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The Newsroom Recap: Minor Edits

newsroom1Doubters be damned. The second season of The Newsroom just keeps getting better by the week!

What initially started out as a story that we essentially knew the ending to at the start of the season is starting to get richer now that we know exactly what pushed the News Night team to go ahead with airing the Genoa story.

This week’s episode began in March of 2012 with the first Red Team meeting. This is a meeting where those who have been investigating a big story (Jerry, MacKenzie, Charlie, Neal, and Maggie) present it to their colleagues (Sloan, Jim, and Don) as a way of letting a new set of eyes look at it and poke holes in their theories or give ideas that might have been overlooked. The evidence is relatively strong now that the U.S. military used sarin gas against civilians but Jim doesn’t believe it. Charlie backs it up when Jerry puts up a bit of a fight but also admits that it’s still not ready to be aired. The compromise is that they’ll pursue an interview with a general who apparently has knowledge of America’s chemical weapons usage.

Charlie and MacKenzie go down to Maryland to meet with said general and it becomes pretty clear that he’s a little off. He’s cranky (they did run over his garbage cans after all) and is openly distracted by a basketball game BUT he does eventually admit that the U.S. still has chemical weapons and that he believes using them is justified. And with that he agrees to be interviewed about Genoa on camera if they hide his identity.

A few days later Maggie and Jerry go down to film the interview with the general but he gets weird about Maggie being there since Charlie and MacKenzie only mentioned Jerry so she agrees to go wait outside leaving Jerry alone with the general and the camera. Jerry starts the interview with an attempt to get the general to simply say whether or not sarin was used but the general becomes extremely cagey and gives some very hazy answers.

And this is where things start getting saucy. Not pleased with the interview results Jerry edits the tape to make him say, “We used sarin” from a phrase that originally included a very big “if”. Not exactly ethical journalism there, Jerry!

Jerry then presents this footage at a second red team meeting where MacKenzie wisely asks to see the raw footage as well. Jerry was two steps ahead of her there though and has also doctored that in what he thought would make a clear-cut case. Charlie still isn’t satisfied though and wants a witness who was actually on the military team that carried it out. Jerry naturally wigs out but his hands are tied as he moves back into the waiting game.

But before we jump ahead a few months to see how things panned out, let’s catch up with what some of the other characters were up to this week.

Jim was excited to reunite with Permanent Bitch Face Hallie who was in town with the Romney campaign. He plans a nice meal and some hotel sex only to have his hopes dashed when she tells him that she wants to bring along a friend and make it a double date with Neal.

The friend ends up being a super drunk Ron Paul supporter but she wasn’t the only extra person to join them. Taylor, the grouchy Romney spokesperson, decides to sabotage Jim’s date as revenge for News Night running a six minute piece on comments from one of Romney’s advisors calling him an Etch-a-Sketch candidate. We later learn that Taylor has been fired and the dinner is basically a hot mess but it’s at least mildly amusing for those of us watching at home.

Jim and Permanent Bitch Face eventually escape back to the hotel where they awkwardly bump into Maggie drinking by herself at the bar. Weird pleasantries are exchanged but Jim gets PBH upstairs where coitus is interrupted by a last minute call for PBH to head straight to the airport for an early morning Romney event in Colorado. Jim is thus fresh out of sexy time and instead goes to see Maggie who is extremely drunk/bitchy with him and leaves to sleep with the bartender. The awkwardness just doesn’t stop for these two.

On the same night MacKenzie and Don meet at the crew’s usual bar where Don admits to liking Sloan and being nervous about repercussions of the Genoa report while MacKenzie hints that she might not trust Jerry. You aren’t wrong there, Mack. You really shouldn’t!

On the good old Will front he admits to Sloan that he has been paying to focus group the show by himself to figure out how to get the audience to like him more. He even seeks the advice of Nina who seems to be a more permanent (but secret) girlfriend now after their initial hookup earlier in the season. She suggests that he appear on a morning show to show his lighter side, which results in him having to throw footballs for charity and breaking a lighting rig.

Will is understandably humiliated but Sloan perks him up with as much sage advice as she can muster and it’s really kinda sweet. Gosh, I really like some of these people.

But now back to the Genoa story. After Jerry’s little meltdown at the second red meeting we are treated to a montage of Will reporting on stories from March to right before the Republican National Convention in August. It is at this time that a call comes into the newsroom from a soldier previously thought dead who served on the Genoa mission. Lo and behold: he’s willing to share his story.

With this news Charlie gives the go-ahead to air the story and we cut to months later as Charlie gives his deposition to Marcia Gay Harden’s power lawyer character. He talks about the story airing to huge numbers at 9 PM on a Sunday but…”By 10:05 I knew we had a problem. None of it was true.”

In true cliffhanger fashion the episode ends there so holy crap – I can’t wait to see what next week has in store!

The Newsroom, Season 2, Episode 6: “One Step Too Many” (originally aired August 18, 2013)

Image courtesy of HBO.

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