Episode 10: Fever
Is there anyone out there who is perceiving the world from somewhere other than inside their own body?
Friends, countrymen, malinged newsroom anchors. We have made it! It’s the finale, the last time I will grace your inboxes with these lunatic recaps! I am not sure what I expected when I started this little project—honestly it was primarily an exercise to get myself to write more and to keep me from tweeting unendinly about this show. It’s been an absolute blast, and though we don’t know if The Morning Show will be back for a third season, if they are, well, you know I will be too!
Either Get On The Alex Levy Train Or Just Stay At The Station.
Bradley is handing out missing fliers for her Plot Device amid crowds of New Yorkers, all of whom I suspect are like…”is this bitch for real or did she time travel here from 1991?” Where did she print these? At work? Does her hotel room have a printer?? Did she just make her assistant make them?? Alas, we’ll never know. She sees an unhoused person sleeping on the street— is it Plot Device? No, just another struggling person that Bradley doesn’t know and thus does not care about. Touching!
Alex returns from the hospital to her Penthouse of Sadness as news reports play over her wandering through her apartment to stand despondently on her balcony. We hear Daniel reporting that Alex has taken a personal day, and that the network is aware of the statements she made at Mitch’s memorial. They were leaked statements, he reminds us, so perhaps it is none of anyone’s business! Consider that! But also, they have heard the outcry from everyone about Alex coming back from a hotspot and endangering her coworkers and they will be investigating. I am not quite sure what that investigation would look like, they know she went to Italy, she already admitted it? What is there…to investigate?
Upstairs, Cory is meeting with HOLLAND TAYLOR and some guy who I recognize from something. He looks very punchable! They are talking about some big event they are going to do that will BLOW the minds of anyone who watches and then the masses will simply fall all over themselves to subscribe to uba+. HOLLAND TAYLOR, ever the voice of reason, and the only one in a mask, dares to ask if having an event right now is the best idea? What would it cost to postpone? Cory cannot postpone! This is a LAUNCH event! To be clear, I have never in my life heard of a network hosting an person event to launch a streaming service, I am hard pressed to believe it is a thing that happens. But simply when has that ever stopped the minds behind The Morning Show? One of the other suits in the meeting is like well the cost of postponing would be… as if the actual logistics are the problem. Cory asks him and the punchable guy to step out so he can get to the REAL root of things, AKA the EMOTIONAL METAPHOR.
“We see the iceberg! It doesn’t make you brave to steer the ship right into it!” HOLLAND TAYLOR exclaims after taking off her mask. Unfortunately that is an accurate depiction of our general inability to adhere to mask regulations in a way that makes sense. But has HOLLAND TAYLOR considered that uba+ is not, in fact the Titanic? A brave assertion for Cory to make, given the many similarities between uba+ and the ship in question. (hubris, lots of money, doomed from the start.) No, they are like, Apollo 13? If they nailed it? Kay? HOLLAND TAYLOR thinks this is more Icarus than Tom Hanks. “WE HAVE TOM HANKS” Cory screams. I am sorry, that is a bridge too far, even for this show. You do not get Tom Hanks for an event to launch a streaming service, you just DO NOT. Also, the network is leaking money, people “are opening HUGE short positions” against them (go off Billions!) and perhaps Cory is investing too much of his own ego into uba+? Is it even about the streaming service? Or is it about him? “They are one and the same.” Cory says, like a normal person. That is the last straw for HOLLAND TAYLOR, and she is getting out of this building that hosted a super spreader.
Stella and Mia are having a harrowing Zoom meeting (too soon!) with some uba suits. Yes, everyone Alex came into contact with is likely at risk to contact COVID, but Stella would like to point out the statistical improbability of Alex even having COVID. Advertisers are pulling out, and, as one suit notes “it’s not like there is just one thing she can apologize for.” TOO TRUE.
