The Newsroom: “Red Team III” Season 2 Episode 7 Review

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The most unfortunate thing about The Newsroom this season is that it relied very heavily, almost entirely, upon one thing. And that one thing was not enough.

Genoa. Jerry Dantana. A wrongful termination lawsuit. We’ve heard about it week after week, and tonight it came to a head. In the third Red Team meeting about the story, Sloan, Neal, Don, and especially Jim bring up the reasons why they’re skeptical and don’t think it should be reported. Jerry is adamant. Will, who’s hearing the news for the first time, confirms that he heard the same story from a secret source. When asked for his opinion, Will says that his opinion is to trust Charlie and Mackenzie. The story gets the green light.

Being in the know, the broadcast is very uncomfortable to watch. It brings in 5.8 million viewers, and a threatening call from Stomtonovich. What it doesn’t immediately bring is a response from the Department of Defense. But when that response finally does arrive, it’s scathing, and a much more specific and severe rebuttal than anyone anticipated.

The story unravels in a series of ridiculous events. One of their sources ends up having suffered from a traumatic brain injury prior to coming forward. Charlie’s source gave him false information as revenge for firing his son, a recovering drug addict who subsequently overdosed. By the time Mackenzie is able to put together that Jerry altered the raw footage of the Stomtonovich interview, things already surpassed a level of absurdity I didn’t think this show could reach. The entire storyline of Genoa is sloppy, lazy, and disappointing.

The only good thing about this episode is that I think we’re now finally done with the depositions, which have been tedious and irritating since the first episode.

My least favorite part of this episode is that it could have been one of their great episodes, on par with when they reported Bin Laden’s death or the shooting of Gabby Giffords. Because the scenes of the team researching Benghazi and the protests in Cairo were wonderful. I’ve said it before, this show shines when it’s actually reporting news (a year after it’s actually occurred.) This episode was a missed opportunity for that, because just as the news team’s internal debate over how to approach reporting on Benghazi begins, Mack interrupts and announces they have to retract Genoa.

Martyrs Will, Charlie, and Mackenzie realize they have to resign. Leona refuses to accept their resignations. Jane Fonda is pretty brilliant in this scene, her first appearance of the season, but it’s hard for Jane Fonda not to be brilliant, and it did not save the episode. She demands they regain the public’s trust. End scene.

The reason this show is so infuriating is that last season, they had some kinks to work out. They focused entirely too much on the love triangle that no one cared about. Mackenzie, the most important female lead, was completely irrational and her portrayal was nothing short of sexist. The most charming characters, Sloan and Neal, were overlooked and given miniscule storylines. All of those bugs were fixed this season, and they still managed to botch things. Because they lost the formula that made the first season so worth watching. Will McAvoy + the news. That was what worked. But at this point, that aspect of the show has been so watered down that it’s hardly worth watching. Grade: C-

By: Meghan Coan


One Response to The Newsroom: “Red Team III” Season 2 Episode 7 Review

  1. Sarah Lee says:

    Great review, but this was actually Jane Fonda’s second appearance of the season. She was in the premiere.

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