Back to the A-plot: Will is very defensive, and won’t admit that he’s done anything wrong. Besides being a jerk, I guess he’s largely correct. Charlie says he wants Will on ACN morning shows responding in the right way to these accusations. Will rants that he won’t give any attention to something like this, no doubt brought about by NewsCorp trying to mess with him. Charlie suddenly realizes that AWM owns TMI, not NewsCorp. Then the story of his meeting with Leona Lansing comes out. This is an inside smear job – it’s Leona Lansing making good on her promise to create a situation in which firing Will would look like the best, honorable choice.
Everyone’s stunned. When the facts about Will’s non-compete clause come out, however, Mack comes to an even more awful (for her) realization: Will would have never allowed the non-compete clause in his contract, so it must have been added recently. For example, when he renegotiated it in order to be able to fire Mack every week. She walks out, very upset, and Will follows. After arguing loudly with him, Mack says she might as well leave and let someone else do the job. Will says they should have that discussion.
Then Maggie gets a news alert. Quickly, all hands are on deck, focused on the breaking news of the shooting of 12 people in Tucson, including Congressman Gabrielle Giffords. Because it is January 8, 2011, as the show informs us. Here comes the Coldplay song I’ve had stuck in my head since starting to recap, whose title matches this episode’s. And may I just say, musical montages on TV have become something of a cliché, but no one does them quite like Sorkin. Also, “Fix You” works surprisingly well for the current state of everything on the show.
We see the team push away their shock and horror, and the emotions they have been dealing with before this, in order to report as best as they can. NPR reports that Giffords has died, and other news networks quickly spread that story. I can’t remember whether I saw that premature report anywhere or not. But Mack and the team won’t state that unless there’s a better source. Reese busts in, angry that this means ACN isn’t being “current.” His ratings argument doesn’t sway them, though. For once, even Don steps up and tells Will and everyone that doctors declare people dead, not the news. And of course, she didn’t die – thank God. Will gets to inform viewers that she’s going into surgery, instead. These actors, you guys. Even the secondary characters. I see the tears glistening in their eyes and I feel like I’m back at that moment.
On the break, Will calls in Charlie and Mack. He tells Charlie to tell Leona that it’s going to take more than this to get him out. Charlie says that’s what he’ll fucking do, and Will replies that he’s not fucking around. Then Mack apologizes for fucking everything up, and Will tells her everything’s going to be all right. Then Don breaks in to ask what the fuck is going on, and this follows: “You’re a fucking newsman, Don. I ever tell you otherwise, you punch me in the face!” “’Kay, but you’re back in 30.” Bwah! I think overuse of that expletive is usually boring and a sign of a poor vocabulary, but I also think that scene was pretty amazing and that Sorkin knows how to use the word for actual effect.
And with the final strains of the song, that’s the end. In case I haven’t mentioned it? I love this show, and though I have my issues with him, I’m still 100% a Sorkin fan.