Ring ring! La Levy calls Stella with some news— she is the statistical improbability we were worried about! Now is probably a good time to mention that I am truly obsessed with the make up work done throughout this episode to make Jennifer Aniston, professional beautiful woman, look sick enough to have COVID but not like, sick enough that she is UGLY or anything. She starts off in a gold silk pajama set, it is incredible. Anyway, this lights a fire under Stella’s ass, she tells Mia to get everyone home now, and then rushes Alex off the phone to start the damage control.
On the set of TMS, Mia brings everyone together to drop the COVID news. Everyone starts yelling, Resident Dark Angel Rena is pissed, but Ty, the Social Media Wunderkind (remember him??) wants to know if Alex will be okay. They have spoken…twice to my knowledge, but okay! Sure! Mia sends everyone home, and Stella pauses to grab Daniel. Heyyyyy friend! Guess what! You are gonna host TMS from home! What an honor! But Daniel is not fooled! He knows he’s only getting this honor because Alex has finally done something so irresponsible that the consequences have made it impossible for her to do her job! And he has a grandfather in LA who is at risk so he has to drive across the country without staying in hotels to go get him. “And good luck to me, a black man, sleeping in his car.” WOW, I love this subtle, gorgeous commentary on race! Stella wants Daniel to take this opportunity to prove to her that she was wrong about him. But he is done with being the news for people that have too much time. That is actually the most accurate description of a morning show that I have ever heard?? As he storms off, Stella tries to threaten him by reminding him that he is under contract. Okay, we all know I love Stella but girl! That is RICH. Remember when Bradley had a three week tempter tantrum??? Daniel thinks so too, and finally (finally!) quits. “And by the way? My grandfather thinks I have the ‘it’ factor.” Bro!!! That is SO embarrassing, you made so many great points just to burst the bubble like that?? Mia and Stella watch him walk away, then Mia wonders “Does Cory know about Alex yet?” Stella is off yet again!
In front of a needlessly dramatic green screen thunderstorm (WE GET IT, IT’S A DARK MIDAFTERNOON OF THE SOUL) Glen the uba suit is trying to get Cory to offer a six month trial for +. He is not having it, and the only thing on his schedule today is an interview with some filmmaker that Alex knows? A Paola? Cory doesn’t have time to do Alex a favor, and tells Kyle to reschedule. Stella whips in and gives Glen an incredible “What’s upppp??” like she’s thrilled to be there. She starts hastily writing Cory notes, the first of which is “Alex has COVID” and the last of which is “DESTROY THESE NOTES.” All the while she is bantering with Glen about uba+ and it’s actually very funny and an energy I wish she had gotten to play with more. Cory kicks Glen out (again, lol) and sighs that no one digs their own grave like Alex Levy. BOY ain’t that the truth! Also, maybe Stella is too close? Maybe she should back up, just a bit? Just…over there? Cory being deeply freaked out by germs and COIVD makes a ton of sense for him, I gotta say.
“Who else knows?” Well, Mia? And HR? Great! So we can do a contract trace! Not that Stella knows what the hell a contract trace is, but mostly it will be imperative that they keep this under wraps. Aside from the fact that that is a truly terrible plan, Stella admits that she did in fact already tell…the whole staff and crew. No matter! Cory can spin this! Alex got back from Italy almost 14 days ago (she did????) and if she got there then yeah, fine, she’s the living worst! But if she got it in New York? “Then she is just a grieving woman who needs our sympathy!”
Cut to Alex, CERTAINLY having a hellish go of it. She is sweating right through her silk pajamas, desperately trying to cool herself down via bags of frozen peas. Not to be a perv, but madam, maybe take off the LONG SLEEVED pajamas? Her dog appears, as if released by a ghost into the penthouse, and she calls the down to see where the hell he came from. Chip dropped him off, of course. She gasps her thanks and enters another fever dream as we…
Slow pan up Bradley, lying in bed, still consumed with her missing plot device. She ignores a call from Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson, who is I guess already in Montana? We will not see her at all this episode, which is very disappointing but iconic that her last line on this show was “I’ll be in the bedroom.” Down the hall, Cory enters his room, still talking about “Launch Day.”
