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On this week's episode of The Newsroom, the drama continues and audiences get to see a return from Rebecca Halliday, the lawyer assisting the news team in their lawsuit. We finally learn more about Maggie's time in Africa through flashbacks and an interview with Rebecca in the briefing room. This episode, more than any other to date, utilizes a number of flashbacks, dealing with Maggie in two different time periods as well as the rest of the cast conducting their business in 2011. Jim's issues with the Romney campaign continue as well as he, Hallie, and another companion drive together, following the campaign bus.
Maggie's character is truly tested during her time in Uganda, and while we do not find out what caused her outburst on the bus, we see her and Gary arrive at the school where they start to help out but are immediately forced out after being shot at. With all of the different languages spoken throughout Africa, she had no idea what the men who were shooting at them were shouting, but upon returning home she was able to translate that they were telling them to hand over their cameras. Maggie knew what she was getting to would be dangerous, and it is not surprising that things ended up turning out this way for them, after being strongly warned against the trip by Mackenzie. Maggie also forms a bond with a young boy named Daniel who hides under her bed at the time they are being attacked, possibly a large contributor to Gary getting shot and the drama that we know happened after. When traveling with him and talking about him later, it is hard to avoid the fact that her partner's name is Gary Cooper, sharing the same name as the famous American actor. Even the people in Africa mock him for it and ask if that is his real name, as if he has never been asked these types of questions before, which is obviously angering him.
In addition, an issue that is finally given some more attention is the Occupy Wall Street coverage; the issue is addressed on air by Will. Even though it is finally covered, Will obviously feels that he has no credibility and after Shelly comes in for an interview, Will tears her apart, telling her that the movement that she is a part of is useless and they are simply wasting their time. After this, she proceeds to punch Neal in the stomach and demands an on-air apology from Will. At first, there is no way that he will do such a thing, but near the end of the episode we see him offer her a personal apology, admitting that he is going through "a crisis of confidence" and that he should not have acted that way. Shelly seems to be becoming more of a supporting character, which is good to see since she is very likable and a part of a movement that much of the American people felt like they were a part of when it got started.
In other news, things continue to go downhill for Jim and Hallie in their pursuit of Romney's campaign. Jim persistently keeps asking for 30 minutes with the candidate as has been his routine for the past few episodes and he continues to get mocked for it. Hallie, as well as Taylor, Romney's press secretary, have each been given bigger roles in the past couple episodes, and in this one especially. Taylor, though she annoying in the way that she represents Romney, continues to show excellent quality in her acting that audiences who saw her in Entourage are used to. Meanwhile, Hallie, who is a lesser known actress and is working against Jim in a way, has earned his trust and they begin to flirt with each other and even kiss toward the end of the episode. After Jim tells Taylor off, he causes her to get so angry that she tells him to F**k off and asks what she can do in order to get him to forget that she said that. After this happens, he is finally able to get the time with Romney that he's wanted all this time. Unfortunately, he gives it up for Hallie and lets her have the interview instead, letting a woman get in the way of his work once again. Hallie easily finds out that this is what happened and does not want to accept his pity interview, although this seems to be quickly forgotten as they are kissing by the pool side shortly after.
Throughout this episode, I found myself on the edge of my seat more than I have in recent episodes. The intensity picked up during the flashbacks in Africa especially and with Shelly and the Occupy Movement. Another key part to this episode is when Shelly revealed that someone she knew that hung out in the park, who had information about a NGO in Pakistan that was shut down after chemical weapons were used on civilians; this is similar to a story that they were just working with that did not seem at all believable. Maggie, the one known for her breakdowns and wild emotions, also keeps her cool very well during the intense interview with Halliday. It is also revealed why Maggie had the dramatic change of hair after she hears the young boy Daniel being told that her hair color is blond and that blond hair is nothing but trouble. Each of the characters had very strong performances in this episode and deliver their best in a stellar example of what viewers have come to expect from this powerful drama.
Thoughts and Quotes
-- Neal is getting more fun with every episode and it is nice to see him finally get the rest of the team on board, at least somewhat, with his interest in the Occupy Wall Street movement. I feel bad when Shelly got so embarrassed on the show that she reverted to punching him.
-- Maggie keeps her confidence well and surprises audiences during her interview with Halliday including lines like this one, "We are going to expel the notion that I am damaged. I am hardly the only person on my news team that has seen a dead person." She continues to assert the idea that she is over what happened, but she clearly does not seem to be.
-- Shelly: "Like most of the media, I don't think you're taking this seriously." She really lets Will have it and then gets it thrown right back in her face when he tells her that he doesn't think she takes it seriously and is not treated well on the air.
-- Another hilarious scene in which we see Sloan acting a bit odd is when Mackenzie comes in to find her upset in her office. Why is this? She just watched Titanic for the first time. Mackenzie does not understand how this is possible and Sloan simply says "You know how I am with sad movies..." and continues to talk about the film and how sad it has made her. Suck it up, Sloan. You are an adult and there is real work to be done!
-- In another talk with Will, it seems that he simply does not understand the movement provoking Shelly to make this significant quote, "We're not trying to get anyone elected. we're just trying to point and get someone to look." Good for you, Shelly. Sometimes, things are just about getting noticed and making your voice heard.
-- Maggie: "I'm fine." Maggie seems to insist upon this idea throughout the episode and says it strongly as the episode concludes. While I like to see her being positive and confident on this show, I'm not sure how genuine it can be after the trauma that she has endured.
-- The romance with Jim and Hallie seems to be a little unnecessary, too. Can Jim really not go a few episodes with being involved with a woman dramatically? It seems that he is not able to separate business and pleasure very well and we all know what happened after he got involved with Maggie. Although Hallie is a more stable person and may be good for him. Who knows? What do other people think of this?