“A truth that matters can’t stay hidden and it’s no more complicated than that.”
Aaron Sorkin has no interest in covering up his characters’ moral compass. Even for Will McAvoy, who was supposed to be this notorious hardass in season one, Sorkin’s dialogue gleams that he is really not such a bad guy – just a little misunderstood.
When you break The Newsroom down, it’s a show, simply put, that is about mostly good people trying to do good things in their professional and personal life. And in this post-antihero state of television we’re currently in, I’m on board with Sorkin bringing integrity back to TV. In “Run,” it’s journalistic integrity that is at the center of The Newsroom’s latest, and one of its finest, hours.
The three plots of the episode parallel in that the employees of ACN know when to take the moral high ground. It starts with Reese verbally sparring with his stepsister Blair (played by 1 of 2 Broke Girls Kat Dennings) and stepbrother Randy (Chris Smith) who are planning to take over Atlantis and disband ACN. In completing an impressive turn around for the former “douche,” Reese tries to show that even if ACN isn’t turning as big of a profit as some would like, it’s an essential property for his company. In a smaller issue of integrity, Maggie resorts to a deceitful way of gathering off the record information on a train, but soon after has a change of heart and decides to not use recording from an EPA official who dogs Obama and calls his own agency “toothless.”
So far: two good people doing good things. The lines are slightly more blurred for the season’s major storyline, Neal’s obtaining of classified documents. Rebecca Halliday (played by the excellent Marcia Gay Harden) is called in for another “First Amendment” counseling. She tells Neal he’s committed espionage amongst a laundry list of broken federal laws, yet Neal the crusader wants to continue to pursue the story even if it means going to jail. Will, likely feeling guilty for giving Neal the OK to buy the air-gapped computer in the first place, once again shows he’s the real moral backbone of ACN’s operation, even if he needs to put on a front sometimes.
In essentially ratting himself out so that the news team can continue to pursue the story, Neal is waging a war against the government in the freedom of speech department and leaving Will, Mac, Charlie and the rest of the team to fight it for him while he… runs. The final 20 minutes proved to be some of Sorkin’s best material – hopefully proving that we really did misunderstand his intentions for The Newsroom in the first place.
I wanted to buy into it, but Don and Sloan together isn’t working for me. They’re perfect for each other but the idea is better than watching the reality. A painful breakfast scene, an awkward elevator scene and testing whatever they want to call their relationship is reaching for a romantic element that was clearly exhausted by Maggie and Jim and then Will and Mac.
After a season-long arc of a fake news story, Sorkin reverted to covering old news in the season three premiere. It was one of the better “old news” episodes of the series. Over at Boston.com, the editorial team put together an “Our Newsroom vs. ‘The Newsroom’” piece detailing their experience covering the Boston Marathon bombing. It is definitely a worthwhile read if you’re interested in seeing how realistic the show is.
Jim Harper Watch:
It troubles me to see Jim Harper, last week the forgotten man, to now be stuck in the impossible position of having to fire his girlfriend, Hallie Shea, who completely deserves to be fired. Her excuse for sending out an inappropriate tweet, because it would get “retweets,” is nonsensical considering Sorkin made her out to be so bright season two. With only four episodes left I doubt we hear from her again, freeing Jim up for either one last great journalistic plight or to sulk in the corner of the newsroom.
Where do you think The Newsroom’s storyline will go from here?