The Newsroom: 2.02 - The Genoa Tip

Week two of The Newsroom season two, and this week, our hindsight-heroes are in a bit of a funk. The Don/Jim/Maggie/Sloan corner of the cast is in a tizzy over last week's controversial YouTube video, Will has lost his groove after being taken off the 9/11 coverage - everything has gotten so bad, the only major character doing anything proactive is British saint Neal, looking into Occupy.

So, has the show continued its slight improvement last week, or plunged back into its own self-indulgent spiral of preaching? Let's take a look, spoilers may follow.


Aaron Explains It All

Happily, the Aaron Sorkin Tells Us All What To Think aspect has definitely been reduced still, although whether it'll come rocketing back next week as Will gets back on the horse, who knows. For now, though, we see a bit less life-saving wonderfulness and more of our heroes hopefully doing what they can, and it's a bit more compelling as a result. The flashforward device from last week doesn't make a return, but we can see its prophecies steadily coming true as the Genoa and Africa storylines advance.

I'm in two minds about this: it's a nice idea, but hopefully they'll get to moving onto and past the disasters soon. How much suspense can they really mine from the investigation of Genoa, considering we already know it'll turn out horribly? Also, Sorkin seems to have decided to structure his season around a single big story, rather than a bunch of little ones, and that means not a vast amount really happens here. Still, good scenes, real progress, I'm actually curious where it all goes, rather than simply assuming Will will save the day with an inspiring monologue.

The Occupy storyline is also working better than some of The Newsroom's hindsight current affairs coverage, because our heroes are being allowed to mess up and underestimate the importance of the story, rather than magically getting it right before anyone else.

Rub Yourself Against The Love Polygon

Now, though, having done some positives, time to move on to the bit that wasn't always great: yes, it's the Don/Maggie/Jim/Sloan/Lisa/random Romney bus reporter love polygon. Last week, I was excited because this storyline seemed to be ending. This week, the aftermath of that ending takes up a huge chunk of the running time, and not all of it is that exciting. The agonising scene where Sloan and Maggie confront a Sex & The City fanfiction author was a lowlight, both for sheer inanity and for... making Sloan weirdly bitchy for plot purposes.

I did enjoy the Lisa/Maggie scene, simply because it had been a long-time coming and made some valid points about how stupid and selfish this storyline made everyone look, but the fact it's still going remains a little upsetting. Did Sorkin misunderstand our desperate begging for it to end as just wanting to see some real progress? Because although I'm glad to be out of the season 1 holding pattern, this is still needless. I shall keep holding out hope that we're properly moving on now, with Maggie off to Africa, Jim with the Romney bus and maybe Don finally having a nice life?

In short, an okay episode of The Newsroom. Last week was better, much of last season was worse. This show remains a strange, compelling mix of good and kinda bad.

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