'The Morning' 'Show' Season 2: Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon Reflect on Where Things Left Off 

The stars and creators of The Morning Show open up about the second season of the AppleTV+ series in PEOPLE’s exclusive sneak peak at a new featurette 

Season 2 of The Morning Show is almost here, and in the words of star Jennifer Aniston, "everything's different."

At the close of season 1, Aniston's Alex Levy and her co-anchor Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) are exposing the toxic workplace of their network, UBA, on-air when their feed is cut, leaving the finale — which was released on Dec. 20, 2019 — to end in a cliffhanger. In PEOPLE's exclusive first look at a new featurette, the stars and creators of The Morning Show look back on where things left off and what's to come in the new season after that watershed moment.

"When we start season 2, we see the aftermath, the chaos," Witherspoon, 45, says at the start of the new clip.

"There was such a cost to that moment of complete honesty," adds Aniston, 52.

If you need a refresher on everything that happened last season before season 2 premieres next week, read below for some of the major events, from that cliffhanger ending to one character's tragic death.

<a href="https://people.com/tag/jennifer-aniston" data-inlink="true">Jennifer Aniston</a> and Reese Witherspoon
Apple TV+

Mitch Kessler's Exit

Bradley and Alex's on-air revelations, which result in Alex leaving the show altogether, came after a tumultuous period for their morning news show: small-town reporter Bradley had unexpectedly stepped in after Alex's longtime co-anchor Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) was accused of sexual misconduct and had to leave.

"The Morning Show is in a place of real flux, I mean Alex Levy has left the show and of course the fallout from Mitch Kessler having left the show is still resonating," says Karen Pittman, who plays producer Mia Jordan.

"UBA is a changed environment: it's noticeably more diverse, young, there are more women," adds new cast member Greta Lee.

"We are no longer running the show from the perspective of the white male patriarchy," Pittman, 35, continues. "We have moved on."

Alex's Past with Mitch

When we left her in season 1, Alex was also still grappling with her conflicting feelings about Mitch, something that is sure to carry into the next season. Through the course of the first season, viewers learn that Alex and Mitch previously had a sexual relationship in addition to their longtime friendship, and it's made clear that those feelings are not completely gone for either of them.

"There's a tremendous amount of guilt that she's feeling, her hypocrisy within herself," Aniston says of her character.

"She sort of became a feminist hero and I think she has this secret guilt that she isn't, she has this history with Mitch that she's ashamed of," adds executive producer and writer Kerry Ehrin.

"But something about her still needs to feel relevant and there's obviously still more for her to excavate," Aniston continues.

<a href="https://people.com/tag/jennifer-aniston" data-inlink="true">Jennifer aniston</a>
Apple TV+

Hannah Shoenfeld's Survivor Story

One of the more shocking storylines in season 1 was that of Gugu Mbatha-Raw's Hannah Shoenfeld, a talent booker at The Morning Show who was previously sexually assaulted by Mitch.

Hannah's story slowly unfolds throughout the season, as the trauma of the assault resurfaces in her while Mitch is being investigated at the network. At the close of the season, she accepts a new job in Los Angeles, promising the hope of a new start. But not soon after, coworker and friend Claire Conway (Bel Powley) discovers her dead from an overdose.

It's not clear whether the overdose was accidental or intentional — Ehrin has previously said she left that purposefully vague — but Hannah's tragic end is a clear example of the ruinous effects Mitch's behavior had, beyond Alex's conflicted feelings and the legal nightmare it caused at the network.

Bradley's Evolution

When we first meet Bradley, she is a spunky, if slightly frustrated, field reporter in Virginia who is suddenly thrust into a high-powered broadcast career, with UBA executive Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup) largely serving as her cheerleader — and potential romantic interest.

Despite some growing pains, though, Bradley slips naturally into her role as an anchor, inserting a fresh new honesty into the show. She opens up on-air about getting an abortion as a teenager, interviews one of Mitch's victims and pushes the show to reject the formula Alex and Mitch had gotten so used to.

Her evolution as a journalist is set to continue when Alex takes a break in season 2 and Bradley has a newfound sense of power helming The Morning Show solo.

"Bradley steps into a position where she's trying to play the game, she's trying to get ahead. Bradley becomes the No. 1 lead anchor," Witherspoon says in the featurette. "And she thinks she's in control."

Reese Witherspoon
Apple TV+

What to Expect from Season 2

While Bradley continues to navigate her role on The Morning Show in season 2, Alex is in a whole new place.

"Everything's different this season," Aniston notes, as the clip shows her character living in a picturesque cabin, splitting wood for fires and sipping tea as she looks out at the snow.

"In season 2, we meet Alex in a very serene place," Aniston says. "I think she had to get out of the chaos."

Despite her idyllic escape, though, it's clear that Alex isn't done with The Morning Show. "Please come back, you've become a powerful voice in the rebuilding and the rebranding of a toxic empire," Cory begs in a sneak peek. "It's gonna rise."

Season 2 will also feature a series of newcomers, including Laura Peterson (Julianna Margulies), who comes to the show to "mentor" Bradley.

"When Bradley meets her, it's just hero worship," Witherspoon says. "There's this larger-than-life character."

"The energy between Reese's character and my character is really interesting to watch because you really see Reese's character grow just by being in Laura's orbit," Margulies, 55, says.

UBA and The Morning Show will also face a racial reckoning in the course of season 2.

"There is a pattern of behavior around here that disadvantages the people of color," weekend co-host Daniel Henderson (Desean K. Terry) tells Mia at one point.

"We all develop a different relationship with America and I think that there are a lot of people who are really reevaluating their place," Terry says.

"So much of the show is showing these real world relationships unfold in real-time and it just allows the audience to organically go on this journey to answer some pretty complicated questions," adds Hasan Minhaj, who will play a new member of the Morning Show team, Eric Nomani.

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Overall, Aniston advises viewers to expect the unexpected: "What you thought was going to happen at the beginning of season 2, all of a sudden there's these detours that you didn't think about along the way."

"We have more incredible storylines, much bigger and much more impactful than you could ever imagine," Witherspoon concludes.

The Morning Show returns Sept. 17 on Apple TV+.

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