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S01.E08: Lonely at the Top

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Jesus, That was hard to watch.

I started off thinking I really didn't want to see an episode about Mitch,  and he  proved me right. He behaved just as I expected, total asshole.

That party was all a bit skeevy. Martin Short doing a very good job;

Mitch's poor wife just left looking on....

Then slowly the whole horror of the situation with Hannah was shown. I feel sick just having watched it.  

 Gugu Mbatha-Raw  (Hannah)  was fantastic.

I was surprised that they used the Mandalay Bay storyline, and that, combined with the rape scene and the aftermath,was awful. I didn't want to keep watching but at the same time I couldn't stop watching.

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Well that was horrible (in a dramatically compelling way).  

It was horrifying to watch Mitch with Hannah.  Much would look at that and say he didn’t rape her. And Hannah KNOWS it’s wrong but it’s so messed up.  But IMO it’s unambiguous, Mitch coerced her into sex.  She was terrified, in shock over the shooting, and the power balance was obvious. And the closeups on the body language — there’s no excuse for Mitch at all.  I don’t think if she said ‘stop’ or ‘no’ he would have stopped. He would have shushed her.  She would have to make a big scene to get him to stop.  And this is the man who just gave her a career break.  She clearly felt that his whim was all that stood between her and being fired.  

What shocked me is that she went to the head of the Network.  I could see HR but busting into Fred’s office was surprising. Did she do that because he was the only one with more power than Mitch?  Was that the instinct at play?   I kinda think so.  And then Fred was so slick with the offer of a bribe.  Not blatant at all and yet ‘closed’ the deal in record time. 

Which makes me think that Mitch’s intent to take down Fred is going to involve self-immolation.  Because this is who he called to talk to Bradley at the end of the previous episode.  

Now review the culture:
- Alex hosted that party with the overt sex innuendos and the Martin Short (Woody Allen-ish) predator as entertainment.  It clearly show a tolerance for sexist culture and male privilege. Her comments ‘and there it is!’ Early in the day indicates Mitch made sexually inappropriate comments that were tolerated on an hourly (at best) basis.  Alex looks guilty of enabling Mitch’s predatory behavior even if she  wasn’t sitting of how bad it was. Also Alex bought into Mitch was better than her.  She leaned on him and then complained when he ‘dumped’ Mia on her.  Alex is clearly feeling like she’s second banana on the show. 
- Chip lets Mitch demote Mia (reprisal) when she broke off their affair.  Saying Mitch gets to decide whose on his team. Chip let Mitch do whatever the hell he wants.  Big time enabler. 

The entire show had a toxic culture tailor made to serve Mitch’s preferences.  Just gross.  

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5 minutes ago, SueB said:

And then Fred was so slick with the offer of a bribe.  Not blatant at all and yet ‘closed’ the deal in record time

And there it is.

Fred has done this lots of times. The chief enabler. (Although pretty much everyone who worked in that studio was complicit) 

They said it at the party- he made them so much money-the motorbike present was just a drop in the ocean.

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I thought the episode was really powerful.

However, I would have liked ONE PLACARD OR SOMETHING indicating the episode was taking place in 2017.  I made it to Mitch's birthday party being like what the hell is going on?  Was there a chyron, a placard, anything????  I had to look it up on Wikipedia.

Where was Billy Crudup's character?  Not with the network yet?

2 hours ago, SueB said:

- Chip lets Mitch demote Mia (reprisal) when she broke off their affair.  Saying Mitch gets to decide whose on his team. Chip let Mitch do whatever the hell he wants.  Big time enabler. 

I agree with this.

I do not understand Mitch and Alex's "friendship".  In the past two episodes, Mitch has been shown throwing Alex under the bus.  He acts like he doesn't give a shit about her at all.  I guess he's supposed to be a misogynist, someone who hates women or who sees them as nothing - but then why the facade of the friendship with Alex at all?  It's sick.

Edited by Ms Blue Jay
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I'm usually skeptical about flashback episodes, but this one worked.

Up untiil now, there's been enough doubt placed about Mitch-was he really the predator that his accusers made him out to be?. That gets answered loud and clear this episode.  Technically, what he does to Hannah isn't rape, it's grossly inappropriate.  I can imagine how hard that scene was to watch for a lot of people.  Hannah's reaction to the rape victim interview in ep 4, and her little drug bender in ep 7 makes complete sense in retrospect.

Also here is where we can see very clearly how much presented himself as a likeable guy, and you can see how people would let their guard down around him.  He's not an obvious bad guy, but got to do a lot of horrible things to women and the network let him get away with it. He would have every right to think that he could keep doing so indefinitely.

In light of what we've seen here, I wonder how exactly Mitch thinks Hannah is going to help him out.

I can't believe there's only two eps left.

Edited by StarBrand
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This ep really exemplified what a god they all made Mitch out to be. The over the top party where he was clearly “the king”, the looking the other way at his off color comments, the way everyone fawned over him constantly. THIS is how these predators are born and thrive. Mitch could do no wrong. The only one that seemed to see him as he was was his wife. You could tell when he told he he wanted to be good you knew she knew it was all bullshit and then inVegas, there it is, Mitch does what he wants when he wants. Great ep. 

