Wow. What an episode, especially the last act when things really look like they are on the precipice of spinning out of control!
The episode opens with the Red Team hearing about the black-op code-named Genoa. A red team’s purpose is to look at all the evidence, witness and material that has been collected, look at it with a fresh eye, look for holes in the story, and test its credibility. It also enjoyably descended into a discussion and naming of Santa’s reindeer.
Will (Jeff Daniels) is a little worried about his numbers so he’s run an independent study with Nina’s (Hope Davis) help. He even tries to improve his perceived onscreen likability by going on ACN’s morning show… oh dear. But it’s the stuff on his own show that I love… If politicians don’t bring up their religion or bring it into their speeches and rallies then you leave it alone, as soon as they bring it in, you have a right to question it. Will backs up these statements, despite the press reps saying that they should leave their nominees religions out of it, by actual statements from the presidential candidates talking about their religion and their beliefs, and using them as a political soapbox.
I loved the stuff on Genoa, including having Charlie (Sam Waterston) and Mac (Emily Mortimer) tracking down a general (Stephen Root) who may be willing to go on camera and discuss the alleged incident. We also see that Jerry (Hamish Linklater) may not be playing as above-board as he should be, which as soon as I saw, I started shaking my head.
We see in that moment the way things can be changed and manipulated, instead of being objective, Jerry seems intent on tweaking he information he has to make it fit what he wants as opposed to just reporting it.
Big mistake, and someone is gonna be able to pick it out when they finally go to air, and it’s going to have something to do with the basketball game airing in the background. There’s gonna be an indicator there somewhere and someone is going to pick it out, and the whole thing is going to go sideways, which we know happens from Charlie’s last statement to Rebecca Hallliday (Marcia Gay Harden) at the episode’s end.
The other thing that I really enjoyed this episode is the wonderful relationship between Will and Sloan (Olivia Munn), the big brother, little sister thing they’ve developed is put to fantastic use in this episode, and it’s so fun to watch the two of them banter together. I loved how Sloan wanted to talk about the movie John Carter, and despite the fact that it was going to be a flop (the episode takes place before its less than stellar release), it’s not really going to ruin anyone, because the entertainment industry, and all of the people it employ are still making a product that consumers want.
Also of great delight for me was the return of Hallie (Grace Gummer). It’s so great to see her and Jim together, and her character is so smart, funny and sexy. They plan to have a private dinner before Hallie has to leave in the morning, but then it turns into a double date when she brings a friend for Neal (Dev Patel). It gets even worse when Romney’s press secretary Taylor (Constance Zimmer) comes along as well.
She continues to give Jim the gears especially about the fact that ACN spent six and a half minutes covering the infamous Romney etch-a-sketch comment. We also find out that she advised Romney to change his tactics, talk about his business, as he claimed to be a strong businessman, be smarter, wiser, and it costs her her job.
Everything seems to be coming very quickly to a head, Maggie’s (Alison Pill) drinking, the Genoa op, Don (Thomas Sadoski) and Sloan, and it just seems to get better and better every week.
The Newsroom airs Sundays on HBO.