Allison Pill

All posts tagged Allison Pill

Courtesy of HBO

Courtesy of HBO

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Tonight is the penultimate episode of The Newsroom series. While that is a little sad, it should be a very satisfying episode. Thinking back on my experience with Sorkin projects, I do however, worry that something major and not necessarily good is going to happen tonight. I expect more chaos than closure. Closure comes the next week. For now, we’ll have to settle for being unsettled.

We begin to the unnerving sounds that you’d expect with a jail, and a corrections officer trying to brace Will for the events that will follow. Something tells me his efforts aren’t necessary. After the transition to ’52 days later’, we discover Will has a cellmate. Ironically, some of you may notice him from our coverage of Gracepoint. The cellmate is Kevin Rankin who plays Reverend Paul Coates on Gracepoint.

All Will wants to do is read his book in silence. After all, if the FBI is banking on Will crack under the pressure they have dramatically misread their mark. The cellmate is fishing. Ultimately reveals that he is on his third strike for domestic battery. One thing lead to another. Seems like the FBI are not the only one who apparently misread their mark.

Cellmate: You tell me the source, then I’ll tell it to them on the condition they let us both go.
Will: It’s a hell of a plan.
Cellmate: Or I could just shake the name out of you.
Will: Stand up. I want you to see that I have four inches on you and you’re giving up thirty pounds. I’m not your wife. Raise your hands above your hips and I’ll knock you f— into next week.

Mack and Don meet with Charlie to view the new ACN promo. It is crisp and inviting. And is a complete and utter slap in the face to any journalist. Especially the ones set on a ‘mission to civilize’. Mack is visibly repulsed by the spot. Don is more confused. The spot ends with the hashtag, “#uracn”. To which Don claims, “looks like urine”. Charlie who appears to have little to no fight in him at the moment strongly encourages them both to just move on. Don sticks around to talk to Charlie. It appears that Pruitt wants Don to get the victim and the accused of a college sexual assault case on set at the same time. This is six different ways of stupid. Not only are they suggesting anyone with a smart phone can be a journalist, now we are introducing Jerry Springer rules into the newsroom. And Charlie seems content to let is slide.

Gary Cooper gives Mack the rundown of unimpressive developing stories. Mack is unimpressed, even with the Kanye and Kim’s kid is name “North West” joke. She does do a double take on the story about a woman who shot herself in the mouth on the steps of the Department of Justice. That woman was the source. Neal’s source and the reason Will is still sitting in jail. Mack runs straight to Rebecca’s office to explain what she knows. Rebecca begins to pick a direction, but instead declares something very near to everyone involved.

Rebecca: You’re husband’s getting out of jail today.

The addition of new, and I have to assume, Pruitt hires patrolling the twitter-verse has become a problem. Erin Andrews was swarmed by paparazzi on the other side of the country because ACN now has an app the staff are calling the ‘stalker app’. Sloan is past the point of apathy. Which means Don is past the point of apathy on her behalf. There is now a ‘ACN Digital’ which is worrisome on its own. What follows is a typical butting of heads. Don wants them to take down the app, they say take it up with Pruitt. Which is exactly the moment Sloan switches gears. Sloan is a very attractive character in many ways. One thing I’ve learned from watching this character over almost 3 full seasons is that when she gets quiet bad things are on the horizon. She’s offered to have the ACN Digital guy on the show to discuss his app.

Jim and Maggie have been sent to Russia. Considering our relative timeline, the hints to an NSA story, and Jim and Maggie walking through a Russian airport, one must deduce that this is where they break out the Edward Snowden storyline. Shortly after discovering the pertinent news outlets present at the gate, Jim feels more than confident that this is the flight that will take Snowden from Russian to Cuba. The problem is, they are not in the system as having a ticket for this sold out flight.

Will receives two visitors. One is Rebecca and the other is Lasenthaul. With the idea that the woman who shot herself is the source there is no one to protect. All Will has to do is confirm that the dead woman is the source. The FBI has enough circumstantial evidence retrieved from her laptop to be satisfied. This became more about the principle than the information a long time ago. No deal.

