Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Newsroom - The Blackout Part II: Mock Debate

Following the recent power outage in the studio, the newsroom team holds a mock debate for two officials (Adam ArkinJake McDorman) of the Republican Party to showcase the kind of debate they would like to put on the air. Not surprisingly, it doesn't go over very well.

Meanwhile Maggie (Alison Pill) finds herself in the uncomfortable position of trying to convince Lisa (Kelen Coleman) to go on the show and talk about her relationship with high school classmate Casey Anthony. Although Lisa has nothing to say, she agrees and drops a bombshell on the air connecting a woman's right to choose and unfit mothers who harm their children that gets her into trouble later that night when her place of business is vandalized.

Despite her reservations Sloan (Olivia Munn) gives the okay for Neal (Dev Patel) to go undercover as a troll on an economist website and hijack the conversation by making inappropriate suggestions about her body and how taxes and spending really work. Although the trolling doesn't succeed in earning him any cred on the troll message board it does give Neal an idea and the opportunity to track down the person responsible for the death threats sent to Will (Jeff Daniels).

The episode is problematic as the characters should be smart enough to know the Republican National Committee would never go for their proposal. Also the Jim/Maggie/Don (Thomas Sadoski)/Lisa story gets too much airtime (with a final misunderstanding that will only lead to more in next week's season finale). The episode's best moments begin the show with MacKenzie (Emily Mortimer) rallying the troops for a makeshift newscast that never happens (I would have really liked to have seen that episode), and end the episode with Will, after passing on the regular format of the debate, throwing out the rundown at the last minute to give Sloan an opportunity to talk about the debt ceiling.

There are plenty of loose threads still dangling including the validity of Charlie's (Sam Waterston) NSA source, the further exploration of the love quadrangle, and Will's future both on the air for ACN and with MacKenzie. We'll have to see how much is settled in the season finale and how much is left up in the air to deal with when the show returns for its second season next year.

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