The Newsroom: 2.06 - One Step Too Many
After having one of their best episodes last week - not just this year, but genuinely from the entire two-year series - it was probably inevitable that this dose of The Newsroom would feel like somewhat of a comedown in comparison. So, this week we return to the meaty business of Genoa, along with inching a few other storylines along and giving Will another crisis of public perception.
But, y'know, even the "regular" episodes of The Newsroom have felt a lot better this year, so this could still go okay. Let's check it out with spoilers.
Down With Jerry! Do Him In!The most important business of the week is still Genoa, clearly heading towards critical mass as the team pull together the final pieces of evidence before the oft-teased fateful airing. I'm still genuinely curious exactly where that's going, and I enjoyed Stephen Root's quick turn as a General as well. However, since (as someone has pointed out to me since I predicted it a couple of reviews ago) we already know Jerry Dantana will end up suing for wrongful termination, and this episode makes it very clear his termination was actually quite rightful, so the complexity has gone a bit.
I would rather they'd tried something more interesting than just making Jerry the deserving scapegoat. Maybe have Maggie, in her post-Africa tailspin, make the big unethical move in a wrongheaded bid to prove she's not completely useless? I suppose that's still possible, but making it clear the scandal is the result of a desperate guest star, rather than a main character struggling or the conspiracy simply being too complex to see through, does make it all a tad black and white. On the other hand, Charlie states in his final flashforward testimony that none of Genoa happened at all, rather than it simply being one fiddled testimony, and that's still interesting - it seems like something still happened. Seeing how the main characters deal with all this should provide some good scenes too.
So, yes, my overriding interest in Genoa has slightly diminished, but there are three episodes left to introduce some more complications, and it's still a more intense, dramatic storyline than they managed in most of season one.
The Wet, Soapy InterludeOutside the Genoa bubble, a bunch of other stuff happened, much of which came from the personal life department. Jim continues to struggle with his Hallie/Maggie conundrum, Neal went on a blind date with Hallie's drunk friend, the Romney spokesperson Jim used to spar with has been fired for being too intelligent for stupid Repiblicans, Maggie is still drinking, Sloane is dating, Don and Mac have a small heart-to-heart. I'd not say this stuff was boring, most of the scenes were enjoyable on their own merits, but it was somewhat dropped, in one massive slab, into the middle of the Genoa-centred episode. Couldn't they try breaking it up with more dramatic material, rather than taking a thirty-minute long soap break?
Meanwhile, Will gets another silly plotline to keep him on-screen. After his big moment of gravitas last week with his Dad dying, it's kinda a shame to see him stuck in filler. The Newsroom seems to have worked out that sticking the ultra-serious Will in silly situations is reliably funny, hence the idiotic-yet-amusing morning show sequence, but it still kinda feels like they're struggling to give him major stuff to do while he waits his turn to get into the Genoa action. Oh, he broke up with Nina, though. At least it was quick and painless, and he did get some fun scenes with Sloan, who continues to improve storylines just by turning up.
So, another okay The Newsroom episode, broadly entertaining with kinda familiar nitpicks. Must admit, slightly disappointed with the way Genoa is playing out, but the big scenes where it all explodes should be exciting still, and it looks like we're nearly there.