There. Now was that so hard?
Leona Lansing–the fabulous Jane Fonda–really wants to know. Was it so hard to write an episode where your characters had to deal with their personal flaws while still doing their jobs to the best of their ability? Let’s review the small but very real character flaws/mistakes The Newsroom played with this week (for fun, I’ve added enjoyable quotes said by the characters as well).
- Charlie was blinded by friendship (“A chemical weapons expert wants to kill me. I make the worst enemies.”)
- Don betrayed his tendency to see things as black or white (“I’m going to eat this table.”)
- Sloan didn’t go with her gut because it would mean going against the people she loves and considers her family (“Sometimes boys are vague with their messages.”)
- Mac led the witness to the answers she wanted to hear
- Maggie didn’t reveal that she hadn’t been in the room because she didn’t want to seem like a failure again
And on and on. Even Will should have realized he couldn’t be the fresh eyes for Red Team III if he had already heard something about the story before. That’s just not how a red team works.
It’s interesting that Jerry referred to himself as a “scapegoat” in his legal suit, because that’s definitely what I called him last week. The character has been a scapegoat for a lack of journalistic ethics this season when the unfortunate deed should have been given to a character we already knew. It would have made for more complex television.
But when you put that aside, this was a very good episode for the newsroom. Rebecca Halliday, the lawyer played by Marcia Gay Harden, suggested that maybe this was more than a failure of one person, but a failure of the institution. Which means that everyone on News Night has to confront their demons and their failings.
The cast of The Newsroom isn’t perfect, and they should stop pretending that they are. They are certainly more interesting that way. Genoa crumbling beneath their feet finally brought this show at least close to its full potential.
As to where the rest of this season goes (and when Maggie cuts and dyes her hair), I don’t know. But for the first time all season, I’m very interested in finding out.
A final quote from Neal: “The women here couldn’t deal with my ultra man mode.”