Back in Alex’s COVID Penthouse of Hell, things are not getting better! She’s still sweating it out in her silk pajamas, there is a weird fuzzy camera effect that is I assume meant to convey how ill she is. She calls her doctor, who is like well yeah COVID is the worst, but you can breathe, which means we can’t do anything for you here, soooo good luck! Please enjoy these iconic “Alex is sick” stills:
Unable to sleep (and finally in some pajamas that make sense) she calls Chip. “Mom?” She whimpers pathetically. Well, that’s a whole weird psycho sexual thing I cannot even begin to unpack. She doesn’t want to be alone, and she can’t sleep, but she should be sleeping, and she thinks she’s is gonna die. Chip switches to FaceTime and tells her she isn’t gonna die, and yes, being cancelled is just as bad has having COVID and yes, of course he’ll stay on the phone with her until she falls asleep. It would be sweet, but it’s Alex and Chip, the two most cursed people on earth so it is instead not. He’s not mad at her anymore because she has COVID? OooooOoookay?
Bradley is talking to a detective who is urging her to not think of her Plot Device as a statistic. He could still be alive, never mind the fact that it has been well over 48 hours! Don’t lose hope! She hangs up and watches Yanko reporting on COVID before sending Plot Device another desperate text. She turns the TV off when Yanko mentions uba+. Relatable.
“Do you want me to reach for the sky?” Cory asks as Chip ambushes him with a bandana over his face outside of his hotel. No, he does not, he wants to pitch him a show. A show about Alex suffering! Or letting America watch their favorite morning show anchor suffer through COVID. Or something? Cory tries to point out that she is persona non grata, and Chip says that while she has made a lot of mistakes, at her core she is a good person! Citation needed! Just give her an hour tonight, and Cory will see how great she really is. She’s practically cancelled after all, a fate certainly worse and perhaps more deadly than COVID! Cory sighs.
Stella is in another sick outfit as she pushes past Kyle to storm Cory’s office. Cory is behind a full plexiglass shield at his desk, and Stella, much like myself, can’t resist the opportunity to crack a few jokes. “When’s the feeding? Do you need my routing number?” Roasting aside, it is time to get to business. Namely that Alex is ABSOLUTELY not getting an hour of uba prime time! They are already loosing sponsors! Well fine! It will go on uba+! Stella asks if he is worried about loosing subscribers, and he lights up with all the manic glee of the man I have come to love so much “Nobody is subscribed! So I’ll put on what I wanna put on, it’s Cory+.” Stella looks at him with pity etched on her face before telling him earnestly that she subscribed. He seems touched, or maybe just more manic, and cackles to Kyle that they need to add her to the board.
Up at Super Spreader HQ, Alex is lying on the floor of her bathroom when she hears the elevator ding. She for some reason thinks it’s her hellbeast of a daughter, which is funny because…babe no, it is not your daughter. Let’s be honest, she hates you and doesn’t exist. It’s Chip of course! Chip who has COVID (???) and is here to pitch her on the show he just sold to Cory. Wild that he went to Cory before asking the very sick woman on whose tiny shoulders this ill fated hour rests, but! She falls to the ground and weeps upon hearing Chip is sick. Weirdly his proposal that she go on air tonight is not what she was dying to hear in this moment! “What, so people can just watch me suffer?” She huffs indignantly. Kinda!! But also maybe this is what the people need to see to keep themselves from getting sick! He blathers on and on, totally not paying attention to the fact that Alex is about to hurl in his face. Instead, she pukes into her gorgeous marble bathtub. Then she agrees to do the show.
