Let’s just dive right in to The Morning Show 2×06 “A Private Person” here. We tried to warn you as much as possible, without breaking any rules and spoiling anything, when we talked about “Ghosts.” But if you didn’t catch on, you know for sure now: Cory Ellison did a terrible, terrible thing…And before he did, he called one of his two victims to basically ask for permission.
There’s something worth picking apart about Billy Crudup’s performance here. But to be clear before we do: His decision to use Laura and Bradley’s relationship—to out Bradley in the process—as a way to get the smear campaign against Hannah Schoenfeld to lose traction was wrong. Full stop. Outing people is wrong. Digging into one person’s private life to save maintain else’s privacy is also wrong.
Two wrongs don’t make a right, Cory. They just don’t.
But with that being said…Looking at the performance, at all that guilt and regret coming from Crudup, after getting past the rage over what he did? It poses the question: Did Cory expose Bradley and Laura’s relationship for all the right reasons? Did he feel so much regret because he knew he was hurting someone he cared about, or was it because he was interested in Bradley and realized, as he saw her so happy with Laura, that he never had a chance?
The Morning Show‘s latest episode doesn’t make answering that question about Cory any easier to answer than the constant confusion about his motives. There are times when you really wonder how much he might care about the people he’s unintentionally screwing as he tries to do…whatever it is he’s always trying to do. But there are others, particularly when he had the chance to come clean to an obviously upset Bradley, when it really just doesn’t matter. Because none of his wrongs are ever going to add up to a right.
Sometimes, even the best character motivations—and I truly don’t think Cory’s were 100% pure—don’t make up for the results of their actions. In this case, they certainly never will.
Layers upon layers of trauma
Every since the first time we met The Morning Show‘s Laura Peterson, we’ve talked about how “unbothered” she is. It’s important to point out, though, that it’s not that she has no feelings—that she doesn’t get stressed or hurt—but she just knows how to keep an exterior cool. Quite often, though, the people we think have it the most together, the ones we see as the most unbothered, are also the most hurt.
Laura might not let others see her flinch, but she did take the briefest of moments to collect herself before stepping off the elevator to doing her first morning TV gig since it all went bad. And she did the same sort of fake shit Alex would do—smiling, introducing herself when everyone already knew who she was—but her insecurities were nowhere near as easy to read. Because she’d worked through them…mostly.
“This is such a mindfuck. back doing morning television. It’s like Carrie being asked to speak at the high school reunion.”
We’ve been told, over and over again since Julianna Margulies first appeared in The Morning Show season 2, that Laura was outed back when she was doing morning television. And it nearly ended her career at a time when the business was even less inclusive than it is now. But here she is, years later and after rebuilding her career to become an unstoppable force (much like the legend who plays her), giving it another ago. She’s only here as a fill-in while Alex Levy has, yet again, walked away when the pressure became too much. But she’s doing it.
It’s impossible to fathom the amount of strength and grit that would have to go into making that decision, to show up to host the show with Bradley and not even bother trying to hide the mutual attraction…And then, it backfired. Spectacularly.
Between segments, before a goofy stunt Laura was able to use her power to refuse to do, the article about Bradley and Laura came out. Bradley, who as recently as The Morning Show season 2’s fourth episode didn’t even want to put a label on herself was visibly shaken. And the overall nightmare, slow-motion quality of the scene where she had to do the Marx Brothers segment with that ridiculous prop just added to all the effects of that swarming gossip all around the set.
We saw all of Bradley’s fear and panic through Reese Witherspoon’s heart-wrenching performance from pretty much the second she saw the gossip article until the episode closed. And I can’t fathom how horrible all of that had to be for her because I’ve never lived that experience. But I know, without a doubt, it was wrong. It was harmful. And it is a thing that, regardless of what the goal was, should never have been done.
To all the Bradleys and Lauras of the world: I’m sorry. I see you. And I hate every single betrayal of this magnitude.
…But what about Laura? How horrible was it that she returned to The Morning Show, only to have her past trauma compounded by it happening yet again? And on top of that, she was in a place where she had to take care of Bradley? Who was there for Laura? No one. Well. No one except Daniel, who was willing to take over the next segment when she asked him…But she didn’t ask him because she wasn’t ready to go back in front of the cameras—it was so she could be free to talk Bradley down.
