The elusive Osama Bin Laden was the subject at hand in this week’s episode - one that I had been looking forward to to see where Sorkin would go with it. Although it was as insightful as I’ve come to expect from The Newsroom, it was also immensely annoying.
It seems that there is a trend developing. After a brilliant episode, we have to endure a mediocre one. The marginal focus on Jim and Maggie was to last week’s benefit; consequently, it became a major component of this episode. Maggie and Jim’s interaction was thick with irony and hypocrisy. What seems very peculiar is how accommodating Jim is to Maggie’s demands. As soon as Maggie commands him to break up with Lisa, the backbone-less chicken submits. This love triangle is becoming more and more convoluted, and by no means in an entertaining way.
The West Wing Sorkin was omnipresent in this week’s Newsroom with plenty of White House vernacular, and special attention to protocol, like when Don speaks about from where the president will be making his address. He also cleverly manages to incorporate the servicemen and women associated with the tragic events of 9/11, even down to the fire department by having Don put on the FDNY cap as Will breaks the news to the world.
Sorkin provides a very patriotic episode which is appropriate considering how sensitive the subject matter is to Americans. However, the joy, sense of accomplishment and closure being expressed in this episode feels overzealous. All things considered, this is an opinionated news show with a variety pack of articulate and argumentative personalities, and to not have one of them be the slightest bit cynical or skeptical falls short of the all-encompassing writing we’ve come to expect from Sorkin.
Will and Mack haven’t really taken the foot off the pedal, and Charlie hasn’t had any word come down from upstairs either. The scorn of Leona is imminent but with the tip regarding illegal wiretapping that Charlie is receiving through his anonymous source, “Late for Dinner”, it may be the leverage News Night will need to keep upper management at bay, or the catalyst to the program’s overhaul.
The staff of News Night are in Will’s apartment to celebrate the 1 year and 1 month anniversary of News Night 2.0. Out on Will’s balcony, Charlie receives an anonymous phone call from a mysterious man. He informs Charlie that this is the first of many phone calls to come, and he wants to establish his credibility by predicting that Charlie will get an email from the White House Press Secretary at 9pm.
In between socializing and enjoying the party, Charlie would keep checking the clock. In the kitchen, Will goes into a WebMD-referenced explanation about his medical need for pot, and thanks Neal’s girlfriend Kayley for getting him pot cookies. As Neal forewarns Will of the cookies’ potency, Will informs Neal and Kayley that he has already eaten two along with a Vicodin.
In a room away from the rambunctious guests, Maggie finds Jim watching the baseball game on his laptop. Lisa, on her way to attend this party, notices Jim online and calls him on Skype. Maggie, seeing the incoming call pop up on the screen, answers it despite Jim’s reluctance. The conversation ends with Lisa casually saying the L word to Jim, to which he responds, clearly embarrassed, with an, “And I do too.” Maggie then confronts Jim about him and Lisa, telling him that he cannot lead Lisa on to believe that he feels the same way about her as Lisa does Jim. She convinces Jim to break up with her. Subsequently, Jim receives an email from ACN’s national security analyst stating that he’s available. When Jim approaches Mack and Charlie to ask why he would receive such an email, Charlie and Mack both get email notifications from the White House, just like the anonymous caller said they would and Charlie points out this is what Jim’s email was referring to.
Charlie alerts the staffers that the President of the United States is getting ready to address the nation on an unknown matter of national security, and that everyone needs to head to the office learn more about it. As the News Night staff start heading to the elevator and out of Will’s apartment, Lisa comes up the elevator. Jim explains the situation, and Lisa asks to accompany him to the office.
Meanwhile, Eliot, Don and Sloan have just landed in La Guardia and become aware of what’s happening with the staff at News Night through their cellular devices. However, the plane arrived early, and there is no vacant gate to allow the passengers off the plane. Don and the flight attendant get into an argument about the safety concerns and protocol violations of Sloan switching seats with the passenger beside him. While snarkily remarking on how illogical the safety measures are, Don remains in his seat.
