'The Newsroom:' This Was Supposed To Be A Series Finale, Right? Because It Sure Played Out Like One...
You guys, I'm not even mad. I really want to be, but I just can't get myself to bring the hate tonight. The Newsroom aired its season finale Sunday night, and it was the rom-com we all needed (and wanted after that ROUGH episode of Breaking Bad).
I wanted to keep hate-watching this show. I wanted to tell you that I'd have preferred to scrape the dead skin off my feet using a baby caiman than watch another episode of this Godforsaken show. I wanted to decry all the sexist dialogue and clumsy character development. But, while the show may have plenty of problems, it doesn't change the fact that after Sunday's episode, I cocked a smile and felt all warm and fuzzy inside. #SorryImNotSorry
So what happened last week on The Newsroom ? It's Election Night, and nothing was going so well for our beloved News Night team. Charlie and Will were still trying to get Jane Fonda to accept their resignations, Mac was fired, Don was being sued by Jerry Dantana for $20 million, Jim and Maggie called a race even though it didn't actually have a winner yet, and Sloan, dear Sloan, was busy tracking down someone who bought a signed copy of her book that she didn't actually sign.
The worst thing about a two-part episode is that for most of "Election Night Part II," it was pretty much business as usual and nothing remarkable happened until the last ten minutes, but we'll get to that later.
Everyone likes a happy ending, so here are the plot lines ranked from least like a rom-com to most (actually, let's face it, all of these plot developments are exactly the types of things we'd see in a movie starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore).
- Charlie and Will are still insisting that Jane Fonda accept their resignations because it's the only way the rest of the staff can move on from Genoa. Charlie goes upstairs again to talk to Jane Fonda, who spends most of the episode high as a kite and decides to leave up the decision to son Reese/Mindy Lahiri's future boyfriend. Eventually Reese decides to take the high road and won't accept their resignation. Except by then, Charlie has already taken it back so there was nothing to accept in the first place! Hooray, News Night lives on another day.
- Jim and Maggie may be in the midst of dealing with a too-early-election-call, but no matter, it's #realtalk time. Jim asks her why she cut and dyed her hair and Maggie explains how difficult it's been for her to get over what happened in Uganda. He tells her she shouldn't feel guilty, which reminds Maggie of the time she first noticed Jim – on his first night in the office, he noticed a yellow news alert beeping while everyone else ignored it. The news alert ended up being about the BP oil spill.
- When Sloan isn't telling Neal to find the buyer of her signed book, she's being cutoff by Will during the Election discussion. Things aren't going too well for her. That is, until Neal eventually finds out the buyer used fictional character names to get the bidding up during the auction. All the bidders? The same person. Later on, she's in Don's office and notices his old movie posters, including a poster that features one of the aforementioned fictional characters. And then it dawns on her. It was Don all along! Right in front of her! She grabs a book and runs into the control room where she signs it, gives it to Don, and plants a big fat one on his face. Aaawwww! First kiss! First kiss! By the end of the night, the two are sharing googly eyes.
- Speaking of googly eyes or lack therof, it's time for another Mac-Will one-on-one. Mac is still apologizing for cheating on Will with her ex. "And then I fell in love with you and I never saw him again," she says with those sad puppy dog eyes. Will's sick of hearing it all and decides to hit her where it hurts. That ring that he presented to her the year before to make her feel bad about the cheating? Turns out he had his agent's assistant buy it from Tiffany's that morning and return it that afternoon. Mac is crushed and close to tears. She says she never did anything to intentionally hurt him like he just did to her.
But is that the end of the story?
OF COURSE IT'S NOT. Because this is a rom-com and all rom-coms don't end with people hurting each other.
- After the election is called, Will realizes what he has to do. He goes to his office, finds the Tiffany's box (wait, he didn't return it?) and looks for Mac. He checks three places (because, of course), but she's nowhere to be found. Eventually he yells out for her, and she's at the anchor desk and says "I'm right here" (all along, amiright?!) He runs over, asks to talk in private, and presents her with the ring. "I didn’t return it because I’m in love with you," he tells Mac before brilliantly fumbling the rest of the proposal. "Took you long enough," she says. They announce their engagement to the entire newsroom and everyone's hugging and clinking champagne glasses and smoking cigars in celebration.
During the final montage, Pete Townsend's "Let My Love Open The Door" starts to play. Talk about subtlety!
When tragedy befalls youDon't let it drag you downLove can cure your problemsYou're so lucky I'm around
Of course, subtlety was never Sorkin's strong suit and that's okay. Truth is, sometimes we don't want a show to make us think; we just want it to make us feel. In the last minute, Maggie hears a beep and it's another yellow news alert. We've come full circle, but I'll be damned – I definitely left the episode in a better mood than when I started (F**k you, Vince Gilligan).
-BEST LINE EVER! Mac (to Will): “Are you sure you’re not just a massive bag of douche?”
-Neal asks Jim to ask Hallie to quote Mac in a blog post and identify her as someone who was president of the Cambridge Union since it's the only way to change Mac's Wiki page. She agrees. Boring!
-Don is counter-suing Jerry Dantana for "intentional affliction of emotional distress." Less boring!
-Lisa was upstairs the whole time working as a cater-waiter. Jim goes up to apologize for everything and finds out Maggie never told her what happened in Uganda. He later persuades Maggie to tell her the truth. Looks like Lisa and Maggie will go back to being besties next season. Yay!
Image: Melissa Moseley/HBO