If last weeks episode didn’t tell you that Willie Mac is back, Sorkin reminds you with a minutes long, Olbermann-esque final comment from McAvoy dressing down crowd members at a Republican primary debate for booing an actively serving gay soldier's question. It was an easy target but man the editing during the speech was spot on. Disrupting the frames momentum by jumping to stationary cameras, some of which were made up to look like the cameras filming Will was great. And jumping into the control room for nice smirking reaction shots. It made me engaged on something that 30 seconds in made me groan at how tired an attack it was.
It’s kind of shocking, Jim Harper and his misadventures on the Romney media bus are actually pretty good, better yet I am interested. Yes, this whole thing is Sorkin editorializing on embedded reporters being softies in order to stay on the bus and not lose access. Like the point I made last week, it was well executed. Jim’s discomfort and disdain for his fellow journalist grew and grew. It had all those panning shots showing the other reporters happily sticking to the talking points as Jim’s creative soul was slowly zapped away.Then finally Jim snapped. Tried to lead a revolution to remind his fellow fourth estate-ers that the politicians need them. That they are being bought off with free busses and turkey sandwiches which aren’t even good. Jim doesn't go down like Braveheart(that would've been an unexpected turn) or Enjolras. The two people roused by his call to arms, Hallie(Grace Gummer) and the reporter I’ve taken to calling Mustache Man, are all promptly kicked off the bus for their fight agaisnt the machine. This type of stuff couldn’t be the A plot of an episode but it is certainly more interesting than what it was up against.
As soon as the hacking stuff from last season showed up in the “previously on” Nina Howard wasn’t far behind. She knows Will wasn’t sick during the 9/11 coverage. Being the just and honorable man Will is, he decides to have a human conversation with Nina and ask her to self censor. The whole scene is partGodfather part date. Starting off with Will being treated much like Don Corleone before apparently wooing Howard with his honesty and a piano man playing “What the World Needs Now Is Love”. Jeff Daniels does a lot of good on this show, he just doesn't have any noticeable chemistry with Hope Davis. Maybe Will McAvoy has that cult leader charisma that just make women swoon for him. Either way she winds up in Will’s apartment. As soon as she answered Mac’s call while brushing her hair you just knew Will was about to be revealed via the mirror. They don’t do that, they cut to Will in the other room waiting for her to come out. This episode seemed to hold on when it came to scenes with what appears destined to be the shows one true couple Will-Mac. Just staying there with Will and Mac as she nervously laughs off her lack of proper verbiage just a couple seconds longer than any other show would. It’s the type of shot that you would find in shipping AMV’s only slowed down and in black and white for maximum effect. The show is actively narrating them into the rolls of coupledom when they are no where near that point, which is a funny acknowledgement of how predetermined everyone seems to be reading into it.
Sloan Sabbath is the best female character on The Newsroom and Olivia Munn spits Sorkin dialog great. Shocking! Where every other female in this show seems to devolve into feminine and consumerist tendencies that take priority over actually doing their job, Sloan is shown to have the courage of her convictions. Mac makes fun of the Occupy movement and only gives in to coverage because Neil brings her SHOES into it. Sloan sticks to her moral guns and threatens her EP for dragging her around the office like a child and expecting her to act like a dog (which is a bit much but Munn made that work). Yes Sloan is made to be socially inept but at least that is consistent. Mac has moments of looking awesome for a second and then she runs into doors or forgets her wallet and puts on a puppy dog face and begs a voice mail all episode long. At least Alison Pill can do comedy well and completely sells the stupidity Maggie gets herself into this time.
The Genoa Tip had a nice last minute reveal at the end as the translator started faxing in supposed tweets from the attack. This is all supposed to blow up in their faces somehow so where did it go wrong? Having recently watched Dial M For Murder I’ve got the use of dramatic irony on the brain making the Genoa storyline a bit more interesting than it would normally have been.
“Willie Pete” had a lot of comedy in it. The comedy makes this show so much easier to intake. Funny visual gag during Sloan’s dressing down of her EP great. Will and Charlie’s bravado turning them into literal Don Quixote's great. Alison Pill acting like she has taken crazy pills was great. Even Will trouncing around the office in the background wanting the blood of who leaked the story was good. It cuts the self serious moral certainty that is found when you focus on news issues from 24-18 months ago.
The Bits At The End
- Why did they have to ruin the nice comedy from the visual gag of Don being so low to the ground and falling out of his chair by doing it twice? Once was enough it was great.
- I vote the new one true ship for The Newsroom be Don-Sloan because the show isn't focusing on that which makes it good. All Will and Mac scenes seem to revolve around their past relationship and it is annoying. Don and Sloan have other better things to do.
- Seriously there are Newsroom shipping videos out there right? You can PM them to me.
- Grace Gummer better somehow come back for season 3 she has the dour look going and it's a good look.