The Newsroom: 3.06 What Kind of Day Has It Been
The Newsroom - and possibly Aaron Sorkin's last ever contribution to television - was a very bittersweet ending. It didn't end the way I expected it to; just a couple of weeks ago all I saw was doom and gloom on the horizon. But despite focusing primarily on Charlie Skinner's funeral it was a surprisingly upbeat affair.
Only at the end did we see that it wasn't about Will or Mac or even ACN; it was about Charlie's drive and passion to bring back news broadcast journalist that had passion and integrity. Despite dying last week, Sam Waterson was a big part of the finale as it flash-backed towards the days leading up to and surrounding the pilot episode and Will's infamous rant against Jenna Johnson's question "What makes America the greatest country in the world?".
There were plenty of revelations about Charlie this week. We learned he masterminded Mac's presence at that university auditorium in the pilot, convincing mac to take up the job executive producer for News Night. It was fun to see a beer-swilling, bad-bowling Mackenzie, straight off a foreign correspondence gig reunited for the passion for news journalism through Charlie.
Equally as amusing was the old Will's warm, friendly celebrity news anchor with no passion for the hard questions that needed asking. It was the opposite of the Will we have seen this season, defending the integrity of source even when it landed him in prison. It makes the passion for the news that some people found a little self-indulgent in season one more believable; Charlie ignited a fire in Mac, and through her Will and brought something special to ACN in his last years.
Equally as interesting was the revelation from Charlie's widow to Don that he hated the rape story and wanted to be fought on it. It certainly added context the amount of time spent on this story last week and helped redeem Charlie too; in the end he fought the good fight, defending Don - and Mac and Sloan - against Pruit, even it that led to his heart attack.
Talking of Pruit, it was great to see the always brilliant Leona tear him down and make him see sense. Convincing him to replace Charlie with Mac as director of the news division, she was certainly about to make her mark on ACN. Mac certainly came out the strongest with a huge promotion and a surprise pregnancy - how she'll manage both is anyone's guess.
Will's over the top reactions to becoming a father were very funny and there was still the opportunity for plenty of comedy. Kendra, Tamara and Tess figuring out the new about the baby was hilarious, as was was Martin remaining completely oblivious. I also loved the running gag that Sloan killed Charlie. Will stating this quite bluntly in his funeral speech was classic.
It wasn't just Mac and Will's impending parenthood that brought closure to the couples on the show. We revisited Don and Sloan's first meeting three years ago, full of the same sparkling banter that we've grown used to. I'm not so convinced that we needed to see Sloan's attraction to Don back then, when he was dating Maggie, but it helped cement the idea Don and Sloan are supposed to be together.
As for Maggie and Jim, it was an interesting end to their relationship. As Jim took up Mac's job as executive producer, Maggie found herself tempted with a field reporter job in Washington DC. As they came together as a couple they moved apart as colleagues. Will love be enough to keep them together, I don't know. The finale suggested they might work without ever giving a definite answer.
Neal returning to ACN was possibly the highlight of the episode. His rant against Bree Dorrit was cool, collected and worthy of a cheer from the audience. Like Maggie, Neal has grown an incredibly long way over the last three years and while we didn't get to see much of him this season, what we did get was Dev Patel's best work yet. He have had one main scene in the finale but it was gold and suggested he was going to go far.
As the episode ended, Mac in her final role as executive producer, the old crew back together, the show ended not with the death of news broadcast journalism as I had suspected but with the continuation of Charlie's legacy. As Will introduced News Night and the camera faded, I wanted more and yet I was satisfied with the ending too. The show certainly went out on a high, with season three the very best yet. It may have never reached the heights of season 1-4 of The West Wing. But in its final year it came very close.