'The Morning Show' Cast Reflects on an Emotional Season 2 Finale (Exclusive)
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The wild ride that was The Morning Show season 2 has come to a fitting end, with many of UBA’s employees at unexpected crossroads in their professional and personal lives. And when Reese Witherspoon told ET, “There’s a lot that happens in the last three episodes,” she wasn’t kidding. “Yes, there’s a lot,” Jennifer Aniston teased at the time. With all 10 episodes now streaming on Apple TV+, the cast breaks down some key moments, with Julianna Margulies musing over which of her former co-stars should join season 3, if the Emmy-winning drama gets renewed.
[Warning: Spoilers for The Morning Show season 2, episode 10, “Fever,” which is now streaming.]
In the finale, titled “Fever,” TMS and the entire UBA team is finally forced to face the coronavirus pandemic head-on, especially after Alex Levy (Aniston) tests positive for COVID-19 after returning from Italy.
While the growing pandemic has largely been in the background of the series, even after co-host Daniel Henderson (Desean Terry) briefly reported on the virus from China before having to evacuate and Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) was forced to quarantine with Paola Lambruschini (Valeria Golino) in Italy, it’s not until the last hour, which takes place in March 2020, that the seriousness of the virus sinks in.
Ahead of season 2’s premiere, Aniston spoke with ET about reworking the show to incorporate the coronavirus pandemic after they were forced to take an unexpected hiatus just weeks into production. The subsequent lockdown allowed the creative team to re-evaluate the direction of the new episodes.
“We realized we had to go back to the drawing board and figure out how we would incorporate this into the show. And also figure out how to delicately weave it through because we didn’t know where we would be when the show aired,” Aniston said.
Director and executive producer Mimi Leder added that tackling real issues, like the pandemic as well as other social injustices, allowed the characters to go down “a road of self-reflection and self-discovery.”
For Alex, that’s facing the reality of what happened between her and Mitch, all of which was revealed in the episode prior as Maggie Brener (Marcia Gay Harden) promoted the release of her tell-all book, The Wrong Side of the Bed. While overcoming the claims made in Brener’s book, her trip to Italy was leaked to the press and she tested positive for the coronavirus.
As she attempts to recover from the deadly virus, Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup) has Chip Black (Mark Duplass) produce a digital series for UBA+, the poorly timed new streaming service. That’s when Chip and Alex seemingly reconcile after their fallout in the wake of her return to the U.S. And in the final moments of the episode, it’s revealed that Chip lied about testing positive for COVID and that he had sacrificed his health to do the series with Alex.
“With two people who are as broken as these two and codependent on each other and as needy as they are, anything is on the table,” Duplass says, explaining Clint’s loyalty to (and love for) Alex.
Meanwhile, Laura Peterson (Margulies), who is worried about the seriousness of the pandemic given her heart condition, invites Bradley Jackson (Witherspoon) to come live with her in Montana, making a serious step forward in their relationship. And given how they started – with an unexpected kiss in the back of a town car – and the rocky road they’ve been on since, so much has “transpired because of that decision Bradley made,” Margulies said.
“This woman who walks into Bradley’s life really transforms it. And so, throughout the rest of the season, you get to see Bradley [discover] she actually has someone who has her back with no ulterior motives,” the actress continued. And that culminates in Laura calling Bradley “my woman.”
While Bradley’s exploration of her sexuality has led her on a path to discovering her authentic self, it’s also created a love triangle between her, Laura and Cory, whose career is once again on the line as he decides to move forward with launching UBA+ in the face of the pandemic. Earlier in the season, it was revealed that the two grew extremely close following Alex’s walkout and major shakeup at UBA. And in the finale, as Bradley is searching for her missing brother, Hal (Joe Tippett), Cory professes his love for her.
“When [showrunner] Kerry Ehrin and the writers gave Cory a chance to become attached to somebody, it felt like the right combination for him to be attached to Bradley,” Crudup said. “And Bradley is this restless outsider, somebody who is a disruptor and is passionate about the authenticity of her life, [and] I think it is intoxicating to Cory.”
And this really rattles Cory, who finally comes to terms with the reality of what’s happening in the world around him -- the very same moment he made himself vulnerable to Bradley. “And what you really want to do is take somebody who is so confident with themselves and destabilize them and see what happens,” Crudup added.
Elsewhere, Cory’s replacement as president of the news division, Stella Bak (Greta Lee), is just trying to salvage what she can as The Morning Show team is forced to go into isolation and work from home after being exposed to COVID by Alex. According to Lee, this is far from where she expected to be, especially when it comes to getting the network and the morning talk show back on track.
“In a way, she had to become an entirely different human,” Lee explained. “When she started – and it is heartbreaking for me, in my opinion – to witness someone like her, with such a vision of what she wants to accomplish not just for the network but honestly for the world, to have to sacrifice certain things in order to be an effective leader and boss.”
In the heat of the moment, she has to deal with Cory’s wild decision to put Alex on UBA+ and turn to Yanko Flores (Néstor Carbonell) to man The Morning Show desk after Daniel unexpectedly quits and Bradley deals with her missing brother.
“It’s really devastating,” Lee continued. “But it is endlessly fascinating to see how that will continue to shape and shift depending on the circumstances... Stella has so much more to say and I think we need with seeing her in a very interesting place.”
With so many cliffhangers, and knowing where the world is now and how The Morning Show might tackle that, it would be shocking if the series doesn’t return at least for one more season. While none of the cast knew where things stood when they spoke with ET, Hasan Minhaj, who joined as news anchor Eric Nomani, “hopes there is a season 3.”
“Who know what’ll happen,” he joked, while Margulies fielded ideas about who else should join the cast in season 3. And when it comes to her former ER co-star, George Clooney, “maybe he’ll come visit,” she suggested.
And once the finale debuted on Apple TV+, both Aniston and Witherspoon took to Instagram to congratulate The Morning Show team on a job well done. “So much gratitude to EVERY member of our cast & amazing crew for making all the magic happen,” Witherspoon wrote, while Aniston added, giving fans hope that the series is returning with a season 3, “Goodbye for now to my The Morning Show family. We made it.”
Want to watch more? Both seasons of The Morning Show are now streaming on Apple TV+. (We may receive an affiliate commission if you subscribe to a service through our links.)
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