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The Newsroom – I’ll Try to Fix You

It seems to be a recurring theme for me to begin these articles by stating that the most recent episode has built on something that may have put you off the show in the previous outing. “I’ll Try to Fix You” not only continues that streak, but hammers that nail on the head harder than any of its predecessors. The soapy back-and-forth relationship that we’ve been seeing since mid-way through the premiere took centre stage on Sunday, as we spent some time with Will outside the office while he tried to put whatever feelings he has for Mackenzie behind him.

We caught up with the team on New Year’s Eve and in the midst of trying to decide which stories they didn’t pay enough attention to in 2010, the majority of them found some time to kick back and relax. After being forced to interact with Mackenzie and her boyfriend, Will—on the advice of Sloan—decided to try his hand at picking up a woman. Unfortunately for the anchor, common sense and a deep-seated desire to elevate the human race above gossip led to a drink in the face, as he negatively compared gossip journalism to heroin dealing. So began a series of poorly handled interactions with women, all of which made it into the pages of TMI, The Newsroom’s TMZ. 

Though it took almost the entire episode for the salient detail to come out, while we cringed as Will shot down a string of women with his rhetoric (cringing because he was right, but it really worked his interests in the moment), we eventually discovered that the shockingly detailed and accurate assaults on Will’s character were the work of Leona Lansing, creating as she put it “a context” in which his firing would be seen as a moral good. TMI is a property of AWM and, although it’s probably the last that we’ll see of the “gotcha” journalism making Will look like an idiot, I imagine that it’s only the beginning of the fight between News Night 2.0 and the corporate interest. 

Though it progressed the story in a positive manner, it allowed us to decide once and for all if we’re “Team Will.” The attacks also brought about the reveal of the non-compete that Will allowed in his contract for the option of firing Mackenzie. Though it’d be tough to argue that she’s become any stronger a character than the last time that we saw her, the short scene between Will and Mac after the revelation gave me a further appreciation for Emily Mortimer, who balances the comedic and dramatic aspects of her character extremely well, even if the writing is a little questionable at times. Also, the scene allowed for a nice air of hate to build up in the office to make the episode’s conclusion everything that it was (we’ll get to that). 

At the other end of the soapy spectrum, the Jim/Maggie/Don triangle moved to breaking point after Don—having eyes and understanding that there is something between Jim and Maggie—decided to set Jim up with Maggie’s roommate. The bumbling New Year’s interactions provided a laugh or two, but it wasn’t until later on that we got something worth watching. Although having nothing in common, Jim and Lisa hit it off, something that the two of them decided to keep from Maggie because Jim likes her and Lisa knows it. Whether or not it’s entirely clear to Jim that Maggie feels what he does I’m not sure, but what I can say for sure is that I like Don a whole lot more than I did last episode. 

Watch the episode to see exactly what it is that he does, but mean as it comes across, everything that the man did throughout the episode was justified. The jury is nearly back on whether or not he’s an okay guy (leaning towards yes), but when it comes to Maggie, at least since his near-firing, he really is one. Trying what he can to hold his relationship together, Don was definitely one of the winners in the episode. The same cannot be said for Maggie, however. The expression, “Having your cake and eating it, too,” could not fit any better. She continues to be with Don despite Jim’s obvious feelings for her, but then throws a tantrum when Jim sleeps with a girl. I imagine that it’s the kind of thing that’s fairly easy to ignore and won’t bother too many people, but when you’re desperately searching for a woman who isn’t tripping all over herself in this show, it’s extremely frustrating to watch someone with potential dig further into a hole. 

Ultimately, Jim and Maggie have it out and find themselves at odds like Will and Mackenzie, just in time for a major news story to hit and allow them all to band together to show us how it should be done. Fast-forward to January 8, 2011: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is shot in the head. As time progressed, major news outlets announced that she hadn’t survived her wounds, leading AWM’s president to come storming into the newsroom to find out why News Night hadn’t called it as well. With no definitive word on the Congresswoman’s state of health, Will continued to tow the line until official word of her survival came through. Though it was only a short segment at the end of the episode, it turns out that if you take a news story about bad things happening to good people and throw some Coldplay behind it, you create extremely intense viewing. 

Though News Night ultimately got the better of Fox and MSNBC, the further defiance of the corporate wish is likely to spark even further dispute in episodes to come, which is something that might just give drama the leg-up on comedy in the show’s balance in the back half of the season. All in all, “I’ll Try to Fix You” was another strong episode of the show if you’re already sold on it, if you’re not, you probably changed the channel.


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