Episode 09: Testimony
I’m gonna be cancelled, Cory.
In a Game of Cat and Mouse Alex Often Thinks She’s Playing…
We open with Alex is making her way through her apartment, exhausted from getting Dragged to Hell by Miss Honey. She takes the note from Mitch out of her bag and collapses on her bed in her clothes and full face of make up, as she is wont to do. This little habit of hers is very stressful to me!!!!
In Bradley's hotel of misery, Plot Device tries to apologize for his fuck up. He should not have come to her work, but in fairness to him, what she was doing (being gay? working?) hurt him so much. “Well then, I guess I should apologize to you? Where are my manners?” she deadpans. Plot Device goes for the sympathy card, he’s pathetic, he’s an idiot, he will swallow his pride and go to rehab. He wants to fix it. Bradley just looks at him, exhausted.
Alex is crying and (you guessed it!) whimpering on her bed, before slamming the note from Mitch in her drawer. We cut to her in a car with Doug, who is telling her that it will be fine, she will just have to sit there and take her lumps. She knows what she needs to say, she seems entirely resigned. I feel compelled to tell you she looks stunning in this green screened car. They pull up to uba and Alex waves off Doug’s insistence that they go around the back. There is a gathering crowd out front, and they shout her name, but Alex is preoccupied by the shrine to Mitch, one where someone has written “monster” over a photo of him.
Alex is here to apologize and quit, she wants to give the money back, but Doug is allowed to keep his commission. Kind of her! Also, it is insane that she can just give back twenty five million dollars, how rich IS she? (Katie Couric’s net worth is around 100 million, I have learned via google.) Cory says they are a family, no even better than family! They are a chosen family, they chose to be together. Cory is saying that uba is gay culture, I think! The seriousness in which Alex says she is going to be cancelled is high on the list of funniest line readings on this show. She is giving the money back, she doesn't care about primetime, this is a woman in defeat.
It shouldn't be a surprise to learn that Cory has a wild, nearly coherent metaphor about this situation, it is about pinball and bumpers and Alex looks completely exhausted as she tells him returning was a mistake, no matter how startling his metaphoric choices. Maggie’s book is out on March 17th, so Alex’s last day will be the 16th. It is kind of satisfying to watch Alex wander around the building and eat crow, though I can’t imagine this apology tour will last? She pops in on Bradly to tell her that she is leaving, that she going to give the people what they want, which is, of course, a final week or so of Alex and Bradley shows. Gimme Alex Levy, gimme Bradley Jackson too.
Bradley will not be in on Monday, she has to take Plot Device to rehab. But Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson will be, so maybe Alex should wait till Tuesday to return? No, Alex is professional now, and she will do her job with Bradley’s girlfriend, hard no feelings at all. I gotta say it is WILD that Alex doesn’t even mention that Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson and Bradley are dating? Or like, “hey, you were outed in Groucho Marx glasses, that must have sucked???” But she IS sorry about the whole brother to rehab thing, she really is. Bradley suggest they should get drink soon, they haven't really spoken in a while, and maybe Bradley was a bit too harsh before? It's strange to watch this scene and think about hew little they have interacted all season. Is this like, the third or fourth time? Maybe?? Weird!
Dark Angel Rena is leading Miss Honey through the halls of NBA, wearing a mask because that COVID creep is catching up with us and she is high risk due to her pregnancy. It makes her feel like Michael Jackson, but Miss Honey thinks it’s good she is taking this seriously. They enter the staff area and it’s very clear that Miss Honey can’t quite believe she is tacitly asking them to come to Mitch's memorial, but it's for her kids, so she feels a little trapped. How does one tell a ten year old that no one is coming to his father’s funeral and that everyone hated him? The staff doesn’t really know how to react to this, Alex is watching like a beautiful creep in the doorway. As Miss Honey goes to leave, she spots Alex, and walks towards her with a deadly (hot) glare, then just looks at her in disgust before wordlessly walking away.
*Bradley and her brother are silently green screen driving.* That’s it!
