‘The Morning Show’ Season 3 Episode 1 Recap & Ending Explained: What Does Paul Marks Want?

The strange thing about Apple TV’s The Morning Show is that, despite having a great cast and the status of prestige television, the show often relies on cheap parlor tricks to enthrall the audience. And the strange thing is, somehow, it always works out. For example, the latest episode, which also happens to be the return of the fan-favorite show, literally sends one of our lead characters to space, only to abruptly cut her off from the live feed and close the curtains. The show is still as fun as it used to be, even though you do get the feeling that a lot has changed. In the case of TMS (please allow me to use the abbreviation from now on), the change seems to be a sign of evolution.


Spoilers Ahead

As The Morning Show had gloriously embraced a coronavirus narrative in its last season, Season 3 opens in a post-Covid world, unsurprisingly. Things have moved forward, and so have lives. Everyone is trying to figure out their own beginning, while some of them are looking for the thing that would make them feel alive. For Alex Levy, who now has the status of literally a Messiah of television thanks to her raw, unfiltered exploits during the pandemic, her passion for work is what keeps her alive.


What Is Bradley Jackson Up To?

Reese Witherspoon’s Bradley Jackson has always been the white knight of TMS. Ever so bold and always courageous, Bradley always makes it a point to stand up for the right thing, irrespective of the consequences. Now, in 2022, Bradley has left the candy-coated, colorful world of The Morning Show (just to be clear, I’m talking about the show within the show here) and has now moved to the much more serious evening news of the UBA network, which is totally her kind of thing. She is thriving, and the assignment she is currently working on happens to be a story about an underground activist group that is doing something as essential as smuggling abortion pills from Mexico to the state of Texas, where abortion is illegal as per the law. Bradley’s source is none other than the leader of the group, a nineteen-year-old woman named Luna Garcia. But here is the complicated aspect of this plotline: Bradley is sleeping with Luna. Things like this always bring chaos, but have you all forgotten that Bradley Jackson herself is the chaos?

Who Is Paul Marks, And What Does He Want?

The answer to the first question is that this guy is the Don Draper of our time. For the uninitiated, I am referring to the lead character of AMC’s Mad Men here, and TMS being TMS, they have brought in John Hamm himself to play the part. Hamm’s opening scene with Billy Crudup’s ever-charming Cory Ellison, now UBA CEO, is enough to invest in this brand-new character, Paul Marks.


And what could Mark possibly want? Cory’s UBA network, at a price that is still not sitting right with Cory. That is why the two haven’t managed to reach a deal, but it does look extremely likely under the circumstances. Cory knows for a fact that despite all of his efforts over the past two years, UBA is in a financially wobbly position. And if he fails to bring a billionaire like Marks into the inner circle of three-dimensional capitalism in this semi-futuristic world, then the ship is destined to sink. 

Luckily, for Cory, Marks is very much on board with the idea. But these two men have giant-sized egos as well, and every interaction with their egos clashing makes for great TV. Whether Marks buys UBA or not is not the immediate concern, as, for now, he is going to space on camera in a special episode of The Morning Show, accompanied by Alex Levy herself. Cory is also going to have a passenger seat in Mark’s brand-new Hyperion One rocket. Marks wants a stable NASA contract, and The Morning Show is going to be his presentation to acquire that.


Is There A Cold War Going On Between Cory And Alex?

I could have just answered this by adding Is that even a question? to the sub-heading, right? The dynamic between Cory and Alex has always been fascinating to watch, and that hasn’t changed in this season either. While at the start of the last season, it was Cory who brought Alex back into the business, in the current one, he needs to be thankful to Alex for what she has achieved for the network. Very naturally, Alex is not okay with just being an employee at the UBA, and she has her sights set on a seat at the board members’ table. While Cory can’t promise her anything, he does claim that he is going to make Alex very happy. We all know that in the world of TMS, that’s just something people say, right?

Who Goes To Space In The Hyperion One Rocket?

Is it at all possible to have a TMS episode without any Bradley-Alex drama? I am obviously being rhetorical here, but just like the show itself, the dynamic between its two main leads has changed. Bradley and Alex are people of different worlds now despite being employees of the same organization, but unlike the time when they first started working together, the two of them are now friends. And their friendship does seem like a real one, given how wonderfully Alex introduces Bradley, who has just been awarded the “American Alliance of Journalists First Amendment” for her fearless work in the field.

Bradley walks through the award show venue all frustrated and heavily drunk, which is justified as Stella Bak, the new UBA news president who once promised to bring much-needed change, has snatched away the Texas story from Bradley. The reason for that is Bradley’s own past, where she had an abortion as a teenager and went all personal about it in public years later on “The Morning Show.” While receiving the award, Bradley drops a subtle one-liner that basically conveys that no matter how good one tries to do in this world, there is always some kind of roadblock. In the same event, she also sees Laura Peterson, a former UBA news anchor and Bradley’s ex. The two clearly have a lot of unresolved issues and have a heated heart-to-heart until they are cut short by some photographers. Bradley is later consoled by Alex, which is a nice sight for us to see. These two have come a long way, after all.

At the site of the rocket launch, Alex finally meets Marks, who tries to woo her with his razzle-dazzle I’m a good guy no matter how it seems show and also slips the information about being approached by Cory to buy UBA. This makes way for some more Alex versus Cory drama where Alex screams a lot, but Cory holds onto his composure like always and gives a justification for his action. Alex doesn’t buy it, but she can’t do much about it either, other than ranting to Chip, her executive producer. My only qualm about this episode would be not getting much of Chip, who happens to be one of the most exciting characters in TMS. Anyway, in Texas, Luna gets arrested, and Bradley immediately jumps onto that story, which you would expect from her. She also informs Alex about it, seeking help. With a motivation as strong as this one, Alex is bound to desert the likes of Cory and the Elon Musk wannabe- there, I said it.


With their Messiah literally abandoning them, UBA falls into a real crisis management situation, but Cory Ellison always has a card to play. He can’t make Alex do what he wants, but he can make Bradley do it. Why? Bradley owes one to Cory for helping her get out of the dark pit of self-harm. So, we have a reversal of roles in the closing moments, where Alex and Bradley take each other’s places. Alex fearlessly covers the abortion story in Texas, while Bradley Jackson goes to space in Hyperion One, along with Paul Marks and Cory Ellison. The rocket launches successfully, leaving everyone with vested interest all happy and good. The trio finds solace in space, and it is all poetic away from this world full of chaos and crazy until the line suddenly gets disconnected and the world cannot see the inside of the rocket anymore. Is Bradley safe? I bet she will be, but that is where the episode decides to leave us.

Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra likes to talk about movies, music, photography, food, and football. He has a government job to get by, but all those other things are what keep him going.

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