Brace yourself for this. The weird keeps getting weirder. Charlie Skinner comes to Mack’s office to inform her that she needs to make room for Lady Gaga’s manager to discuss her tweet about overturning the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA). I’m at a loss. There is something building with Charlie and I doubt its triumphant in nature.

In Don’s pursuit of a way out of the on campus sexual assault story, he travels to Princeton to find the victim. Which he does. They have a short and very Sorkin-like fast-moving discussion. Don gives all the telegraphed indications that if she were to do the interview, with the accused in the same room, it would be hugely beneficial to his standing with his job. Then he tells her he’s there not to do the pre interview, but to beg her not to do it at all.

I have made no attempts to disguise my feelings about any storyline that involves Maggie and Jim romantically. However, I would be remiss if not completely in the clouds if I told you that this wasn’t a Josh Lyman/Donna Moss situation. That’s a West Wing reference for those of you new to the Sorkin world. I really love the evolution Maggie has gone through from the African trip until now. All of that said, we just witnessed the commitment to the ‘u-turn’. Josh and Donna in the hotel on Santos election day for the West Wingers keeping score. Maggie strongly suggested that Jim call Hallie just to hear her voice halfway around the world. Jim made the decision, without saying so, to end his pursuits of Hallie and accept that Maggie has been the one all along. To my dismay.

Don has made every attempt to convince Mary (the rape victim) to not do the interview. Both sides, to me, seem perfectly justified. Don’s angle is that nothing good can come of it. As he says, “it will be covered like sports. Teams will be formed”. There is a reason that reputable news sources rarely if ever put victim and accused on at the same time. On her end, if her story can save even one future victim, it’s worth doing. Don was siding a little too heavy on the side of, ‘eventually an innocent person will fall in the name of revenge’ angle. But they both have a valid argument.

Edward Snowden is not on the flight. However, the bigger story to us-the viewer is the inevitable moment when Maggie brings up Hallie again at that perfect moment when Jim’s willingness to admit and opportunity converge, creating the confession of feelings. The natural next step is new and improved Maggie is overjoyed at this new information and her reaction most closely resembles, ‘took you long enough’. That would be the natural next step. That was not the actual next step. Maggie’s been holding onto the part about Jim not calling from New Hampshire. Dwelling on the past and maybe even going so far as to hold a grudge about it.

Rebecca meets Lasenthaul in a hallway outside an assumed office. Rebecca is going to file a motion that will ultimately get Will released on the grounds of “enough is enough”. To our collective relief, Lasenthaul has no intention of contesting the motion.

Jim, sitting as instructed in the back of the plane content to watch an episode of Star Trek is interrupted by Maggie. She wants him to get his seat back. Always awkward. You can’t un-switch seats with someone, it’s uncomfortable at best. Clearly, Maggie has taken time to weigh all of the important information and this time taken her own advice. “If you like her (him in this case) that shouldn’t stop you”. It was a quote intended for the Hallie situation, but it works here too. She leans in slow as if to say something, then abandons any attempt at words and the lean becomes a kiss.
Sloan’s interview with the father of the Stalker App is going exactly as one might think. Calm, but directed. This guy actually believed he was there to promote the app. When in reality he was there to be Sloan’s punching bag and eventually the face of exactly why citizen journalism is a bad idea.

Sloan: What does ‘x’ equal?
Bree: It would be silly to name an exact dollar amount.
Sloan: You’re paid 55 thousand a year…
Bree: Well that’s private…
Sloan: Sorry, that’s almost twice the national average for a family of four. Do your piles of cash protect you from this interview in which I am intentionally stripping you of your dignity? And by the way, I’ve managed to do it without lying once.

Upon the interview’s conclusion Charlie comes barreling around the corner demanding to know if Sloan was put up to the interview. Mack interjects that it was an intervention. Then Charlie demands to know about the college girl from Don. So, Charlie is not getting any satisfactory answers to his questions. Questions I believe, he is compelled to ask because he has been playing the intermediary attempting to save people’s jobs. Just then Pruitt storms in and demands that Mack and Sloan leave the building immediately. Then he threatens to fire the entire staff. Which may actually be the line of demarcation, to borrow a Sorkin-ism. It appears that Leona Lansing wrote into the contract (either Charlie’s or that sale’s) that no one can fire the staff except Charlie.

