The Newsroom: “One Step Too Many” Season 2 Episode 6 Review

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This week’s episode of The Newsroom did something that previous episodes this season have failed to do: it stressed me out. It was a relief that I fell invested in an episode again.

That’s not to say it wasn’t without its flaws. I’ll get those flaws out of the way quickly.

Will and Nina dating? No, thanks. Not buying it. I could have also done without his stint on the morning show.

Was Maggie’s character not already pathetic enough without giving us a firsthand peek at her drinking problem and new found penchant for one night stands? Trust me, it was.

Do I care that Taylor got fired as Romney’s spokesperson or that Hallie and Jim, who are also apparently dating now, had a romantic night cut short or that they tried to set Neal up on a date with a drunken avid Ron Paul supporter? No. I do not.

Now that that’s off my chest, I can get to the good stuff.

The montage of Will’s election coverage was just enough. A taste of his commentary on it without torturing us with reliving the entire election. It was very well done.

But the greatest and rarest moments on this show are the moments that feel reminiscent of older and better Aaron Sorkin shows. Heartfelt moments between two fast talking characters that feel like they could be picked out of The Newsroom and seamlessly dropped into an episode of Sports Night or The West Wing. Mostly they come from Sloan and Will, and that was one of tonight’s, simply confirming them as they two characters I like the best. But the other was far more surprising, from Mackenzie and Don just casually sitting in the bar. Their easy banter and transitioning between talk about work and about their personal lives was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stagnant season.

I have an admission to make. It pains me to admit this, but I was wrong about the Genoa storyline being horrible. Tonight it turned a corner in a big way, and made me think that maybe, just maybe, this season still has a chance of coming together. Mackenzie, Charlie, Jerry, Maggie, and Neal fill Don, Sloan, and Jim in on the story they’ve been researching for seven months. They review all the evidence, and they’re still in disbelief. But they’ve managed to track down General Stomtonovich, who confirms that Genoa was a real operation. Mackenzie and Charlie get him to agree to go on air as long as his identity remains anonymous. Maggie and Jerry go to conduct the interview, but the general insists that Maggie leave the room because he was told Jerry Dantana and no one else would be interviewing him. While he confirms that Genoa in fact a special operation, an extraction of two captured Marines, he evades the question of whether or not sarin was used. He simply explains the hypothetical logistics of how the use of chemical weapons could potentially happen. Jerry is infuriated, and frustrated, he takes it upon himself to edit the tape to make it seem like he had confirmed the use of sarin on civilians. Since he was the only one in the room, there was no one to dispute this when he played the tape for the News Night team. Charlie isn’t satisfied, however, and demands one more witness.

The episode closes with the newsroom getting a call from a corporal they were unable to track down, who they had believed to be dead after the operation.

Finally, things are picking up. Mostly because everything is at stake now. This was the most heightened an episode has left me, partially because the “scenes from next week” were so intense, and partly because this was the first properly executed episode that successfully built suspense and drew the audience into the storyline they’ve been peddling for weeks. I also have to say that this is the first episode, maybe all series, that I have no complaints about the acting. The portrayal of women could still use work, but I’ll let Maggie and the drunk Ron Paul reporter slide just because the rest of the episode was so good. Here’s hoping next week’s climax to the Genoa story won’t disappoint…Grade: B+

By: Meghan Coan

 

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