Things are moving fast in The Newsroom. A lot happened in s2e4, so let’s jump right into it.
The Return of Dick Don: After getting Sensitive Don, Passionate Don, and Jar Jar Don in the first three episodes of the show, I was starting to wonder if the lovably roguish Dick Don (DD) was gone for good. In episode four, DD made his return, but it wasn’t as triumphant and glorious as it could have been. Before I get to that, let’s go over some DD highlights.
- I absolutely loved the way he cut down Martin for thinking that Denmark’s proposed “fat tax” would penalize obese people, rather than companies selling foods that contain more than 2.3 percent saturated fat. He made me want to start more of my sentences with the words, “No, imbecile.”
- His defense of using the full name of Rick Perry’s ranch instead of something like N-word Head Ranch was awesome. I loved the lightning fast crack of playing Hangman with the audience, followed by Elliot chuckling at the joke, followed by DD telling him to shut up. It was a sweet five seconds.
- In the second act of Failed Apologies with Slumdog Millionaire, DD was at his best, slicing up the hapless NYU teacher/Occupy Wall Street (OWC) non-leader/Zucotti Park tree hugger. Unfortunately, the impact of the evisceration and the return of DD were diminished because…
Everyone is a Dick: For the first 80 percent of the episode, Will McAvoy was smug and cruel. He does this a lot, which makes his tender moments more precious. Newsroom fans are used to him being a dick, but they’re not used to Sloan Sabbith being one. In the first act of Failed Apologies with Slumdog Millionaire, Sloan accompanies Neal Sampat in order to apologize to the humiliated OWC teacher. The meeting — which took place at the outstanding Shake Shack — had Sloan behaving like a pretentious and arrogant git. In other words, she was more Olivia Munn than Sloan Sabbith in this episode.
Jim Scores: With Will and MacKenzie in perpetual limbo, as well as Don and Sloan only hinting at an inevitable relationship, it seems like nobody in ACN’s news division can find love. (Notice I didn’t say “get laid.” Will is the slut of Manhattan and Tess has already expressed being an expert on sex in the city.) Thankfully Jim is on the scene. His boyish looks and goofy charm (that I don’t understand) finally paid off. He bailed on his 30-minute one-on-one interview with Mitt Romney and gave it to Meryl Streep’s daughter. She was initially pissed at the patronization, but eventually caved to Jim’s charms (that I really don’t understand). Too bad Jim is returning to the office next week. Meryl Streep’s daughter > Lisa. Bonus: Jim’s finishing maneuver on Meryl Streep’s daughter was set to “You Got It” by Roy Orbison. I love the way this show uses music.
Salami Genoa Trial: This week we discovered that the legal brouhaha the News Night crew is dealing with is a wrongful termination lawsuit by Brian Fantana Jerry Dantana. ACN’s fierce and disarmingly funny lawyer (Marcia Gay Harden) is interrogating Maggie in the framing story. We learn about the horrible events that lead to Maggie having an emotional breakdown and cutting off her delicate blond tresses. It was probably the heaviest moment the show ever had, but…
It Could Have Been Worse: When they showed Maggie with the Dragon Tattoo in episode 1, I suspected that the character was raped in Africa. After hearing the description of the Ugandan cattle thieves at the beginning of episode 4, I was sure of it. I was relieved and surprised that it didn’t happen. Also, as I mentioned last week, I was certain that the writers were going to use a horror-movie cliche and kill off Gary Cooper in Africa. Thankfully, the black guy lived! While Maggie’s trip to Uganda was certainly traumatic, I honestly thought it was going to be worse.
Unbelievable Circumstances: This episode was titled “Unintended Consequences,” but should have been called “Unbelievable Circumstances.” The Genoa trail has gone cold. (Never mind that the trail consists of a tip from a questionable source, a tough-to-believe story, and a bunch of random Twitter posts.)
Brian Fantana Jerry Dantana and Slumdog Millionaire are on the verge of giving up when Professor OWC makes an offhand comment about someone she knows that used to work at an NGO, but is no longer there because of a report he/she wrote about chemical warfare happening in Pakistan. Yeah, I know it’s a TV show and all, but that was way too convenient. Come on now.
Scary Skinner: ACN’s news division president had his best episode last week, full of drunken musings about Mars, bourbon-fueled insults, and a fiery delivery of, “You’re such a dumb ass!!!” Charlie Skinner didn’t have any moments like those in this episode, but had a scene-stealer where he smashed his face against the glass outside of the News Night conference room to scare the bejeezus out of Mac. That was awesome.
Good Will Moping: In typical McAvoy fashion, Will ended his episode arc with a touching scene. After making Professor OWC look like an idiot on national television and dressing her down outside of her classroom later in the episode, he opened up. He followed a harsh, but honest, critique of OWC with a sincere apology and the revelation that he’s going through a “crisis of confidence.” It was a very cute and sappy moment (I’m a sucker for that stuff).
On a side note, I love how Sorkin and his writers are portraying OWC. I remember talking to a dozen or so people involved with the Occupy LA campout. I just chatted with some of them because I was genuinely curious as to why they were there and what they thought they could accomplish. Only one of them had clear and intelligent reasons for being there. The others gave nonsensical and/or incoherent explanations.
On a secondary side note, I still have a difficult time referring to Occupy Wall Street as OWC. When I hear “OWC,” I think of an online store that sells inexpensive Mac parts.
African Child: Is it wrong that Maggie’s ordeal in Uganda made me think of the Infant Sorrow song below?