Kyle rattles off a long list of things Cory has on his schedule, taking a moment to pick up Denzel’s umbrella from underneath his couch. Then Paola waltzes in, pissed that Cory cancelled their meeting yesterday. Kyle told her to get in touch when she was back in New York, so she drove to New Jersey and came back. Cory chuckles, obviously a little charmed, but he is simply too busy! He is on his way out the door! Paola has a sample of her work (we all know the sample is the Mitch interview, right?) and could he just please take a second to watch it? She watched it again last night and she was blown away. Cory is once again, amused by her confidence and agrees to take a look. The footage starts, Mitch on his couch in his sad man sweater, and Cory looks shocked.
In her hotel room, Bradley is setting up a ring light with a look on face that would almost make you believe she isn’t a professional anchor of morning TV. Like girl! You know what a light is?? Her phone rings, and she is as surprised as anyone to discover it is Alex. Bradley wants to know how her ex is doing. “Oh, you know. Bad.” I love this line reading for a lot of reasons but number one is because that is EXACTLY how I sound when I am unwell. Alex wanted to thank Bradley the Truth Teller for “not keeping her distance” from her. I am not sure how that is true? I mean, they have interacted like four times this season? Alex was in Italy for a lot of it? When did Bradley not keep her distance? She must mean it metaphorically, when Bradley interviewed Maggie? Sure! Well, Bradley did it because relationships don’t have to transactional, and she and Alex are friends. Kind of. “I‘ll be better. You’re too good for me, Bradley.” Alex sighs. Again, how is it possible they have more chemistry via a phone call than she and Laura did sitting together on a couch?? God, not writing these recaps is going to free my time up for so much fanfiction!
Bradley thinks she is just as disappointing as everyone else because she told her Plot Device that she was done with him when she dropped him off at rehab. Again, this is why she needed some help with the cutting people off? It’s not…a thing you do because it’s easy? I am going to have to transcribe this next bit due to how silly it is.
Bradley: I left him there and now he’s missing.
Alex: Well where is he?
Bradley: Alex, I don’t know, he’s missing!
What purpose does this exchange serve? Who can say! Alex has been off social for obvious reasons, but she can…retweet something? If Bradley needs? It’s hard not to imagine Jennifer Aniston say thing this exact thing to her publicist. Bradley hasn’t posted about it though, because of the shame. She’s just papering New York City with unhinged fliers. “Families are fucked up! You know why they’re fucked up? Because they are full of people!” Alex says, passionately. I can only imagine whoever came up with that stunning line in the writers room leaning back like Antonio Banderas when they pitched it. If Bradley doesn’t want to cut her bother off then she has to own it, Alex says. Isn’t that why Bradley stuck up for Alex? Because she was owning all of Alex’s shit? Uh, no, I think Bradley stuck up for Alex because she is only slightly less mercurial than La Levy herself. But Alex is right! Forget Laura and her even tempered advice that cutting people out of your life is hard, but sometimes less hard than having them come to your office and break things! “I’m always right!” Alex moans. Source???? She has to go, she used up all her energy yelling at Bradley and she has a show to do! Bradley isn’t gonna stop calling her though. She is really worried about her. HMMMMM are these exes getting back together while Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson is off in Montana?? Alex thanks her, then hangs up the phone, exhausted.
Bradley goes on IG live and holds up one of the posters of her Plot Device. She just wants him to come back safe “especially with everything that is going on in the world right now.” Very specific and absolutely how people talk!
In Cory’s office, the Mitch interview has stopped rolling. He admits that it is very good, and Paola says “that’s what I said, isn’t it?” She just wants a job, she has her little glasses on and she looks hot! Sorry! She won’t release the interview though, this is just to prove how good she is. She could have done something that good before she met Mitch…but she didn’t, so she owes him. ?????? What? Cory grins at her like the manic he is, he clearly loves her, and frankly if he is going to be a sexual person, this relationship I approve of. Kyle interrupts to tell him that he has to get going to Madison Square Garden. “Listen,” Cory says. “Mitch didn’t say anything in there that doesn’t make me think he wasn’t—I’m just gonna say it—a scum bag.” Honestly, one of the best things about Cory is that he is the only person who truly finds Mitch as reprehensible as he was? Like, honestly, king shit! But maybe the one good thing he did was get this opportunity for Paola! Cory has to go, but she has his number. Paola lets out a breath of relief. “Mama Mia.” SHE LITERALLY SAID THAT! MAMA! MIA! WHAT!
