You Must Watch This: The Newsroom Episode 6

Labels: , ,

Six episodes into the first season of The Newsroom has me a bit on the edge of a dangerous precipice. I'll get to why in a bit, but first let's take a look at the character focus of this episode.

"Bullies" focuses on further developing the characters of Sloan Sabbith (Olivia Munn) and Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels). As I said during the write up of episodes 3-5, I'm very interested in seeing the character of Sloan better developed. We've seen her very briefly so far, but outside of figuring out she's an economic specialist and an awful person to ask relationship advice of. With Will, we've seen occasional glimpses of humanity under a cold shell but we haven't really learned too much about his life outside of things between Will and MacKenzie Hale (Emily Mortimer).

In this episode we learn that Will spent time as a speech writer for George H.W. Bush, was used as leverage by being "offered" a late night talk show on Fox, was abused by his father in youth and had to pick up the mantle of being the protector for his brother and two sisters. The key scene of the show was Will interviewing the Santorum staffer, a gay, black, man working as an adviser to the Santorum campaign which was anti-homosexuality. Will kept attacking the adviser along the lines of working for a man who thinks homosexuals are sub-human to the point where he snaps at Will, thoroughly putting him in his place. He tells Will that his view is too narrow; that Santorum's stance on abortion is more than enough to offset his stance on homosexuality. As a result, Will is quite obviously flustered as he mixes up words during the signing off and the guilt of this exchange is preventing him from sleeping.

Sloan, while dealing with a similar guilt and getting some more attention in this episode, is still not given the fleshing out that the character deserves. While there isn't one massive event focus on this episode, the driving force for the plot line was the Fukushima Nuclear Reactor as it's failing catastrophically. Sloan just so happens to have a good relationship with the spokesperson for TEPCO and is acting as translator for the staff putting the story together for ACN. The source is insisting that the reactor is only at a class 5 (Three Mile Island) but Sloan knows that the Japanese under sell the issues so she asks the team to leave the room where, off the record, the source tells Sloan it's actually more like a class 7 (Chernobyl). When she's asked to work the 10 O'Clock news, she has to interview the same spokesperson on the air. Sloan asks Will for advice on how to get the spokesperson to say on the air what he told her so, following Will's advice, she grills the TEPCO spokesperson but the translator is mistranslating both Sloan's questions and the responses. Of course, since she speaks Japanese, she goes off the rails and decides to handle the questions in Japanese herself. She then reveals that he told her it was actually a class 7, not a class 5.

When Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston) verbally dresses down Sloan (have i mentioned he's incredible in this role?), we see glimmers of who Sloan really is. We see she has the strength to stand up for herself as mistaken as she might have been. She believes so much in what she did that she didn't even care about being paid during her suspension. When she hears that her friend, the TEPCO spokesperson, was stepping down and his honor would be at stake, that's when we really see the glimmer of Sloan's convictions. It's a fantastic, albeit brief, moment where the possibility of Sloan's character glimmers to the surface. But this is really a great example of why this show has me on the edge of the cliff. Characters with so much potential are glazed over far too often. Finding out about Will's past was done in a mostly meaningless manner to get to the bottom of the his guilt over the best moment of the episode.

While I still thoroughly enjoy this show and highly recommend it, I can begin to see that there's the opportunity for greatness but also an equal opportunity to falter dramatically. Sorkin is walking a dangerous path, but it won't be until Season 2 begins that we'll find out if the new writing team can pull it back from the edge.

But hey, it's your time. Waste it how you see fit.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Opportunity Assassins © 2012 | Designed by Meingames and Bubble shooter