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‘The Morning Show’ Season 3 Episode 4: Let the Games Begin (RECAP)

When this episode started with a long sequence of Cory (Billy Crudup) walking to an event to the sound of “Stayin’ Alive,” I laughed so hard I could barely watch the rest of “The Green Light.”

But I did. 

There’s a party that everyone needs to attend because all of the cool people will be there. There’s a corny, Coney Island Date. This isn’t a high school drama. Or is it? The Morning Show seems to have committed to their lack of maturity and seriousness, indulging in the teenage spirit of their adult characters as they navigate the sociopolitical conundrums of the 21st century and who’s on a date with whom. 

Jon Hamm as Paul Marks and Jennifer Aniston as Alex Levy in The Morning Show (COURTESY: AppleTV+)

Alex (Jennifer Aniston) decides to kidnap Paul (Jon Hamm) with her charm and takes him on a Coney Island date, in an attempt to salvage the deal he broke in the last episode. Their bonding involves sharing casual stories – like Alex saying she refused an internship at The New Yorker and Paul indifferently mentioning child abuse. I can’t even bring myself to write a snappy remark. This one is just sad.

Yet, right when Alex thinks she can’t convince him to reengage in the deal, a man verbally attacks her, causing Paul to shout back at him. Amidst the thrill rides and popcorn of Coney Island, Paul Marks seems to have fallen in love with Alex Levy. Just like that.

Speaking of teenage nostalgia, a workplace never looked more like high school. “We’ll get tipsy” and gossip about everybody, Mia (Karen Pittman) says as a reminder of how professional these characters are, as they prepare for a party at Cory’s mansion. The episode then goes from discussing Mariupol’s attack to Bradley noticing Mia has a crush on her Ukraine source, as he risks his life amidst a war. How adorable. 

Karen Pittman as Mia Jordan in The Morning Show (COURTESY: AppleTV+)

At the party, this “Forever Young” approach is contagious. Chris (Nicole Beharie) threatens UBA’s new head of the border, Leonard (Stephen Fry), asking for more workers’ rights in the company as she lets him know of the new swarm of online followers she gained due to the Cybil scandal. She then tells Yanko (Néstor Carbonell) of her social media activism plans, sounding like an influencer trying to raise a GoFundMe on TikTok. Even Laura (Julianna Margulies), once a grounded character, brings up her inner high schooler and invites Bradley to peruse Cory’s suite. They spend the episode in a game of bait-and-switch that ends badly when Laura makes a humorous remark about Cory having romantic feelings for Bradley. This high school dating drama is getting tiring. 

Cory is hosting this Cory-fest without Bee Gees, that initial power walk being now completely isolated from anything else. “Salmonella isn’t sybaritic, Kendra,” Cory says at one point about the location of the seafood section at the party, in a way that I can’t help but find one of the most amusing line deliveries in the show. In this sumptuous mansion, surrounded by lobster and champagne, he makes Bradley entertain the guests while he remains a corporate mixture of extroversion and despair, the core of his Cory-ness. 

Julianna Margulies as Laura Peterson and Reese Witherspoon as Bradley Jackson in The Morning Show (COURTESY: AppleTV+)

Before joining Cory-fest, Stella (Greta Lee) is at a meeting with two obnoxious corporate bros who complain about the menu and make sexual remarks towards an Asian waitress. In its usual disparaging tone shift, this episode includes one of the most disgusting scenes I have witnessed in 23 years of cinema and television. Doubting that Stella had asked for the waitress to give her water instead of gin (she had) so she could keep up with them, the bros offer only to close the deal if the waitress licks splashes of water on the table. Stella begrudgingly participates in this, making the Asian woman lick the table at the sound of the bros’ “attagirl.” It’s nauseating, purposeful shock value, and, of course, the tone changes again soon after that.

Thanks, I hate it. 

There’s just too much going on in this episode. Fred (Tom Irwin), a disgraced UBA guy who supported Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell), crashes the party only to tell Cory he’s the guy behind the deal Stella just closed, making the deal off the table by default. Mia leaves a voice message to her war reporter beau, and Stella discovers that the ghastly meeting was for nothing. 

To save the day and UBA, that’s when Alex and Paul make a helicopter entrance at the party, looking like they’re Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce at the last Kansas City Chiefs game. This move might get Cory a chance at the deal after all, but most importantly, #Paulex might be voted the coolest couple in high school this year. 

Greta Lee as Stella Bak in The Morning Show (COURTESY: AppleTV+)

It looks like The Morning Show stopped taking notes from Succession and Showtime’s long-forgotten Billions (no, really, what happened to that?) and started taking notes from Riverdale. And you know what? Good for them. 

There might as well be a football game next, where we will see Cory playing as a quarterback, giving an inspirational speech, and stepping on the field at the sound of “Ready for It?” by Taylor Swift. Frankly, bring me some popcorn because, at this point, I’d watch that.

Is Julianna Margulies in these episodes? Yes!

Margulies Timestamps: 10:18-10:22; 26:27-28:19; 36:04-37:58; 47:23-48:50.  

Email Draft: Hi Stella, I hope this email finds you well. Can you donate some of your outfits to me? I’ll give you my address. Keep slaying, Ana 

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