This is the fifth episode of the second season of The Newsroom and is entitled “News Night With Will McAvoy”. This episode follows on from what I thought was a very strong episode last week but I don’t really think it continues on the momentum the season has been building upon so far. It had a a variety of small stories in this episode that were introduced such as Sloan’s nude scandal, Will’s/Neal’s twitter storyline, Will’s father dying and the coming out storyline with Mackenzie, along with whatever is going on with Maggie and Jim.
I don’t know which storyline stood out the most to everyone else or what the main one was meant to be but I’ll start with the Sloan’s nude photo scandal. Sloan in this episode has a whole range of images leaked of her naked online by an ex boyfriend of hers. She goes through all the emotion’s of denial at first, but later admits that it was her in the pictures. She then confides in Don and tells a very interesting story about a Lion, a Zebra and a Frog that I think may say a lot about her character. As part of this episode I think it was the strongest of the sub storylines in this episode and Olivia Munn did well to portray her character’s emotions as well.
Will’s storyline with his father was actually quite good but because there were so many other parts of this episode I sort of wished it was more focused. I mean the episode is called “News Night With Will McAvoy” and we did get comments from Will in the last episode about how he was experiencing a crisis of character. So having such an important and emotional event in Will’s life occur where his father was facing death to me seemed more important in terms his character focus than say whatever Mackenzie was doing with the coming out kid.
In terms of the character dynamics between Mackenzie and Will I thought they were excellent. I think this episode with the father storyline really showed that these two character’s are much more closer in terms of their relationship than any other two character’s in The Newsroom. Mackenzie constantly came and advised Will on what to do and tried to get rid of Neal and his Twitter distraction.
While there were two very strong character driven scenes for Sloan, Will and Mackenzie, this episode did have quite a lot of weak scenes that countered them. I thought the storyline between Will and Neal about the Twitter conversation was actually confusing because of the time jump. I don’t know if it is something we are going to see in the next few episodes or if it is just isolated to this episode as another time Will didn’t remember someone.
Another weak part of the episode was the Charlie scene with the spy or intelligence guy he was meeting with to talk about, or not to talk about Genoa. While it was okay that this one conversation was enough for Charlie to continue the Genoa storyline over to the next episode it did take up quite a lot and didn’t really play into any of comedic tone that The Newsroom has been doing in the emotionally dry scenes this season.
Due to the tonality of this episode I actually felt that it was amiss when compared to other episodes this season. Particularly to if you compare the story execution in last week’s episode (Unintended Consequences) to this one. While this episode had strong emotional scenes for Will and Sloan just like last week’s had strong ones for Maggie’s character. This episode didn’t offset any of those with comedic scenes. In this episode we got a scene with Jim and Maggie that to me wasn’t fun to watch because Maggie now appears to be a bit psychologically damaged and Jim is in no way helping at all. So all we had was Charlie’s scene which is entertaining but hardly was enough to fill the episode with. The scene with the guy wanting to come out on air was also confusingly placed I felt and I had no idea who he was. I guess it must be how Will feels because he always forgets the people he meets (Twitter story…Jerry Dantana).
Overall this episode was okay but it was nothing great in comparison to last weeks and to me was slightly off with it’s tone. While it did have some good character developments for Will and Sloan it wasn’t so great in terms of other character’s scenes and the back stories just weren’t there to support some moments. Such as Sloan’s boyfriend. Just who was the coming out guy? The time jump? It was a good episode and a must watch for The Newsroom fans, but to me something just felt amiss.