A Walk & Talk Through 'The Newsroom' Season 2

by Rachel Paige

So begins the final chapter of Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom . While it didn't last as long as the seven seasons of West Wing, it has outlasted the one season Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, and the two season Sports Night. It's no secret that Sorkin has been criticized ever since day one. The show seemed to be his harsh critique of past journalism (i.e., when the series premiered in 2012, it jumped back in time to 2010). I, however, have loved every second of it. I'll admit I'm a bit of an Sorkin junkie, and I'd watch him try to breath life into a preschool (that's actually a pretty good idea...) As we prepare to embark through the final six episodes of his ode to journalism, it's time to look back on what happened during season 2 of The Newsroom ?

Last season had an overlying arc, which revolved around a doctored news story about a military operation titled, "Genoa." Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) and the News Night team think they have a story on their hands: they believe sarin gas was used in a military operation overseas, which is 100% illegal. (For those not up on their weapons of mass destruction, it's an odor-less, color-less gas which basically causes your lungs to stop working, and death is imminent shortly there after). The team thinks they have reliable sources, but one by one they all prove to be either lying, suffering from a brain injury, or out for revenge. On top of that, a new news producer from D.C. has been brought in, Jerry (Hamish Linklater).

Jerry edits interview footage so that it appears the military is admitting to the deadly gas. When it comes to light, Jerry is immediately fired by Mac (Emily Mortimer). Which brings us to the bookends of the season, which is that the News team is being interviewed by lawyer Rebecca (guest star Marcia Gay Harding), who's trying to get to the bottom of the fake news story. Then, Jerry decides to sue everyone for wrongful termination. So, in the words of Sorkin himself, what kind of day has it been?


Poor Will. All he wants to do is be a good news anchor and he's trying a little bit too hard — or maybe it's that Sorkin is trying a little bit too hard. But, the hero of the News team manages to fight through every blow he's dealt, from his father dying, to a possible resignation, to the fact that Mac will be fired the night of Election Day. In the final episode of season 2, he asks Mac to marry him, and she accepts. Yeah, like that's going to work out for both of them.


I love MacKenzie McHale — or just Mac — and I also love alliteration, but she didn't really do a whole lot during season 2, except for fight with Will. And that is just a common thing. She, however, is the one who uncovers the forged footage from Jerry after reviewing the raw tape and noticing the splice in the edited one. Mac feels awful for what's happened, and she — along with Will and Charlie (Sam Waterston), the network president — is prepared to hand in her resignation over the story. She's also pretty adamant at the end of the season to get her Wikipedia page updated. I didn't realize executive produces had so much free time.


Jim feels the need to get away from the News team, after the whole Season 1 ender of, "Maggie professes her love for him on a sidewalk while he's on a Sex and the City Tour bus" thing. He takes a job as a reporter with the Romney campaign (because it's 2012) and spends most of the season traveling on a bus. Until he manages to piss off the campaign's spokesperson and gets thrown off the bus. He leaves the campaign after Jerry is fired to return to work, and realizes that something is up with Maggie. He's the one that first notices her warning signs and tries to get her help, even though it's just the small act of her reconciling with her roommate.


So, what's up with Maggie? She wants to prove herself as a real journalist, and convinces Mac to send her on assignment to Africa. It goes well at first, and Maggie even bonds with some children at the orphanage where she's saying. However, there are rebels in the area, and they drive to the orphanage one night and open fire. In an effort to escape, Maggie carries a child named Daniel out on her back, but he's still shot and killed. Maggie is devastated and comes back to New York completely changed. She chops her hair off and then dyes it a fiery red. She begins to drink all the time and has awful panic attacks. Towards the end of the season, she slowly starts to get better.


Sloan Sabbith: Spirit Animal. Olivia Munn plays her perfectly, and seriously if anyone knows where I can get those glasses let me know. Sloan has a spiteful ex post nude pictures of her online, and after she tracks him down she punches him in the face. Then, a little thing starts between her and Don, but neither one of them really knows what it is, nor what to do about it. Don buys a copy of her book with a fake signature inside, and after she signs it for real she kisses him in the control room. True television love. Sloan and Mac also form a little bit of a friendship, if only because Sloan is told that she doesn't connect well with people and doesn't have any female friends.


Don (Thomas Sadoski) is one of those jerks with a heart of gold. At the beginning of the second season he breaks up with Maggie (re: that bus thing). Don has feelings for Sloan, but they manifest through jealousy for the first half of the season. And remember, Don isn't even working on News Night, because he's the executive producer of the 22:00 hour. He, however, seems to spend a lot more time helping Will and company.


Neal manages to get himself arrested by accident for trying to cover Occupy Wall Street. He also follows Twitter for people who might have been affected by Genoa. Hopefully Neal can do something bigger and better during the third season.

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