By Josh Axelrod
So much happened in this episode. There was an excessive amount of moral dilemmas going on this week, not to mention some relationship drama. Oh, and one semi-major character was fired over a tweet. The final season of “The Newsroom” is clearly going for broke, and for the most part it’s made for fascinating TV so far.
First and foremost, we met Reese Lansing’s siblings Randy (Chris Smith) and Blair (“2 Broke Girls’” Kat Dennings). These two have some vendetta against Reese and his mother and were looking to take over the company and liquidate ACN. As Blair put it, it’s probably more profitable for her to sell their cameras than to project images from them. Charlie joined this conversation in a desperate attempt to convince them that ACN is worth keep around.
Elsewhere, Marcia Gay Harden returned as Rebecca Halliday, ACN’s First Amendment lawyer. She told Neal and Will that by goading his source into giving him more illegal documents, Neal basically committed treason and espionage. She advised him not to run the story and never contact his source again, which didn’t sit well with Neal, who believed the story about a massacre in another country accidentally caused by false U.S. propaganda was worth reporting.
Cut to Mac at a gun range, talking to her FBI agent friend Molly (Mary McCormack, a Sorkin alum from “The West Wing”) about Neal’s predicament. She said that no journalist has ever been convicted under the Espionage Act, which led Mac to go back to ACN and try to convince Will and Rebecca that the story was worth running. Cue a lengthy legal and ethical debate.
In our third major storyline, Maggie was on a train back to New York from Boston when she overheard the EPA’s deputy assistant administrator saying derogatory things about Obama to another reporter on the phone. She slunk down in her chair and took notes, all while the curious passenger across from her pretended to listen to her iPod. The EPA guy was played by Paul Lieberstein, aka Toby from “The Office”!!! Oh Toby, always getting himself into trouble.
We finally got to Don and Sloan, who were casually getting breakfast when Don told Sloan he took her advice and bought stocks in Chipotle. Sloan was terrified this amounted to insider trading. Upon further examination of ACN’s rulebook, it turned out that was only an issue if the two of them were considered a couple. That prompted a typical relationship conversation spiced up with Aaron Sorkin dialogue and typical Don and Sloanisms. I’m shipping those two so hard.
And finally, Hallie sent a stupid tweet about the Boston bombing from ACN’s account. It was up for 27 minutes, but it left enough of an impact on the Internet to get Charlie mad. Hallie was promptly fired, and she admitted it was her who sent the tweet on Twitter. That led to outlets like Gawker and The Daily Beast courting her. Jim was concerned they were after her to do more damage to ACN, which is entirely possibly since EVERYONE hates ACN.
Back on the train, Toby (we’re just going to call him Toby) and Maggie have a spirited discussion about whether it was right or not for Maggie to report things she overheard him say. Maggie decided it was journalistically and legally okay, but not morally, and promised to delete her notes. Even after convincing Toby she wouldn’t report anything, he still gave her an exclusive EPA report and a great quote. Maggie also gave iPod guy (a law ethics professor named Jack) her card. Maggie’s having a strong season so far in all aspects of her life.
Don and Sloan continued to fight about their relationship status, which Jim overheard when Sloan literally yelled about their sex life in front of him. Long story short: Sloan and Don are a legitimate couple, they told Will (who couldn’t care less) and all is right for our favorite weirdos. I was a little concerned when Sloan told Don she loved him, but it was just a test, thank god. Sloan Don Keefer’d Don pretty epically.
Back to the whole hostile takeover of ACN thing. Leona (Jane Fonda) entered the discussion and ripped apart Blair and Randy. Jane Fonda is an amazing scenery chewer (see her Daniel Craig rant from last season). She told Blair and Randy if all they were after was money, she would raise the $4 billion to keep her company. Good luck with that one Leona.
Finally, it all hits the fan at ACN when Neal called the FBI and told them of the confidential information in his possession. Luckily for Neal, Will had the foresight to get Neal out of the office before the FBI (which included Mac’s friend Molly) showed up with a warrant to search ACN. Will found out Neal’s source before he hit the road, so expect the FBI to get supremely frustrated in the near future while trying to interrogate Will McAvoy.
Exchange of the Week: “How often are you sleeping when I’m talking to you at night?” -Will
“I really have no way of knowing that.” -Mac
Most Sorkin Line of the Week: “You’re giving a monologue.” -Jack
“Everyone does where I work.” -Maggie
Most Awkward Sloan Sabbath Line: “And Don! You walked right past the waffles.”