Saturday, November 23, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Morning Show' - The World Burns Around Alex, Bradley and the Rest of the Staff in 'The Pendulum Swings'

AppleTV+'s The Morning Show - Episode 1.06 "The Pendulum Swings"

The Morning Show travels to California to cover the wildfires while Alex and Bradley struggle to keep their relationship from going up in flames.

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.

"The Pendulum Swings" was written by Kristen Layden and directed by Tucker Gates

The world is on fire. For the staff at The Morning Show, it has felt that way ever since Mitch was fired. In fact, the world is constantly tumultuous. It's changing in such a rapid way that it's hard to ever truly feel safe and vulnerable. That's the pace of the world now. The production team has to head out to California to report on the devastating wildfires that are currently ravaging the state. It's a sudden decision made out of Fred's selfish interests. He sees a literal fire as being a good distraction from the metaphorical one still happening at his top morning news show. Everyone wants to believe that Bradley is a solid addition to the team. And yet, she too has a tendency to push until she inevitably starts a fire that ruins her career. It may have led her to the national spotlight. But it can also ensure a quick burnout as well. That's the risk she is currently tangling with. Meanwhile, Alex no longer feels anchored to the world. She has lost her co-host and Jason wants a divorce. She understands that it was a long time coming. It's not a huge shock. However, she analyzes it as someone who always needs to project a certain image in public. She sees herself as someone who has been open and real with America for fifteen years. The country has seen her family grow. They have watched her daughter grow up. It's emotional. But it's artificial as well. She believes that everyone is simply trying to get a glimpse of her cracking from the pressure. She has to endure a lot of it as well because most don't believe she can handle it. People are questioning whether she was complicit in the cover-up of Mitch's crimes. That is an ongoing question Bradley gets no clarity on here. And yet, the fires in California bring Alex and Bradley together in a genuine way. People are quick to note that it has only been a week since Bradley joined The Morning Show. She wants to believe that she is making an impact and getting to do the journalism she cares about. Chip encourages those impulses mostly when they align with his own feeling that he should just burn the place down already. He feels like he could easily be the scapegoat if the network has to sacrifice someone to appease the mob clamoring for justice over Mitch's actions. Chip may be clueless in how to actually forge an alliance with Cory in order to secure his position in the company. Cory is much more secure in keeping everyone on their toes regarding his true motives. He helps Bradley following a night of partying and mistakes. He is a true gentleman as well. He is there for her no matter what she needs. She extends that same kindness to Alex when she needs some comfort. She is spiraling because she has no idea how to function if she can't be the picture of perfection to America. She is also terrified of what her daughter will think of her. It's all this internalized anxiety that builds up until it bursts onscreen and no one knows how to deal with it. Bradley can handle the situation. Alex does appreciate that. It's the first moments of building genuine friendship between them. That may be necessary in order for them to succeed as co-anchors. It has been somewhat frustrating that the show has painted them as antagonists this season. They continue to clash over the direction of the show. It can be exciting. But it's honestly more compassionate and exciting when Bradley and Alex get along. And then, Mitch appears again to throw a grenade into the whole situation. That feels too much like a plot obstacle that people will have to overcome instead of offering insight into the true complexities of the human condition. Alex may be complicit in the central #MeToo action. Many people at this show may be coping with that in some self-destructive ways. Patterns may be repeating especially because Yanko and Claire aren't doing a great job at hiding their affair. That can be dangerous. It's cathartic when Bradley and Alex are vulnerable and hug. However, that doesn't feel like the building block for a better future simply because the show has conditioned the audience to expect epic sparks of conflict to show just how dysfunctional this show is behind-the-scenes. That can be rather exhausting and distracting from some of the more nuanced character moments that continue to stand out in each individual episode.