In La Levy’s penthouse, they are preparing for the show. She showers, they take her temperature, she gets an IV put in (probably a banana bag??), she jabs herself in the hip with some JFK esque drugs with the confidence of a woman who probably did fertility treatments. She does her makeup between coughing, and she turns herself in to something approaching the Alex Levy America once loved but now hates. Her fever is back, but whatever. “Who is gonna be watching this? Oh right, everyone wants to watch me die.” Chip just wants her to read the copy he wrote, she’s gonna be great. She cracks a Redbull. Honestly, and god help me, I love this Alex. Mad and angry and selfish as all hell, that is that the Alex Levy I loved in S1! The problem with this season is that it didn’t make any sense that a woman this image obsessed would return to the public eye when she did, and it made her a panicky bore instead of this vengeful nightmare. It is still…confusing that that show seems to think her apology to Bradley and her half admission of guilt to Laura (who, let us not forget, lost her job!!) makes her worth not being “cancelled” but! The camera is rolling!
Alex goes off script the minute she is forced to say “I am sorry for how this all played out.” In her defense, though? She got tested when she got back from Italy and was negative! She manages to pull it back and apologize to Chip for getting him sick. His phone starts ringing immediately, it’s his fiancée, of course.
Mia calls Daniel, who is vibing on the side of the road somewhere of Ohio. She wants him to come back, but he can’t. This is The Blacks™ segment of The Morning Show, so he says things like “fighting for a seat at their table” and she says “racism is everywhere, is it really that bad here?” Mia tries her best to sell it, but Daniel isn’t having it. He just wants to talk to a friend. Back at uba, Stella is watching Alex talk about her fever, she leans back with a slight smirk that says “Ah yes, this woman has the ‘It’ factor.” Yes, this sweaty lunatic has the secret sauce alright!!!
Cory is getting ready to leave his hotel room when he gets a devastating call. Rita and Tom…have COVID. In The Morning Show universe they are in Australia, just like they were in real life when they got diagnosed, so were they gonna do a virtual appearance at the Madison Square Garden event? Whatever, this is the final nail in the coffin for Cory. He cancels the event and collapses onto the bench seat at the end of his bed. God, that’s the dream, I would love to have a place to sit in outside clothes in my room that wasn’t on my bed. There are honest to God tears in his eyes? Distressed, he opens Instagram and sees Bradley’s plea for help. He’s obviously going to go help her but what we need to discuss in this space is that his profile photo is a young black kid??? I obviously paused and took a screenshot to see if we had any insights to the mind of Cory via is Instagram, but no, just this weird detail.
Bradley is zipping up her boots (gay) and watching Alex call COVID “a spiky little fucker” as she sweats though her whole face of make up and rips off her blazer. There is knock on her door— it’s Cory of course, dressed in casual wear (cashmere sweater and a pea coat) and ready to help her search for Plot Device.
Alex has gone full blown Joe Rogan. The people who want her gone are not real, and Maggie’s book is barely going to sell but the whole world is gonna be outraged by her behavior? Please! Chip tells her that this is “really fucking good” (SOURCE) as she chugs more Redbull. Chip gets a call informing him that they found a COVID test for him, but he doesn’t need it. Not because he already has it, but because he got tested and was negative. NEGATIVE! What is WRONG with this man? Why would you risk your ACTUAL HEALTH to film this sweaty diva and take a care of her while you have a real living human fiancée??? I know it’s supposed to be because he is love with her but he doesn’t even act like he loves her, he just acts like he has nothing better to do than be insulted by her? What! Is! Wrong! With him! While I am yelling about Chip being the worst kind of person (pathetic, indecisive, meek) Alex is grilling some doctor from UMich, asking if he is afraid of death and what he thinks happens when you die. She doesn’t think we go anywhere after you die. “It’s scary to be faced with something that is just…beyond the mind to understand.” So true bestie, so true. Then she starts giggling. “I think the world will stop existing when I die. I know everyone already thinks that I am self centered, and yeah I am.” …unfortunately I am one hundred percent #WithHer, I also think the world will stop existing when I die.