Alex and Gayle are heading down to the studio and Alex wants to know why they are not talking to Biden, but he did the Sunday shows, so now they get his campaign manager, Greg Schultz. Alex is wearing a very long, sleeveless item that is both a vest and a blazer with simply the shortest skirt I have ever seen on a woman over 50 who is on morning TV. She’s wearing black tights, so it’s not like fully insane, but it is QUITE short. I applaud this. Mia catches up to them, she is trying to “get ahead of this coronavirus thing” and wants to set up studios in everyone’s homes. Alex does not want this because she is quitting, but before she can figure out how to say this to Mia, she sees Chip down the hall.
He’s wearing his trademark crumpled corduroy, and I am waiting for him to crumble and beg for forgiveness, but I am forced to give him a TINY amount of respect as he tells her he is only staying on until she finds a new producer, or she gets cancelled. Whichever comes first. LOL. Alex barely has time to absorb that blow before Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson comes her way, dressed in a light pink suit with a grey pussy bow that she should not be able to pull off but somehow…she does?
Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson wants to make sure they'll be professionals, and Alex assures her they will. There is a very dramatic slow motion shot of Alex returning to set, everyone looks at her ~*~meaningfully.~*~ Alex asks Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson to set her up for a story from the weekend, and they banter about COVID— can you believe its real? I mean.... Alex, you were very literally just in Italy? So... Yes? Should be your answer? Anyway, Dr. Bottum is back to tell the frenemies that washing your hands is very important, and they “make up" a song about TMS to wash their hands by. It is very cheesy but also very appropriate for a morning show. Also I think the story Alex wanted Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson to set her up for was Mayor Pete dropping out and endorsing Biden? Feels like something that Laura would have known about due to gay reasons and also professional journalist reasons, but whatever!
Bradley is dropping off Plot Device at the Best Rehab Ever, but he wants to go to Disney, or maybe Cooperstown? Anything other than rehab, tbh. She sighs, and then takes this moment to tell him that after he gets out of rehab, she can't see him anymore. Again, taking the spirit of Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson advice, but perhaps not the letter of it! I think it would probably have been more effective to let him think whatever he wants right now, just to get him in the door, and then perhaps spend sometime with a therapist who could teach her how to enforce boundaries? Plot Device does not handle this well, he threatens to take the money she presses into his hands to buy more drugs and overdose. Very cool and not manipulative tactic! It’s something Bradley clearly has heard from Plot Device a lot and she can't do this with him anymore. He's an adult, he can go in or not, but she won’t make that call for him. She wants him to get better, but if he doesn't, that's not in her anymore. Again, she is right to say this! She just needs a bit of help with the delivery and like, timing. She drives away, leaving her plot device behind, unburdened….FOR NOW.
Alex pops by Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson dressing room after the show, only to find Dr. Bottum already there. Is this…a lesbian connection? I have no idea what Dr. Bottum says to Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson, but she does want Alex to call her if that back starts acting up again. Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson wants to know if Alex is going to the memorial, but Alex has more pressing mutters to discuss. "Do you remember that night when a bunch of us went to see Bring In Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk?” What? On earth? Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson is as perplexed as we all are at this sudden trip down memory lane. It feels important to note that Alex mentions Maggie was there, just so we can all take a moment to think about Marcia Gay Harden at a Bring In Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk concert. “Why don't you like me?” Alex asks, in a show of surprising emotional honesty. Self obsessed emotional honesty, but look, I'll take what I can get from this monster.
One day they were friends and one day Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson didn't speak to her! Laura is like do you remember what was going on with me or…? Alex remembers, and she remembers Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson needing some space? Seems like what Laura really needed was a friend, but Alex tries to walk back their closeness, despite the Bring In Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk of it all. I was successful, Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson says. That was the real reason Alex hung out with Laura and her friends "that summer." Please let me write that show! "Wow. Do you really believe that?'' Alex asks, affronted. Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson lays out her theory about Alex outing her, and Alex admits to gossiping about her, but also says that everyone was gossiping about Laura and her gayness. “Gossip seemed so much less vicious back then,” Alex sighs. Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson points out that it…clearly was not, it was just not gossip about her—yet.
Alex wishes they had cleared the air sooner, despite the fact that she probably would have denied that she was gossiping back then. Either way, she really enjoyed doing the show with Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson today. And not for nothing, it would have been fun to be friends over the last few years. For once, Alex sounds like she means something she is saying—probably due to the fact that she is taking inventory of her life and she has quite literally no one around her. Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson admits she said shit about Alex too, and Alex seems both amused and kind of touched. I feel like this half admission is letting Alex off the hook a bit easy, but I absolutely believe that the subject of Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson being in the closet would have been HOT gossip among The Community (of Journalists), I just wish the show had committed a bit more to one or the other? Also, am I high or does Jen have better chemistry with Julianna than Reese does?
