Season Three, which simply hit the streamer, isn’t any completely different, even because it scrambles for a brand new function after the loss of life of one among its central figures—Steve Carell’s manipulative, sexually abusive anchor Mitch Kessler—in a nighttime automotive crash late final season. Now, “The Morning Present” has moved onto barely more energizing (properly, much less stale) materials, although it approaches it with the identical contrivance for which the present is understood.
After a time skip to a post-vaccine world of 2022, “The Morning Present” units up its latest foil within the type of Jon Hamm’s Paul Marks, a slick, eccentric billionaire who spends each waking hour engaged on area rockets. He’s the whole lot Elon Musk needs he had been: good-looking, charismatic, charming, really all in favour of bettering the world slightly than frittering his time away slowly killing a social media web site. In fact, now, he’s all in favour of shopping for UBA, and the corporate’s slick center supervisor Cory (Billy Crudup) is courting him to buy and ship him (and his pet-project streaming service) into the stratosphere. (Fittingly, they actually do this, as Marks takes him on the maiden voyage of his phallic, Blue Origin-y spaceship within the season premiere.)
The sale has seismic implications for the careers of each Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) and Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon), the previous of which is clamoring for a senior-level board place she’s lengthy been denied, the latter using excessive off the success of her latest commencement to the night information slot. However Marks’ intrusion into their lives units off a sequence response of occasions that threaten to undo the whole lot they’ve labored for—to say nothing of avoiding potential jail time.
All of that is extra fodder for “The Morning Present”’s signature model of ridiculous melodrama, one which flies within the face of excellent style, good filmmaking, and any semblance of narrative sense. The difficulty is in its very premise: Is a puff-piece morning present actually one of the best venue for large speeches about talking honesty, reality, and justice? Can the present nonetheless declare a daring truth-teller stance when it regurgitates the identical factors about systemic racism, vulture capitalism, and our canyon-wide social divisions three seasons in?
This manifests in each the large points being explored—along with extra about COVID and Black Lives Matter, we contact ever-tastelessly on the repeal of Roe v. Wade, the conflict in Ukraine, and the riot on January sixth—and the way the present navigates its characters by way of these occasions.
If that wasn’t sufficient, “The Morning Present” throws one twist after one other at its solid of bewildered characters, who reply to such crises in completely nonsensical methods. Take Alex, who spent the final two seasons raked over the coals for her inappropriate dynamic with Carell’s predatory Mitch, solely to show round and ponder a equally dangerous relationship with one other character who holds her destiny in his palms. Or Bradley, who makes baffling selections throughout January sixth (as we see in a mid-season flashback to deep COVID occasions) that alienate her from her circle of relatives and her girlfriend (Julianna Margulies, the conscience of the season). Nicole Beharie joins the solid as a former Olympian-turned-morning present host who learns by way of an ill-timed company hack early within the season that one of many senior execs known as her “Aunt Jemima” in an e mail. (Beharie’s character later refers back to the occasion as “Jemimagate,” a phrase she utters with the straightest of faces.)