The Newsroom: 3.03 Main Justice
With The West Wing you could believe in the passion of those characters because of the politics involved. As enjoyable as Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip was, you couldn't buy into that same level of passion over a late comedy show. The Newsroom sits firmly in between; if The West Wing was the idealisation of US politics then The Newsroom was the idealisation of broadcast journalism. As much as I have loved this show since season one, I understand some of the criticism of those early days. What was truly at stake? Ethics and integrity - well that drama can only take you so far. Thankfully the passion, the drama and the realisation of what is truly at stake for every character in season three has been utterly absorbing, none more so than in this latest episode.
Neal on the run in South America. Will served a supina before a grand jury. Atlantis World Media facing a hostile take over. ACN being sold to a billionaire with insane ideas. There are big elements in play, so much so that they have started to make Genoa look like a walk in the park. Oh and the world is going to end and we're twenty years too late to save it.
Maggie's big scoop became a gem of a comedy moment. I've loved where she is going this season, even to the point that Don and Jim commented on the fact that they felt a little threatened of this confident Maggie. So I felt a little bit sorry for her when her prize interviewer raged on to Will about the apocalyptic doom and gloom to Will live on air. Everyone's reactions were priceless, none more so than Will who tried to reign Paul Lieberstein's EAP assistant deputy unsuccessfully.
Equally as fun was Charlie's bluff - if indeed it was a bluff - to the FBI agents early on in the episode. We had already had Gary Cooper's priceless reaction to walking in on the FBI operation within the ACN newsroom but their frantic attempts to put the whole event live on air was stunning. From Jim and Don desperately trying to figure out how to use the boards - and Maggie stepping in to save the day - to Charlie boldly threatening to miss-spell Rodger's name and put Molly center stage for the whole world to see.
Just as fun was Sloan overhearing everything Don was talking about. They have become a wonderful comedy couple and they continued to share many more hilarious moments this episode, this time facing off against dreaded HR Wyatt Geary, played by Keith Powell. Amid the big events in play, his attempts to uncover the truth was a fun - bit not distracting - side story. Particularly funny were Sloan's attempts to dissuade him at the White House correspondence dinner, something Wyatt saw straight through.
Jim fared better this week, getting back to his season one banter with Maggie. I wonder if they are trying to go full circle and make them a couple at the end. She is a more confident woman these days and while he is still senior, there isn't so much of a gap between them. His relationship with Hallie doesn't seem to be getting any stronger with his contempt at her 'pay per view' contract. The whole 'go to sleep because I'm too furious to talk to you' followed by the 'we're talking this out' moment was a funny but very realistic couple moment though.
Yes there were a lot of laughs but there was a hell of a lot of drama too. Poor Neal is still in the FBI spotlight even when he is hiding out in a non-extradition country. His absence was noted this week so I hope he doesn't sit out the next couple of episodes too. Without him it was Mac that picked up the trail of the source, played by Clea DuVall, who surprised her at the correspondence dinner. The pressure to release the story is now greater than ever, particularly in light of the actions taken against Will at the end of the episode.
We were in full West Wing-season three territory with the midnight session in Washington, as Will, Mac, Charlie and Rebecca faced off against government stooge Barry Lasenthal. Naturally it didn't go well as Lasenthal went too far in his attack on Charlie and Mac, turning Will's support to defense. Will's assertion that he was too big a TV star to go to prison for protecting Neal and the source backfired too.
“You think it’s possible I’m not as big a TV star as I thought?” That final scene where the incredibly nervous intern had to deliver the supina by Will and Rebecca was another great moment of drama and comedy working together; season three certainly feels like Aaron Sorkin's best TV writing since The West Wing.
There's still a lot to cover in the final three episodes and while I’ll be incredibly sad to see this show go, at least it is certain to end on a massive high.