The Newsroom – Election Night, Part I

by Alan Rapp on September 9, 2013

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: The Newsroom – Election Night, Part I
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The Newsroom - Election Night, Part I

With Jerry Dantana (Hamish Linklater) officially filing suit against ACN for his termination the next morning, and Leona Lansing (Jane Fonda) adamantly refusing to accept anyone’s resignations or cut a deal with her former employee, News Night turns its attention to covering the 2012 elections in the first-half of the Second Season finale of The Newsroom. Although the elections, and the impending lawsuit, dominate the episode there’s plenty of room for behind the scenes insanity as Charlie‘s (Sam Waterston) no-mistake tirade version of a pep-talk leads to, you guessed it, an on air mistake and two of the show’s female leads become obsessed with mostly insignificant matters far outside their control.

I don’t mind Aaron Sorkin choosing to have either Sloan (Olivia Munn) or MacKenzie (Emily Mortimer) get wrapped up in their own insane issues but the choice to have both of them acting crazy at once feels like overkill. While helping Will (Jeff Daniels) out on election coverage along with Sloan, Elliot (David Harbour), and Jim‘s (John Gallagher Jr.) old nemesis Taylor (Constance Zimmer) who, based on the sexual tension between the two, I would guess he’ll end up in bed possibly as soon as next week, Sloan becomes obsessed with tracking down a signed copy of a book someone payed $1,000 for at a charity auction which Sloan didn’t actually sign.

Meanwhile, in-between begging Will to fire her, Mackenzie becomes incensed when she discovers she can’t fix her Wikipedia entry which wrongly credits her attending Oxford instead of Cambridge. Sadly, rather than dealing with his actual job on one of News Night‘s biggest broadcasts of the year Neal (Dev Patel) is forced to placate both women in subplots that although are meant to appear humorous leave everyone involved looking small. Sloan’s repeated on-air snafus including mentioning Genoa and bumbling through the facts in a Kansas House race don’t help her credibility either.

Jim and Maggie (Alison Pill) have their own problems when his shorthand causes a misunderstanding and News Night makes their first mistake of the night calling a race in Michigan that is still undecided. Charlie’s continued rants about firing the first person who makes a mistake leave the pair in the awkward position to try and cover-up the error rather than simply admit the mistake on air. There’s bad news for Don (Thomas Sadoski) as well as Rebecca Halliday (Marcia Gay Harden) informs the producer that Dantana is suing Don in a second suit for sinking his chances of getting a job after Dantana was fired from News Night.

Although the episode gets the feel and the bustle of such a busy night right, it’s focus on the personal issues of everyone involved rather than them actually dealing with election coverage doesn’t come off all that well. Forced into a corner Will finally agrees to fire Mac at the end of the night, Will appears to be letting Taylor help him commit on-air suicide, and the network is about to find all their dirty laundry exposed as a result of Dantana’s lawsuit. That leaves plenty for the second-half of the season finale to cover. Oh, and there might be some election results worth reporting, too.

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