The Morning Show continues to shine with their queer storytelling

The Morning Show’s sixth episode offers outings and revelations for each of their main characters in what is the best episode of the second season so far, and one of the best episodes of the series.

At the end of the last episode of AppleTV+’s The Morning Show, titled “Ghosts,” Cory wrestled with outing Bradley and Laura’s relationship to bury a nasty story about former producer Hannah Shoenfeld, who passed away as a result of abuse on the set of The Morning Show. Whether or not he was motivated by his guilt over the part he may have played in Hannah’s death or his burgeoning jealousy over not being with Bradley himself remains to be seen, even continuing into this episode.

During episode 6, titled “A Private Person,” Cory becomes what I would truly call unsympathetic for the very first time in the series. Even though I understand his motivation for burying the story, the way he pulls the strings behind the scenes in this episode makes him feel much more calculating and much less charming.

He jumps at the opportunity for Laura to guest host The Morning Show in Alex’s absence, setting up the perfect opportunity for this story to explode as Bradley and Laura are hosting together. Despite his remorseful pondering that colors every scene he’s in throughout this episode, it’s hard to feel sorry for him when Bradley’s life is the one that just fell apart.

Bradley’s journey throughout this episode is incredible, and Reese Witherspoon delivers a performance that is sure to get her an Emmy nomination, at the very least. It’s particularly endearing to watch Bradley and Laura at the beginning of the episode, and especially as they host The Morning Show together. The happy, carefree way they host the show, and Bradley’s excitement over working with her secret girlfriend represents a kind of queer joy that is essential to telling heavy queer stories like these.

Of course, all of that joy comes crashing down when Bradley and Laura’s relationship is published in the middle of the show. The slow-motion scene of Bradley’s post-reveal is brilliant, as it highlights the anxiety and invasive feeling that comes with being outed, especially as we see the entire studio reading and discussing the article as she’s performing.

The scenes that follow showcase Witherspoon’s range as Bradley lashes out at Laura, then her brother, and then finally discusses with Cory. The conversation Bradley has with her brother proves both the selfishness of her brother as he tries to hinge his sobriety on her as well as the trauma that came from Bradley’s southern conservative upbringing.

Though, her conversation with Cory allows Bradley to articulate her feelings about Laura as well as her family. She poses to Cory: “Why do I care what those horrible people think about me?” When Cory asks if she means the public, she responds: “No… my family.” She tells Cory that she has very rotten roots, but being with Laura makes her feel like the person she aspires to be.

She even goes so far as to say that being outed might be a good thing because it will force her to admit that she does care about and want Laura. It’s heartbreaking and empowering to watch Bradley as she uses this horrible event as a way to grow and change as a person, and it’ll be incredible to watch her through the remaining episodes as she deals with the fallout.

Despite this being Bradley’s episode in every sense, Julianna Margulies’ performance as Laura is perfect opposite Witherspoon. If Bradley is spiraling after the outing, Laura seems calm and collected but does express the trauma that comes with being outed, going back to that traumatic environment, and immediately being outed again. Karen Pittman also shines in this episode as Mia dealt with the impending media firestorm that’s about to come from Maggie’s book release.

One question remains: where is Alex? Jennifer Anniston was absent from this episode as Chip tried desperately to find Alex after she left Vegas before the debate at the end of episode 5. The description for the next episode, titled “La Amara Vita,” reads: “Alex takes a trip to finally find closure,” which gives a clue about where Alex was headed, but Mitch being the thumbnail all but confirms that Alex went to visit Mitch in Italy to get closure.

I want closure for Alex, but this trip is concerning, especially considering how we’re quickly approaching the start of the Coronavirus lockdowns. It begs the question: Can Alex get closure before she’s trapped in Italy with Mitch for months?

Overall, this episode of The Morning Show truly delivered. Earlier in the season, I was impressed by the strikingly true-to-life portrayal of internalized homophobia in Bradley’s story, but I’m even more impressed by the continued character work that’s come out of Bradley’s journey with her sexuality. I’m eager to see how this storyline continues and ultimately wraps up, considering there are just four episodes left of the season.