The Newsroom, S1 Ep3 – The 112th Congress

Will is nervous after that night, wondering to Charlie why he’s not hearing anything “from the 44th floor” – where, we can assume, Charlie is having the meeting in ‘the present’. Charlie basically lies to him that there aren’t any problems and that “she” (Leona) doesn’t watch the show much. Will doesn’t press the issue. Back at the meeting, Charlie gets fed up with Reese — who, by the way, is the son of the powerful Leona, owner of the ACN channel. Charlie goes to get a drink and mutters that he’s going to put his fist through Reese’s head. But Reese declares, “We lost David and Charles.” This is evidently serious enough that Charlie pauses and Leona looks somber. David and Charles, we find out, are the Koch brothers: extraordinarily wealthy businessmen (only Warren Buffet and Bill Gates are richer) who own Koch Industries. They also own a bunch of chemical, mineral, gas, ranching, etc. companies. Most importantly, they are now the main force behind funding the Tea Party via “Americans For Prosperity”.

During the rundown meeting through which we learn about this central control of the Tea Party (which makes it not at all grassroots anymore), Maggie is able to contribute when asked. However, she’s obviously having trouble of some kind. Jim is the only one who seems to really care. As soon as she can, Maggie flees the meeting. Jim excuses himself to follow her. He asks Don out in the newsroom what’s up. Don explains that Maggie gets panic attacks, but she’s fine and she just needs to be left alone. Oh, Don. Just because Maggie probably told you that doesn’t mean you should listen. You’re really not a very good boyfriend. Jim goes out on the balcony to find Maggie.

Jim & Maggie

Just don’t wait until freaking season 7, okay, guys?

Maggie’s in the middle of a desperate phone conversation with her roommate Lisa about the fact that the guys Lisa invites over are always stealing Maggie’s Xanax. Not cool. When she hears Jim coming, she begs Lisa not to hang up but puts the phone away. She tries to stand up but can’t — and Jim tells her to stay sitting, anyway. He checks her pulse and does some — I don’t know if you call it first aid — for panic attacks. Turns out some of the guys he was embedded with got panic attacks, so he knows how to help her work through it. She’s vaguely hostile, but listens to him. He points out that “someone like [her]” should always have her prescribed anti-anxiety meds on her. Don’t be patronizing, Jim, because I really like you, and I already ship you and Maggie like whoa. The panic attack is passing. Jim sits down next to her. In response to Maggie’s question, he says the guys he was embedded with were the best — but the people at News Night are a close second. Aw.

Maggie explains why Don’s hands are tied at his show, and says that he and Jim should be friends. Maybe in an alternate universe, Maggie. Jim says the fact that Don and Maggie have broken up and gotten back together so often during the last five months shows that there must be something real between the two of them, so they should stop breaking up and “learn how to have a fight”. Good advice, except Don sucks as a person. Jim gently takes his leave. Maggie picks up her phone and tells Lisa, “Yeah. That was him.” The one you’re destined to be with? Why, yes it was.

In a direct follow-up, Jim is at the bar working on something on his laptop when Neal bounds over to join him. He tells Jim gleefully that Maggie and Don have broken up — for good this time — and so he should “get in there”. Jim scornfully says, “I’m not going to sweep in like she’s a rent-controlled apartment. She’s probably really upset!” Hee and aw. You’re so sweet, Jim.

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