The Morning Show Season 1, Episode 8, “Lonely at the Top” is extremely important and relevant, offering an educated case study for the #MeToo movement.
This recap of Apple TV+s The Morning Show Season 1, Episode 8, “Lonely at the Top” contains significant spoilers. You can read the recap of the previous episode by clicking these words.
The Morning Show Episode 8, “Lonely at the Top” felt like a run-of-the-mill chapter, but its purpose runs deeper than just a flashback to Mitch’s time on the show. It’s a case study of how a powerful predator functions in the workplace. This is clearly the stand-out episode of the series so far, and way more important than the opening two chapters.
The first half of the episode focuses mostly on Mitch. He wakes up with his usual alarm. It’s 2 days before his 50th birthday and he does not look forward to it. When he arrives at the UBA studios, everyone is happy to see him, celebrating his “early birthday”
There’s a strange conversation that happens between Alex and Chip; she asks why Mitch is covering the wildcard game as she usually does it. Chip insists the network wants to “mix it up” a bit. Alex accuses Chip of entertaining the Gentleman’s Club and giving Mitch the good news stories.
What is clear in Episode 8 is that Mitch’s charisma consumes everyone in the studio; everyone loves him. His power is clear.
At the start of Episode 8, we learn about Hannah. We haven’t explored this character much since the beginning of the series but it was always clear that she had secrets to expose. Hannah is asked to bring Senator Worthington on the show, so she rings up an old friend. The phonecall turns into an emotional phonecall about how Hannah has abandoned all her friends. Hannah admits she has failed to prioritize loved ones back at home and apologizes to her friend for letting her down. Hannah admits to feeling lonely in New York. Her old friend helps her out anyway.
There’s an odd atmosphere in Mitch’s household. His wife knows about his affairs and he apologizes, stating he wants to try for the family. Mitch is asked to come to the studio to pick up some documents, but it turns out to be an exclusive surprise 50th party. The party ironically opens up with multiple women dancers who dazzle Mitch. Mia and Mitch’s wife look on in deep thought.
At the party, Director Fred discusses with Chip about how Alex’s time is running out. Claire also introduces herself to Yanko as a new PA — she’s very complimentary of his work. This scene confirms that Claire was the person who started engaging with Yanko first as they stated in their HR interview. Mitch confides in a friend and wonders if his life is “letting people down”.
And then Episode 8 takes a dramatic turn. Hannah tells Chip about the mass shooting in Las Vegas — a shooter or multiple shooters is firing into a concert. Chip immediately sends Alex and Mitch to Vegas. In another flagrantly evident moment, Mitch takes Mia off his team and asks if Hannah can be the replacement. He says it is too awkward between them. Mia knows it’s because she broke it off with him.
In Vegas, Alex and Mitch report on the mass shooting. It’s an emotional story that hits the team hard. Alex wonders how long they can continue this “unnatural life”. Mitch says they hide with their wealth and put themselves in the middle of everyone else’s pain. Alex admits that she doesn’t know how she’d be able to do this every day without Mitch. It’s clear their working and personal relationship meant a lot to both of them.
Later in the day, after they have finished the reporting on the shooting, Mitch sees Hannah and is concerned at how upset she looks over the shooting. Hannah admits that the day has depressed her and they go on a walk back to the hotel. Mitch compliments Hannah on the good work she does and the impression she has had on the team. Meanwhile, Alex tells Chip she does not want Mia as a producer. “I don’t want to be Mitch’s trash can”.
To “cheer them both up”, Mitch takes Hannah to his hotel room to watch something funny on TV. Hannah is clearly not comfortable and claims she is still upset about the shooting. She suggests leaving, but Mitch gives Hannah a long hug before telling her she smells good and proceeds to grope her. While Mitch takes her to the bed, Hannah looks shocked, and zones out. This scene was extremely uncomfortable to watch for obvious reasons.
Episode 8, “Lonely at the Top” is a slow burner, but when you reach this scene, it provides clarity to Mitch’s actions and how he manipulated Hannah into sleeping with her. Mitch lavished her with praise all episode and then without any hint or any sign of consent from Hannah, Mitch made a forced sexual move on her. Mitch used her emotional state to comfort her — he used his status as the man at the top of The Morning Show to take advantage of a lower-level female employee.
Back in New York, Hannah is a little dazed and confused by what happened in Vegas. When Hannah passes Mitch on the corridor, he just says “hey Hannah”, and barely acknowledges what happened. Hannah understands at that moment that she was sexually exploited and immediately walks to the elevator with tears in her eyes. She goes to Fred’s office and tells him about Mitch, but she can barely get her words out. Episode 8 shows how the situation Hannah suffered can be systematic to the company as Fred proceeds to tell her about the great work she has done and that she has a promising future.
When Hannah asks him if this is how “it happens”, Fred responds with “people get promoted, that’s absolutely how it happens”. Hannah takes the promotion. Behind Fred, a news report is playing on Harvey Weinstein on TV regarding the allegations against him. Upstairs in the studio, Mitch sees the news playing about Weinstein and says “Wow, what a creep”.
The Morning Show Season 1, Episode 8, “Lonely at the Top” is important. It encapsulates the problem. It tells the story of a woman that felt lonely in New York and isolated, taken advantage of by a man higher up than her in the company. It demonstrates how her desire to climb the career ladder was used as an unforgivable bargaining tool. The Morning Show’s message is clear — this kind of systematic predatory behavior happens every day.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.