The Newsroom: News Night with Will McAvoy, Review

Shark Week took a bite out of The Newsroom’s ratings last week and Breaking Bad cooked up enough blue to keep viewers on AMC even after the high wore off last night, but Will and Don peeled off layers to show humanity while Sloan just peeled.

Sorkin Watch:

Last week’s Africa excursion provided an intensity that we haven’t yet seen in Sorkin’s newsroom but it still wasn’t enough to hold steady in the ratings. The Newsroom and True Blood each lost roughly 200,000 viewers from the previous week. That isn’t to say that it’s time to hit the panic button. The episodes happened to coincide with the opening of “Shark Week.” 

HBO’s Sunday block stands to face far more dangerous competition this week with Breaking Bad returning to AMC for a final season. Though it doesn’t run against The Newsroom, we’ll see if viewers were too in awe of Walter White to check in with ACN’s nightly news anchor.

On the Frontlines:

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Will is often haphazardly burdened with the weight of doing the right thing. At the core of “News Night with Will McAvoy” is a man who holds together his composure not because he doesn’t want to drag his personal life into the newsroom, but because he’s finally collapsed under the weight of unrealistic expectations. Will’s story sets the tone for an episode that deals with multiple layers under each character’s relationship with another member of the news team.

With the Trayvon Martin coverage gaining steam, the Genoa story set to explode and Mac cutting a potentially disastrous interview with a Rutgers student on the death of Tyler Clementi, The Newsroom keeps the focus on healing open wounds. Sorkin concocts nude photo rumors for Sloan that eerily resemble Olivia Munn’s own photo leak scandal. While we wait for Munn to do her first interview on this episode, we can take a look at the developing relationship between Sloan and Don.

The workplace romance that wasn’t took a huge turn on Sunday. Now that Sloan’s ex-boyfriend is lying on the floor of his office in a pool of blood, it sets up world where the healing process for Sloan’s tear-jerking confession rolls through Don’s office. In Sloan’s moment of weakness, Don came off as a true friend. Across the newsroom, Jim runs into a little more trouble when he puts on the good guy act. With Maggie still traumatized from Africa, Jim’s inquiry about her personal life goes in the direction of taboo workplace conversation.

As Jim and Maggie’s relationship continues to erode, the story addresses the gray area of what to do when your personal life and work are unavoidably crashing together.

When Will’s dad has a mild heart attack, Mac becomes the voice of reason. Will is forced to acknowledge the world outside his comfortable news desk and accept the reality that his dad might not make it through the night. Sorkin makes the point that the façade that Will puts up on air, as well as off the air, can be penetrated. Despite Mac telling the Rutgers student that anchors don’t “feel about you the way you want them to,” Will shows that there is really no separation between his personal and work life. He’s chosen to be in the public eye. As Will snaps out of a trance and carries on with his broadcast, he has nothing left but to embrace it: “I guess it’s just us now.”

Quoted:

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So much for Sorkin diminishing the roles for the women in the show. Emily Mortimer comes up with another impressive performance, delivering some of the episodes strongest lines:

“Fundamentally small people are going to raise their profile by standing on your neck.”

“I’ll put up color bars before I put you in front of the camera.”

Post-Production:

After the ass kicking Sloan gave her ex-boyfriend, I’d like to formally start the Olivia Munn for Wonder Woman campaign.

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Den of Geek Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars

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Rating:

3 out of 5