Red Team III is the seventh episode of the second season of The Newsroom and quite an important one for the main storyline for the season (Genoa). This episode sees a continuation of the consequences following Jerry Dantana’s editing of the interview with the General and what this does to the team at ACN.
There are some great scenes in this episode and some excellent writing from Sorkin as well. This episode is probably one of the best this season and definitely better than the last few weeks efforts. What I think makes this episode a good one is the dramatic storytelling, mixed with finally witnessing the fallout of the this Genoa story we have been waiting to hear about since episode one.
What’s most unfortunate for the team at ACN is that even though there was so much compelling information it was either faked by Jerry Dantana or a revenge plot against Charlie Skinner. While there were a few facts that fell into the right place and an operation did take place it was the chemical weapons story that was untrue and distorted through their research. I guess this episode does show quite well the difficulties of journalism when it comes to such highly sensitive stories and possibly the pressure to maybe even fake a story, as Dantana did, to make a name for himself or follow his beliefs. Either way the process depicted in this episode was excellent.
One of the character’s that really stood out for me in this episode was Don Keefer (Thomas Sadoski). In the opening scene he had a superb conversation with Rebecca Halliday (Marcia Gay Harden) about institutional failure and delivered quite an impressive monologue during it. Don Keefer while being in many episodes this season hasn’t really had the spotlight of any of them as a main protagonist and I think should soon. In this one Thomas Sadoski really did well with the character especially in the opening scene.
Another great character performance in this episode came from Mackenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer) who seemed to be the most emotionally affected throughout the episode as Genoa completely unraveled and was revealed to be fake. Contrasting her character to Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) and the proclamation of trust in Mackenzie (Charlie too), places their characters I think in interesting positions going forward. I think because of their relationship as the season progressed this story and the trust element most likely placed quite a heavy burden on Mackenzie.
The only downside of this episode that I thought wasn’t the best was the inclusion of Shep Pressman (Frank Wood) and his back story as to why he faked the leak that he gave Charlie. I felt that although it was surprising and the slap was quite dramatic, it wasn’t really part of the story we have been told so far. It was just added in as slap in the face to Charlie and I didn’t think it was necessarily good. It’s possible in a few episodes we jump back in time and see this happen and how we got to this result. But for me it was the only point in the episode I didn’t enjoy.
Some of the best scenes in this episode and quite likely the season were likely in this episodes Red Team III meeting and in the lawyer questioning scenes with Rebecca Halliday. The conversations in the Red Room III meeting just flowed and were written to perfection. The anticipation and dramatic wait we had to sit through to see what Will McAvoy’s response was, was executed perfectly. I have to commend both the director for this episode Anthony Hemingway and the writer Aaron Sorkin for their efforts it was a good episode of dramatic television.
Overall this was a very good episode and one I think that returned the show to the level I expected when I watched Unintended Consequences a few weeks ago. I’m really looking forward to the next two final episodes for the year and what will happen in this Genoa story arc this season. Hopefully the show continues on this high level of quality. Two more to go!!