The Newsroom S2 Ep2 – The Genoa Tip

Another episode in, and I see more signs that Sorkin did actually pick up on a few of the things that were lacking in the first season of this show, and has worked to correct them. Encouraging progress, in fact!

Thanks for being civil to each other, Jim and Don. Also, hurry back to NYC, Jim. Romney is boring.

Thanks for being civil to each other, Jim and Don. Also, hurry back to NYC, Jim. Romney is boring.

For instance, although the Maggie-Jim-Don-Sloan quadrangle takes up a significant part of this episode, it made me feel much less like throwing things at the screen than it did last year. Maggie and Sloan teaming up to track down the woman who posted the fateful SATC YouTube video came close to tiresome. (I guess the bargaining over Twitter followers and comments about SATC fanfic is Sorkin vs. the Internet, part 3?) However, there wasn’t that much memorable interaction between Sloan and Maggie last season, and it would be nice for them to be actual friends, not romantic rivals. Plus, when Jim and Maggie were talking on the phone, there was no shouting or hysterics – nor was there when Jim was talking to Don. Heck, Lisa didn’t even scream too much at Maggie when she – quite predictably – saw the YouTube video. Hope we don’t have to suffer through too much of them suffering through sharing an apartment…

Also, this was another ep without Mack having a major freakout and/or ruining everything in a situation where she’s supposed to be competent and in control. Even when she threw Will’s drink at him, she wasn’t hysterical. Let’s see how long this streak lasts.

The award for most Sorkin-y moment of the episode probably goes to Will going down to the police station to get Neal out of jail. Will’s realization that he’s going to do this himself in an attempt to have control over at least one “easy” problem right now was pretty great, and reminded me of something Josh Lyman or Jed Bartlet might have done.

Runner-up Sorkin hallmark: Will and Don’s despair in the face of being unable to stop Troy Davis’ execution from going forward. Tragic, though not nearly as powerful (to me) as the similar storyline from “Take This Sabbath Day” in season 1 of The West Wing. Maybe that’s because, as Will pointed out, he didn’t have the authority to do anything for Davis, while Bartlet did have the authority but neglected to use it. But while we’re talking about Will, he needs to stop angsting about the Taliban-Tea Party thing and reading hate websites about himself. That way lies more self-induced hospital stays, dude.

Nice to see Will putting his lawyer expertise on display.

Nice to see Will’s lawyer expertise put to good use.

Despite the title, there isn’t much development of the Genoa story until the end, when substitute senior producer Jerry tracks down a guy who claims to have been involved in this military operation where the US used sarin gas on civilians. Ugh. I hate watching characters that I like (or at least want to like) get taken in by lies and making a huge mistake, as we already know the News Night crew is going to do.

Also, Maggie going off to Nigeria is supposed to remind us of Mack running off to a war zone to escape the fallout of her ruined relationship with Will, it seems. That didn’t work out so well for Mack, Maggie.

And finally, I am thrilled to discover that last year’s version of the opening theme music still exists, and is used in the closing credits. Hooray!