Charlie: I’ll be back in a minute.

Sorrow filled last words. Charlie Skinner is Leo McGarry. We’ve known all episode long that there was something building with Charlie and it wasn’t going to be good. I for one, was expecting a blow up of massive proportions that ends with his resignation. This was larger. A heart attack with the eventual passing. This is a very sad moment in the timeline to be sure. However, a part of me sees this as a ‘Coulson moment’. A tragedy that brings the team together.

I have skipped over a scene of monumental importance. Throughout the episode we see Will verbally sparring with his cellmate. Suffice it to say that for the most part, on the surface, this is just another angry guy. A guy that has a history. A guy that takes issue with Will’s station in life. The guy that grew up to be ‘Harvard elite’. Who talks down to normal people. And at one point, Will agrees, “down is where some people are”. Will talked about this man hitting his wife. Not matter of factly, but as the primary reason as to why a person like Will can look down on someone like this. The cellmate identified that Will’s father probably was a drunk. Even when Will demanded the man stand up so he could inform him that Will would knock him out if he so much as raised his hands. I never saw it. Full disclosure, this historian of Sorkin for the fun of it-me, did not see it coming. The brilliant Aaron Sorkin just ‘I see dead people’d me.

For those that did not watch the episode and have come here for a detailed account. There was a moment when the cellmate looked at one of Will’s photos of his Dad and fishing. The cellmate said, “maybe your Dad was just trying to teach you to fish”. I didn’t even get it then. When Will is released from jail, we find him cleaning up his belongings. Including the pictures. He pulls the picture of he and his Dad fishing. The camera focuses to reveal that the man who was the cellmate was actually a manifestation of Will’s father. He was never really there. Brilliant stroke by a genius painter in Sorkin. Very well done.

This leads us into next week. The conclusion to this great story. Sorkin himself has eluded to the masses that fans of the show will be pleased with how it all comes together in the end. I’m still processing how I could be pleased about Charlie Skinner dying, but we’ll put a pin in that one. From where I sit there are only two possibilities. 1) The team bands together and their collective efforts convince Pruitt to sell ACN back to Leona for a minimal loss or 2) They figuratively burn the whole darn thing to the ground. Will and Mack take Will’s sizable net worth and start-up a new cable network. Thus forcing all of us to prey for a spin-off series. I wish I had more insights, but I will be tuning in with incredible anticipation next week like everyone else. So, make sure to check back to NJATVS for more updates and the climactic Series Finale recap of the Newsroom.

Courtesy of HBO

Courtesy of HBO

Charlie Skinner, one of the best characters in modern dramatic television.  He will be missed.

Courtesy of HBO

Courtesy of HBO

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Gary Cooper comes strolling into work singing a song from the musical “Anything Goes”. Oblivious to what has happened since our last episode. He turns the corner expecting to see a quiet newsroom. Instead he finds more FBI agents than employees.

Gary is met almost immediately by the lead agent. The exchange obscenities. The agent trying flex his authority and Gary flexing his grasp of legality. Eventually, Will jumps in to toe the line between we’re cooperating and don’t say anything.

The power struggle continues. The agents demanding that everyone do exactly as they say, while the staff tries to casually make their lives easier by suggesting the proceedings don’t have to go down this way. Will suggest that they are just doing their jobs. Then Charlie Skinner steps up and does his job. By calling the LA control room and informing them that ACN will be going live in 3 minutes.

Don and Jim head into the control room. Don claims that Charlie just called Domino’s and they need to make it look like they are about to go live even though they are not. Maggie jumps into the control room to get the ball rolling and question how they have never picked up on how to actually run a news broadcast. Meanwhile, Gary comes out strapped to a camera and Charlie asks the lead agent for his first name so they can put it in the banner.

With the fake special report about to not go live in the next 10 seconds, agent Molly tells them to stand down. And for a moment, ACN-1, FBI-0.

Rebecca (the lawyer) with every one of legal consequence on the phone negotiated a relative ‘cease fire’. The FBI and any agencies of authority will stand down until Friday. At such a time as all of the pertinent people will meet at Main Justice to tell the authorities everything they know minus the name of the source in the hopes that the Justice department can connect the dots without the name of the source.

