‘The Morning Show’ made its debut on Nov. 1. The premiere introduced us to Jennifer Aniston’s Alex Levy and Reese Witherspoon’s Bradley Jackson, whose lives are turned upside down for very different reasons.
Life can change in an instant. The characters of The Morning Show know that first-hand. When Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) starts her day at 3:30 a.m., she has no idea that a tornado of scandal is about to hit. She gets ready for her day and heads to the studio. Her producer, Chip Black (Mark Duplass), keeps calling her but she thinks it’s nothing. She arrives at the studio and Chip is standing outside waiting for her. Her first thought is: who died? No one has died but her co-host Mitch Kessler’s reputation has turned to roadkill. He’s been fired following allegations of misconduct.
The allegations were leaked to The New York Times overnight. Chip has no idea who leaked the information. However, he has known about the allegations for weeks and didn’t tell Alex. She is furious, to say the least. Both Chip and Alex talk to the network heads about what’s next. Alex says she wants to address the allegations live on the air. She makes sure to add that she wants to discuss replacements for Mitch’s position soon.
In West Virginia, Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) is headed to a coal protest. Bradley is the definition of a spitfire. She’s got a sharp tongue, quick mind, and is not afraid to be brutally honest. During the protest, her cameraman gets knocked to the ground. She confronts the man who pushed him and he proceeds to get in her face. That’s what sets Bradley off on an epic rant. Her rant goes viral instantly. When she returns to the office, Bradley makes sure to ask her boss why she didn’t get the anchor job. She ends up quitting her job right then and there. She goes home and finds her brother there. Bradley fights with her mom about what’s best for her brother, who is an addict.
Alex goes live on the air and immediately addresses Mitch’s firing and the allegations against him. She handles it all with such grace. Mitch (Steve Carell) is watching every second of the broadcast from his home. “She’s throwing me under the bus,” a shocked Mitch says. He proceeds to play the victim about the situation. He doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong in having affairs with PAs and assistants even though he’s married. “My life just ended for no good reason,” he says. He also adds, “I didn’t rape anybody.” He destroys his TV in a moment of rage. After his tantrum is over, his wife takes the opportunity to tell him that she’s filing for divorce.
Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup), the head of the News Division at UBA, come to New York amid the scandal. Meanwhile, Alex meets with her team to discuss the next steps. It’s not only about protecting her reputation right now, but it’s also about the opportunities that may fall into place. Alex’s daughter comes to see her during the meeting, as well as her ex-husband.
After seeing Bradley become a viral sensation, The Morning Show’s head booker Hannah Shoenfeld (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) sets out to find her. Hannah tells Bradley about coming on the show and Bradley ultimately can’t resist. Billy has dinner with Chip and expresses his desire for wanting to reinvent the show in the wake of the scandal. He makes it known that he’s not exactly happy with Alex and hints it may be time to switch things up with her as well.
Alex gets drunk and ends up going to the office early. She goes straight to Mitch’s office and breaks down for the first time. She’s told about her upcoming interview with Bradley and believes the rant was completely faked for the cameras. When Alex and Bradley finally meet, it’s a bit awkward. Alex doesn’t exactly give her a friendly welcome. The interview gets off to a good start, but Alex starts to push too hard with hot-button questions. Bradley holds her own and doesn’t get flustered.
Later, Alex goes to see Mitch for the first time. She admits she’s “so mad” at him and will “never, ever get over it.” Alex wants him to know that there are no guarantees for her job at this point. Mitch refuses to take any blame and actually believes that Alex is jealous because of their brief history together. She thinks he’s being ridiculous.
Alex is scared and angry over how her world has crumbled right in front of her and she was completely blindsided by it. She gave up everything for this job and now Mitch has put her in a position of losing it all. Mitch decides to reveal to Alex that the network was planning on replacing her before the scandal broke. Alex says she doesn’t believe him but there’s a look in her eyes that shows she knows he’s telling the truth. As this is happening, Cory calls Bradley as she heads out of New York. He wants her to stick around to talk about her future. She asks him whether or not this is her big break. “Well, I suppose that’s up to you,” he says.