Last night, The Newsroom took a turn for the better. “Amen” focused on the uprising in Egypt and the protests in Wisconsin from February 2011. Leaving the issue of the female characters in the background, we might finally be able to see the amazing series underneath.

The Players:

  • Director: Daniel Minahan
  • Writer: Aaron Sorkin
  • Cast: Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, Sam Waterston, John Gallagher, Jr., Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, Dev Patel, Olivia Munn, Hope Davis, Jon Tenney, David Harbour, Kelen Coleman, Margaret Judson

Episode Title: “Amen”

Protests break out on opposite ends of the globe, forcing the news team to cover the uprising in Egypt and Wisconsin’s Governors standoff with the state’s unions simultaneously.  Neal makes contact with someone on the ground in Cairo, while Eliot risks everything to get the news in Egypt.  Meanwhile, Wade’s true motivation behind his relationship with Mac is revealed and Valentine’s Day cannot be ignored.

The Good:

  • The Hidden One: Neal having filmed the bombing of the London underground with a camera phone has been a part of his character’s bio from the shows inception. That doesn’t change the fact that his monologue about the similarities between his upbringing and career and that of Kahlid was a compelling bit of television. That, coupled with his anger towards Rush Limbaugh’s smug comments about captured journalists and relentless effort to have Kahlid freed, gave weight to a character that was merely a lovable nerd.
  • Don the Man: Admittedly, it would have been better if his name was Dan so it would rhyme, but everything can’t be perfect. The love of Don that began last week increased tenfold last night. Goading Eliot into charging the streets of Cairo and working overtime to purge the guilt he felt because of Eliot’s beating made him seem all the more endearing. It may seem like his character has changed drastically in only a few episodes, but episode one took place April 20, 2010, and latest was set February 10-14, 2011. After close to a year of being around passionate people, it’s not hard to imagine him devoting himself to real news.
  • Everything is Rudy: Maybe for you it’s not Rudy, but there’s probably a film that makes you scream every time you find out someone has neglected to see it. Maybe it’s Star Wars, or Ghostbusters, or Casablanca—this list could go on forever. If you didn’t feel something when the music swelled as the staff rallied around Will, chances are there’s a lump of coal where your heart should be. Everything about it was corny, but sometimes corny is exactly what you need.
  • Congress and Economy: There is more than a little chance that many will harp on Mac counting on her fingers and not knowing anything about the economy. Truth: Economics is hard and although it may seem farfetched that an award-winning executive producer has a gap in knowledge, it’s no different than a doctor being ignorant of much outside their specialty. Mac’s dismissal of her lying manipulative boyfriend deserves kudos though; her brutal, “In this order: leave, lose the election, go to hell,” will no doubt be echoed throughout the week by the fans.
  • The Others: Up until this point, few members of the supporting cast have had the chance to distinguish themselves as anything other than seat fillers, but last night both Gary and Tess exceeded any expectations. Both were hilarious, and it would do well for the other characters in the room to be fleshed out. The opportunity for smaller and rewarding story arcs and plot lines is limitless. For the second week in a row Sloan owned every moment she was on the screen.

The So-So:

  • Predictable: Just when you might be able to accept a producer talking down to her boss, the Jim/Maggie plot takes a turn down the road of predictability. After Lisa’s rant, there’s a moment where it’s clear that Jim might develop real feelings for the girl. That would put Jim and Maggie in relationships with people who truly care for them, while still having feelings for each other.  It’s been done to death everywhere.

The Bad:

  • Good Morning: It’s 100 percent believable that a CEO would use various media outlets to wage war on one of their own.  The rant made by the ACN News anchor that aired all of Will’s dirty laundry to the nation was not. It just wouldn’t happen.


Buried underneath everything, the whispers of weak women were present yet again. For some reason that didn’t take center stage.  Somehow counting on fingers didn’t amount to much. It all came back to the news, the chemistry and those lengthy sanctimonious speeches that everyone loves so much. Let’s hope next week is even better.

Rating: 8/10

The Newsroom airs Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on HBO.

What did you think of the episode?