Rebecca (to Charlie): That stunt with the cameras? That was not cool.
Charlie: Neither am I.

Maggie attempts to hand off her EPA report to Jim. Jim is difficult, but in a comedic way. The end of the world as we know according to the EPA in a report that is an inch thick is not exactly riveting television. Jim reluctantly agrees to try to move it up the pecking order. So this feels more like a Jim Harper segment and less like a Maggie Jordan segment. His words.

Meanwhile, Charlie’s assistant informs him that Leona and Reese Lansing are on their way down. Which is odd in that Charlie always goes to them. Leona does not have 4 billion to throw at the twins. And they have exhausted any conventional means to get it. The only way to get it is to ‘spin off ACN’. AWN is the parent company that owns ACN. If they sell ACN they could get enough in the sale to fight off the twins. There is a tech analyst who left Goldman Sachs to start-up his own company. He has the requisite money, but he also has ideas.

The last thing the iconic desk man of a successful news network wants to hear is that new ownership has ‘ideas’. Ideas mean change. Ideas mean lack of control. Considering that the alternative to this guy buying ACN and maybe making some changes is that the twins will dissolve all of AWN including ACN. A lesser of two evils situation. But now we are faced with Will and other being forced to attend the Correspondence Dinner. Normally a hard ticket to get. The problem here is that last year Will ripped the Correspondence Dinner and promised that ACN would never return.

Don has the new HR rep in his office. The scene is about Gary Cooper and the amount of romantic escapades with subordinate employees. The end of the scene is more critical. The HR rep is probing Don over his alleged relationship with Sloan Sabbath. Denying everything Don appears calm. The rep leaves headed for Sloan’s office. Don taking his time, wipes his mouth with a napkin, calmly stands up, then frantically races to Sloan’s office just to say, “we’re not dating”. Which Sloan replies with her monotone, “okay”.

Mack and Molly met in secret in a women’s sauna. This allows Molly to give Mack just enough information to help her make the right decision concerning her people. After work with the seized hard drives, the FBI is compelled to believe that they can tie Neal to an attempt at more documents. Molly strongly suggests that Mack do whatever she must to get Neal to come in. Mack then meets with Don and Jim. She asks them to get Neal a message to come in however they can.

Maggie’s EPA story and interview for Will. As Maggie predicted it was a story about the end of the world. More specifically, a child has already been born that will die at some point in its life due to the planet failing. This was literally a laugh out loud situation. As I’m watching this and hearing this dire end of the world narrative, the reactions around the room make it very funny. Almost as if the people not in the interview look around every few seconds and say, “did he really just say that?”

Will, Mack, Charlie and Rebecca sit in a conference room at Main Justice. The Assistant District Attorney for National Security enters the room. He is brash and forceful. He takes shots at everyone at the table to display the idea that he is in control. Anything short of giving up the source will not be good enough. Then he claims that Will is the one who orchestrated all of this. That is the point where Will has a moment that only Will can deliver. Transcribing it would be great, but it would lose its gravitas. Suffice it to say that Will said only what he needed to a that the ADA for National Security bungled this whole situation and now Will can’t help him anymore.

The entire staff is in the White House for the Correspondence Dinner. Up to and including the new HR rep who really believes he will catch Don and Sloan as an item. Charlie wants to meet with the staff before meeting their new ‘option’. Except he just walked through the door. Lucas Pruitt (played by B.J. Novak of the Office and Mindy Project fame) may put a halt to that idea. He is abrasive to say the least. He wants to turn ACN into a large family of networks that get their news from crowd sourcing. He’s a quirky rich guy who thinks he’s buying a new toy.

Outside a woman walks up and sits down next to Mack. She is the source. Not only that, but she also is applying her own pressure for Mack to run the story within the next 96 hours or she will post the story herself.

The staff has gathered in a room where Will McAvoy is graciously taking his picture with whomever happens to be at the party who wants to. It’s Will gladly radiating his own fame. Mack walks in like she’s seen a ghost. Charlie picks up on it. The kid at the front of the line finally gets Will’s attention by flashing a folded piece of paper. Will empties the room of ‘fans’. The kid has a subpoena for Will to appear before a grand jury.

