'The Newsroom' 2.2: 'I'm not who I used to be right now'

  WWwwwwwwnfWWWwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwdddggnfgjndfsdfWitnesses for the execution.



  Raheem Hosseini

9:46 p.m., July 23

So y’all catch the latest installment of The Newsroom yet? Two weeks in and I feel like my mojo is already waning. Maybe it had something to do with Sunday’s downbeat episode, which juggled a death-row case, the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, another small piece of the “Genoa” puzzle, and the wacky hijinks of Maggie Jordan (Alison Pill) and her stalwart sidekick Tonto, er, I mean Sloan Sabbith (Olivia Munn).

I will say that the episode titled “The Genoa Tip” didn’t bug me as much as last week’s season opener. But it also didn’t engage me as much. Am I that hard to please? Don’t answer that.

First, the good: I actually laughed during that screwball laundromat scene, in which Maggie and Sloan confront a bottom-feeding Sex and the City fanfic blogger who uploaded an embarrassing YouTube video. (No, not this one.) But really, them’s be low-hanging fruit.

The death row subplot, on the other hand, wherein producer Don Keefer (Thomas Sadoski) tries and fails to muster interest from his own network in real-life Georgia inmate Troy Davis, invested the episode with some palpable stakes. (And yes, Aaron Sorkin wrote a better version of this episode back on The West Wing, as well, but let’s just assume that to be the case now and forever more.) The black Davis was sentenced to death for being a cop-killer, and then watched his time run out as just about every material witness in the case recanted. Georgia didn’t give a shit and executed him anyway.

Don tries to tap anchor Will McAvoy’s former courtroom skills, but the spiritually flaccid Will (Jeff Daniels) has no fight in him. He’s still licking his wounds from being taken off the 9/11 anniversary show, and Don doesn’t have enough juice to get the story going on his own.

Troy Davis ends up dying because not enough people in positions of influence cared. Which is essentially what happened in real life.

It’s a tough scene when Don gets the news, and it is immediately undercut by the mopey Maggie-Jim-voicemail scene. Yeah, because the state-sponsored killing of a potentially innocent man is exactly the same as when a boy you like won’t take your call.

Also of note:

-Will reads the nasty online comments about him. Gee, I hope he doesn’t see this blog. I loved you in Dumb and Dumber, dude!

-We get to see why Will is so bummed about being benched for the worst anniversary ever. Turns out he was just a legal correspondent when 9/11 happened, and his short-staffed network threw him into the anchor chair. That’s fine, but when some unnamed studio bees marveled at how Will went 16 hours on the air. Without. A. Break, I almost threw the remote. Man, sitting in a chair for a long time must have been the worst thing to happen to anyone that day.

-When reading a dying man’s last words on the air, probably a good idea to take a breath between, “’May God have mercy on all your souls,'” and, “Be back in a moment.” For a second, I was like, Wait, who is coming back?

-Dave accidentally called Jim Harper (John Gallagher Jr.) “Jim Halpert” in his last blog. But it’s hardly a mistake. The producers are working so hard to rip off The Office's romantic vibe that they’ve even mussed Jim’s hair this season to make him look more Halperty. Where’s Dwight Schrute when you need him?

Grade: B-

Dave Kempa

11:17 a.m., July 24

I also almost referred to Will as Harry Dunne.

Here’s a question: was anyone else really creeped out by McAvoy acting as America’s “older brother,” promising not to leave our sides on 9/11? I honestly shuddered.

My girlfriend, watching the show for the second time ever, asked me if Jim was “the boy who doesn’t know how to flirt.” Pretty spot on. Make fun of me all you want for this, but his will they/won’t they with the young lady from CNN (or whatever) on the RomneyBus trail is one of the few plot lines this season that I’m interested in. Sloan’s battle to pretend she’s awkward comes in as a close second.

Grade: B

Adam Khan

7:55 p.m., July 24

I’ll keep it brief this week.

Random question: So Atlantic Cable News scion Reese Lansing (Chris Messina) got caught illegally spying on his own people in season 1. News division president Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston) blackmails Lansing’s network-owning mother (Jane Fonda) to keep Will on the air, but that’s it? Why was Reese not fired? I feel a little awkward about that subplot being pushed under the rug to kick off the “Genoa” story arc.

Speaking of which, the show seems to focus too little on this potentially very interesting debacle and too much on the Maggie/Jim saga. I can finally admit that it seems out of place when sobering news pieces like Troy Davis are being dissected.

Which, I agree, they did a pretty good job on. Except for the last line, “’May God have mercy on your souls’ … We’ll be right back.” I can’t agree more, I was trying hard to honor the moment and not cackle at the image of a NewsroomWalking Dead mash up for season 3.

I do enjoy Olivia Munn’s portrayal of a socially awkward academic. As a college student, I see way too many and she seems to be right on par. If only my professors looked like Munn. The actress is also an advocate for mental health awareness, which I’m very passionate about, so I’m biased to like any character she plays.

Neil Sanpat’s (Dev Patel, a.k.a. my real life doppelganger) journey into the heart of Occupy Wall Street is one of the most interesting parts of the show. It heated up a bit this episode and I’d like to see how Sorkin follows the history of the movement, especially if he focuses on the role citizen journalism played in capturing police brutality.

Did it seem like too convenient that Will anchored for the first time on 9/11? A bit. I’m not a fan of when people make non-essential plot devices out of 9/11. My aunts made me watch Remember Me, and they did the same thing. Just a bit dodgy.

Contrary-wise, I did appreciate Will’s “big brother” act. If anything, it made me hopeful for a time when we can actually trust/like cable news anchors. Cuz really. F&*k Wolf Blitzer.

Also, as much as I enjoyed spurned GF/BFF Lisa’s (Kelen Coleman) evil confrontation with Maggie after she watched Maggie’s YouTube meltdown (violence is so overrated; cold rage is much more frightening), it didn’t feel genuine coming from her character and I thought for a moment she was going to stab Maggie with a spoon.

Finally, the show’s continued focus on drone strikes in much appreciated, and a good tie-in with the other stories centered around citizen rights violations.

All in all, if they focus less on the Jaggie (Jimaggie?) element and more on Genoa, the rest of the season should be pretty sound.

Rating: B+


10:02 a.m., July 25

Raheem: “Two weeks in and I feel like my mojo is already waning.”

Aaron Sorkin: “’May God have mercy on your souls'” … for watching The Newsroom.

Grade: I

Previous Newsroom episode recaps:

Shoka on 2.1

Dave on 2.1

Raheem on 2.1

Adam on 2.1

Season 1 recap

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