Unintended consequences is the fourth episode of the second season of The Newsroom and for me watching the show this season I have to say it was in my view a much better episode than the three that have passed. Both on an emotional level through the telling of Maggie’s Africa story but also the contrasting ACN stories of Will and the OWS interview and Jim’s on and off the bus coverage.
It’s probably one of the question’s most people have been asking all season and it probably was “what happened to Maggie?” In this episode we finally get to see what does happen to Maggie (Allison Pill) when she goes to Africa and I must say that on an emotional level this episode ranks quite high. I can’t think of any other Newsroom episode’s where the main theme was based on an emotionally character driven story line, but this episode was most strong in that regard.
Maggie’s character is strongly developed in this episode and while I know I have been complaining about the story telling method of jumping back and forth between future and present since I reviewed this season’s first episode I will say that after seeing this one and the way the story was told and developed that I take my reservations back. By being able to see Maggie tell her story from her perspective about her African ordeal I felt that it really attached to viewer to the story a lot more effectively than if we just watched it on screen. The mentioning’s the the gun fire when Maggie was saying “pop, pop, pop” may not sound like much written here but said on screen against the backdrop of what was happening in the story I thought made an impact.
Maggie’s character on the other hand is put into a situation that I think she never expected she would be in and it changes her as a person. The death of Daniel in Africa on the bus and the recollection and retelling of this story in her mind has taken quite an impact on her character’s appearance and most likely emotional state. While I think this is something that will be ongoing for the season as we see Maggie’s character change over the next few episode’s I did note that the only time she did laugh was when she thought of a time before her ordeal (Will’s OWS interview). What could this mean? What does this say about Maggie’s character?
Speaking of the OWS interview I thought it was sort of a lighthearted funny part of the episode something I think The Newsroom has been doing a lot of this season. It wasn’t funny like the recording failure in Willie Pete but it was also very interesting to watch. While I have liked the Shelley Wexler (Aya Cash) character this season because she seemed so smart in her conversation’s with Neal, she completely get’s obliterated in this one against Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels).
I also thought that throwing around the term “smug” all over the place, first being directed at Will wrongly, but then displayed by both Sloan Sabbith (Olivia Munn) and Don Keefer (Thomas Sadoski) was some smart writing. It was interesting from a character perspective considering Don and Sloan seem to be increasingly pushed together this season and display similar traits.
Jim Harper (John Gallagher Jr.) in this episode made some progress with Hallie Shea (Grace Gummer) as he gives up his long asked for 30 minute interview. Jim’s scenes seem to be mostly comedic moments such as failing to follow the bus, or the hotel booking scene. I think they were mainly used to take some of the emotional heaviness away from the Maggie scenes in this episode.
Overall I thought this episode was the best of this season so far. I think it had a great balance between the heavy emotional scenes of Maggie’s character against the lighter scenes from ACN’s character’s. Not only did it have great character development contained in this episode especially for Maggie with a great performance from Allison Pill. It also in subtle ways such as the Sloan’s and Don’s smug scenes and Will’s crisis of confidence remark build on character’s that weren’t necessarily the focus. It was an incredibly entertaining and compelling episode and one of the better episode’s I’ve seen for The Newsroom.