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The Newsroom, “The Blackout Part II: Mock Debate” Episode Recap

Last week we sat through the first part of this episode where we watched Will and the team deal with bringing in journalists to do a piece on them and their show, cave into ratings and higher management demands as well as the introduction of the first piece of leverage that said team will possibly ever have to hold off a sudden wave of unemployment in the news industry. We left the show however, literally, in the dark as power to the studio was lost as Will was about to record an interview with some woman who had kinky conversations with some guy over twitter.

So we return, still in darkness, with Mackenzie going into one of her “classic” crazed speeches which is completely undercut by the power coming back at the very end which switches into another one of her “classic” tirades at absolutely no one jumping up and down huffing and puffing being infuriated at the world for making her look foolish. It’s insane how much I’ve allowed this show to skirt by on the story of MacHale and how she’s constantly used as the joke of the show for almost no reason at all. It’s as if when Sorkin was first coming up with the concept someone told him it was ok but needed something more, to which he returned with this character who he will use at random intervals just to create a crazed gag for us all to point and laugh at. In Sports Night she would’ve fit right in, along with the disturbingly odd laugh track to help remind us we should be laughing.

Regardless, all of last week we were constantly reminded that more than the pressure from those who are in office from time to time in the space above Will and the team they decided to take the dive on the Casey Anthony story because they wanted to present a new and more accountable debate format for candidates to come and be taken seriously. This week we got a glimpse into this “mock debate” that we’ve been hearing so much about. For the last few weeks we’ve seen producer and intern alike sit down with copy after copy of previous interviews so as to sift through all the already aired out bullshit that these candidates sling every two (or four) years as they try to win your hearts (and votes). The format is presented to the people who setup the debates with news outlets which is immediately squashed as the ideal is completely lost as them as they see it as a threat and will work against their definition.

Otherwise we’re drawn into the tale of Don, Maggie, Lisa and Jim (or as I like to call it the entertaining section of the show). Jim and Lisa find reason to be together again towards the end of the episode and Don and Maggie seem to finally be over as Don comes clean about what’s been happening in his life and how he truly feels, including the woman he saw while they weren’t together at one point recently. What started out as a silly little subplot of “will they or will they not?” is now gone too far as I find myself caring less and less each week as the story of how Jim pines for Maggie in a way that he just needs to get his face beat in by Don and it’ll be a done deal (there I wrote it for you Sorkin, work in another Star Trek reference and you’re golden). I just want to reach the finish line right about now.

The final plot which needed tuning was that of Neal and his trolling efforts. Apparently as much as he tried educated people couldn’t be distracted into stop talking about the real world problems by bringing up how nice Olivia Munn looks (don’t google her now… nooooooo….). So for those of you still reading; the show finds nice ways to handle the use of Munn’s character quirks to make this come off as cute and adorable that it ends up not working. However, with a slightly misguided thought from her about how to get into the trolling community (and why are we talking about trolls?) Neal makes a later discovery of who it was who left that death threat a few weeks back on Will’s website. I saw you should end this episode by watching Expendables 2 and just imagine it’s the story of Terry Crews trying to find the guy who threatened Will’s life, otherwise let’s keep moving.

What did you think of this week’s episode?

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Andrew Robinson

Andrew Robinson

I love movies, I love TV so obviously I blog. You can read all my other ramblings on this and that over at