Was that The Newsroom I watched last night, or was it the TV equivalent of running on a treadmill? A lot of talk, but basically very little in the way of plot developments. I’m not quite crawling out on a limb to say that nothing happened, but the ingredients necessary for a fine episode were mostly MIA. I guess Sorkin is saving the ‘firing’ of Will McAvoy for the season-ending, cliff-hanger finale for the next and final episode coming next Sunday.
Or maybe it will be a shooting instead?
So opinions must be set aside – I’ve a recap to do. Wait – more opinion: All the groundwork of the last few episodes was undone.
First the blackout itself. They managed to get the word ‘blackout‘ into the titles of two most recent episodes, including this one. Last week the blackout arrived as the episode ended. This week the blackout left as the episode began. When the blackout was in force, Mack was making decisions, rallying the troops, and calling out that they would drop ‘the rundown‘. Didn’t quite workout did it? Cue Sandy’s Weiner-Tell-All.
Solomon Hancock: He fails the white glove test. His vetting turned up mucho problems. His psychiatric review came back looking very spotty, so the NSA lowered his security clearance. He was arrested (nearly 30 years ago) on a solicitation beef, and has been charged as having been in violation of a restraining order which his ex-wife had requested. So is the guy for real, and more importantly, can Charlie Skinner trust him?
You know those Presidential Candidate Debates that the ACN team wanted so badly that they had to wade into the dark waters of Congressman Weiner and Casey Anthony – well, their efforts failed. Will and Mack actually wanted to ask tough questions, and follow ups, but this ‘revolutionary idea‘ was shot down. Some ass-hat, a GOP/RNC big shot called Tate Brady felt the questions, (in the mock debate) were too tough. The questions would embarrass the candidates. He felt that Will was asking the questions as a grandstanding, self-promoting act. So this Brady wasn’t buying into the ACN debate format. He was of the opinion that if they would go for a kinder and gentler format, that might work. But Brady wanted Mackenzie McHale to replaced by someone else.
Which was an unacceptable condition, so Will told Brady to go to hell. So Brady played another card, asking Sloan Sabbith if she would be the debate moderator. Sloan was very succinct when she said, Me? Fuck you!
Speaking of Sloan, and Neal Sampat. Are there any two actors working today who speak so rapidly? The troll hunt seemed like a big story to Neal, but as we found out, not the way he thought.
Today’s trolls are like yesterday’s newspapers – ready to be forgotten. Only in this case Sampat’s chat got him in contact with Charizma, the troll who may actually have Will McAvoy in his sights.
That’s on hold until next week. Maybe Will gets fired by Leona and then in a separate event, he gets shot. One from column A and one from column B.
Speaking of Casey Anthony – we thought we were done with her, but just when we thought we were out, we get pulled back in. Maggie’s roommate Lisa went to high school with Casey. They ask Lisa if she’d like to come on to News Night and give some first-hand insight about Casey Anthony.
Well, Lisa wouldn’t come on board. So Jim and Maggie head off to where Lisa works. She’s a saleslady in a women’s clothing boutique. Sorry – that scene at the boutique with Jim and Lisa and her shopper was a) far, far too long, b) cringe-worthy, c) a five-minute segment that made my eyeballs glaze over. Surely, it was not all that funny – that is except for the fact that Jim was making himself into a jackanapes by trying to hustle Lisa’s customer into buying clothes that didn’t look right on her, but quite likely wouldn’t look good on any woman.
But mission was accomplished as Lisa did agree to come on the show. Sadly, as Will tossed some softball questions at her, Lisa crashed and burned by dragging unfit mothers, unwanted children, and abortion into the discussion. Eyes on the News Night set probably rolled. I know mine did. I think all of us were relieved when Will, that is the on the air Will said to Lisa, Can we get back to Casey Anthony for now?
So it was no surprise that the store where Lisa worked had its windows broken, and epithets like Baby Killer were spray painted onto the store front.
But returning to Lisa, and Jim, and Maggie, and Don – the merry-go-round continues. Lisa gave Jim a major opening when she said, Don doesn’t love Maggie, you’re on deck. But lame Jim said, I’m no one’s second choice; to which Lisa replied – Neither am I. A remark which seemingly sent us back to square one. Only it didn’t.
Somewhere in the second half of the episode, Mackenzie said something to Jim, and the idea of really, really, going after Maggie occurred to him. I think Mack said, Gather thee rosebuds while ye may. So he rushes over to Maggie and Lisa’s apartment only to find who else but Don there. Jim wanted to say something meaningful to Maggie – but, there’s always a but – there’s Don. And it looks like Don has a good sense of what Jim was going to do. So Jim says nothing, and that gives Lisa an opportunity to step into his arms and kiss him.
As I said, the merry-go-round shows no signs of slowing down.
Speaking of slowing down, Mackenzie threw a healthy tantrum or was it a meltdown (Gee – thanks Mr. Sorkin – Mack needed to get trivialized once more)? How about breakdown?
And the Brian-Mackenzie-Will merry-go-round was about to go careening off the tracks yet again.
Brian – you cheated on me with Will -
Mackenzie – I cheated on Will with you -
Will – talking to Jake Habeeb – Why can’t I apologize to Mackenzie?
Jake – [Who has read his Dad's voluminous notes on Will - enough of them to a fill a box-car on a train] – You won’t apologize to Mackenzie because Mackenzie rejected Brian but she betrayed you…
Brian – Will does what he does because he’s lonely. The viewers make him feel less lonely…
Mackenzie – I don’t think you’re the right one to do the story…
Will – Brian, just write the truth
Yadda, yadda. Sorry for the condensed version of the Brian/Mack/Will troika readers, but I just wasn’t all that giddy about this stuff which seems like tv version of getting one’s mouth washed with soapy water as a punishment.
To put a capper on this episode which, at best was a major let down from the previous week, or at worst was a near disaster of a show made up of filler, the cotton candy of Sloan seething, and verbal lint. Adam Roth and Tate Brady (the RNC guys) are sitting at a bar. Roth presses a button on his laptop and turns the screen so Brady can see it.
What we see is another Q&A (or Debate) between some wanna-be Presidential candidates. We hear: Congresswoman Bachmann – to you: Elvis or Johnny Cash? Her reply: Oh that’s a tough one, really tough…
Roth’s eyes don’t exactly roll, but you can see that he is very pleased, that because Brady didn’t go for Will’s format – this debate (on CNN) per Brady’s structure was nothing but a waste of time. It wasn’t a debate – it was just filler.
Speaking of filler, we’ve had enough of that this week – so, I’m waiting for next week, aren’t you? Odds makers are trying to figure the over/under as to the time in the episode when we first see Leona next week. If the line is 37 minutes in, I’m taking the over. At this point feel free to voice your opinions.