Where were you on New Year’s Eve 2019? I was in my apartment, hosting a party for some friends. There were plans and positivity. I ended up spending most of the rest of the following year in that same apartment. Of course, none of us knew what was to come, and it’s that feeling of optimism combined with the sense of impending horror that the first episode of The Morning Show season two plays on brilliantly. The audience knows what’s about to happen. The characters do not.
‘The Morning Show’ Season Two Shows What We’ve Lost
In this opening episode, we see the immediate aftermath of Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) and Bradley Jackson’s (Reese Witherspoon) on-screen revelations. Shortly after, the camera pans through a desolate, locked-down New York.
Then we cut to three months earlier, and the build-up to New Year’s Eve 2019. Bradley and her new co-host Eric Normani (Hasan Minhaj) are preparing to host UBA’s coverage live from Time Square. It’s clear that they are doing fine as a double act, although their program’s ratings are dropping and Bradley isn’t exactly popular with her colleagues. He’s also hiding something from her – Eric is going to replace another disgraced UBA presenter as host of the evening news, a job Bradley wants.
Elsewhere, Mia Jordan (Karen Pittman) has taken over from the departed ‘Chip’ Black (Mark Duplass), who is working in a much more low-key environment. Corey Ellison (Billy Crudup) is running the station. Alex, meanwhile, has escaped to Maine. She is working on a book, but Corey realizes he needs her back. Can he tempt her?
The internal machinations and drama at The Morning Show, and UBA more broadly, needed clearing up, and their is much still to unpack. We still don’t what’s going to happen to Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell). Mr. Crudup’s deranged performance, often alongside new sparring partner Stella (Greta Lee), is as gripping as ever.
But what is so powerful about episode one of The Morning Show season two are the hints at what is to come. There are the more obvious things, such as a producer pitching a story about a strange virus found in China to Mia, and getting a minimal response. (A chyron about a quarantined cruise liner has already been seen on screen from the season one finale.) What hit me hardest were the little things – running around a busy city, shared food in the canteen, the presenters sharing bottles of liquor as they host the New Year’s Eve special, spontaneous acts of physical contact as the clock strikes midnight.
It’s a powerful reminder of all that we have lost.