Back in the city, News Night staff rush to the office, Lonny and Will are stuck in traffic. Lonny tells Will to sit tight, but Will ignores him and jumps out of the car and dashes to the office. As Lonny begins to pursue Will, he is apprehended by the police who are responding to the commotion. Things are complicated further when he mentions that he is armed.
Somehow, the rest of the staff have made it to the office before Will and are discussing the possible topics of the President’s address. Bin Laden and Gaddafi seem to be the two frontrunners in the projections, and Mack is organizing teams to follow those trails.
On the plane, Eliot learns that the President will be speaking from the East Room, which they associate with good news. Don explains that historically, all the bad news comes from the Oval Office or the briefing room.
Back at the office, Neal is explaining to Lisa and Kayley how they are deducing what the presidential address will be about when Will interrupts as he finally arrives at the office. As Neal explains to Will that its most likely about Khadafi or Bin Laden, Will says Gaddafi would be a NATO issue, eliminating the possibility, and heads over to his office.
Meanwhile, Jane from ACN’s Washington newsdesk asks Mack about a tweet that states Bin Laden was killed and wants to report it. Mack shoots her down and wants to wait for double confirmation. Neal interrupts to inform Mack of Will’s arrival.
Mack meets Will in his office to witness some peculiar behaviour. Will then confesses that he is intoxicated but reassures Mack that he will be fine to go on the air.
Back on the plane, Sloan gets the first confirmation that it is in fact Bin Laden. In the office, Jim gets the second confirmation and the team informs Charlie, waiting on his go-ahead to break the news.
Charlie wants to wait for the White House to confirm in fear that breaking the story may be detrimental to the military operation which is possibly still in progress.
In the control room, Mack is explaining to Jane, the ACN news anchor for Washington, that Charlie is still waiting for the White House despite double confirmation. Just as Jane is about to go rogue and report the information despite Charlie and Mack’s orders, Mack cuts the feed from the control room. She then threatens to black Jane out for the entire evening.
On the office floor, Maggie confronts Jim about breaking up with Lisa that evening. She continued to state, despite Jim’s reluctance, that he cannot go home with Lisa and continue to lead her on. She wants Jim to rehearse what he is going to say to Lisa, when Lisa approaches them and asks to speak to Jim. As Maggie scurries off, she explains to Jim that she cannot continue seeing Jim, and that she understands he’s only being polite and is not actually interested in her. She then approaches Maggie and explains that she cannot continue to be in between Maggie and Jim.
Back on the plane, Don is complaining about his circumstance and not being able to break this news. The other passengers are receiving messages and reading on the internet of the imminent presidential address to the nation, and are asking Don and his colleagues for answers. With the intention of calming the passengers down, Don gets up to address them with the news on Bin Laden. However, the flight attendant stops him and explains that he by no means is allowed to take control of the cabin. As Don tries to explain himself, the attendant reiterates and calls upon the captain of the plane. When the Captain comes out of the cockpit, Don stumbles upon his words and stops mid sentence. Recognizing the Captain’s rank and the relevance of subject matter, he politely and calmly gives the captain the news that the American armed forces have Bin Laden.
Back at ACN, Jim approaches Lisa and asks her out, wanting to do it the right way this time, and Lonny finally makes it to the office accompanied by two policemen. Will explains himself to the policemen and then informs Lonny of the news, which Lonny relays to the policemen.
Charlie gets another call from anonymous who’s been tagged as ‘Late for Dinner’. Through their conversation, Charlie deduces that this anonymous caller is from the NSA. ‘Late for Dinner’, makes reference to AWM, ACN’s parent company being involved in illegal wiretapping.
As that conversation comes to a halt, Will and Mack approach Charlie about going on air. Charlie is still adamant about waiting for confirmation from the White House. When Mack asks Charlie and Will when they checked their messages, Will pulls out his phone and informs both Mack and Charlie of a message from VP Joe Biden, confirming that the address is in fact about Bin Laden.
News Night is a go and a few minutes before the presidential address, they report the news before cutting to the live feed.