So, I was wrong. Maggie did not have some sort of spiritual awakening while it rained in Africa (Uganda in particular) with Sorkin getting the editor and sound mixer to get “Africa” by Toto to play along perfectly. This is the the show that did a montage to “Fix You” in an episode called “Fix You” after all. Only for it to be undone once Maggie saw some newly met person raped and or murdered before her eyes. I was only a quarter right.
As soon as Maggie pointed out young Daniel and she apparently had a connection with him, the odds of death were threw the roof. Then he started playing with her hair and the pastor says blondes are all trouble. Well you knew he wasn’t getting out alive. It’s a plot filled with little ironies: Daniel was sent to the orphanage by his parents so he’d be safe and lives up to the name checked episode title.
The Newsroom is the Avatar (James Cameron) of prestige television. It uses tried and true stories and call its shots 5 moves in advance to anyone who has half a brain. Like Avatar it still earns, no matter how cliche, its emotional beats with commitment and follow threw. Now is the Maggie story all that compelling? Not really, it has been so obviously foreshadowed and undone by the fact we are being told it in the past tense that it’s hard to really care. Which is to say nothing of how well worn a plot it all is, even if it were to happen in the present. Detractors aside Sorkin stuck to the path and followed threw to the end earning a minimal amount of actual emotion. Coming out of that narrative tunnel I am a bit more interested in post-Africa Maggie and possible erratic behavior. That was an obviously damaging moment for that character and now we should be able to see the after effects. Seeing Maggie talk to Rebecca(Marcia Gay Harden) about her meeting with a psychiatrist and refusal to take her prescribed medication. Cut against her in a bathroom flashing back to blonde hair being trouble, resulting in the now red hairdo in the present. Was all a bit much.
The one thing that really made this whole Maggie in Uganda thing work a bit more was the brief use of unreliable narration. Maggie manages to save Daniel everyone is on the bus, she’s reading him that book for the 500th time. In a flash it’s back to reality and Daniel is dead in her arms. Taking a bullet that would have gotten her if she hadn’t put him on her back. This whole deposition framing device just calls for characters to misremember events in subtle (ok in this shows case not subtle) ways that have would have a profound effect on the present.
This whole side story with Maggie isn’t without merit. Painting her as having an unfit mental state during the interview of some General involving the Genoa story is appears to be a major linchpin in Jerry’s suit.
The Genoa story has been one of the best things this show has done. It forces this group of apparently extraordinary to very good people to actually do their jobs. Funny how this show feels a lot easier to watch when seeing supposedly smart people reinforcing that perception through action. There is a degree of it all being all for naught since Jerry is the one who apparently gets it wrong and is fired over it. If it were one of the main crew members now that would be something.
All for naught was something that happened in all three of the plots in “Unintended Consequences”. Maggie gets to go off to Africa and have her big story, nope. It’s what happens in the other two that prove to be irksome. After grilling and embarrassing Neil’s Occupy friend on national TV, she decides to renege on bringing Neil and Jerry to someone who might help with the Genoa tip. Wanting an televised apology from Will for being “smug”, which is asinine. Neil does his best to talk her down by bringing Sloan and Don into the picture, which proves that you can’t fight fire with fire when you need that fires' help. Seeing Sloan and Don both slowly losing it was hilarious. Only for Will to finally come down from the mountaintop and admit he used her weak position to reaffirm his moderate imagery. Making nice with everyone, even she admits she was wrong. But aha this was all just a selfless act because they had already found the guy. It wasn’t the worst of the three instances but all it did was reaffirm that Will is always right.
I really enjoyed Jim’s little sojourn into the foreign land of embedded campaign journalism. Everyone’s disdain for Jim being a trespasser mixed with Grace Gummer’s performance really clicked. It was excellent fluff. Until it wasn’t fluff. Jim manages to get Taylor (Constance Zimmer) into a “any favor” situation. Finally, Jim will get his 30 minutes with the candidate. Until he gives it to Hallie, because he feels bad for getting her heat from her boss. Hallie finds out once Mackenzie calls in wondering why he would do such a thing. Which is a moment that melds the two polar opposite ideas of MacKenzie Morgan McHale into one. Socially awkward Mac and apparently Super EP Mac are one and it is great for a few fleeting moments. Hallie tears into Jim over how belittling it feels to be gifted this interview and put upon after hearing her boss for 15 seconds. Looks like o’ll Jim is coming back to New York a loser, nope. At the last moment Hallie forgives and makes out with him because she doesn't want him to go back. Now that was totally belittling for Grace Gummers character. That said I really hope they somehow work her character into New York because her deadpan plays really well off of John Gallagher, Jr.
The Bits At The End
Someone PLEASE get me a gif or screencap of Sam Waterston pressed up against the glass! You’ll win the internet for a day
Come on I can’t be the only one who didn’t peg Gary Cooper(Chris Chalk) as a possible goner over in Africa?
Speaking of people I hope get worked back in Constance Zimmer is just a delight
Reading about this show and talking about it with other people the whole idea of “hate watching” this show is constantly brought up. I hate the idea of hate watching. Now I hated Revolution but I said I’d write about it and I did. I don’t hate The Newsroom, it has it’s moments and has clearly defined faults but there is just something about it that I kinda like.