Bravely, the next morning, Alex is going to work again! Bradley is back and there is a very weird slow motion shot set to Save The Last Dance for Me. I am brave enough to admit I am little sad it's not Michael Buble version—what can I say, The Wedding Date (2005) was a formative film for me! Alex starts the show with “It's Tuesday, March 3rd, and what a Super Tuesday it is!” …. kay!!
Later, Cory is on "Peter Bullard's" show, because what a failing streaming service needs is a random news network head on tv to grab viewers by the throat. Peter intros him as “the man who locked the door,” which is funny but also hard to imagine people still care about?? They banter about streaming service wars for a bit before Peter asks about Maggie book. Cory insists that he is not worried, and to prove it, he asks Maggie to come on uba.
She accepts, and Cory asks Bradley to do the interview. She'll get to read the book in a locked room. Fun! The scene of Bradley reading the book is hilarious, there are so many shots of Bradley’s eyes, tracking over pages as she reads. There is quite a lot about Alex in this book, what most would call a fair amount, maybe what Bradley wants to call an unfair amount? There is a whole chapter just called Levy which made me laugh, like the last name feels so aggro?
Next day at TMS, Chip is warning Alex that she shouldn't around people for COVID reasons. Alex sighs that its not his job to protect her anymore. Then we cut to Mitch's memorial, where a tiny man is talking about how "Mitchie" loved sailboats. Then we get the gift of Martin Short’s horrible character, obviously drunk, yelling that Mitch needed support when he was alive, and telling dark jokes that Mitch “would have loved.” It's a little confusing for a show that has a habit of doing the "just asking questions!” bit, because Martin Short has been historically the “bad guy" the show is comfortable actually committing to be, so are we supposed to care and or trust him when he says this? It feels important to note that Paola is very into this speech, also feels important to note that Paola flew from COVID Italy for this!!
Alex shows up, because she doesn't give a shit about her reputation anymore. She was the one who flew Paola here because they both loved? She calls for everyone's attention, because Alex Levy cannot live without being perceived. She asked Miss Honey to bear with her before launching into her speech about striving to be better, before confessing to the room that she was there, in Italy when me died, and that she wants him to be remembered for the fact that he was "starting" to get it, starting to feel remorse for what he had done. I am simply going to need a citation there! Also, this speech is allegedly about Mitch but let’s be real, it’s about Alex. 'I'm so sorry for all of it,” she whispers before leaving. Boy, I bet this won’t blow up in her face!
Bell ringing sound! Maggie Brener v. Bradley Jackson! They are seated at a very long table, for COVID reasons, I imagine? Bradley is in her power cranberry, Maggie in a wild selection of fabrics that is giving very upscale art mistress. She talks about that Broadway Benefit party where Alex tried to her she was the feminist hero of TMS and that the Ashley Brown interview was her idea. But Bradley is the truth teller, is she not? Was that true? Bradley admits it is not. Then, bafflingly, she springs a surprise attack. Why didn’t Maggie include the story of how Bradley got her job? That story is very interesting, and it’s true.
Maggie is like okay, you wanna box?? Let’s absolutely go. The real story is that Alex impulsively named Bradley as her co-host, despite her not being even close to being in consideration for the job. “In a game of cat and mouse that she often thinks she’s playing.” It’s hard to explain how much joy that line reading gave me, Marcia Gay Harden is simply an artist of the highest degree.
Why does so much of Maggie’s book focus on Alex and Mitch’s consensual affair? Bradley wonders? There were many other terrible things Mitch did, why the laser focus on Alex? Maggie crumbles and confesses her long standing love for Alex, and tells the whole sordid story of the dinners at Laura’s house “that summer.” FINE, sorry, she says you wanna go there? And then tells the whole sordid, "Alex terrorizing Maggie in her hotel room in Vegas.” Bradley is obviously surprised by this, because she was famously fucking Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson, but recovers enough to say that what she hears is a story of a woman in pain, begging to keep her private life out of a best selling book. To be clear, this makes no sense, and even though I am noted lover of spin, this is not….very believable spin? Nor is it super believable that Bradley would feel this way after one (1) conversation with Alex where she got close to apologizing but didn’t actually. "Who is the worst person you ever slept with Maggie?” Maggie does not say Alex, but we all know that's who she is thinking, right? Either way, she looks VERY taken aback by this one woman firing squad.