It’s always the people with the most on their shoulders who wind up also being the caregivers, carrying the burden of their loved ones’ worst moments, as well. But honestly? That is…yet another thing that makes Bradley and Laura work so well. Because after one of the worst days of her life, what did Bradley have to do? Go back home and have her own brother unload on her.
Somehow, it was her burden to bear that her mother wasn’t taking the news of the day well; Bradley’s getting outed was something she had to answer to her fucked up family for. And on top of that, there was everything Hal was suffering, between his addiction and their mother’s terrible behavior. Just like Laura, Bradley’s the type of person who is expected to carry it all and somehow make it ok—even when she very much is not.
With “A Private Person,” The Morning Show has continued to make the case that there’s a reason these two found each other. And, all fangirling over Julianna Margulies and Reese Witherspoon doing that on screen together aside, there are very deep, complex ties that really make the case for why Bradley has chosen Laura to be the one she really wants to fight for. She’s the one that just might last because she’s the one who will be there for Bradley, even after a fight and after she’s lashed out, because she just gets it…even if she’s going to drag us all about therapy in the process.
Decidedly not private thoughts on The Morning Show 2×06
- “I don’t spit on anyone. I’m just musing. That’s what I do.” Julianna, ma’am. You can spit on me. Any time.
- Speaking of Julianna: Hearing Yiddish come out of her mouth, especially after really identifying with her complex relationship with her Jewish identity when she brought it up in Sunshine Girl? Y’all. Your friendly neighborhood Jewish girl slash Jules stan lost her shit.
- The Morning Show finally started talking about COVID on February 25, just like the too-late U.S. media in the real world. This is fine.
- Chip does so much to try to cover for Alex…and always gets burned.
- “I’m a cockroach, Stella. I will always be here.” Yes, yes. The out-of-touch old white folks in showbiz, who force young women to suffer the consequences for men’s stupid decisions, are exactly that.
- That whole scene between Laura and Chip when he was being all emo in his dark office cleansed my skin and healed what ails me. That “mhm” and not buying a man’s bullshit was big Carol Hathaway energy.
- “Weird is grossly underrated.” The way Stella gets me.
- “I’m having flashbacks.” This, without having been in the same situation, I get. And for anyone to cause that to happen someone is a fucking crime. Jot that down.
- “I can tell you’re obviously hurting.” “Can you? Can you see that, Chip?” My heart. Literally everyone on The Morning Show brings their A game, every single episode, and Karen Pittman absolutely destroyed us with Mia’s pain here.
- And God, just…the need to ask someone if they can see us, see our pain and validate it? My heart.
- Back to the Carol Hathaway energy: When Laura gave Bradley a chance to withdraw her shitty statement on that phone call? That was totally Carol dragging Doug for his shit before he ever started it. Don’t @ me.
- “And stop assuming that there’s only one path to fucking up your kids. But you’re not a kid anymore. Fucked up kids have an excuse. Fucked up adults get therapy. Fucked up adults change their circumstances. That’s advice that I live by. So, do you what you have to do…” She could have just broken my neck, and it would’ve hurt less.
- “She’s embarrassed. What do you expect? It’s a small town!” I expect you and your mother not to be “embarrassed” by someone you supposedly love’s sexuality. Stupid to expect that, huh.
- “Laura is great. She’s Laura Fucking Peterson!” Cory, with the only thing we’ll ever praise him for.
- “No, actually. I think too much. And it’s sort of confusing.” Bradley is me. I am Bradley.
- “Who needs money when you get a free kick to the balls?” Literally JMarg, turning down those ER coins like the badass she is.
- “You wanted me to do the show. I’m not going to half-ass it.” The whole cast of The Morning Show in one sentence.
- That whole thing about mediocre white dudes would’ve hit better if it was aimed at Cory or Mitch instead of Chip.
- …but it still hit. Because seriously.
- “Because being gay is your thing?” “Um. No. Because I think it’s horrible and painful to be publicly outed, and it’s nobody’s fucking business.” King Daniel, go off.