Yes, I’m aware that Jon Hamm is playing a very different character in The Morning Show than he did in Mad Men. That said: Damned if Hamm’s Paul doesn’t carousel-pitch Alex into a life-changing decision in this week’s episode.
Will Alex ditch everything she’s built at UBA to start a new empire with her almost-as-new boyfriend? Should she?
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Read on for the highlights of “DNF.”
COURTING DISASTER | The morning after the events of the previous episode, Chris arrives at work and is greeted by a woman in front of the building calling her “baby killer!” and dousing her in red paint. “I guess my post hit a nerve,” Chris deadpans when she gets upstairs.
Another upshot of her “abort the court” social media post: Laila and Mia tell her that she can’t really do Supreme Court coverage for the next few weeks. They also think she should lay off of her social accounts. “We can’t guarantee your safety, your physical safety,” Laila says; there have been death threats. Oh, and Chris will have a bodyguard until it all blows over, which irks her in the extreme.
Later, when someone spray-paints “Abort the court” on St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Chris immediately assumes that the perpetrator got the idea from her post. I’m sorry, Chris, were you under the impression you were the only person in the world who could rhyme? In the control room, Mia and Laila discuss the situation. “This massive story breaks and she immediately makes it about her?” Mia says, eyebrow raised.
Speaking of Mia, she learns that Andre isn’t dead by seeing him as a guest on YDA. So she tromps over to that network and waits for him in the lobby, greeting him with the loving refrain: “What the f—king f—k?!” He’s unrepentant about everything that went down between them. She calls him a “middle-aged adrenaline junkie who would rather bounce between wars than commit to a zip code.” Then she walks away, and nothing is resolved.
Much later, when everyone has cooled down, he apologizes for not letting her know he was OK. “You don’t owe me anything. I’m just glad you’re safe,” she says. He tells her when he was laid up in the hospital, “I thought a lot about being at your place with you.” He wants to try again. “You’re not changing for me. I’m not changing for you. This is who we are,” she replies fatalistically. But he hugs and kisses her, and she seems swayed.
ALEX BECOMES THE NEWS (AGAIN) | OK, on to Alex and Paul. The photo of them, canoodling, is out. And that’s awkward, in part because his UBA+ interview with her hasn’t run yet. Alex is mad at everyone: The producers for gossiping about her love life, other networks for convincing sources not to talk with her, anyone who suggests that she put out a statement about her new relationship with the man poised to buy her network. “I cannot be the story that distracts from the actual news,” she says. (I mean, that’s literally the throughline for every other character this season, so why not jump on the bandwagon?)
When Cory and Chip re-cut her Paul Marks interview, Alex is livid. Plus, she wants to push it so she can talk to the head of the legal department at Planned Parenthood. Cory initially says no but eventually agrees to bump the Paul episode a week, but she’s not grateful in the slightest, reminding him that when the deal happens “you’ll be answering to new management.” Cory regards her with interest. “You’re on the verge of getting everything you ever wanted out of this place, power in your own right, and you chose instead to be the girlfriend, the plus-one,” he says. His words hit harder than she wants them to, and she instructs him to shut the door on his way out of her office. He instead goes out of the way to keep it open. “Boop!” he cries as he goes. (Side note: I need to know whether or not that was scripted or a Billy Crudup special. Either way, I love it.)
Later, when Planned Parenthood drops out of the interview, Chip finds as a quick fill-in: a woman who wrote a 2016 article predicting that Roe v. Wade would be overturned. But that writer winds up grilling Alex about whether she can be trusted now that she’s hooking up with the billionaire who’s buying her company, and the whole thing goes south fast. Alex rips into Chip afterward, but he refuses to take it. “You set yourself up for this!” he yells. Their screaming argument cuts deep: He takes credit for creating Alex Unfiltered, she mocks him for ruining his relationship with Isabella. Ultimately, as the rest of the office tries to pretend they’re not eavesdropping, Alex fires Chip — so he drops one last truth bomb. “Just so you know, I never had COVID,” he says. “I came to your apartment, I saw you crumpled up on the floor, and I did what I always do: I rescued you. I guess you don’t need that anymore? And neither do I.”
PAUL’S NEW IDEA | Things are not going well in regard to the Hyperion rocket launch, so Paul is drunk and surly when he shows up to a photo shoot with Cory. Eventually they trade insults, and Cory tells Paul he doesn’t think Alex will be loyal when he runs UBA into the ground. “It’s interesting,” Paul shoots back, “you talk a lot about Alex, but she doesn’t ever really mention you.”
So both Alex and Paul have had Not The Best Days by the time they meet up at her apartment later that evening. She floats the idea of leaving the network. That piques his interest and has him suggesting that they sell UBA immediately after the deal goes through. “Then we start over from the ground up. We build something new on our terms, centered on news, exactly the way we want,” he says. She’s shocked, but he’s just getting warmed up. “You have been wanting to run things for a very long time,” he coos. “Maybe you start right now.” Alex certainly does not hate that idea.
LAURA KNOWS! | Laura probably wouldn’t admit it even to herself, but she’s a bit jealous when she learns that Bradley spent the day with Cory and his mother. (Trust me, lady, you did NOT want to be there.) And then, off a suggestion from her meddling YDA co-anchor Audra, Laura decides to go poking around in Bradley’s emails, many of which are publicly available online thanks to the hack.
She reads a bunch of messages between Cory and Bradley about needing to talk. She sees Stella’s message about the FBI wanting to see the January 6 footage, which Bradley immediately followed with a ton of calls to Hal. Then Laura looks at Hal’s Facebook page, which is covered in “Let’s Go Brandon!” memes and the like, and pretty quickly pieces together what took place. “F—king Hal!” she yells. So say we all, sister.
A MOMENT OF SILENCE | Laura then calls Bradley and cancels their plans for that evening, feigning illness. Bradley’s at the network, where she runs into Chip and learns he’s been axed. She mentions that she might have something he can help with in the near future. (What we know and he doesn’t: She’s taken on the investigation into what’s really going on at Hyperion.) Then they join everyone on The Morning Show’s set for a gathering marking the anniversary of Hannah’s death, something they couldn’t do during the pandemic.
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!
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