THE NEWSROOM “Election Night, Part I”, Episode Recap
To start off, I apologize for the lateness of this review. I know my wide readership was clamoring for my thoughtful, crafted and radiant words, salivating at the chance to hang on to every turn of phrase and witticism. I apologize, yes, because I was watching football.
This week’s episode of The Newsroom is another strong episode, in a wave of strong episodes. As the first of a two, maybe three-parter, we’re treated to the Election 2012. This is much like every event in this show, in that we already know the outcome. But what Sorkin hopes to achieve is thoughtfully plugging (ideally) strong characters into the proceedings and allowing us the chance to gasp, ooh, ahh, and delight at their interactions with real life. There’s no drama for the viewer on the outcome of the election (unless you’re a still hopeful Romney supporter who denies the outcome of the election). The drama is behind the scenes and for these characters, how they’re dealing with the fallout of the Genoa deposition.
Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) is back in the spotlight, more so than he has been as of late, as his fate, and primarily Charlie (Sam Waterston) and Mac’s (Emily Mortimer) fate hangs in the balance. We know from the last episode that they wanted to avoid professional embarrassment and questions of credibility by stepping down. But Leona isn’t allowing it. We find Mac in a state of duress. She hasn’t slept, she’s stressed, and she wants to be fired. Will, of course, being the only one with firing power here has decided to appoint himself in charge of morale. Using these characters to build funny moments, rather than just implant jokes into their mouths is far more rewarding to the dedicated viewer. That turn of phrase from Will in a high-pressure situation is unexpected. I hope we get more of this now that these characters are well established.
I’m also glad we’re not being treated with a forced love story for Will and Mac. But a more honest portrayal of a tense situation between exes, forced to work with one another. For many episodes (except the moments in season one when Mac’s ex returns) this has been relatively dormant and much like Mac’s bomb their tension has not exploded. One way or the other. I still worry that they’ll kiss some day. But the tension, or bomb as it were, has lain directly beneath the surface and now we’re beginning to see the wires.
Shortly before the end of the episode, Will finally fires Mac, as she wanted, and returns to the desk telling Taylor to tear him apart. Has Will finally discarded his armor and opened himself up to be dissected by those around him? When he fires Mac, Will shows a bit of emotion regarding his personal life. This could have been handled better and I feel it was the lowlight of the episode (and I’m even counting all the scenes that Maggie was present). We know he’s obsessed with his job but that doesn’t make him a bad guy. But it also doesn’t make him Lloyd Dobler, or any other pop-culture reference that reveals Will to be a somewhat lovelorn sap underneath the surface. It came out of nowhere too. There was no build up in terms of character that he would all of the sudden be emotional in that way. His emotions have always been tied to politics, news events and his father. I just didn’t like this scene. That being said, I’m very curious to see what happens to Mac in part II. No way she doesn’t keep her job in some way. I’m calling that now.
Sloan Sabbith (Olivia Munn) was on fire tonight. Her B plot starts out seemingly benign. It mostly ends up that way too, but despite it being mostly just something to do for side characters like Neal (Dev Patel), Sorkin puts Sloan in these situations. She’s such a fun character and that makes these scenes far more interesting than say a Maggie storyline.
Speaking of Maggie (Allison Pill)…I hate this character. I’m done with her. I can’t even think, outside of middle school jealousy, why she’d “hate Jim”. And so publicly at work. Am I missing something? She doesn’t have any real reason to hate Jim, does she? Tell me if I’m wrong. Unless it’s because he never mentioned her haircut…which again, is silly. Then, when Jim screws up with the Michigan/Mississippi call, Maggie taunts him. Jim, Mac and Charlie have all gone to bat for her, saving her career for all of her screw-ups when they really don’t have to. Then she rips Don (Tom Sadoski), who is her superior, for apparently being in love with a guy he used to play tennis with…in front of her superiors. What is wrong with this train-wreck of a character? She’s only getting worse.
The interactions between the team in the wake of the Genoa meltdown has been, for the most part, fantastic. Sloan’s screw-up at the news desk, in her attempt to defend Will, was hilarious. But there’s that tension bomb here too. And despite the fake story of Genoa (in terms of real life…not the show), I finally got on board. And if it was all a lead up to the Petraeus story and Charlie screaming, “I mean, what the fuck?” out loud in the middle of the newsroom, I’d be okay with that.
– I loved seeing Rebecca (Marcia Gay Harden) finally interacting with the team outside of the conference room and deposition. I feel it was smart to introduce her in this capacity with Charlie and Will. It’s a very strong scene.
– I love a good Abbott and Costello reference. I grew up on “Who’s on First” and it still stands as one of the finest comedic bits of all time.
– Don getting sued. Damn, I really like this character. The part of me that tries to connect with the characters feels bad for the guy. But the part of me that loves a good drama unfolding is excited for a heavier presence of Don storylines.
– If a girl did to me what Mac did to Will…I’d be even slower to forgive. And I’m an extremely forgiving person.
– I’m coming up with ways to kill off Maggie. Here’s my list so far:
- Horrible haircutting accident involving large shears.
- A debilitating form of carpal tunnel syndrome that leads to deep-vein thrombosis and ultimately death.
- She tries to dye her hair again, but uses acid instead, becomes a vigilante named Two-Face and then is thrown from an abandoned building by Christian Bale. He’ll be blamed for it, but in the end, he’s the hero that Gotham City needs.
– Is the Maggie hate going too far?