Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What I’m Watching: The Newsroom (Penultimate Episode)

The Newsroom: Season 3, Episode 5 “Oh Shenandoah” (B+)

I’m always conflicted about believing in a show’s direction when it isn’t actually based on facts and the creative minds, or one mind in particular in this case, are entirely in charge of how and where it proceeds. To have Will spend 52 days in jail and to have the source commit suicide in a very public way and to have Charlie die of a heart attack are decisions made by Aaron Sorkin, and the reason that they’re acceptable is because they’re in the service of valuable storytelling. This was just the kind of preachy episode that Sorkin haters can point to when they say that he’s elitist and self-obsessed, and it ended with a slow-motion, music-assisted scene similar to others he’s used in the past. But it’s hard to deny that the dialogue was expertly written and that the performers on the show delivered it excellently. I had a suspicion that Kevin Rankin’s cellmate was the type of educated brute capable of going toe-to-toe intellectually with Will who could only exist in a Sorkin universe, and it turns out that he wasn’t even real, just a manifestation of Will’s memories of his father, which was dramatically effective and made for some terrific conversations. Maggie and Jim’s doomed Russian-Cuban adventure was entertaining to be sure, but that’s much more about wrapping up the love story than journalistic integrity, so no commentary is needed other than to say that it’s good to see them together, even if Hallie was a great character. Don’s visit with the rape victim presented a very literal and unfiltered conversation about accusations and blame that’s extremely relevant at the moment, representing an important step for Don in defending what he feels is right. Sloan’s takedown of Neal’s replacement and his privacy-invading site was spectacular, and how fitting would it be if the entire staff resigned when Pruitt threatened to fire them? I think this season has demonstrated extraordinarily capability of this show, and this episode rushed what could have been a few meaty episodes into just one in time to wrap everything up in a series finale that’s sure to be impactful and memorable.

No comments: