After last week’s bonkers, unhinged episode of The Morning Show — one of the most purely entertaining episodes of TV in 2023 — the season finale took off its cape and clown shoes and, unfortunately, injected some restraint into the proceedings. I’m not mad about it. The series had to jump back on the rails to set up its fourth season.
It’s unclear who will still be around for next season because there’s been some major upheaval at UBN. In last week’s episode, the deal to sell UBN to Paul Marks was poised to blow up in everyone’s face. Bradley had abruptly resigned during her newscast. Alex had joined Paul Marks on the dark side, Paul was trying to save the deal by smearing Cory, and Stella was trying to dig up dirt on Marks’ aerospace company, Hyperion.
In the finale, Cory hustles in an attempt to scuttle the deal, wheeling and dealing to arrange for alternative financing to save the company. It looks like he will get the financing and the board votes after Chip appears on The Morning Show and gives an insane, profane I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to let Paul Marks strip UBN for parts speech, but Marks uses his power, wealth, and blackmail to put the kibosh on Cory’s efforts to kill the deal.
That leaves only Alex to save the day. She tracks down Bradley and learns that she covered up her brother’s involvement with January 6th. Her takeaway from the conversation, however, is that her boyfriend Paul has been surveilling Bradley and silencing her attempts to uncover whatever it is that Paul Marks is hiding about Hyperion. In a subsequent conversation with Paul, he inadvertently confirms to Alex that he had been surveilling Bradley, and so Alex goes to work.
Alex meets with Laura, not to talk about Bradley, but as we later learn, to put an alternate deal in place. Instead of selling UBN to Paul Marks, Alex arranges a last-minute deal to merge with their biggest rival, NBN. Alex plunges the knife into Paul’s back, and when he tries to remove it, Stella’s there with the checkmate. As Stella learns from her old college roommate, Paul’s been lying to NASA about his rockets, and Alex threatens to report the story if Paul doesn’t back off. (The revelation is damaging, but hardly the juicy scandal I was hoping for).
Paul pulls the deal. UBN and NBN merge. The bullshit HR investigation against Cory will go nowhere, Chris (Nicole Beharie) is poised to leave the network, and there are a lot of positions in flux as the merge goes through. Who will return is unclear — it appears that Stella will run the new place. Cory’s status is in the air. Mia plans to return, if only for a while. Alex is staying, but is Bradley? The end of the episode sees her and her brother submitting themselves to the FBI for questioning. Is Bradley’s career over? Or will she fight her way back from scandal? Maybe Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston will alternate seasons instead of episodes now!
It’s a fine finale, and Jon Hamm is particularly good at playing a smarmy shitbag that continues to get his way right up until he doesn’t. I hate that he won’t be a part of next season, and if Billy Crudup also leaves (he won’t), the series would lose the most riveting reason to watch. But I also feel like the merge will give The Morning Show some new energy, and the series seems to have finally figured itself out as a very expensive, very over-the-top soap opera. It’s never been worse, but it’s also never been better.