Will (looks to Mack and Charlie): You think it’s possible I’m not as big a TV star as I thought?

 

Courtesy of HBO

Courtesy of HBO

Warning: Spoiler Alert (and Adult Language)

I cannot express how excited I am for this third and final season of The Newsroom. Season two was different to say the least, but there are a series of questions still unanswered. There is also a great deal of drama and conflict about to befall ACN. And all of this needs to be addressed, dealt with, and all tied together into a nice conclusion inside of ten episodes. So, without any further adieu, let’s get into it.

The season begins with the natural next step from the close of season 2. Will and Mack planning their wedding. To be honest I could just watch an hour of just this. Mack asking for straight answers and Will discrediting her concerns with stuff like, “If Charlie’s my best man, can’t he just keep going back and forth walking with bridesmaids?” And on a different level, are we really supposed to believe that the only men Will feels comfortable in his wedding party are the men that work at Newsnight? Will never befriended Tom Brokaw? or Brian Williams? or some average Joe he went to college with? Just a random observation.

Ironically, I just typed the above without finishing the scene. And Brian Williams’ name was mentioned. I’m either ridiculously lucky on that one, or have crossed over out of the Aaron Sorkin fandom and into the unimportant Nostradamus realm.

Less than four minutes into the episode and Mack spots an explosion at the Boston Marathon. Here. We. Go. Immediately Jim starts dividing staff into groups focusing on various agencies (FBI, Homeland, etc). A quick shot of Maggie working out intensely feels like the imagery that suggests she will spend this season rebuilding herself (metaphorically), which is something I’m not terribly concerned with at this point. I sympathize with the character, but I don’t enjoy the character. Back to the story, we all know they are watching the evidence of the Boston Marathon bombing. The beauty of this show is that generally, we know more than the characters. It’s really a wonderful device to play off of. In this case, they have images and no answers to go with the images.

Charlie Skinner: If I learn what happened by watching the news I’m going to lose my fucking mind!

The staff is undermanned in part because Don Keefer is in jury duty. Which creates a wonderful scene Don being Don moment and quite possibly is the best way to get out of jury duty I’ve ever seen. Will tries to inspire confidence in a speech about why they won’t report fast, they’ll report accurate and it fails miserably. In addition, Elliot Hirsch (the other prominent anchor on this show) wants badly to fly to Boston and be their reporter on the ground. He’s from Boston and it only makes sense. They can’t part with Jim or Don, so Jim suggests they send Maggie. If you are unfamiliar with last season, you will not fully grasp the risk of sending Maggie. However, Jim feels she is ready. That this story at this time is specifically suited to her. Will doesn’t feel as strongly. Regardless Maggie and Hirsch are en route to Boston.

Gary Cooper is the first staffer to get confirmation on anything. Two devices detonated near the finish line. FBI and Boston police confirm. Mack gets the control room ready in seconds. In the air studio Will prepares to go live. Don, Sloan, Mack and Charlie join him. Charlie jumps right in. If it was a suicide bomber there will be a body. If not this will go on for a while. A manhunt like we haven’t seen since Dallas in ’63. Then they all go their separate ways.

What follows is a cinematically intriguing montage of Will anchoring what information they do have and Mack controlling the chaos in the control room. Clearly this story is affecting all of the ACN major contributors. Despite popular opinion, Maggie is on her game getting real news confirmation.

Amidst the chaos of the bombing, Neal enters a password to decrypt a sensitive email sent to him directly. I know we alert you with “spoiler alert” but this I’m not willing to go into just yet. Suffice it to say, I know exactly where this story line is going (and I’m sure I’m not alone). It’s a story line I’m not thrilled with because I like the character Neal. And am concerned with what this will mean for him long term.

Sloan finds Reese Lansing in his office avoiding his siblings. Hold on to that one. His two younger siblings are set to become major stock holders in ACN when they turn 25. From what I know and what I can infer, there will probably be a shift in priorities once these two are introduced to a position of influence. That and Sloan is being informed of just how bad their quarter financial projections are.

Mack heads off her basic staff meeting. Everything is typical. Tips that aren’t confirmed. Eyewitnesses who don’t want to go on camera. Everything is typical. Until Mack throws it to Neal. Who is sitting calmly and matter of factually mentions the motivation of the encrypted email.

