The Newsroom Finale Recap: What I Did For Love
Here’s a technique that may help you reconcile any unsettled feelings you have about The Newsroom‘s Season 2 finale: Think of the hour as the conclusion to a musical.
Take a minute to let the idea sink in. In a musical – particularly the old-school ones of which creator Aaron Sorkin is so fond – it’s not weird when two characters who’ve done little but pester each other for hours on end suddenly have an over-the-top kiss.
When they propose (and accept!) marriage, you don’t think, “Wait, shouldn’t you slow things down a little?” When all of the leads come to a feel-good reconciliation just in time for the final number, you don’t shake your head and think, “Well, that seems unlikely.”
When the shy young ingénue finally finds her pluck, you don’t scoff at her mullet-in-the-making and come up with a ballpark total of her future therapy bills. You just sigh in contentment and hum along with the reprise.
So, consider the events of “Election Night, Part 2″ as a sweet (if improbable) coda to the HBO drama’s sophomore season. Otherwise, the episode seems like a too-neat tie-up of a season that was, at turns, wonderful and laughable. With that in mind, let’s raise the curtain on the major developments that took place in this week’s episode.
STAND BY YOUR MAN | We pick up at 9 pm on Election Night, with Will, Elliot, Taylor and Sloan on the air. A Genoa-shy MacKenzie, Don, Jim, Maggie and Charlie have decided that the Petraeus story raised in the previous episode is not as newsworthy as the story they were asked to hold in its place, so they’re running with the hypocrite who denounced Missouri Rep. Todd Akin. (At least Charlie has the good sense to feel bad about the cowardly call later on.)
Taylor takes advantage of some downtime to ask Will’s permission to approach Jim. “About what?” Will asks, oblivious. She’s setting up a media consulting firm, and she wants Harper to come aboard. Will’s confused; Jim just signed a new contract, he says, which means he’s going nowhere. Taylor apologetically replies that she heard the senior staff was resigning over the Genoa kerfuffle. “Where did you hear that?” he demands. “From the senior staff,” she says.
If I were Jim’s boss, he wouldn’t have to resign: I’d fire him for egregious newsroom Skyping with his girlfriend – who, by the way, works for a competing media outlet. In fact, he’s making googly cyber-eyes at her (doesn’t he have a race to call prematurely or something?) when Maggie summons him to a quick staff meeting. After the ladies exchange quick, fake-nice hellos, Hallie makes sure Jim knows that Maggie’s new ‘do is no Supercuts special. “Cutting off your own hair – that’s alarming,” she says, low-voiced and concerned. So is day-drinking and a complete change in personality, but neither of those changes in Ms. Jordan have lit much of a fire under Jim’s tush before now, have they?
In the studio, Will gathers everyone who was involved in the retracted story and forbids them to quit on behalf of Charlie, Mac and himself. “The whole reason we’re trying to resign is to allow the rest of you to continue to do what we started without the burden of Genoa,” he says, then adds that when he leaves, Elliott will take his spot, with Don will take Mac’s, Sloan will anchor the 10 pm broadcast and Jim will be her EP. Absolutely no one in the room is on board with that plan. After all, “There are principles of… principle here,” Don notes, passionately if not eloquently. “Who put all this in your head?” Will asks. “You did,” his former executive producer answers. Will’s totally going to cry but then makes a joke about how he’s not going to cry, then they all go back to work.