One of my favorite things about ‘The Newsroom’ was the idea that the show would take major real-life news stories and provide “hindsight” commentary (although not for the characters) on the events. However, we’ve gotten very little of that in Season 3, and get none in this latest episode. But you know what? I thought this was really good entry regardless.
Things pick up right where we left off last week, with Will having been served a subpoena to appear in front of a grand jury. On top of that, the story about Will has already leaked to the press, and Jim soon learns that Hallie was partially responsible for the leak.
In fact, Jim and Hallie are having all kinds of problems this week. Jim tries to be the supportive boyfriend, but can’t stop himself from making smart-assed remarks about the web site where Hallie now works. Things eventually implode when Hallie uses their relationship for a story she writes. The pair appear to be broken up by episode’s end, and a fight that Maggie has with her new beau, Jack, over Maggie’s lingering feelings for Jim can only mean one thing in the final pair of episodes to follow. Yes, Jim and Maggie are going to wind up back together. Let’s just pray that Aaron Sorkin doesn’t take up too many minutes of the final entries to detail this, as I’ve always found this relationship annoying.
Speaking of relationships, HR guy Wyatt is still trying to nail Don and Sloan for being a couple, while Don does everything in his power to prevent Wyatt from finding out. After an episode full of close calls, Wyatt finally has the goods on them, only to reveal that he was just playing with Don the whole time and couldn’t care less if they’re dating. His excuse is that HR people don’t get to have a lot of fun, which I can totally buy, knowing a few people that work in HR myself.
Writer/creator Aaron Sorkin finally seems to realize this week the talent he has in Sam Waterston. The character of Charlie really shines in this episode. Charlie is completely panicked about Lucas Pruit (B.J. Novak) buying ACN, because Pruit plans to use home viewers to crowd-source news stories. This, of course, drives Charlie crazy, because he’s a staunch proponent for professional journalism. He asks Sloan to look for another buyer for the news division, and she sets up a meeting with Antoinette Dodd (Talia Balsam), the wife of a rich industrialist who may be interested in purchasing ACN.
Things look great for a while, to the point where Charlie actually believes Mrs. Dodd is buying the network. He barges into a meeting and tells-off Pruit just as he’s in the process of signing papers for his own purchase of ACN. It turns out, unfortunately, that Dodd was actually negotiating for the purchase of another media company and had just used the meeting with Charlie and Sloan as leverage to give her a more advantageous deal. Pruit, to his credit, doesn’t fire Charlie for his comments. Instead, he says that he plans to bring Charlie into the 21st Century… just as soon as he drags him through the 19th and 20th!
The real focus this episode is on Will, who continues to refuse to give up Neal’s source, even when instructed to do so by a judge. While the legal proceedings are going on over the course of a week’s time, Mac works hard to get a man (and his family) who was identified in the leaked documents out of the (fictional) country of Kundu before the story breaks. She and the team manage to do so with only hours to spare, only to learn that they can’t run the story after all because the Justice Department will sue the news division, and Pruit doesn’t want that to happen since he now owns the division. Mac asks Don if he knows any responsible journalists they can turn the story over to. Don suggests a former journalism professor he knows who now works for the Associated Press, whom he believes never got the big break in her career that she deserved.
The night before Will finds out that he’ll be arrested for contempt of court, Mac confesses to him that she’s met with Neal’s source. Will is concerned that Mac will wind up in the same position he is, and insists that she never repeat that to anyone. The next day, when Will is ordered to turn himself over to federal marshals before 5 PM, Mac proposes that they get married immediately. Will jumps at the idea – not only because he never wanted a big wedding to begin with, but if he’s married to Mac, spousal privilege will protect her from being forced to testify against him.
The episode ends with a well-directed montage of the preparations for the wedding, and the actual ceremony – which takes place at City Hall, but for which Will has been able to procure his Catholic priest to officiate. Immediately after the wedding, the marshals handcuff Will and take him off to jail as both Mac and Charlie look on.
This episode has a ton of things that are very predictable, but it’s still well-written and well-acted throughout. I have to confess that Sorkin actually fooled me into thinking that Pruit wouldn’t really buy the network, so when Charlie’s potential buyer turned out to be a ruse, I was surprised by that turn of events. I’m sure most viewers also thought that Will and Mac’s wedding would be held off until the finale episode, so that was a pleasant surprise as well. Of course, it’s no shock that Will would go to jail (at least for now) or that (despite my rants that it should never happen) Jim and Maggie would find their way back to each other.
Only two episodes to go. Do you have any predictions about the impending finale?