My fears from my earlier review about whether “The Newsroom” could prevent itself from entering into an episodic formula were put to rest in this episode, and much like Will McAvoy’s character at the end of the last episode, I am in.
First things first, what I liked about this episode which relieved doubts I had about the direction of the show was the fact that at the beginning of the episode, they pretty much drop a grenade, or as close to a grenade as you would get in a show about the news without actually doing so. They then go about the rest of the episode dealing with the aftermath of that grenade, and the path that is beset by that bomb that blew up on live TV (The figurative one, not the actual one).
Will McAvoy, fueled by Mackenzie McHale, locks in on anhilliating the Tea Party Movement in this episode. He enters a mode we have gotten glimpses of but not truely seen in earlier episodes where his passion for truth is only matched by his disgust of misinformation, and as such, he employs his wits and intellectual fortitude to disclose plain hard facts.
I appreciated Sam Waterston’s performance in this episode a lot. Playing Charlie Skinner, Will and Mackenzies boss so to speak, Charlie must serve as a bridge between News Night and AWM. Putting himself in a sore position, Charlie must decide how far he can take this new approach to the news, which is alienating AWM from its corporate funders and supporting politicians. Wielding little power, Charlie is given an ultimatum.
The show sets up what seems to be the primary conflict of the season, 3 episodes in. If this show was supposed to run just a single season, I would say it is late to do so, but I expect it to be around for more than that. Season 2 filming is currently being scheduled, which means there is a long battle ahead to ensure News Night remains the independant news it is attempting to be, and I am excited to follow their quest.
Also, just to add more to this recounting of an episode I think was one of the most stylized and individual from the three I’ve seen so far, I really liked the interplay between Alison Pill’s character Maggie Jordan and John Gallagher Jr’s character Jim Harper. From earlier episodes, it seems they will be the heart of the show, much like how Donna and Josh were in “The West Wing”. I look forward to seeing their romance unfold.