Now that Alex has brought Paul back to UBA in what Cory calls her “Miss Saigon helicopter arrival” (when does Cory have time to partake in musical theater?), the deal between the tech billionaire and the floundering legacy-media company is very much back on. The board is recommending the sale to shareholders, and everyone’s grilling Paul with questions important to their storyline. Mia wants to know if staff in the news division will get cut (no). Bradley wants to know if Paul will look into that cyber attack for, like, other people’s benefit and definitely not hers (yes). And Alex wants to know how they are going to be handling conflicts of interest since Paul owns so many companies and has extensive global, sometimes troubling, business relationships. She’s not satisfied with the answer that basically amounts to “it’ll be fine” and wants him on Alex Levy Unfiltered for an interview — although typically interview-averse, he says yes. Part of it, sure, is because he sees how being a little more open might assuage some uneasiness coming from shareholders, but another part is definitely because he would like to put his mouth on her mouth.
Paul agrees to Alex’s typical “no questions in advance” protocol, but he does have his own caveat: The interview must be in two days. Chip’s head almost explodes when he hears that, but he scrambles to get his team digging for that good, good dirt on Paul. He inevitably winds up at Stella’s desk.
The Morning Show has been dragging out providing more details regarding Stella’s past with Paul, why she refers to him as “ruthless,” and why she can’t get through a one-on-one meeting with him without ripping her nails to shreds. She is so unglued by his presence. Initially, she brushes off Chip’s questions about a dark side of Paul, telling him she barely knew him; she was just a college student at the time they crossed paths. But once Stella learns that Chip can’t find anything of interest on Paul and that Alex’s interview will probably be more of a “victory lap” for both him and UBA, she steels herself and asks for a quick chat.
Alex, Chip, Isabella, et al. arrive at Paul’s Hampton’s Hideaway, and he kicks things off with some blatant power moves. He saunters in off the beach with his dog as if he could not care less about being prepared for this interview. He’s easy breezy, guys! When they try to put makeup on him, he says no thanks. His face looks like Jon Hamm’s face, haven’t you noticed? He’s pretty open to Alex’s initial line of questioning about the deal and why he wants in on UBA (to fix the news, duh), but things get a little heated as they both accuse the other of a lack of respect for the other’s work.
After a quick break, Alex decides it’s time to get into the intel from Stella. She asks Paul about a young tech innovator think tank he ran back in the day and eventually gets to questioning about a student from Stanford whose idea he practically stole for $50,000 and made her sign an NDA before he went off and got rich with her code. Furthermore, he took this code that was created as a GPS blocker for activists and converted it into “a predictive policing tool” for governments. When Paul tries to argue that it was “industry standard” and everyone involved in that deal was an adult, Alex informs him that the student he stole the code from went into a deep depression over what went down and attempted suicide at one point. Paul genuinely looks stunned. He had no idea.
Alex presses him for a comment, and he has to really collect himself. He talks about how at one point in his life, he was so focused on his work that he ruined relationships and treated people horribly, and after his wife left him and he didn’t even realize it, he took a real hard look at himself and made some changes. He owes that student, “at the very least, a conversation.” Now it’s Alex’s turn to be stunned into silence. She looks surprised and honestly a little horny. Chip takes notice, and Isabella takes notice of Chip taking notice, you know what I mean? They break up in the car ride home.
Once Alex gets Chip out of her hair, she hangs back to debrief with Paul, and yes, I do mean debrief as in discuss how that interview will make both of them look good and debrief as in they rip each other’s clothes off and have very steamy sex over in Paul’s bedroom. More of this on The Morning Show, please! We deserve it!
The next morning, a naked Alex lays on Paul’s back for what seems like an uncomfortable length of time, but when Cory calls to apologize for Alex’s interview stunt, Paul tells him no apology is necessary and that “she really blew [his] mind,” so he must be into it. What an incredible morning after Yelp review to get. Good for Alex.
Once they untangle, Paul winds up back at UBA and finds Stella watching footage from the interview. If you haven’t guessed by now, Stella is the Stanford student from Paul’s incubator. He doesn’t seem that apologetic, but he does tell her that she should’ve talked to him about what was going on. He also unveils his real plans for UBA: Once the deal goes through, he’s getting rid of Cory and wants to make Stella the new CEO.
Cory does not see this coming — maybe because he’s so distracted by what Bradley Jackson’s up to this week. Hal’s in town with his family! As Cory puts it, “Hal doesn’t show up unless things are about to get fucked six ways till Sunday.” He isn’t wrong! Hal informs his sister that he can’t take it anymore; he plans to turn himself into the FBI while in New York. They’re going to find him eventually for what he did to that Capitol police officer, and they might be more lenient if he confesses on his own. I still can’t believe this show is using January 6 as a major Bradley Jackson storyline, but here we are!
Obviously, Bradley flips out, trying to convey to her brother what this will do to her since this is all about Bradley. The guy wants to do right by his baby daughter and his wife, who seems great, and hey, if Bradley really didn’t want to get caught, she could’ve deleted all of the footage and pretended like she wasn’t able to capture any images from that day. “You would do anything to get ahead,” he spits at her. This is harsh but also true.
Bradley tries to scare him into silence by inviting him and his wife to watch her pretape a segment with a man awaiting trial from his January 6 conviction, but mostly, she just walks around freaked out by what might happen to her. She has a weird “date” with Laura in which she gets drunk and tells Laura not to get involved with her. Laura is concerned and eventually goes to have a heart-to-heart with Hal, believing Bradley’s problem to be the fact that Hal doesn’t support them. The conversation gives Hal a look at some of the “collateral damage” he’d be causing if he did what is definitely the right thing.
Just as Bradley is reckoning with the idea that as a journalist, she is supposed to “hold people to account,” and maybe she needs to apply that to this situation, Hal and his family head out of town without saying good-bye. He leaves a note telling her that he’s changed his mind. Bradley is in the clear. With this weight lifted off of her, she goes to see Laura, tells her that she misses her, and the two make out in the street. Something tells me, though, that the minute Laura finds out what Bradley did — and she will definitely find out — she might regret this reunion.