Further digging into “wrongful termination” lawsuit brought forth by Jerry Dantana revealed the underpinning of his argument: he was made a scapegoat for an institutional failure. It isn’t that he was fired, it’s that he was the only one fired for the Genoa story. When “One Step Too Many” showed the Jerry flagrantly editing the raw footage the immediate response was “How does everyone else not know about this and how could he even think about suing them?”. It killed any possible drama or tension surronding the case because clearly Jerry messed up. NopeNewsroom is actually going a bit deeper for a change and anaylizing the instiution that everyone serves and how that body might allow something like Genoa to happen.
So what went wrong in the Genoa story. Everything. It turns out Skinner, a key early witness, has a traumatic brain injury which totally discredits his position once that is found out. The tweeter about Willie Pete didn’t die, Neil was right, his cell phone plan ran out. Mackenzie believes she led Valenzuela on in her interview with him. Will and Charlie’s sources turns out to be the same man. A man with a very specific reason to hurt ACN and Charlie in particular. With the power of hindsight, something this show is normally criticized for using, how could the faults not be seen least of all go unnoticed until after the story aired. It was all a matter of perspective, like those visual tricks in the Haunted House at Disneyland that makes it appear everything is watching just you. Lined up a certain way everything looks legitimate. All the stories matched, they had paper evidence, internet evidence. Everything made sense only an institutional failure could let this colossal fuck up happen.
Turning this into a story about institutions gives everything a bit of weight not previously felt on this show. More importantly it weighs on Charlie, Will, and Mac. Giving them some internal drama that feels legitimate for a change. It isn’t the narcissistic and morally clear “drama” that takes up the majority of The Newsroom’s time. Even if their characters are a bit weak really loving an ideal is strong motivation and when they fail at it, the hurt is palpable and effective. They all blindly kept to the company line that the story was right. Even Jim, Don, and Sloan stood fast as the Titanic was about to hit the iceberg. That’s what you do for the guy next to you and when everything is right, it sure feels good. When the story is wrong, it’s suicide leaving everyone ready to do seppuku at a moments notice (especially Mac).
Bringing us the the final scene where Charlie, Will, and Mac all try to resign from ACN because they no longer have the trust of the people. “Well, GET IT BACK!” a possibly inebriated Leona Lansing yells at them in a smash cut to black, ending “Red Team III” It’s an effective call to arms and closer. For what is at least one of the top 3 episodes of this series. She might hate the headaches and lack of money that that trio bring in but deep down she really loves them. Because even if she is an evil big corporate businesswoman she loves the news just like everyone else on this show. It’s all a little raw raw go News Team Go, but hey what’s a little schmaltz in an otherwise really grounded episode.
The use of depositions to frame everything has been used sparingly. A bit too sparingly in my opinion. Which makes the abundance of flashing forward and back seem like a bit much. And in some cases it was. Voice over narration is a tool I tend to hate. It just makes everything so obvious to the viewer that there is no fun in looking for it. More annoying is when you flashback to complete a sentence midway, and then jump back. Those moments always feel cheap to me. The majority of “Red Team III” works beautifully. Discounting “News Night with Will McAvoy” it’s the best non-gimmick episode Sorkin has done. Making some of the little annoyances like the jumping and over dramatic montage music as they tell the Genoa story stick out. The idea that Will and Charlie’s spy friend would have a secret vendetta against ACN involving his son sounds insane, but that revelation worked really well. Isn’t it funny how some things on paper sound like they would totally fail and these tiny little things won’t. But in the end it’s flip flopped.
So present day isn’t really present day. It’s November 2012 and the election is in a day. That’s not too bad and still shortens the amount of big real news stories for Sorkin to use a likely third season.
The Bits At The End
- Mac learning about sports wasn't bad. It made sense for how the plot was unfolding and was set up and followed through well. And most of all I'm pretty sure Mac dosen't know anything about sports. Even if she is english and must worship at the alter of soccer.
- Ok so when does Maggie cut her hair? It’s got to be sometime in between the Genoa Story going out and November elections.
I want more Marcia Gay Harden and Jane Fonda in my Newsroom. Hell they could just recast Harden as another character and I wouldn’t care she speaks Sorkinese so well.