Mack: Neal, tell us what’s going on with the Nocturnal Nut Brigade.
Neal: Somebody is trying to give me classified government documents.
(Everyone stops everything and freezes)
Neal: Somebody asked for my encryption key.
Mack: That’s not uncommon is it?
Neal: No but then they asked for a higher level of encryption. Less common but not unprecedented. We use a site, cryptoheaven which is for–
Don: Nerds.
Neal: Yeah. And he told me to get an air gapped computer. It’s a computer that’s–
Mack: Never been linked to the internet.
Neal: Yes. There is literally a gap of air between the computer and the rest of the world. Once I do that, he’s going to give me a flash drive.
Mack: How’s he going to get it to you?
Neal: Look, I know you guys think I live in a world of crackpots, and I’ll grant you that there is a troubling normal to crackpot ratio in my field…
Don: How’s he going to get you the flash drive Neal?
Neal: He’s going to tape it to the inside of the tank of a toilet of a public men’s room.
Don: Bulls eye.

I transcribed the previous because through a number of reasons, I have been lead to believe that this will be the defining story line of season 3. I could very well be wrong, but if I’m right, this is major. We’ll call this the “Snowden” story line for the time being. After the meeting breaks, with most of the staff thinking this is another Twitter Troll gone crazy, Neal walks back to his desk looking dejected. Then Will pulls out his wallet, calls Neal over and tells him to buy an ‘air gapped computer’ as he extends a credit card.

Sloan has been working on an angle that some financial group is about to buy another. She has no concrete evidence, but is working to solve the ‘puzzle’. In typical Sloan fashion the financial story takes priority in her own head. This feels like something is going to get muffed down the line.

CNN had to retract their previously reported story that they had arrested a suspect. Giving a little breathing room to why ACN hasn’t reported the same as of yet. Charlie and Will tag team a quick speech about if anyone should empathize with getting knocked down by misreporting it’s ACN. Then he and Will share a subtle behind the back hi five for dodging a bullet.

Neal ventures out to the restaurant that is to be the drop for the flash drive. There’s a little speed bump, but Neal gets in. And as predicted, the flash drive is there. In the tank of the toilet. Back at ACN, Neal opens the brand new ‘air gapped’ computer and inserts the flash drive. Anyone who’s bought a new laptop knows there are some realism issues with him reading the flash drive 10 seconds after taking the computer out of the box, but I digress. Immediately, the flash drive spits out what looks like 40-50 documents. The range of topics are vast.

Elliot has unknowingly eaten walnuts, which he is seriously allergic to. His prevailing wisdom is that while his face blows up like a balloon, Maggie needs to go on camera and report the story. Maggie puts on the clothes found in Mack’s go bag. She gets ready and looks incredibly nervous. To my significant surprise, Maggie was as close to flawless as one can expect their first time on camera. And a wave of pride swept the ACN studio.

Reese invites Will and Charlie to an office balcony where he is drinking a beer and enjoying the nice night. This is where Reese says he’s proud of the job they’ve done this week as an ice breaker before he and Charlie relay the information of just how far in the ratings News Night has fallen. Reese explains that he wants Will to do the news and do it well, but they can’t do the news if the station doesn’t make money. This is where Will’s personality brings upon our first real shocker of the season.

Will: Well… … …I think it’s time for me to quit.

Neal makes his way out to the terrace and begins to tell Will and Charlie (and Reese who is close enough to hear) that he is in possession of a little over 27,000 stolen government documents. Half of which are classified.

Reese: Yeah…I’m just going to jump off this railing.

Neil tells the story of exactly how he came to be in possession of these documents. Three times. On the third time, Will hears a new detail that Neal neglected to mention. By asking for a couple documents to pass along to his bosses, he in fact is an accomplice to commit espionage.

Throughout this entire episode, I have hesitated on the Sloan Sabbath story line because it feels slow developing. Like her digging and Reese’s concern over the numbers is something that will take time to come to a head. I was right that her digging in the numbers would unearth something. I was wrong about the time table.

