By Josh Axelrod
That was one emotionally exhausting hour of television. That ending was an emotional one-two punch of adorable and cripplingly sad. I’ve never been more invested in the Will and Mac relationship, and it’s about to be tested more than ever. Let’s just start from the beginning while I mentally recover.
We picked up at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner right after Will was subpoenaed. First they have to contend with a story about inflammatory comments Will once made about the Dinner that appeared on Carnivore, the site that just hired Hallie. Maggie’s beau Jack Spaniel royally put his foot in his mouth by revealing to Hallie that Jim and Maggie have clearly discussed Jim’s relationship problems.
This led to a classic Jim and Hallie fight that has defined their toxic relationship this season. Hallie called Jim a “judgmental prick” when he brought up her bonuses for page views again, and Jim accused her of telling Carnivore about Will’s quotes. Hallie said that though she didn’t give Carnivore the story, she “told them what to look for.” If we’re keeping score, it’s Jim 1, Hallie 0 this week.
Will, Mac and Charlie put aside Will’s legal issues for a second and meet with Lucas Pruitt for a second time. B.J. Novak is so good at playing tools. Pruitt is cocky and apparently screwed Reese Lansing’s college girlfriend, which is perfect. He did, however, appear to genuinely want to bring ACN into the 21st century by embracing social media, citizen journalism and other modern tactics to raise ACN’s profile. Charlie, being a news dinosaur, hated Pruitt and his ideas.
The next day, Will testified in court and refused to give up his source. Back at ACN, that nosy human resources guy tested Don and Sloan’s relationship again via Instagram. More importantly, Charlie came to Sloan to ask if anyone with money was in the market for a media company. It just so happened that Toni Todd (Talia Balsam, aka Mona Sterling on “Mad Men”) was a perfect candidate to buy ACN before Pruitt could.
On to more pressing matters. Everyone is prepping to run the Kundu story by Lilly Hart’s Wednesday deadline, but they fear the story’s writer will be harmed when it airs. Thus, a plan is launched to get him and his family out of harm’s way, which involved getting his youngest child a passport.
Jim, being the secret prick he is, found Hallie writing an op-ed for Carnivore about sex and chastised her. That would come back to haunt him in a big way. More importantly, Charlie and Sloan met with Toni Todd, who showed real interest in buying ACN. Yay hope!
Mac met with Lilly Hart in D.C. She asked for an extension, but Lilly wouldn’t budge. Mac basically had to threaten to turn Lilly in to the Department of Justice to ensure she wouldn’t run the story and endanger its writer. Probably an empty threat, but Mac has been showing a lot of backbone. It’s been a stellar year for her and Maggie so far.
Will wouldn’t comply with the second court order, which meant the next step was putting him in front of a judge. We’ll come back to that.
Jack and Maggie had a small spat over Hallie’s op-ed, which basically aired her dirty laundry with Jim online for everyone to see. Jack correctly deduced that Maggie had feelings for Jim, which he said will have to come up eventually. At the same time, Jim and Hallie had a huge fight on ACN’s rooftop about the article. They both came out of it looking like awful people.
Hallie grossly violated Jim’s privacy, for which she at least apologized. Jim continued to criticize her new journalism lifestyle, calling her Carnivore’s “senior f*ck you correspondent.” Jim had the moral high ground here and still came off as the condescending douche. As Maggie’s stock has risen on this show, Jim’s has plummeted. Hallie and Jim appeared to break up, though a conversation he had with Maggie later made it seem like Jim is going to try to win Hallie back. Ugh, just get Jim and Maggie together already!
The next day, ACN successfully got the writer and his family out of Kundu. Small victories, yay! That was immediately followed by Reese telling Mac she can’t run the story because Pruitt won’t buy ACN if she does. Both are rightfully frustrated. Mac asked Don if he knew anyone of impeccable character who would run this story, and Don mentioned a professor he had at Columbia who worked at the Associated Press. She received a box of classified documents that hopefully she will use to break this story.
Things come to a head with Don and Sloan’s conflict with the HR guy. Sloan had sent him a letter disclosing their relationship after she thought Don might have insider traded with that Chipotle stock. Luckily for her, the guy never really planned on sending one of them away. It appeared he was just messing with them because he was bored. So that storyline was a big two-episode waste of time.
Sloan’s Bloomberg terminal made it seem like Toni Todd was getting ready to buy ACN, when she was really just using them as leverage to buy Hallifax. Charlie crashed Pruitt’s signing meeting and said some pretty mean things to him, which Pruitt brushed off with his characteristic smugness. He signed the contract to buy ACN, which should hopefully serve as Charlie’s retirement papers. Pruitt actually has solid ideas for getting ACN back on track, and Charlie is too stuck in his ways to change. He should just go away quietly.
Mac finally told Will that she knew the identity of Neal’s source, which terrified Will. At his final court hearing, he still refused to give up his source. The judge found him in contempt of court and ordered his incarceration at 5 p.m. that day. Mac, realizing her wedding was in jeopardy, decided to forget the big ceremony and marry him at City Hall that day. My heart swelled.
Don and Jim got the ring, Maggie bought flowers, Sloan went to Magnolia Bakery for a cake, Charlie got some Juilliard students to provide music, and Will got a priest to perform the ceremony. He even prayed with the priest, which is a huge deal for the outspokenly atheist Will McAvoy. Their ceremony was beautiful and minimalistic and for once made me believe that Will and Mac were in love.
After the ceremony, the FBI immediately took Will into custody. After the most heartbreaking kiss ever between Mac and Will, he left in handcuffs. Reliving those last few minutes got me emotional all over again. #FreeWillMcAvoy!
Most Sorkin Line of the Week: “Proud is generally what people pretend to be after they’ve lost.” -Pruitt, who is probably going to own this category for the rest of the season
Most Awkward Sloan Sabbath Line: “Momma didn’t raise a fool, unless you kill my brothers.” I have literally no idea what this means.