Gary McCurry reviews the second episode of The Newsroom season 3…
Last week.s review of episode one, ‘Boston’ contained a segment on raising the stakes to increase the tension and ultimately, the audiences’ desire to tune in the following week. As far as I’m concerned, it worked. Here’s my thoughts on Episode 2, ‘Run’.
In regards to a show effectively raising the stakes, this is my view. No matter if it’s trying to survive against flesh eating zombies or racing to the airport to stop “the one” from getting on a plane, if the characters make you believe how important it is to them, that’s enough. A train about to derail can be on a similar level to a text sent to the wrong person. These will both end in a train wreck and if done correctly, the text can be more intriguing to watch. It’s all relative is what I’m trying to say.
As always, nasty spoilers ahead.
Into a boardroom go Reese Lansing and his half-siblings, Randy (Chris Smith) and Blair (Kat Dennings). The latter two will inherit 45% of the parent company Resse runs when they turn 25 in ten days time. Their plan is simple, sell to Savannah Capital who just happen to have bought 6%, handing them majority share and therefore the keys to Atlantis (sorry, couldn’t resist) when the deal goes through. Insults, yelling and even a history lesson on how Atlantis World Media came to be are exchanged during the course of the episode. Blair is involved in most of the talking/insults as Randy checks out the decor and drinks the coffee. Visits by ACN’s director Charlie Skinner, who’s demeanor and cut the crap nature always amuses me, as well as Leona Lansing, portrayed by Jane Fonda help keep this segment fresh and interesting.
Aaron Sorkin has often been slammed in the past for not writing fully realized woman in his shows, this is not the case here. Whether its Kat Dennings character going toe to toe with AWM’s best or new recruit, Hallie taking responsibility and ownership for a misguided tweet sent during a sleepless daze, the girls take centre stage for ‘Run.’
The main storyline involves classified documents sent to Neal Sampat and his willingness to share what they describe with the world. Enter another kick ass woman, Rebecca Halliday. Having defended the team against the Genoa lawsuit, she returns with the opening line “I would love it if you guys would stop committing federal crimes.” Marcia Gay Harden, who plays Halliday seems at home with the pace and wit of Sorkin’s dialogue. It’s just plain fun to watch as she squares off with Jeff Daniels character, Will.
A persons morale compass and how they react to certain situations is a recurring theme. Decisions come to them in the form of leaked information, listening in to an off the record conversation or even as trivial as lying about your diet in an interview. It’s how they choose to process these moments that make this episode so engrossing and more often than I’ve seen in a Sorkin show, funny. Having the line “And I can’t emphasis this enough, waffles.” said by Sloan to Don is just funny anyway you look at it. While I’m at this point, the Sloan and Don dynamic is totally working for me. You’ll see what I mean when you watch.
With only 6 episodes scheduled for the final season, you can see why The Newsroom spends no time diving into the deep end. Now to find out if the characters sink or swim.