Star Rating:

The Morning Show

Streaming On: Watch The Morning Show on Apple TV+

Season: 2

Episode: 1

Actors: Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Billy Crudup, Mark Duplass, Hasan Minhaj, Karen Pittman, Greta Lee, Ruairi O'Connor

Release Date: Friday 17th September 2021

Genre(s): Drama

Running time: 53 minutes

***SPOILERS FOLLOW*** In the premiere episode of season 2 of ‘The Morning Show’, we kick off seconds to minutes from where the last season ended. Alex (Jennifer Aniston) and Bradley (Reese Witherspoon) have locked themselves in Alex’s makeup room as studio prducers bang on the door. While Alex frets, Bradley says they have to stick together, no matter what.

Elsewhere, Cory (Billy Crudup) gets fired while Fred Micklen (Tom Irwin) is put on administrative leave. New to the cast, Holland Taylor (best-known for ‘Legally Blonde’, she had a terrific turn in the recent Netflix series ‘The Chair’) particularly impresses here as Cybil Richards. She tells Cory they need evidence to persecute Fred, as it’s he said she said, and so the #MeToo horrors continue. Cory tells the board “I cannot drag you idiots kicking and screaming into the 21st century”, followed by “enjoy broadcasting your cave paintings to the last remaining savages.” Thus we have the first great monologue of season 2, with more undoubtedly to follow.

After the opening credits roll, a very impressive series of aerial shots going through a deserted New York City follow – the pandemic has hit. We then flash back to three months earlier, the end of 2020, where Bradley is now co-hosting The Morning Show with Eric Nomani (Hasan Minhaj). Bradley's hair is blonde, a welcome call-back to Reese Witherspoon’s ‘Legally Blonde’ roots but also, one supposes, a vain attempt to fill the shoes of the superstar that was Alex Levy (who’s nowhere to be seen – at least for now). Bradley and Eric give a jaunty rendition of “What Are You doing New Year’s Eve?” (we know Reese has a lovely singing voice from ‘Walk the Line’, so it’s great to see her give it socks). It’s a far lighter tone than the last time we saw the talk show presented, so naturally, questions arise on what happened in the interim…

Billy Crudup as Cory in 'The Morning show'

Among the new faces joining is Irish actor Ruairi O'Connor (seen earlier this year in ‘The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It’), whose character Ty Fitzgerald talks trending topics on The Morning Show. Chip (Mark Duplass) works at a different news agency now and is in a happy loving relationship – in fact, he’s engaged by the end of the episode. Mia Jordan (Karen Pittman) continues to work her ass off, getting little credit for the amount of work she puts in. And Cory is somehow back in charge.

Bradley is frustrated that they’re avoiding serious news topics in the New Year show. She says she’s been giving the network all they want from hosting a celebrity bowling show to doing Tiktok dances on TV (“I did everything short of tattooing UBA on my ass, and for what?”). Ratings are down, and Bradley is advised to pick her battles. The TV presenter, it seems, has changed little, not only in her determination and passionate – oftentimes quick-tempered – attitude. She also maintains her naïve belief that morality, integrity and loyalty will be reciprocated. One has a feeling that’s about to bite her in the ass, much like that tattoo she mentioned.

Conversations are had about who to pair Bradley with on The Morning Show, whether she’s up for moving to evening, or just not cutting it. Newcomer Stella Bak (Greta Lee) clashes with Mia here, and when the idea that Alex balanced Bradley out well arises, Cory latches onto the idea to bring Alex back. Speaking of, where is Alex anyway?

Reese Witherspoon as Bradley in 'The Morning Show'

We find her isolated in Maine with just her dog for company, writing an autobiography that paints her as the put-upon celebrity suffering in giving the public all they want (through the “Red Shoes” story). Her editor says she needs to say more about Mitch (Steve Carell) but Alex refuses. We also hear talk of “Maggie’s book”, which it seems, will deep dive on Alex.

The former ‘The Morning Show’ anchor is chopping wood when Cory turns up, begs her to return, but she refuses. Later she goes to a New Year’s party (not wanting to be alone) and upon getting a reading from a psychic that cuts a bit deep, decides to abruptly leave. Outside, she listens to a heartfelt voicemail and final plea from Cory that she has “yet to do her greatest work.” After telling Cory she’ll do it, she stands alone with snow falling around her. At last, she looks as happy as she was pertaining to be. (Also, we all knew she’d come back, so we’re glad they didn’t drag this out any longer than one episode…)

Alex is putting a lot of faith in Cory given we saw him betray Bradley so fervently earlier on. Bradley put forth her name to replace Ray on evening news (after the previous anchor was "#MeToo'd"), to which Cory lies, telling her they’ve no idea who's moving to the slot. Cory proceeds to tell everyone – including Alex – that Bradley isn’t getting evening to the point that Eric, wracked with guilt, tells Bradley that he’s going to evening, not her. It’s also emerged in the episode that it’s thanks to Bradley that Cory got his job back so the deception cuts even deeper, though it still feels like at this point in the game, Bradley should know better than to trust the higher ups at UBA (her line about thinking she and Cory were friends, and that now they’re not friends anymore, comes across as incredibly childish). That confrontation was fiery but one feels neither has had the final word…

‘The Morning Show’ is streaming now on Apple TV+.