Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks

The Mission to Civilize Achieves Mixed Results on The Newsroom

This week, Jim and Will bring News Night's Mission To Civilize to new places, with varied success. Plus, Genoa continues to unfold - barely - and we get some revelations about audio recordings.

Spoilers ahead!

This week, the Sorkin dialogue is in fine form...so fine, that the interview of the Genoa source went completely over my head! Thank goodness Mackenzie was there to show us the appropriate responses to his story. (Something about Cobras...White Phosphorous!!...helos...lots of acronyms.) Note to self: Come up with reasons to use the word "helos" in everyday conversation.


Meanwhile, on the Romni-bus, Jim is failing at doing any actual reporting, through no fault of his own. Any attempts to glean detailed information about the candidate's plan or posture are shot down. (I thought this echoed a lot of last season's GOP debate format; holding candidates accountable for their statements and whatnot.) This culminates in a rousing speech by Jim about how the reporters should be digging deeper and how the candidate should be catering to the reporters, and not the other way around. His climactic "who's with me!?" has only Hallie (apparently Meryl Streep's daughter!) and Tequila Man joining in. The Three Amigos subsequently get kicked off the bus, and will now have to fend for themselves in the rough-and-tumble world of primary campaigning, where the only turkey sandwiches you get are the ones you take for yourself.

At the same time, Will is on a mission to civilize gossip columnists. Well, just one really: Nina Howard, who enjoys her mimosas without pulp, thank you very much. Will asks her not to run a story about how he was taken off the 9/11 coverage, and she agrees, without much fuss (hired pianist notwithstanding). Two revelations from this meeting: The contents of Will's VUI (voicemail under the influence), and Nina's and Will's mutual interest. Will asks Nina out, and she declines because she heard Will say "I never stopped loving you" to Mack's voicemail. A sweet moment of understanding...of course, later, we see Nina in Will's apartment post-shower, so obviously she took him up on it later.

The other tale of recording in this episode involved the blackmail ammunition against one Reese Lansing, aka Douchebag Extraordinaire. (Seriously, every time he opens his mouth I want to punch it.) Will and Charlie hilariously and heroically ascend to the 44th floor, tape in hand, to confront Reese about leaking the story about Will's absence from 9/11 coverage. When Charlie plays the tape to remind Reese of the evidence, we hear...silence. They didn't record the confession! (Clearly it's because Neil wasn't around to turn the thing on.) Welp...I guess that's the end of the blackmail.


Maggie's trip to Africa changes in that the Pentagon asks ACN to film some soldiers providing school supplies to a Ugandan orphanage. Sounds simple enough, right? Neil is still trying to find a story in Occupy Wall Street, which Mack (and everyone else, I guess) is treating like a joke. But it sounds like our anthropology student from the first episode might get some time with Will, if Neil can convince her to come on the show.

Don continues to work out his issues with the breakup by "enhancing" his office chair. Sloan interrupts him to vent about her EP, and Don offers his advice. Sloan follows it, more or less, and we next find her being dragged back in to Don's office by the aforementioned EP. It seems he is mad at Don for giving Sloan advice, even though his advice was to listen to her EP, which she sort of didn't do. Don defends Sloan, who then proves she doesn't need defending by railing against the EP for treating her like a child. I heart Sloan SO MUCH, you guys.


Finally, the show ends with the Genoa story almost dying, then being revived at the last minute by Twitter. Thank you, social media! Someone apparently saw white phosphorous (aka Willie Pete) around the time of the alleged Genoa op. More to come next week, with the return of Lawyer MGH!


And now, the pros and cons of Willie Pete.

Con: This episode is called Willie Pete.

Pro: "If you ever drag me by the wrist through the newsroom again, I will take out each of your goddamn knuckles with a ball peen hammer."


Pro: Don's office improvements.


Pro: We ride! And also this gif. And pretty much every one of Charlie's lines in this episode.

What did y'all think?

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