This week on The Newsroom, a number of people pass their own points of no return, with varying negative consequences.
In this week's episode, One Step Too Many, we see the Genoa story make it through one of the last gates before broadcast: the red team. This hinged on the video testimony of one General Stomtonovich (Ret.), who gave one of those creepy blacked out video interviews about the alleged Operation Genoa. Also, Jim's favorite Romney press rep gave one suggestion too many to the Romney campaign, and was subsequently fired. And Nina Howard pushed a little too hard to make Will likeable (or at least think about how likeable he is), so she was "let go" as well.
First, let's break down the Genoa situation. The red team is convened and consists of Don, Jim, and Sloan. Their banter is highly entertaining, but ultimately they and Charlie aren't convinced to run the story because of the lack of eyewitness / firsthand accounts of what happened. That is, until two key contributers are identified: a member of the unit previously thought deceased, and a retired general who would have had knowledge of the op.
Sidenote: Stomtonovitch is totally played by Gordon from Dodgeball! If you can dodge sarin, you can dodge a ball!
Stomtonovitch, who has a sketchy memory (and maybe a sketchy psyche), agrees to be interviewed as long as his identity is concealed. Bryan Fantana goes with Maggie to interview him, but he only agrees to be interviewed with Bryan Fantana in the room. Maggie sets up the gear, then leaves—OHMYGOD, you guys! He totally said "it happened!" The thing Maggie kept insisting he didn't say when she was being deposed by Lawyer MGH! Gaaahhhhhh!
Ahem. Anyway, Stom sort of hedges during the interview and keeps using phrases like "if we had" and other hypotheticals. It's clear that Bryan Fantana isn't satisfied with Stom's interview, so we see him do some creative editing before presenting the interview. (The final product is sort of clunky, but I guess we'll ignore that.) By the way, my husband is calling it: somehow the basketball game being in the frame is going to play into proving Bryan Fantana is at fault (i.e. it'll prove that he cut the video).
I have tried to include a screen shot of the scene where Bryan Fantana shows the interview...I think the sex panther really makes it work. Stings the nostrils.
While this is going on, Will is out of the loop and is spending his time conducting focus groups to determine how much the audience likes him. Nina Howard spends all of her time with Will convincing him that he has to be more likeable (resulting in a disastrous stint on the morning talk show), while Sloan spends a few minutes explaining to Will why he is trying to get the audience to like him, but that maybe he doesn't need to. Nina pushed a little too hard (took one step too many, you might say) and Will breaks off the relationship. (I'm kind of glad about this, though I appreciated the break from the will-they-or-won't-they business.)
In related news: I still love Sloan. That is all.
Jim, meanwhile is trying to get some quality time with Hallie, with whom he has video chatted for some time. He has a romantic evening set up, which turns into a double date, which adds on Taylor, the Romney press liaison, as a fifth wheel. We find out that Taylor was fired for maybe being too forward or making too many suggestions to the Romney campaign. We get some time to feel sorry for her before dinner is over and Jim and Hallie are off to make sexy time in a hotel room. Sadly, this gets cut short when Hallie is called to the airport to do more reporting things.
We get some glimpses into Maggie's wild nightlife during this episode. It's not clear that she is out of control, but she seemed to miss or forget what Stomtonovitch said the morning after a night out late drinking and going home with the bartender who was facilitating her drunken escapist stupor. What do we think, friends? Is Maggie in a tailspin? Has she taken one step too many?
It's clear that Bryan Fantana took one step too many in doctoring the interview, albeit for apparently noble reasons, and at the very end of the episode, we find out that none of Operation Genoa was true. (Another sidenote: Does anyone think ACN loves Obama? Bryan Fantana seemed to think so and I didn't really understand that part of his rant.) Next week, the special report airs at 9pm, and at 10:05 ACN finds out they have a problem. Can they pull themselves out of the whole that Bryan Fantana dug for them all? Will Lawyer MGH be able to protect them from the lawsuit? Will we see Charlie and Will depart FOREVER??? Four more episodes to find out!