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The season premiere of The Newsroom was last night, offering an episode of full fledged excitement and a couple new guest stars. For those that have not seen it yet, this episode, like the first season's premiere, certainly wasted no time jumping right into the action of the hard hitting stories that a cable news station would tackle. This season looks to pick up right where season one left off, with Will meeting in a briefing room with the lawyers, and the episode concludes with the lawyers talking to Mackenzie. Packaged in between the meetings with lawyers is the content of the show, which appears to be one long flashback, although it is a bit unclear when the interview is supposed to be taking place. It is announced near the middle of the episode that the events of the day are happening in August of 2011, where the first season left off. Rebecca Halliday, the lawyer representing the news network, is introduced at the beginning of the episode and further introduces viewers to the first guest star of the season, Marcia Gay Harden, who has become well-known for her film roles. In addition to Harden's addition, I know we are all excited to return to the excellent ensemble cast to whom we were introduced in the first season, including Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, Dev Patel, and others.
The premiere starts out strong as it introduces the audience to Halliday, an aggressive lawyer who certainly wants to make her point when talking with Will, (Daniels) who will of course make his opinion heard, as fans of the show know already. After the interaction with the lawyers, we are taken back to August of 2011, where the action picks right up and we are reminded of the great drama that occurred in Libya involving the rebels that took over Gaddafi's compound in Tripoli. This is the first story of the new season, and was a very important one in real life, as we can all recall it being a very controversial issue. Another item that is introduced early and continues to cause turmoil for the news team is Will's reference to the Tea Party as the American Taliban. The network is banned from an event and Jim even gets flak from it when he decides to go out into the field and is not allowed to ride a bus with the Romney campaign. Given the continued tension in the office between Jim and Maggie following their break-up, he decides that it would be best for him to confront Mackenzie about their issues and tell her that he either needs to be temporarily located or else she can fire him.
Jim seems to handle the situation fairly immaturely, telling Maggie that it is only awkward because she wants it to be. While he is a good reporter, it will be nice to have him on the show a bit less, since his character did get a bit annoying during the first season. Will meets with Charlie, who has another news story for him, and Charlie reminds him of the 9/11 anniversary coming up, suggesting that Will should be responsible for reporting on it, although we see that it is a bit of a sensitive subject for Will. Later, Mackenzie calls up Will in the middle of the night, expressing her concern and worry that he has agreed to do this, saying that he should have told her.
This is the first time we see tidbits of Will and Mackenzie's relationship in the new season; they continue the same back and forth banter we saw in the last season, making audiences wonder how they can possibly stay sane in a workplace environment. Music is mentioned in their conversation on more than one occasion during the episode, which is a nice addition to the show that's sure to keep viewers entertained. Classic songs that someone Will's age would listen to are included, which I really appreciated, including "Into The Mystic" by Van Morrison, which was a treat to hear. It was included nicely too, with Will listening and singing along; the song carried into the next scene as well.
Jerry, played by veteran TV actor Hamish Linklater, comes in to replace Jim while he is away. He is a new member of the team brought in from DC, who does not waste any time at all in expressing his opinions and showing off his colorful personality. He seems like a very likable character that I am excited to see develop more as the season progresses. Of course, this all depends on how long Jim ends up staying away from the station and what will come of that, since nothing positive has happened since he left. A couple of the other major issues that are addressed in this episode are the use of drones, which Will and Sloan discuss on air; additionally, the Occupy Movement becomes a major plot point by the end of the episode. Ironically, the events are taking place just before the Occupy Movement starts, and Neal pitches the story idea, and Mackenzie refuses to believe that it is even happening.
Neal is a very emotional character when he gets into his stories, making them exciting to follow. He gets fully involved after attending a meeting of the Occupy Movement and getting some very personal questions answered from Shelly, a very vocal advocate for the Movement. It is very intriguing to see this interaction and be exposed to the treatment of an issue that became so emotional for a large portion of this country for a long period of time. The story is approached in such a way that we see the reaction of a regular citizen and how much she was outraged by the way the government was treating her and her fellow citizens; this must have been quite a revelation for Neal to see, especially as a news reporter. With this explosive start to the season, the aggressively titled premiere, "First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Lawyers," has set audiences up for another captivating season of behind the scenes news coverage. Viewers will surely not want to miss an episode of the excitement and for those who do not know, episodes air on HBO every Sunday night at 10 p.m.
Thoughts and Quotes
-- Rebecca: "She's a character witness and she looks like the girl with the dragon tattoo." She says this in relation to Maggie, who's just walked in with wild hair and appears to be very out of sync from her normal self. It appears that something major happened to her while she was reporting in Africa, but we still do not know what that was. Rebecca offers up some flair that's exciting to see in a lawyer.
-- Charlie, in conversation with Sloan, "You're a nerd and I'm a nerd and you make nerds look bad." A bit of an odd interaction after Sloan's first newscast in the new season.
-- Jim talks with Maggie about how it seems to be completely her fault, "It's only awkward because you want it to be." A bit immature of you, Jim; it's good to see you leaving the office for a bit. This break is much needed.
-- Will: "It's a blank piece of paper." This comment is aimed at Sloan, after she grabs a blank piece of paper in order to represent the report that she forget to print out. Not much respect for Sloan in this episode at all.
-- "My name is Shelly and no one is in charge." Neal receives this response from Shelly, a student at NYU and member of the Occupy Movement.
-- Neal later says in a joking fashion, "You're going to sleep in a park until a Constitutional Amendment is ratified by 3/4 of the states?" It seems so funny to think back on this now and realize how amusing it does sound. It is impressive that people were able to make such a difference with virtually no power at all at the beginning of the Movement. It will be interesting to see how they continue to address the issue in the next episodes