Sloan: What is everyone doing out he–Reese!
Reese: We’re kind of in the middle of–
Sloan: When’s their birthday? The twins?
Reese: Why don’t we meet in my office?
Sloan: The Twins! When is their birthday?
Reese: The party’s…
Sloan: Not the party. Their actual birthday. When do they turn 25?
Reese: I honestly don’t…sometime next week. The 25th or 26th.
Sloan: Get your mother on the phone. She has to call the board to an emergency session. Right now. Tonight.
Reese: What are you talking about?
Sloan: You went to Wharton Reese. Wake the fuck up. You’re in the middle of a hostile takeover.
Reese: What?!?!
Sloan: Somebody is trying to buy this company.

Just then Jim walks out with the newest development that they have one of the suspects, but he’s hiding in a boat in someone’s back yard. Then we get our Will McAvoy eruption of the episode. You may have seen this in our preview article or even on the promos aired by HBO. The culmination of which is “there’s a guy in the back of a boat in someone’s back yard. I’d like confirmation on that before I say it on the news”.

Just like that ladies and gentleman, the stage is set. Set but with inevitably more conflict and drama to come. Neil needs a lawyer because he’s in a lot of trouble. Two other financial institutions are vying to buyout ACN, presumably so that the ‘twins’ can profit off their trust fund quick enough so they don’t actually have to work. News Night is at the bottom of the relevant news shows and will need to fight their way out to stave of television death. And at the very least there is a Will McAvoy and MacKenzie McHale wedding to plan. Wrap your noodle around that, and make sure to join us again at notjustanothertvsite.com following the conclusion of each Newsroom episode. As well as all of the other top notch high quality shows we’re covering for you. Only at NJATVS.

Photo Courtesy of HBO

Photo Courtesy of HBO

Warning: Spoiler Alert

As NJATVS’ residential Aaron Sorkin enthusiast and unapologetic fanboy, it is my duty and privilege to cover and in this case preview “Newsroom Season 3”. Before you consider the theory that I’m just some windbag critic riding the coat tails of Sorkin’s success as of late with Newsroom, Moneyball, and Social Network, consider the following. I have seen 8900 West Wing episodes (22 x 7 x 58 times). I’ve seen A Few Good Men more times than I should admit. I even came very close to paying for a copy of the stage play on principle. Sports Night is easily the best sitcom involving the sports world to date. And I will debate anyone willing to do so that Studio 60: Live on the Sunset Strip is the best comedic series prematurely ended of all time.

The first and most important detail of which is to inform those not already in the loop that season 3 will indeed be the final season. I know, take a moment to reflect and compose yourself. The first season, like most Sorkin projects, adjusted the bar. Reassessed how we define good television. That may sound lofty, but if you really watch season 1 with open, objective eyes you’ll see just how good it was. Sorkin is a master of characters and it shows throughout that season. We don’t have the time for me to break down each element of season 1 that made it so intensely good. However, rest assured that when the series has concluded and I have time to go back through and break it down properly, I will. If for no other reason than for me to properly place it in its rightful place in television history.

Not all is rosy. I would love to tell you that Season 2 was every bit as good as Season 1. I’d love to be able to say that. A couple of things to bring up first. Will and Mackenzie’s relationship arrives at a crescendo that is satisfying to any viewer by the conclusion of season 2. Jim, Don, Neal and Sloan all go through a series of ups and downs. Jim’s feel more pronounced, but those four do experience a great deal in season 2. One of those has yet to see the depth of his or her journey, but that we’ll save for the actual preview portion. Charlie is great and continues to be maybe my favorite character that is not considered part of the ‘essential’ cast. I would argue that Charlie is indeed essential. Even guys like Gary Cooper (a videographer, not the cowboy) and Reese Lansing made real contributions.

The problem one discovers with season 2 is the departure from the previously held blueprint. Look, it’s not my place to say right, wrong or otherwise. Here’s my take though. The series debuted in 2012. The news stories they would chase because a shade under two years before that. Now the show runners get to pick and choose which stories to chase. The fact that they could pick and choose and didn’t follow a real-time projection was both good and eventually problematic. The problem is that eventually the Newsroom stories were going to catch up to the real life stories. Correct or not, it felt like Season 2 was an attempt to buy time for more desirable story lines later. Instead of following the original blueprint, Season 2 was a complete departure. We were taken on a ride that focused as much if not more on one internal story as opposed to a series of news stories.

