Inspired by Brian Stelter’s 2013 non-fiction book ‘Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV,’ ‘The Morning Show’ follows the staff and anchors of a breakfast news program, which airs on the Manhattan-based fictional UBA network. It’s a riveting story set in the post MeToo era and seeks to hold corrupt institutions that protect predatory and powerful men accountable. Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) is a household name as the host of the eponymous show.
However, after her partner of 15 years, Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell), is sacked following sexual misconduct allegations, Alex finds herself in a desperate struggle to keep her job. To complicate matters, her relationship with her new partner, Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon), quickly devolves into a rivalry. Like other shows about media and TV journalism, ‘The Morning Show’ uses real-life headlines as effective plot devices to move the story forward, though it’s not as extensive in it as, say, Aaron Sorkin’s ‘The Newsroom.’ Here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘The Morning Show’ season 1. SPOILERS AHEAD.
The Morning Show Season 1 Recap
The series begins with the New York times being tipped off about an internal investigation by UBA into Mitch’s alleged sexual misconduct. The network president, Fred Micklen (Tom Irwin), subsequently fires Mitch from the job. Even though Alex is stunned by the latest development, she goes in front of the camera to ensure that the public still views the show and the network in a positive light. Meanwhile, after seeing the broadcast, Mitch feels betrayed. He goes on a long tirade about how since the dawn of time, men have used their power and influence to attract women.
It’s not that he denies the affairs. Rather, he resolutely claims that the intimacy was mutually consensual every time he had been with a woman from his workplace. His wife, Paige, hears everything and decides to take their children and leave.
In West Virginia, during a protest about coal mining, Bradley explodes on a man after he shoves her cameraperson. She doesn’t initially realize that someone has recorded the incident, and the video soon goes viral. One evening, Hannah Shoenfeld (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the head talent booker for the Morning Show, shows up at Bradley’s doorsteps and asks her to appear on the show. After overcoming initial reluctance, Bradley agrees, and she is flown to New York.
During her appearance on the show, Bradley goes toe to toe with Alex, showing that she is not intimidated by the other woman’s star power and drawing the attention of Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup), the man in charge of the news division at UBA. Cory meets up with Bradley and offers her a position as a field reporter at the Morning Show. But first, she has to speak to Charlie “Chip” Black (Mark Duplass), the show’s executive producer. But the meeting doesn’t go as planned, and Bradley and Charlie end up insulting each other. Right when a despondent Bradley is about to leave New York, she receives a call from Cory, who tells her to attend a formal event where Alex is receiving an award.
When Bradley shows up at the event, Alex realizes that the network wants to remove her from her position as well. She decides to take control of her life and the narrative, and when she goes up to the stage, she declares Bradley as her new partner. The following day, the studio is still in utter chaos. Mia Jordan (Karen Pittman), a producer who had an affair with Mitch and worked with him, convinces Chip to let her be Bradley’s producer.
Bradley is soon proven to be too independent and outspoken to be controlled by anyone, including Alex. On the day of her first appearance as the host of the Morning Show, Bradley accidentally admits that she had an abortion when she was 15 years old. While this angers the usual viewers of the show, Bradley’s candid and earnest admission makes her a star among the young demographic almost overnight. After Hannah convinces one of the victims of Mitch’s predatory behavior to appear on the show, Bradley interviews the young woman and soon starts asking questions that hadn’t been carefully vetted, implicating that the show and the network were complicit in Mitch’s behavior.
Her actions make her a controversial but popular figure both inside and outside the studio, and Alex starts to become envious. Right before the New York Times publishes an article on Mitch’s behavior and UBA’s conduct, Mitch shows up at the office one day and begs his former colleagues to vouch for him, but no one agrees. As he leaves, he runs into Bradley, who asks him whether the network knew about his actions. Mitch’s answer, even though vague, pretty much confirms things for her.
The two hosts seemingly mend things between themselves while they are in Los Angeles, covering the fires. Alex tells Bradley about her impending divorce, and the latter speaks to her estranged father after a long time. It is later revealed that Bradley’s father killed a child while driving under the influence of alcohol, and Bradley was the one who informed the police about it. Meanwhile, Yanko Flores (Néstor Carbonell), the meteorologist on the show, continues to have an affair with Claire Conway (Bel Powley), a production assistant several years younger than him. They genuinely seem to love one another, and on Yanko’s insistence, the two of them approach HR, which ends up only complicating things for them. Later, Claire ends the relationship.
In episode 7, the narrative goes back in time to 2017. It is revealed that while covering the Las Vegas shooting, Mitch raped Hannah. However, he remembers it being consensual. After the incident, Hannah went to Fred and told him the truth. Instead of taking action against Mitch, Fred offered Hannah a promotion, a choice that she has deeply regretted since then. By the penultimate episode, Two clear factions form within the Morning Show. Mitch reaches out to Bradley to give her an interview about how Fred protected him. He also tells her Hannah will corroborate his story. Realizing that if she doesn’t agree to conduct it, Mitch will go to another network, Bradley agrees. However, when she tells Alex about this, it causes the old conflict between them to flare up again.
Alex joins forces with Fred while Cory sides with Bradley. Chip learns that Alex is willing to betray him and agrees to help Cory and Bradley interview Mitch. However, Fred fires Chip and Claire finds Hannah has overdosed.
The Morning Show Season 1 Ending
Towards the end, it is revealed that it was Chip who originally told the New York Times about Mitch’s behavior. He knew that the network was looking to replace Alex, as the executives seem to consider Mitch as the star of the show before the allegations. With the NYT reporters learning about the internal investigation, Fred had no choice but to fire Mitch. The investigation, itself, started after Mia made a report to HR. The two of them had an affair, which ultimately ended when Mia broke things off. She knew what Mitch did with other women in the staff and couldn’t stand seeing Mitch doing the MeToo interviews, pretending to be a sympathetic and paternal figure to the victims.
Season 1 ends with a live broadcast of the Morning Show, during which Alex suddenly begins speaking about how Fred and UBA had full knowledge about Mitch and his behavior and did nothing to stop it, and Bradley soon joins her. As they hold the network accountable for what happened to the women working there, their feed is cut off.
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