Episode 8 of The Morning Show brings real-time chaos of live television as the team rushes to confirm Mitch’s death, and proves there’s never a drama-free day at UBA.
Last week, episode 7 of the AppleTV+ newsroom drama had me questioning the show’s messaging, especially about Mitch and his storyline. But this week’s episode, titled “Confirmations,” provided all the answers. In what was a wonderfully Mia-centric episode, the show confronts the notion that people are complicated, and black-and-white views of their world and the characters within it just won’t slide.
The true highlight of this episode was Karen Pittman’s Mia. Her portrayal effortlessly blurs the line between stoic and emotional, detached and affected, so well. Right off the back of the excerpt released from Maggie’s book detailing Mitch’s affinity for targeting Black women in his workplace, Mia is then forced to rush to confirm whether or not Mitch is dead.
It’s hard to not be awed by Mia as a character and Karen as a performer when she finally breaks into her office while speaking with Rena; as she finally allows herself to express her frustrations not only with being a Black woman in the TV industry but also in being victimized when that wasn’t her experience.
This scene also brings back elements of the previous episode of The Morning Show, where the show examined how Alex reconciled the two different versions of Mitch that existed within her experiences. Mia is forced to deal with the grief of losing the Mitch she remembers. The one she knows isn’t represented in the pages of Maggie’s book, in both body and the court of public opinion, as the book threatens to reveal all his dirty secrets.
In a very clever use of pacing, the episode is almost in real-time. In fact, in the show’s canon, everything from episode 6 to the end of episode 8 happens within the same 24 hours. This serves to highlight the chaos of morning television, especially as they’re rushing to confirm the story.
Stella stands out in these scenes in particular, as she finally seems to step into her own in her role as the head of UBA news. With only a little push from Cory at the beginning of this episode, she finally seems to step out from his shadow and claim her power.
As if everything else wasn’t already happening, this episode is also rough for Bradley as she deals with both the aftermath of her outing as well as her brother showing up to The Morning Show high and disgruntled. He causes a massive scene that is, frankly, hard to watch, and puts Bradley in an impossible position. After he’s dragged out, Laura and Bradley share an incredible moment.
This scene, for me, solidifies Laura as a grounding character on The Morning Show, as she’s able to remain gentle and kind to the woman she’d just been fighting with an hour earlier. Reese Witherspoon is heartbreaking in this scene as well; she embodies the difficulty of loving a family member but not knowing how to help them, especially if they don’t want to help themselves.
Towards the end of the episode, Alex finally arrives back from Italy. Chip has to break the news to her that Mitch died, and she decides to tell Mitch’s family herself. The Morning Show continues to ask Alex to take a deep look at herself, which she, as of now, still has yet to do, but Mitch’s ex-wife’s ice-cold reception to the news will hopefully be the push Alex needs to be more introspective about the way she treats those around her. The line “you [and Mitch] might be the same person,” felt like a rough wake-up call, and I’m interested to see how Alex deals with yet another instance where she’s been confronted by her less-than-kind actions.
The final scene of this episode tied it all together and brought clarity to the story that The Morning Show has been trying to tell all season long. The copy Mia wrote, which Bradley, at Alex’s request, read on national television, states: “Reconciling who we were with who we are, with who we want to be is challenging. Figuring out what from the past we need to remember, to forgive, to learn from, or to ignore is impossible to do elegantly.”
This is the central message of the season. Each character on this show during season 2 has been forced to look within themselves and decide who they want to be, or reconcile with who they are. Bradley’s struggle with internalized homophobia and outward pressure from her brother comes to mind, while Alex, Cory, and Mitch were similarly forced to examine who they are and what they’ve done.
The show isn’t asking the audience to forgive Mitch in particular, or even feel sympathy for him, but to simply acknowledge the relationships each character shared with him, and understand that humans are flawed, complicated creatures, and conflicting versions of a person can exist at the same time.
As Mitch’s story comes to a close on the show, I appreciate how The Morning Show both internally carried out a nuanced narrative surrounding him through the characters themselves and externally asked the audience to do the same. It’s not often that complicated characters force the audience to consider complicated questions such as these, and it’s beyond refreshing from a series that continues to challenge and impress me with each new episode.
The Morning Show airs new episodes Fridays, only on AppleTV+.