The Newsroom: “Election Night Part 2” Season 2 Finale Review

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The finale of season 2 of The Newsroom had one thing that every other episode this season lacked. Heart.

There were some exhausting parts, of course, because it wouldn’t be an episode of this show without them. Hallie and Jim’s Skype sessions were overdone. Lisa was coincidentally working at Leona’s election night party, because apparently there is only one catering company in all of Manhattan. The debate over whether or not Jim messed up calling Michigan 1. Maggie in general. But luckily, in the end, none of these things really mattered all that much.

Now, I have a confession to make. I’m more sentimental than I like to let on. Even though I want The Newsroom to be a serious show and to make its points without preaching and to be inspirational without being condescending, sometimes I really am just a sucker for a little romance. And when Sloan Sabbath realizes that Don was the one who bid on the book she’d been obsessing about, waltzes into the control room, autographs a copy, and kisses him in front of everyone, my heart melted a little. I will not apologize for how much I loved this scene. It was cheesy, it was predictable, and it was absolutely a wonderful feel good moment of television.

The trajectory the episode took from there was mostly a great one. Jane Fonda was once again charming, and we learn that Leona is going to let Reese make the decision about the lawsuit and the resignations. So for a while, we’re led to believe that the resignations will be accepted, that Will, Mackenzie, and Charlie will be out of their jobs. But Charlie has a revelation, followed by a great monologue of course, that they’ve come such a long way. That they’re doing what they set out to do. News Night 2.0 has come to fruition, despite the major mishap. He decides that no one is resigning, just as Reese decides he’s not going to accept any resignations. All’s well.

As for the actual news, I am someone who lives for election night broadcasts, and I can honestly say that Will and Taylor’s debating over media bias and Will’s Republican affiliation is something that would have made actually great television. And behind the scenes, watching Mackenzie tell off Jane from DC was pretty brilliant as well.

The true climax of the episode is something I’m still not totally on board with, but my emotions were already running high after the Sloan/Don thing so I was softened a little. Mackenzie and Will’s tumultuous relationship is at a crossroads yet again. But Charlie’s lecture makes Will have a realization of his own. He chases down Mackenzie and proposes to her with the ring he’d told her he returned. He kept it, because he loved her that much. She accepts. I may not be completely on Team Will and Mackenzie, but it was a heartwarming moment nonetheless.

Here’s the tragedy of this season: it revolved around Genoa, and as soon as Genoa seems to be gone, things are good again. Watchable. Relatable. Enjoyable. Is there much drama in an election night episode when we already know the outcome? No. Was this episode corny and expected? Yes. Was it my favorite episode of the season? Yes again. For all the time Aaron Sorkin spent trying to humanize his characters with a traumatic trip to Africa and love triangles going especially awry and a massive professional screw up, it turns out that sometimes all you need to restore your faith is a little love. We’re forced to re-live a lot of real world heavy news stories in this show, so sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that it is, in fact, a TV show meant for entertainment, and that in the world of television, sometimes it’s nice, if slightly far-fetched, when love conquers all. Grade: A-

By: Meghan Coan

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