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The Newsroom Recap: Revenge Porn

newsroom1This week’s episode of The Newsroom took us six months past the events that traumatized Maggie in Uganda last week to March 16, 2012 with an entire episode played out in real time during one of News Night’s broadcasts. The results? The best episode of the season yet.
And even though the episode’s narrative was contained to one hour and one location, that doesn’t mean a whole lot didn’t happen. In fact, there was probably more jam-packed into these 60 minutes than any other episode yet so let’s go through each character and recap what happened to them in this hour.

Will - Considering that the whole episode took place during one of their nightly broadcasts, you would think Will wouldn’t be allowed to do much other than sit behind his desk and do the show. And while that is partly true (he gets in a great dig at Newt Gingrich’s position on gas prices while he’s at it), most of Will’s story revolves around getting a phone call from his dad in Nebraska right before he’s about to go on air. He naturally can’t answer it at the time but he tries calling back during a commercial break only to have a nurse answer and reveal that his father has had a heart attack and is being hospitalized.

Throughout each commercial break Will grapples with MacKenzie on how often he should be checking in and we come to realize that Will has had a strained relationship with his father for quite some time. MacKenzie argues that this is the time to make amends and be the bigger man, which seems to sway Will but in one of the last commercial breaks he calls again only to have his sister answer and break the news that his father has passed away. He initially plays it off as being fine but as the show is about to come back for its final segment Will freezes and seemingly tries to fight back tears before finally saying, “Well, I guess it’s just us now.” Insert me crying.

MacKenzie - One of the greatest strengths of this second season has been getting to see MacKenzie in top form producing News Night in all varieties of crisis mode. This week was no different as she managed to juggle coaching Will about his dad, dealing with prank callers who claim to be trapped in the rubble of a bombed out building in Syria, and handling a show guest who hints on Twitter that he wants to come out of the closet to his parents on TV. Despite the young man being somewhat sympathetic MacKenzie handily shuts him down with force and closes with “I did you a favor.” Indeed.

Jim and Maggie – Even though they’ve both been back to work for awhile now, this episode gave us the first opportunity to see Jim and Maggie interacting again. Jim is firmly back in charge after his brief stint in New Hampshire and impatiently joins Maggie to wait for the audio file of the George Zimmerman 911 call to download so they can get it on the air by the end of the episode.

The download takes quite some time and conveniently gives Maggie and Jim time to debate the coverage of Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke comments. During this conversation not only does Jim accuse her of being drunk at work (he can smell the booze) but she admits to having a hard time sleeping alone following the African incident and has been bringing home a lot of men to make her feel better.

Jim seems to be understanding (and obviously concerned) but finally loses his cool a little bit when she mistakenly edits out the 911 operator’s question making it sound like Zimmerman simply volunteered the information that Trayvon Martin “looks black.” This exactly mirrors an error that NBC made when they first reported the story but instead of ignoring it like NBC, the good people at News Night correct themselves by the end of their broadcast after making sure Maggie didn’t do it on purpose to seek justice. She’s just drunk.

Sloan and Don - Things definitely got saucy for Sloan this week as nude pictures of her surfaced online via a guy she just dumped the day before. Humiliation is understandably her biggest feeling as a result so she spends most of the hour on the floor of Don’s office being sad.
Don isn’t having the easiest night either though after learning that a joke he made about a presidential appointment nominee got quoted as the truth on a less than reputable news site online.

Together the two of them comfort each other, flirt a little, and ultimately help each other out. Sloan tells Don to have Neal write a rebuttal piece for the website and Don supports Sloan when she goes to beat up her ex who posted the nude photos. Teamwork!

Charlie - Charlie carried the brunt of this week’s Genoa load by meeting with an old friend who also happens to be a press officer for Naval Intelligence. The guy initially tries to warn Charlie off of the story but leaves him with a document that ends up being a naval manifest with the name Genoa on it. Said manifest just also happens to include a line item for something that does not exist leading Charlie to believe that this was the chemical weapon in question being hidden and thus confirming the story for him. As we all know, this will end poorly.

Neal - Neal tweeted.

The Newsroom, Season 2, Episode 5: “News Night with Will McAvoy” (originally aired August 11, 2013)

Watch The Newsroom Sundays on HBO at 10 pm.

Image courtesy of HBO.

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