Episode 07: La Amara Vita
Hey, did you see where I left my cigarettes?
I’ma level with y’all. This episode is a bummer. I cannot imagine doing my painstaking minute by minute coverage for this, and let’s be honest, it would be kind of boring? And as we are barreling into the end of the season, I am hoping I have provided enough laugh a minute content that you will indulge me in quick recap and a quick bit Critical Reflection™. Either way, it’s a free newsletter, and I am a cheertaitor, Torrence! Feel free to skip this one and catch up next week when we are back to our regularly scheduled programming.
I Did Not Fuck Alex Levy. Best Regards, Mitch Kessler
Surprising *checks notes* oh right, no one, Alex has gone to Italy to personally demand that Mitch release a statement saying that they did not have sex. Yes, Italy is in a COVID lock down, and yes, this is a wild choice by any metric, but it seems the Morning Show is contractually obligated to put these two together at least once a season. She yells, he blusters, her back hurts, Paola can’t find her cigarettes, it’s a whole thing.
Mitch gives her the statement she wants, they fight in the driveway, and we learn that Alex was in fact that one that suggested he add the button under his mirror that closed and locked his dressing room door. Dark! Alex tries to go home but is exhausted, both because of the person she is and also because it’s late at night. She leaves a message for her daughter because…I don’t know, she forgot she had a daughter until this moment, and narrowly manages to avoid a car crash. (FORESHADOWING ANYONE?) She wakes up surrounded by goats and an Italian policeman who sends her right back to Mitch, because, I don’t know if you’ve heard, there is this little thing called COVID? They play Trivial Pursuit, Alex reveals that she thought she was pregnant after they slept together in Chile, and gets a dig in about the fact that Laura Peterson will always be older than her, they dance, they fall asleep, perhaps healed?
But no, because upon waking, the excerpt from Maggie’s book about Mitch targeting black women is out, and Alex remembers just how deadly an association with Mitch is to her reputation. They yell some more and she leaves for good this time. Somehow the events of the night have lead Mitch to be healed just enough to have sex with Paola, but she does have to slap him and tell him to find his balls first? He runs out to get her cigarettes, which, as a former smoker, I have a hard time believing that Paola didn’t know exactly how many she had left and that she would not have picked some up when she left Mitch yesterday, but this is a just a way for Mitch to have a bunch of flashbacks about how awful he is and then drive off a cliff….? His last memory is dancing with Alex, not his children or Miss Honey. The final injustice to that marriage, imo.
In Which Your Recapper Takes a Minute To Play Critic
I am often asked to explain what it is about this show that has so gotten under my skin. The easy, Twitter friendly answer is my love for angry Jen Aniston and her perfect white blonde highlights and flawless trench coats. And the fact that this show is—no matter what it thinks— just a soap opera with a staggeringly high budget. But despite all that, buried underneath the baffling lines of dialogue and the uneven character arcs are these hints at something more interesting, more true about the ways in which fame and power corrupts people, the way that white men use that power, the ways in which white women are complicit in letting them as long as they are getting something out of it too. I won’t be so bold as to say that I think the show means to do this, because saying that I understand the intentions of these writers would be the wildest claim I have ever made in these pages. But there are these little moments that emerge that feel like an accurate portrayal of the horrible ways people relate to each other when they are desperate and trapped and that is the thing that keeps me, for better or for worse, hitting play on each episode.
Let’s talk about Alex, because I can’t stress enough how little I care about Mitch’s redemption arc, how annoying I find it that we had to spend allllll this time with him whining in Italy only for them to kill him off in a way that is supposed to, I think, make me feel bad for him? His motivations are not interesting to me, his feelings even less so. But Alex and Mitch are fascinating together, because their relationship is one of the few on this show that makes any sense.
Of course Alex is furious with Mitch, and of course it’s not because he is a bad person, but it’s because what he did affected her. He fucked with her life and her reputation. Of course she does’’t know how to function without him, she became the person she is because of their relationship, the love, the hate, the friendship. We saw how gross his was to her in that flashback episode in S1, we see how she learned to deal with it day after day, how to manage his temper and his ego. It’s why S1 Alex makes sense. All of her deceit and gaslighting is a desperate bid to make herself as powerful as Mitch was. The problem was (and is) that the show is more interested in framing that power grab as a yas queen girlboss moment than what it really is—a demonstration of the lengths rich white women will go to maintain their status, no matter what the ramifications are for the people around them. As horrible as Alex is in S1, I understand her motivation, on some level. Naming Bradley as co-anchor makes sense, throwing her under the bus when she becomes too unruly makes sense, cozying up to Daniel when she needs him makes sense, running to Fred makes sense. It even makes sense that Hannah’s death provides a (brief!) moment of clarity that allows her to speak out against the network, and it makes sense that she would spend this season terrified that it would get out that she has never been a feminist hero. And though I have been consistently perplexed about why she would return to TMS if she is so worried about being publicly outed, I can understand that her addiction to fame could win out over her need to protect her reputation.
But flying to Italy? In the middle of a ponderosa lock down? To get a single piece of paper from Mitch about a revelation in a book that simply no one will care about due to the GLOBAL PANDEMIC THAT IS BARRELING DOWN THE METAPHORICAL RUNWAY? It’s pretty clear that the show is trying to posit that the real reason she went is because she misses Mitch, despite her best judgement. But even that feels like it was pulled out of nowhere, because we never get a single moment of anything approaching honesty from Alex about anything! Not about her motivation for returning, not about any of the relationships with the people she works with, not about her divorce from Mr. Michelle Gomez? This is the same woman who had a straight up dog induced breakdown about her divorce on air! Are we really to believe that the fear of this information getting out is the only thing that is motivating all of her actions this season?? Sorry, I am gonna need more than that!!
The problem is that they have decided to “tackle” every conceivable issue on earth. Tackle is in quotes here, because you can’t make a point about COVID or racism or *sigh* cancel culture when the motivations of your characters are…missing. Remember when Daniel protest sang “America?” Yeah, of course you don’t, because it was just a thing that happened and was never brought up again and apparently had no affect on Daniel in any way. Stella is still trying to “clean up” the network while being stymied at every chance, Mia has to deal with…all of these people and a book excerpt that is prominently about her. The only thing the show has been interested in exploring is Bradley and Laura’s relationship and Cory being in love with Bradley. It’s okay to admit you bit off more than you can chew, writers of The Morning Show!!
So here we are, barreling into the end of the season. Mitch is dead, Alex is returning from a COVID hotspot, and Bradley has been outed. Who can say which of these things will matter next week, or if we’ll get some new plot line about the trials and tribulations of starting a new streaming service!
Thank you for indulging my poorly edited, rambling thoughts, next week we will be back to our regularly scheduled programming!
Best Jennifer Aniston Sound of Distress
Most Baffling Line of Dialogue
“You don’t think I targeted black women, do you? I’m attracted to them—I’m old enough to remember when that was considered progressive!”