Friday, December 13, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Morning Show' - Battle Lines Are Drawn as Everyone Vies for Power at the Network in 'Play the Queen'

AppleTV+'s The Morning Show - Episode 1.09 "Play the Queen"

New alliances are formed and old bonds are rekindled as The Morning Show world is forced to reckon with its past.

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.

"Play the Queen" was written by Erica Lipez & Ali Vingiano and directed by Kevin Bray

The last few episodes have suggested that Alex and Bradley could build a sustainable future together at The Morning Show. Alex has been navigating the messiness of her divorce. She has been able to rely on Bradley for comfort and support. However, battle lines are drawn once more here. It's all about Mitch again too. He continues to divide this world in a way that suggests they may never have stability in their current endeavors. Everyone essentially understands that he has a motivation to hurt as many people as possible after he was credibly accused of sexual misconduct and assault. The previous episode proved that he should not be seen in a flattering or sympathetic light at all. He is a monster who has continually abused women in order to get what he wants. He is still doing that now even though he has been fired from the show. He still operates with freedom and no real accountability. Sure, his lawyers have told him he doesn't have the money to keep up his current lifestyle for longer than two years. But he also has doormen who are more than willing to voice their support for him against these tragic and oppressive times as a result of the #MeToo movement. He believes he didn't do anything wrong. It's all a matter of perception. He believes Hannah coerced him into sex and then used that to get a promotion. She views it as a rape that she reported to the president of the network who then promptly covered it up. Her story is absolutely horrifying. Everyone should trust and believe her side as well. And yet, no one is lining up in order to defend her from the attacks that keep coming out. It may be a personal affair where Mitch feels in control of this story. He continually shows up in her life demanding she help him in this current situation. It can ruin so much of her career though. She wants the anonymity. She doesn't want to be responsible for blowing up the network. However, everyone else is making these big plans without really considering her feelings at all. That is the underlying tragedy of this mess. Claire ultimately takes Hannah's advice by taking a step back from her relationship with Yanko because of how she is personally feeling. She feels a certain shame from it even though she continues to insist that it wasn't an abuse of his power that seduced her. She feels powerful and respected. She just also believes she can't go public with this relationship because she is still striving to make her own identity in this business. She is working her way up. People are starting to validate her. She has become Bradley's executive assistant. However, people will continually believe that she too was a victim of a sexist workplace culture. She doesn't buy into that narrative. But it may also be a clever story that can be told in order to weaponize the emotions of the public. The people behind-the-scenes making the decisions may not actually care what the fallout or reaction will be. Bradley strives for honest and important journalism. That's why she is intrigued by this interview with Mitch. She knows he is working his own agenda. She blows up her new friendship with Alex because she needs to share this story with her new co-workers. She needs their support in order to even present the story to their audience. However, Chip is intrigued because it may guarantee his own job security. Cory is eager to gain more power for himself by contributing to Fred's ouster. Those are their motivations. Meanwhile, Alex and Fred want to maintain the same power structure because it has benefited both of them. They are suddenly friendly once more. Their interests are aligned. However, Alex also shares a story about a night with Mitch that certainly paints a stark portrait of how abusive he has been in their own relationship. She has never seen that as a moment of abuse but is willing to express it that way in order to rip power away when he threatens her livelihood. She may have a ton of success at the moment. She won't let another man compromise everything she has worked so hard to achieve. She just views Bradley as the enemy now. She has begun crafting Bradley's exit storyline and can even lure Daniel into her corner by playing into his own quest for power. It may just be a game to these individuals. A way for them to consolidate this influence for themselves. But again, Hannah is the one left stranded because she was assaulted once again by the man who would rather victim shame instead of accept his guilt of having already done so much physical harm to her once. She may back up his story. But it's still a profound story of silencing a woman even in the guise of exposing abuse. This show will remain dysfunctional for the foreseeable future as the finale will pit these two sides against each other to see which are left standing to reap the rewards.