Alex has been watching this from her kitchen, where she is shocked and relieved, but mostly shocked. She takes a breath, then scrolls through Twitter. My God, can you believe it? She is not cancelled! Maggie is just another bitter bitch who wants to take a girl boss down. La Levy is the feminist icon we deserve! Or something? It’s quite clear that Alex is still a piece of garbage and I don’t know why, exactly, I am supposed to buy this late turn but, I DO love the old spin machine, and a late game change in narrative is absolutely the dramatic shit I do like!
Of course, who else would Bradley celebrate her victory with but Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson? They’re at Bradley's this time, because I guess the whole “getting outed” thing…didn’t matter in the end? I mean, the Mitch story is probably big enough to knock their shit out of the press, and Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson isn't co-hosting anymore, so it’s just gravy? ANYWAY, Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson is wearing a negligee type thing and I want her to (redacted). She expresses her confusion at Bradley randomly being Team Levy, and Bradley is like whatever, I am unpredictable and a TRUTH TELLER and she didn’t feel like agreeing with Maggie in that moment. Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson thinks that is is impressive, for no real reason I can understand. Also she has a heart condition, one that means she will be staying at her Montana ranch for some months. Maybe Bradley wants to come stay with her? I am actually hyperventilating thinking about a third season set partially at some green screened ranch with Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson in a Cowboy boot.
But! Bradley is on TV five days a week, how would that even work??? "Give it up. For me. I don't like it when my woman works." Bradley asks if she's serious, and Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson starts laughing. No, she’s not SERIOUS, she has a studio on the ranch, Bradley can film TMS there. But Bradley doesn’t care about work. “Am I your woman?” she asks. Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson is a little scared of Bradley, but... yes? If she wants to be? Then they have their second on screen kiss! In Episode Nine! They have SLIGHTLY more chemistry here, but maybe the first kiss was hotter? I mean, not really, this is not a “hot” show by any metric, unless we are counting my feelings about Jen’s hair and Marcia Gay Harden being a stone cold bitch and Julianna looking stern and mean.
Whomst could that be? It's the bellboy, with an envelope of cash. I guess it is the money that she gave Plot Device, but it seems like too much?? I thought she gave him like 300 dollars? But she seems to understand what it means and stares into the middle distance, dramatically.
La Levy is waking up for work, and checks her phone first thing. She must have push alerts for her own name (unwell) because her feed is all "boo Alex!!!’ And “#CancelAlexLevy.” Turns out the footage from her weird speech at Mitch’s funeral leaked, because of course it did. To think she almost didn't get cancelled and now this! The INJUSTICE! She leaps from bed, distressed, and turns on the tv, where reporters are discussing that despite Bradley’s valiant effort, Alex Levy is TOXIC. Well, that is true, but equally unfortunately with a taste of her lips I would in fact be on a ride. "Not to mention, she put her coworkers in danger," the reporter says. This is…very true. She is horrified and spins around to...go to work? Run away? Probably something, but she LITERALLY TRIPS ON one of her shoes and falls. The heel just lies there, menacingly. Please never forget this is a soap opera.
Alex awakens. She is in hospital, why is she in a hospital?? Doug is on the phone, he tells her she has a concussion, and uh, this is awkward, but she does in fact have COVID. Alex glances around desperately, unwilling to believe her actions have lead her here! Dun dun!!!
Soon May The Weatherman Come
Yankee runs into his ex, Claire, at some outdoor food festival that is very “hey, check out my midsize city.” She is furious when she learns he going to Mitch’s memorial, because Hannah was famously her best friend, and Mitch was an actual garbage fire. Then she admits that she is funding Hannah’s stepfather’s lawsuit. In case you forgot, we learned that Claire is like, British Royalty or something and that she has a ton of money. Yanko doesn’t got to the memorial and also we don’t see them again this episode so…what the fuck was ze point of this, exactly???
Best Jennifer Aniston Sound of Distress
Most Baffling Line of Dialogue
“And someday, each and every one of our death certificates will read: Cause of death: Cancel Culture.”
Next week: Fever