The Newsroom, S1 Ep5 – Amen

I very much enjoyed this fantastic episode, which features excellent (though slightly over-the-top) physical comedy, the beginnings of the Arab Spring, a real storyline for Neal, and Valentine’s Day shenanigans, Sorkin-style.

We open with the protests in Egypt. Elliot (I don’t know why an anchor would travel but whatever) is reporting from Cairo. It’s February 10, 2011. He says he’d like to show them live pictures of Tahrir Square, but that their cameras have been taken down. Don is frustrated that Elliot’s stuck in his hotel room instead of being where the actual news is happening. He whines a lot. Big surprise. Shut up, Don. Will carries the situation ably.

Maggie smacks Jim

Injury count so far: 1.

Maggie comes in then, opening the glass door right into Jim’s head. She apologizes but hurries to announce the new story she’s found: a spontaneous teachers’ protest developing in Wisconsin, in front of the building where Governor Scott Walker is currently located. Ah, yes. Him. There follows a very Sorkiny scene where Don, Maggie, and Jim all three talk at Mack telling her what she/they need to do next, and she says yes to all of them without possibly having been able to understand them. Jim and Maggie run off to the editing room.

Maggie brings her footage back to the control room a few seconds ahead of Jim — which means, of course, that she manages to hit him in the head with the door again. Don stalks off to find someone on the ground in Cairo. Mack calls all the rest of the producers together. She and Will trade barbs while everyone gets settled in the conference room. Mack reveals that Will cries when he watches the movie Rudy, but Gary and many others there agree that everyone cries during “the jersey scene”. Jim hasn’t seen the movie. (Neither have I, although I generally like sports movies and Sean Astin, so I probably should. But here’s the scene, if you’re curious .) Will and all the others are appalled that Jim hasn’t seen it, so they describe the jersey scene in great detail — to Mack’s chagrin at having brought it up in the first place. Hee. Although I’m miffed that it’s only the guys in the room who take part in describing it.

At that point, Tess notices that Jim’s forehead is bleeding. Maggie admits ruefully that she hit him with the door — twice — and runs to get the first aid kit. What Mackenzie actually wanted to talk about is the situation in Egypt. They need someone on the ground who can really cover what’s going on. It can’t be an American, because that would be too dangerous. They need a “stringer”, a local who can blend in with the crowd, but who’s also credible and can get quality footage. Before Neal can introduce the guy he’s found on the internet, Charlie calls Will and Mack out to talk.

Will and Mack

You see that look in his eyes?

Apparently, there’s going to be a new TMI story — and this time it’s going to be about Mack. Her boyfriend Wade is running for congress. Since he’s appeared on News Night five times in recent weeks, it looks like Mack is using the station to boost his profile, which is highly unethical. But Mack didn’t know Wade was doing more than considering running for congress. Mack is crushed, and Will is irate. He says, “Come on, chief, it’s Mack! She’s annoyingly ethical!” So sweet, Will. Of course it’s a threat to Mack that would make him rise to her defense. Because he still looooves her. Charlie warns Mack that she has to be extra careful of what she does now, and leaves. Mack sighs that Wade obviously used her. Will, being the better man and not a pompous ass for once, says maybe he didn’t do it on purpose. “Nobody in his right mind would risk using you,” he adds in a low voice, before going back to the conference room. Looooove, I tell you.

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