Season 2 was not explicitly bad. Let me be clear. I would still put Newsroom Season 2 up against 90% of the television on that year. It’s Newsroom, it’s Aaron Sorkin, it’s HBO. It was going to be good no matter what. There were significant high pressure, high emotional big time moments in Season 2. It was just a different ride. Season 2 was bigger, even though I believe Season 1 was better. For anyone who has not seen Newsroom yet (what’s wrong with you first off), if you’re waiting for the conclusion of the series in order to binge watch it, I’m not going to stop you. For clarity sake, assume that Season 2 is every bit deserving of the accolades, just know that it feels different.

If you are on the fence for some indescribable reason, there are two scenes in Season 1 that should sell. The first one is the opening scene of the series. Will McAvoy is speaking on a panel at a college. It’s a long scene and worth every second you invest in it. This clip can be found easily on YouTube. The other is a scene from the Gabby Gifford’s episode where Will refuses to announce her dead just because all of the other news outlets are. Remember, they don’t do good television, they do the news.

Season 3 is a bit of an enigma. On one hand you have Season 1, measured, steady, and running off a blueprint. Chasing news stories from the perspective of what that would look like from the people doing the chasing. Then Season 2 is a completely different approach. Whether to buy time or just adding drama, we may never know.

The question is, which method will Season 3 follow? With a gun to my head, I’m guessing somewhere between the two versions. Clearly, it seems, we are headed back to an episodic rundown that will include real, actual news stories. The first of which may be the Boston Marathon bombing. Which would mark the first Newsroom response to an act of terror. We saw what happened the night ‘we got Bin Laden’, but we have never seen the team’s reaction in real-time when an act of terror is executed in the moment.

Another major development, the development that I believe will take the show out of the Season 1 model and more into the Season 2 model is the Edward Snowden story line (whether that is the actual story or just a parallel, we’ll have to wait and see). There is a story that deals with a person leaking a massive amount of national secrets. When that happens it will create a convergence of two different while somewhat related entities. On one side you have the leak which is very much newsworthy and the idea that Neal aided in the story coming forward by way of social media. In the Season 3 promo released by HBO, Neal very clearly states, “social media is going to solve this crime”. On the administrative side, Will, Mack and Charlie are all fighting to keep the network from falling into the control of those more interested in social media numbers than that of journalistic integrity.

While the above story lines may seem intriguing enough, the bigger picture is…well the bigger picture. Season 3 will come down to the team’s (Will, Mack, Charlie, etc) ability to not only stave off attacks against their ideals. News doesn’t have to be entertaining to be news. An informed electorate. And everything they stand for. A news show responsibly delivering the news whether its trending on twitter or not. Defending that ideal will be paramount. In addition to that, amidst the pressures to compete in social media, the social media guy (Neal) will be facing some real world trouble. If the leaks were aided in any way, that person could be tried as an accomplice to espionage. All indications are that the one that may have unintentionally committed treason is Neal. And the larger theme that will rule the entire season seems to be the integrity of a news outlet protecting it’s source at all costs.

Will McAvoy: If you have our back, then we’re not going to let you get shot in yours.

There is no question that Season 3 has been written with the series coming to a close in mind. It is my opinion, that Sorkin and the people at HBO must have looked at both seasons and created a dynamic that takes the best of both to create as final season that will not only be satisfying, but exceptional. Sorkin has a beautiful knack of building the moment, the line, the story in such a way that it’s conclusion is ideal. That is when he is given the opportunity to write to a close. This may only be a 3 season run, but I am holding out hope that in three seasons we will feel like we’ve seen every bit of the story. Beginning, middle, and end.

Do yourselves a favor. Set your DVR now. For my money, anything Aaron Sorkin is involved with is great. In some cases we will say “check out ____________, it might prove worth your time”. The worst Newsroom episode made is still without question, worth your time. Set your DVR. Schedule your life around Newsroom. And make sure to check back to NJATVS every Sunday going forward as we will no doubt be on top of this show until we reach its conclusion. And then we’ll probably still write about it in a future retrospective piece.