no true fear that breaking things off would end in retaliation towards her. With Ashley though, she felt beholden to Mitch because he was the person demanding more and more from her. She felt that she couldn't say no to the star of the show. Bradley gets to that in her hard-hitting interview with her. Of course, the show increasingly wants to say that Bradley embodies manic energy that could fly off the walls at any moment in time. All it takes is for her to say the wrong thing in order to create a whole new controversy for the executives to deal with. However, the show equates the fallout of these controversies to a certain extent here in order for Bradley to come to some profound realization about the place where she now works. She was given the label of truth teller by Kelly Clarkson in a delightful cameo appearance. She feels empowered because she shared the story of having an abortion when she was 15 years old. That was the right decision for her to make at the time. Her family dynamic isn't the picture perfect portrait the show is now trying to sell. That is entirely scripted. It's meant to convey that everything is sweet and wholesome about the new addition to The Morning Show family. It isn't real. Bradley understands that. Her push to get to the truth may just be her trying to self-destruct while in this new opportunity. She doesn't know why she does the things that she does. That may make it difficult for the audience to have any kind of vested interest in what happens to her though. She doesn't have any conviction about the choices she is making. She is simply determined to speak out no matter what it may ultimately cost her. That's the viewpoint she continually brings to the material. She doesn't want to tow the line in order to appease everyone else. Alex is angry at the system as well. She too has felt powerless and unable to get the respect she rightfully deserves at this stage of her career. She fears that the people in charge are always looking to replace her. With Bradley, they may have a viable option to do so. She served her up to them as well. She takes full ownership over this decision. She expects Bradley to be grateful. She guides her along this journey when things get intense and chaotic. When it seems like the show is going to fail because of the advertiser ban, Alex is the one who navigates the situation and tells Bradley exactly what to do. But Bradley has her own agency in this world. She needs to in order for any of this to work. Sure, it may forever create a confrontational dynamic between her and Alex. This hour wholeheartedly embraces the awful and horrendous nature of Mitch's actions. It's a story defined by his victims and how they have reacted. It's not about him trying to be seen as empathetic or offering another side to the story. His presence isn't necessary here. He still looms over the proceedings though. Bradley feels the importance of coercing Ashley into speaking out because she ultimately saw the benefit of her abortion message. The show plays into the artificial nature of media cycles and public outrage. That may ring false though. It may all present as a cynical view of the world. One that may further implode. Cory promised compelling television and he believes Bradley is delivering exactly that. It just feels like the show is telling more than showing. That's unfortunate because the character stakes and reactions can be truly dynamite and powerful. It just feels like the show still has a tenuous grasp on these issues and what it wants to say about the current media landscape. Bradley's truth may be so inspiring and helpful to so many women. Ashley's can be as well. Bradley just feels the need to pick apart the fantasy in order to get to the messy truth of it all. That is presented as being real. But it mostly gets her to the point of confronting Alex which is where she should have been from the start of this new relationship.