Bradley and Cory are spreading COVID to the unhoused population of New York City as they search for her Plot Device. He asks about Noted Lesbian Laura Peterson, and Bradley sighs that she is in Montana but that she would hate this, because she doesn’t like chaos. I mean, I think she probably wouldn’t like two rich idiots who were in close contact with someone who has COVID spreading that to the most vulnerable people in the city, but what do I know! Bradley misses her though. ME! TOO! I scream at the TV. Oh, also, this is the time where Cory decides he has to tell Bradley he loves her. He had to say it, because of COVID and loosing the network a billion dollars. “I really love you. I love you.” He doesn’t apologize or admit to outing her though!! The look on Bradley’s face…does not bode well for him. Thankfully, she doesn’t have to respond, because her phone rings! Someone found Plot Device!
If you can believe it, Alex is still ranting and honestly, who am I kidding, I would be GLUED to my screen if some famous woman was delivering such an unhinged tirade live. “Did I bring this scrutiny on myself by putting myself in the public eye?” She wonders. Babe? Literally yes. She urges her audience to remember that she was once a kid like anyone else. She just also had the audacity to want to be famous and entertain the masses.
“I didn’t realize, when I made that choice, that thing people would find the most entertaining is not even the thing I am good at. That I have risen to the highest levels of. I didn’t realize that the most entertaining thing about me would be batting me around like a freaking piñata while asking questions about my sex life.”
Feels like a bit of Jen Aniston is leaping out for this little monologue, huh! Chip is nodding as she rants like, “go get ‘em girl!!!” Why am I supposed to be rooting for her? Again! She! Did! Not! Have! To! Come! Back! She made 1,000 shitty choices and only got “cancelled” for one of them. Cancelled of course means that people are mad at her on Twitter and she has an additional twenty five million dollars. “I’m done, apologizing for myself. Either get on the Alex Levy train or just stay at the station.” Okay, so I DID scream with delight at that, but only because that is the kind of unhinged demon shit I find HILARIOUS from Alex, but again, it is TROUBLING the show thinks this is righteous?
White women do really be on one though, because Bradley is fighting through a crowded ER (everyone is maskless, it is Hard to Watch (based on the novel Stone Cold Bummer by Manipulate)) because yes, these people have been here for hours, but someone called her? About her Plot Device? And that changes things! She manages to burst through an opening in the crowd when the receptionist is distracted and tears through the ER, ignoring doctors in full PPE looking for Plot Device. And there he is! He got into a fight, they cry, she loves him and she won’t leave him. Well. That’s a choice! In the waiting room, Cory watches a news report confirm 600+ cases of COVID, looks around, and closes his eyes…in defeat? Acceptance? Tough to say.
It seems the Alex Levy train is FINALLY running out of steam. She is looking inward and trying to figure out if who is she is who she wants to be. Alex wants to figure “it” out, and tells her captive audience that we’ve meant a lot to her over the years. “And I’ll—I’ll see you later.”
SEASON TWO. OVER. Yes, it bravely is ending on an unhinged live broadcast JUST LIKE LAST SEASON, and when I realized that I laughed allllll the way to…I don’t know, the next bottle of wine? God, what a ride!
The Three Horseman of the Apocalypse
Best Jennifer Aniston Sound of Distress
Most Baffling Line of Dialogue
I’m not going to risk getting sick because our prized feminist morning anchor was horny for Chester the Molester!