The Newsroom – Recap & Review – First Thing We Do, We Kill All the Lawyers

photo: hbo

photo: hbo

The Newsroom
First Thing We Do, We Kill All the Lawyers

Original Air Date: Jul 13, 2013

Patricia Morris Buckley — Sr. Staff Writer

The Newsroom opened its second season with a new opening, so you can understand my optimism that we would also get a revamped, spruced up show. But no. Half the time, I didn’t really understand everything going on. Once again, Aaron Sorkin tried to distract us with the fireworks of his rapid dialogue so we wouldn’t notice that nothing was really happening.

Remember how Will ended the season one by calling the Tea Party “the American Taliban”? This is still causing problems. Reese (owner of ACN) is shut out of a House of Representatives meeting, he believes because of the comment. This episode (and the next) are framed by the idea that ACN’s lawyer, Rebecca Halliday (Marcia Gay Harden) is taking the testimony of the staff over the issue of a story on the black-ops Genoa that somehow got everyone in deep doo-doo.

Now we jump back several months. Charlie asks him not to do the broadcast commemorating the anniversary of 9/11 due to his comments and “get the flu.” Will agrees and acts as if it means nothing to him. But it starts the dominoes falling. A reporter on the Romney campaign breaks an ankle and Mac asks Jim to find someone else. After he seeing Maggie and Don playing cutesy, the heart-broken Jim volunteers to go. This leads to a reporter in Washington, Jerry, coming on as Mac’s assistant producer.

Jerry gangs up with Sloan to convince Mac they should do a panel on drones. Will, still upset, lets Jerry’s analyst, Cyrus West, hog the conversation. Cyrus, knowing he screwed up, wants to be invited back so he tells Jerry he has a story that will “make careers and end presidencies.” It’s the Genoa story.

There’s a lot of personal stuff happening. Jim is given a cold shoulder at the Romney campaign (another result of the “Taliban” comment). Don and Maggie break up because he sees a YouTube video of her in the season one finale professing her love for Jim (adding that he never loved her). Neal pitches a story that he calls an “American Arab Spring” which will become Occupy Wall Street. We also learn from the lawyer, that in the future Maggie takes an assignment in Uganda where things went so badly that she came back with an ugly haircut and bright red hair.

Mac and Will meet in a bar and he admits he’s mad about the 9/11 gig, but vows that he won’t let things slide anymore. We are left wondering where this is all going and why we care. I wish Sorkin had made the circumstances and stakes clearer so we could feel really involved. Instead, we’re left with a lot of loose ends, half-baked storylines and no one to really root for.

Did you think this episode showed promise for the new season? Are you glad that Maggie and Don have finally broken up? Are you wondering, like I am, how in the world Maggie could have made her hair any uglier? Give us your TwoCents…

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3 Responses to The Newsroom – Recap & Review – First Thing We Do, We Kill All the Lawyers

  1. Mark Goham says:

    The idea that “half the time I don’t understand everything going on” is part of the allure for me. Sorkin’s rapid dialogue is part of the “what’s happening.” It was part of Sports Night, West Wing, and now the Newsroom. As for the “there’s a lot of personal stuff going on” I think that’s a fair statement, but I also think that The Newsroom is a night time soap opera.

    • Patricia Morris Buckely says:

      A really good point. There is much to be said for a show that’s not predictable. And I’ve always loved that Sorkin keeps things a little “sloppy.” I know a show like this has to have a little soap opera, but you have to admit this is more than we saw on West Wings. We rarely saw the characters outside of the work place. That said, I wouldn’t be covering the show if I didn’t like it.

  2. FK says:

    I love the direction season two seems to be going in. I feel like the entire season is going to be a flashback leading up to the one big screw up whereas last season was more of each episode telling its own story with tiny bits of flashbacks. I love that the worst couple in the entire world finally broke up and I can’t wait to find out just what happened in Uganda. This definitely now has more of a West Wing feel. I felt like Josh Lyman and Toby Ziegler were going to pop in a room any moment.

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