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It is such hubris that Mitch would think that after forcing himself on a woman, she'd be grateful to him for promotion 

What a toxic place to work. I can see how Hannah would feel a certain way after staying on and accepting the promotion. She'd feel she sold her dignity and have given up her rights.

People like Mitch are cancer to society but most people around a Mitch are carcinogens 

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20 hours ago, Ms Blue Jay said:

Where was Billy Crudup's character?  Not with the network yet?

In a discussion between Fred and the other executive (don’t recall his name or if it was even mentioned), Cory’s name came up as head of Entertainment. So he was on their radar, but not working in News at the time.

I felt really bad for Mitch’s wife being so sidelined during the birthday party. Anyone not knowing better would have thought Alex was his wife. Given that she knew Mitch had cheated on her multiple times, I’m amazed she went along with the surprise at all. In her shoes, I sure as hell wouldn’t have.

Poor Hannah! I don’t blame her for taking the promotion. Although unstated, it was pretty clear Fred knew this wasn’t Mitch’s first offense, nothing was going to be done about Mitch, and her only options were “take the promotion and keep your mouth shut, or lose your job”. I was surprised she went directly to Fred, but not going to HR makes sense because generally HR is there to protect the employer, not the employee.

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I thought the “ rape” scene was very effective. It actually reminded me of many of my early sexual encounters when I was younger. It starts out feeling tender and caring and then you end up feeling used and barely able to respond, as she did.  Totally getting a Matt Lauer-Katie Couric vibe from Mitch & Alex. Matt was always the bigger deal & the network kept him while replacing his cohosts with younger women.

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On 12/8/2019 at 9:52 PM, Caseysgirl said:

Matt was always the bigger deal & the network kept him while replacing his cohosts with younger women.

I'd argue that Katie was the bigger deal until she left.  She pre-dated Matt on that show, and I recall Bryant Gumbel's complaints about being sidelined for her.  After Katie left, I'd agree that the network was mostly interested in keeping Matt happy. 

I liked the flashback giving us a good idea of just how bad things were with Mitch before he was taken down.  Before this episode, it felt like the show wanted us to think that maybe the allegations against Mitch were unfair or not entirely true.  

One thing also annoyed me.  Why would they throw a huge surprise party for Mitch on a Sunday night when the most of the people attending have to be at work probably by 4 or 5 in the morning?  I get they had to do it this way to coincide with the Vegas shooting, but if I worked on a morning show, I would never plan a party for a night where I had to work the next morning.  That's just bad form.     

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It was horrible watching that scene but I didn't think it was violent as the warning at the beginning of the show predicted. He clearly coerced her and took advantage of her and it was despicable, but I didn't see violence per se. Maybe they didn't mean it literally. I don't know. 

There was sense of foreboding leading up to the scene beginning with the sexual comments Mitch was making and simpering laughter everyone around him including Alex. I wonder if this is what it was like on Today with Matt Lauer. It definitely fits the description of what I've read. 

It also shows that when you treat women as objects there for your sexual pleasure and entertainment--and you disguise your disparagement with lighthearted banter and joking--then you are setting the stage for those women to be abused. You have created a culture in which women are not respected as individuals. They are sexual playthings. Ageism seems a natural progression in this context. Why keep a woman around when she is no longer considered sexually attractive to the men in power? There is always fresh young meat to take their place. 

I understand why Hannah reacted the way she did at the end, but I wish she would've quit right there and gone public. 

The Martin Short portion skeeved him out. He is so oily he's nearly unwatchable to me. The scene with the dancers was so in your face it reminded me of the infamous scene of Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday to JFK. I felt sorry for Mitch's wife. (She should've skipped the event like Jackie.) If this is anything close to what Matt Lauer's wife had to endure, then I have sympathy for her. 

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...
On 2/2/2020 at 4:12 AM, Otherkate said:

Everyone has covered all the more horrific parts of this episode, but I have to mention that for me - I've been binging - it was really nice to get a break from Bradley. 

It only occurred to me halfway through the episode that Bradley wasn't in it. And I did not miss her one bit.

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  • 10 months later...

Did Hannah at any point say “no”? I didn’t hear it & it didn’t come up on cc.  

how do we distinguish between a big time sexual predator shall we say, who disgustingly tries to force a woman into sex ( which looks like what happened here?) to a flat out no doubt about it rapist? Would he have stopped if she pushed him away and said no? Still not good, I’ve been there numerous times by virtue of being a woman. 
it seems what we need is to start teaching little boys at a young age how to treat women. Is that being addressed in schools? I’m out of that loop. 

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  • 8 months later...

Wow.  I didn’t pay much attention, until they were going to Vegas.  He asked for Hannah to be sent to Vegas, and set it all up to get her alone.  And he was just doing this for years.  Mia dumps him, and he moves right on to Hannah, who was clearly in shock. 

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