The Newsroom S01 E05 – Amen

This week’s ep runs from February 10th to the 14thof 2011 and Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) and his team take on a number of issues both on-air and off.

On-air, their own Elliot Hirsch (David Harbour) is broadcasting from Cairo about the apparent revolution going on there. But he can’t get out onto the streets, until Don (Thomas Sadoski) gives his ok, and he gets beaten with a rock.

Both Will and MacKenzie MacHale (Emily Mortimer) agree that they need someone on the ground, someone who can get the info they need. Neal (Dev Patel) comes to them with a man calling himself Amen, which is ancient Egyptian for ‘The Hidden One.’

After vetting him, they agree to use him, and Mac gives him his assignment after telling him they’ll need to use his real name, and he can’t hide his face behind a bandanna. Kahlid Salim (Amin El Gamal) goes to work.

Through all this Maggie (Alison Pill) is working on the Governor Scott Walker story of his Budget Repair Bill, which would strip the bargaining abilities of public sector employees and their unions. (This includes a great sequence when Maggie nails Jim (John Gallagher Jr) with a glass door… twice.. “How do you not see me, it’s a glass door!” as well as a fun little reference to the bril news film, Broadcast News).

They’re also running down the connection between the Koch brothers and Citizens United.

While things seem to be going well on-air, TMI continues to drag Will and News Night through the mud. Now Nina (Hope Davis) and by extension upper management, read as Leona Lansing (Jane Fonda), are looking to discredit Mac. It seems Wade (Jon Tenney) has been exploiting his relationship with Mac by getting on air, no less than five times, and is using it to further his own political ambitions.

Mac and Sloan (Olivia Munn) have drinks, so Sloan can teach Mac some economics for a panel she’s sitting on, and be her only girl friend so they talk about Will as well.

Will goes to see Nina, and almost agrees to buy her off, for $50,000, when she refers to herself as a journalist. Will can’t let it lie, and rips into Nina, and tells her that she and Leona are free to come after him, but if they go after any of his team again, he’ll tear them apart.

And in the end, most of this episode is about that, support, and team. We find this out early as Mac and Will snipe at each other in the meeting room, revealing that Mac has to do math on her fingers, Will took tap, and that he cries during Rudy.

Everybody loves Rudy, except for Jim, who’s never seen it.

But Jim has his own problems, Maggie is setting everything up for him and Lisa (Kelen Coleman) for a perfect Valentine’s day, cause she doesn’t want her own with Don ruined. Believe me when I say wackiness ensues there.

Things get troubling though when Kahlid goes missing, and they can’t get a trace on his sat phone. They get word that a splinter group is willing to ransom him, and the team hope Corporate will help out.

In the end, in a wonderful callback to the scene that makes everyone cry in Rudy, Will and his team take care of the ransom themselves.

Aaron Sorkin continues to write some of the best dialogue I have ever heard, the Howard Hawks rapid-fire delivery is still going, and the characters and their interactions feels real and completely realized.

I can’t wait to see where this series goes. It’s smart, fun television that doesn’t pander, and we need as much of that as we can get. So keep them coming!

The Newsroom airs Sundays on HBO.

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