This article contains spoilers for The Morning Show season 3 episode 9.
If you’ve been watching The Morning Show in the past two months, you already know that season 3 is a trip. But if you haven’t, you might want to start. Although the series began four years ago as a sort of prestige drama, attempting to tackle serious issues like the #MeToo movement and cancel culture, by season number three, it’s pretty much left those ambitions behind to embrace its soapy and sensational nature for maximum effect. And one of the wildest twists of this season — and trust me, there’s a plethora of them — comes even before things totally go off the rails and blow up in an uproarious finale.
The biggest guest star the series got to join its regular cast this year is Jon Hamm, playing tech-billionaire Paul Marks, among other newcomers like Nicole Beharie and Tig Notaro. At first, Marks is assumed to be the man who can save the network from tanking financially, but his involvement quickly becomes more influential and threatening when he starts dating UBA’s grandest star, Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston), and plans to sell the company for parts after the buyout. But while he’s conspiring, the network’s other beloved anchor, Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon), is investigating his company, Hyperion, and finds dirty corporate secrets that could substantially hurt Marks’s business as well as the deal he’s about to seal with UBA’s board.
In order to prevent that, Marks proves he’s not afraid to employ ruthless and drastic methods to secure his position. Though his relationship with Alex is developing faster than any of them thought it would, he’s first and foremost a cold-blooded and savvy businessman who never takes his eyes off the ball or lets feelings get in the way of making money.
Without discussion, he goes behind Alex’s back, approaching Bradley in her dressing room just minutes before she’s about to go on air. He gets straight to the point: he tells Bradley that he’s aware that she’s been snooping around Hyperion, talking to engineers and asking people to violate NDAs, but he also believes that she doesn’t have anything solid on him, otherwise she would’ve run the story already. Making sure it’ll stay that way, Marks reveals that he knows about her brother Hal’s (Joe Tippett) involvement in the Capitol Attack on Jan. 6, where he assaulted an officer. In addition to that, he discloses his knowledge about Bradley lying to the FBI (with her boss’s help) to save Hal from being charged and potentially convicted.
This is a classic case of old-fashioned blackmail, and Marks doesn’t have to argue for long to make Bradley understand what the consequences could be if the truth gets out. It wouldn’t only destroy her career but the lives of her loved ones too — including her partner, Laura (Julianna Margulies), whom she just started dating again recently. Baffled and devastated inside, she can’t even respond before Marks stands up and leaves after wishing her a good show.
Now, the effects of this few-minute conversation are immediate and catastrophic. Bradley does go on air, but in the middle of delivering news about the Russo-Ukrainian war, she breaks down and decides to resign, effective immediately, on live television. After thanking the support of the network’s staff and saying how privileged she’s been to be an anchor at UBA, she storms out of the building and sends everyone guessing about what the hell happened to her.
It’s safe to say that season 3 of The Morning Show is a bonkers rollercoaster ride of high-octane drama and juicy scandals (as outrageous and unrealistic as it may be), but it’s hard to deny how insanely entertaining it’s been so far. By basically side-lining the pressure of weighing in on hot-button topics and real-life cultural issues (which clearly wasn’t its strong suit in season 2), the series had let itself spiral into a messy yet incredibly amusing plot of events. And if you’re someone who’s fascinated by car crashes and disastrous accidents, I guarantee you won’t be able to look away from this one — especially when all the wild moves are delivered by such a superb and talented cast as this show has.
All three seasons of The Morning Show are streaming on Apple TV+.