Mack apologizes very sincerely to Will for the mysterious thing in their past. He doesn’t forgive her. He does say he’ll give her people a fair chance when he hires his new staff. Mack begins to leave, defeated, but then she turns and delivers the second Sorkin Rant of the episode. She extols the importance of a well-informed electorate, and how the news should be a force to make that happen. She berates Will for being too scared for his job to do a quality news show, and reminds him of the way their show used to be before he got too popular and started not ever bothering anyone. Aw, so they were like Dan and Casey, but they broke up? That is tragic. They argue over whether or not doing a good news show that’s also popular is possible. Guess who’s on which side. Mackenzie gives a passionate and inspiring argument. Will says it did nothing for him. Mack tries a quote from The Man of La Mancha, but Will doesn’t seem moved by that, either – especially when Mack says she’s Don Quixote and Will is the donkey. She wants their newscast to inform the debate, to “speak truth to stupid”, to reclaim the fourth estate.
Jim gets fed up with Don being a grade-A jerk and storms into Will’s office. Don follows, still trying to get Jim to shut up. But Will wants to hear it. Jim explains about how BP doesn’t know how to cap the well and how oil is spilling into the ocean at an alarming rate. Will asks, “Why is this well different from other wells?” and I know that’s got to be a nod to Passover and the Pesach Haggadah. Jim enlists the help of Neal, whom Will first charmingly addresses as “Punjab.” Neal explains some stuff, blah blah I’m not going to go into a lot of depth. Get it? Depth? Anyway, Charlie joins the group out in the newsroom in time to be informed of Halliburton’s failure to do anything about the fact that their tests showed that the well was going to fail. Will isn’t entirely convinced, but he wants to know more about Jim’s sources. Jim doesn’t want to give them up. Mack convinces him to do so, in the semi-privacy (Charlie, Don, and Mackenzie are there) of Will’s office. It’s Jim’s college roommate at BP and his older sister at Halliburton. Will is impressed that Jim got two people to roll over on their employers so fast. Don is still an ass. He points out that if they’re wrong about Halliburton, Halliburton will sue them and end up owning the company. But Will says, “Let’s throw out the rundown.” My Sports Night-loving heart sings at that phrase. Everyone except Don is thrilled.
Don starts to go out and order his staff around – but Will steps in and hands the reins over to Mackenzie by giving all of Don’s staff the next two weeks off. He thinks this is bigger than an environmental disaster, that it has political implications. He further insists he didn’t buy anything Mackenzie said in his office, but asks her to start two weeks early anyway. She says it’s obvious he bought it all, but agrees to do so. I like her. Everyone gets moving. Jim asks Maggie to get some information from a particular government agency. Don tries to step in and say he’ll do it, but Maggie wants to live up to her associate producer role and do it herself. Thankfully, Don is supportive right there. Otherwise I’d have to decide he was a complete waste of space.
The studio gets ready. Will gets ready, too. We can tell he’s a little nervous about putting on his suit jacket and going out to the anchor desk, but he does it. Mackenzie goes into the booth to do her executive producing. She begins by getting something straight with Will, out at the desk: from eight to nine, he’s totally in her hands. When Will won’t say “I understand” right away, Mack changes the graphics screen so that it says “Vertigo Medicine with Will McAvoy.” Will freaks out and demands she take it off before that somehow makes its way to Youtube. Mack doesn’t relent until he says he understands. That was a pretty hilarious scene. One of the crew remarks that there’s no script, so there’s nothing on the prompter for Will. Mack says that’s when Will’s at his best.
At his desk, as the clock ticks down to air time, Will switches on his professional persona. By the way, the prompter just says, “Good evening, I’m Will McAvoy,” and then [VAMP]. Hee. Will describes the situation in the Gulf flawlessly. I don’t think it’s necessary to go into all the things we hear during the report. But it’s an ACN exclusive, thanks to Jim’s college roommate, that BP doesn’t know how to cap the well.