Saturday, December 21, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Morning Show' - Alex, Bradley and Their Allies Set Their Plans in Motion to Gain More Power in 'The Interview'

AppleTV+'s The Morning Show - Episode 1.10 "The Interview"

The Morning Show faces a day of reckoning as a plan to upend the power structure at UBA is set in motion.

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 season finale of AppleTV+'s The Morning Show.

"The Interview" was written by Kerry Ehrin and directed by Mimi Leder

This season has long made the argument that Mitch Kessler has to be included in any kind of serious discussion about complicity within a toxic work environment. He was certainly extraneous to the proceedings a lot of the time. His removal from The Morning Show was the action that set this entire story into motion. Everything essentially revolves around him and his horrifying behavior towards women. And yet, it's not necessary for the people in this environment to have some grand realization about Mitch in order to grab ahold of power and speak the truth. For so long, it has been a series about constantly evolving power moves and dynamics. Everyone was working whatever angle they could find in order to consolidate more power for themselves. That may be the only thing that the people in this world truly want. There always has to be an ulterior motive. There can't be any sense of journalistic integrity or compassion in the pursuit of the truth. It's simply a ratings race where it's a constant competition to be the best. That's the way the system is set up. It rewards those who continually deliver no matter what antics they get up to off camera. It's also so difficult to speak up when those issues are blatantly wrong and apparent. Fred Micklen wields so much power. He may act solely out of self preservation and the need to keep everything functioning as smoothly as it always has. He will cover up any crimes or blame it on a lower level scapegoat just to offer the perception of taking accountability over the situation. All of this proves just how corrosive and systemic these issues can truly be. It wasn't all fixed the moment that Mitch was fired. That action took public pressure in order to happen. Sure, the mystery of who leaked the investigation to the press wasn't all that meaningful or significant. This finale reveals that Chip leaked it because he saw working with Alex as the only thing that made him energized about producing the show. That proves that he knew on some level that Mitch committed these abuses and had the full support of the network to protect him even in the wake of a changed culture. Chip taking action could be an uplifting moment of bravery. Instead, it's played as a plot twist to provide some sense of answers. Meanwhile, Bradley and Alex are the ones given that powerful moment where they speak truth to power. Of course, they may only be spurred to act because of Hannah dying. No one knew what Hannah had endured. She kept it private even though it has weighed down every day of her life. Her death may have been accidental. However, her reliance on pills to cope with the pain was the only counseling she received. It's not inherently wrong for the executive in charge to bring in grief counselors after a tragedy like this occurs. This finale treats Marlon making that announcement as an out-of-touch action to play towards a crew that has been together for a long time. That's his position here. He is the outsider who hasn't earned the power he now wields. As such, it's easy for Cory to run the show when Alex finally starts speaking out. Sure, it can be incredibly problematic that a death is used to motivate people into doing the right thing. Everyone essentially failed Hannah. Claire understood that her best friend was just trying to look out for her. She didn't understand what she went through and didn't need to in order to take it with grace and acceptance. In the end, she still needs Yanko's embrace to deal with this tragedy. Everyone hopes they have that kind of connection in this workplace in order to pull it together for the show. However, it still ultimately builds around Alex being in anguish over what to do. That too has been a consistent part of her character. She has wanted to step up to wield her power now that she is the lead anchor and most reliable performer for the network. She has long been conditioned into accepting that she has to be limited in what she can say. She sure has a lot of pent up rage and feelings. She just doesn't always know how to let them out. As such, they have come out in destructive ways. She was actively cruel and dismissive of Mia. Meanwhile, she was willfully ignorant of the pain Hannah was in. Everyone was until they learn what happened to her. Even then, Bradley and Alex are trying to respect her in death. The true monsters are Mitch and Fred for what they allowed to happen. It was all in pursuit of remaining in power and control. The finale ends with the program cutting to a test screen instead of allowing Bradley and Alex to finish their message of standing up to the man. It's a complicated journey getting to this point. Neither Alex nor Bradley are the best spokespeople for that message either. They constantly doubt themselves and just how complicit they were to the toxic nature of this workplace. They aren't both clean in this entire situation. That showcases how systems can fail by sucking so many people into a state of compliance. The world should constantly be questioned and forced to account for its past behavior. A moment of silence and reflection is necessary. However, the world may keep on spinning with a news cycle that has to be constantly fed no matter who gets to wield power and share the stories of the day.