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On The Newsroom, Reflections on Forgiveness

This (last) week on The Newsroom, News Night with Will McAvoy, we reflect on the nature of forgiveness. Some people fail to forgive themselves, some can't forgive others, and some mistakenly hold themselves responsible for others' errors in judgement.

Spoilers ahead!

First, let me apologize for taking so long to write this recap. This last week was crazy with softball playoffs, music recitals, last-minute studying for a certification exam, Warrior Dash, and two migraines thrown in just for fun! We lost in the cold, rainy softball playoffs so now I should have Mondays free to post these recaps in a more timely fashion.


Second, I'm using the new mobile interface, which does not allow me to embed graphics. Which sucks. So I'm going to post the graphics in the comments afterwards. Ok, on with the recap! EDIT: No wait, I think I can embed them! I just don't have to use that stupid dialog box anymore! Yay!

Let's kick things off where we left off before - with Maggie. It's seemingly been a few weeks since Uganda, but Maggie's hair hasn't changed, so we haven't yet turned that particular corner. Maggie is spending her nights out drinking, because she can't be alone and Lisa won't let her in the apartment by herself. But it's ok, because she doesn't let it affect her work! (More on this later.) [SIDERANT: Well, good thing we have Lisa around to conveniently be whomever the writers want in order to forward the plot or provide whatever plot point Maggie needs this week. She was such an interesting character last season! Sorkin, you ruined her for the sake of Maggie! Grr.]

Maggie doesn't mind spending her evenings this way, because it's a convenient way to avoid facing herself about what happened in Uganda. She is punishing herself for her role in Daniel's death, but ultimately I think she will need to forgive herself and find peace before she can move on. She's definitely not there yet, and I would say she hasn't gotten there even in the "present day" litigation scenes.


Meanwhile, we see Sloan as we haven't seen her before: Ashamed and humiliated due to circumstances in her personal life. We've seen her weakened in the Bullies episode when she reported something off-the-record on air, and subsequently lied about her abilities to protect the person she took advantage of, but this is different. Someone has taken advantage of her, and the compromise of her professional integrity is being performed by a vindictive ex-boyfriend. It takes her some time hiding out in Don's office to finally rediscover her dignity, but when she does, OH it's awesome. Legit, cheering-at-the-screen awesome. She forgives herself for misplacing her trust, and more appropriately directs her feelings towards the violator of that trust.


Will, meanwhile, has long been suffering from the violations of trust performed by his father during Will's childhood. We know from past therapy sessions that Will's father was abusive, and Will at some point began standing up to him and fighting back to protect the rest of his family. Will hasn't been able to forgive him, but this relationship is complicated by the fact that a father is generally the first person with whom "approval" is a concept. Will's feelings toward his father include an ever-present need for approval, even from a man whose actions he so deeply disapproves of. As his career has progressed, Will has associated this need for approval with the audience of his TV program as well. If he can't get approval from his old man, then he damn well better get approval from the audience, if for nothing more than a big FU to his father.

Will gets a call from his father in the middle of the broadcast, which he dismisses at the time. When he looks into it during a commercial break, it turns out the call was made by a bystander who was assisting his father; he had a heart attack. (Mack spends a lot of time telling Will to call his father in the hospital, which seemed a little excessive to me.) When Will capitulates and calls the hospital, it turns out his father died from the heart attack. We don't know this until later; he continues the broadcast for some time afterward. As it sinks in, he turns to the camera and says "well, I guess it's just you and me now." Meaning, he now only has one way to get the approval he seeks: From the audience.


The broadcast, aside from that hiccup, also has another problem. They are covering the beginnings of the George Zimmerman / Trayvon Martin case, and Maggie is responsible for cutting Zimmerman's 911 call for use in the show. The download takes a long time (ohhh, technology, can't live with it, can't live without it!) so Maggie has a few precious minutes to cut the tape. Well...she makes an error and leaves out a crucial piece of the recording, so the show has to issue a correction at the end of the broadcast. I guess her argument about how her lifestyle is not affecting her performance at work isn't quite viable now.


Other sidenotes in the episode include Jim continuing his relationship with Hallie (about which Maggie makes no effort to hide her derision). Someone runs a story based on a snide comment Don makes, which he tries to correct but is not wholly successful. Having to address the issue with a person named "Munch" doesn't seem to help any.

Any other parts you found interesting? Pros/cons? Things I missed? Leave them in the comments!

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