The second season premiere of Apple TV+’s The Morning Show had me wondering how they would follow up the finale of their triumphant first season. The title “My Least Favorite Year” left me in no doubt what kind of chaos the audience would be in for. The premiere takes place three months before the global pandemic and Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) abandoned ship soon after airing UBA’s dirty laundry. Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) is still trying to be the nation’s truth-teller but is struggling to do so buried beneath the weight of the network’s scandal. Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup) Is still very much in charge of the news division.
Meanwhile, The Morning Show is still recovering from the loss of Hannah (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). Different network executives are now being fired for bad behavior, but that doesn’t stop other people in power from doing terrible things. To bring some normalcy back to the network, Corey would like to hire Alex Levy back at her old position as co-anchor of The Morning Show.
The best thing about a season premiere is that it’s a reset. There are no necessary requirements other than to catch the audience up to what has already happened. Better still, the audience gets familiarized with the new rhythm of the show, whether that would be cast changes or something else. The main advantage of this premiere is that while things reset, there are still hanging chads from the finale’s events. We don’t know what The Morning Show is going to be like with Alex back beside Bradley. This episode clearly just sets the table for what’s to come in the future, and while that’s nice, it doesn’t give the audience enough to chew on to be excited about the chaos to come. What I found fascinating is the continuous game of risk Ellison played to Alex back in the chair. He has to be the most upbeat calculating character I have seen in some time.
One aspect of the premiere that I found very odd was what Alex Levy was doing as a line of work since quitting the morning show. Apparently, the first thing she could think to do was write her own biography but leave out all the important dialogue about the rampant abuse that took place at her television show and the network. I don’t understand why she would do that when she knows what sells. Aniston’s Alex just seems broken and panicked the whole episode and while showcasing that vulnerability is interesting, Alex is still a very selfish character.
Honestly, as much as I like these characters, the premiere is a paint by numbers opening. The most significant and most exciting element of the episode occurs in the last five minutes. A tease like that leaves the audience curious about what would happen next, but why weren’t those ideas put in place before reaching the end of the episode?
The best thing about this show has always been how it addressed the #metoo movement and how the characters reacted to that level of abusive power and unprofessionalism. While there are still hints that such power runs rampant within the network, there is no clear idea of the show’s agenda this season beyond possibly addressing COVID-19. I want more energy from all the characters, specifically Mia Jordan (Karen Pittman), in her new role as executive producer of the morning show. The show definitely must go on, but they need to make it more compelling than the last five minutes. I still look forward to seeing what the show has in store for Bradley and Alex this season.