The Newsroom continued its winning streak with last night’s episode. “Bullies” focused on the fallout of using aggressive tactics and manipulation. Olivia Munn shined, as did guest stars Terry Crews and David Krumholtz. The episode wasn’t without problems, but the negative didn’t outweigh the positive.

The Players:

  • Director: Jeremy Podeswa
  • Writer: Aaron Sorkin
  • Cast: Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, John Gallagher Jr., Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, Dev Patel, Olivia Munn, Sam Waterston, Terry Crews, David Krumholtz

Episode Title: “Bullies”

Will keeps an appointment with his therapist to get an handle on his insomnia. Also, Sloan jeopardizes her career and future relationship with sources.

The Good:

  • Art Imitates Life: Terry Crews began his five episode arc on The Newsroom, as a great banter partner with Jeff Daniels.  His fictional characters’ NFL career pales in comparison to that of his own (Crews played for six season in the NFL) but if last night is any indication he’s going to be an asset to the program.
  • The Sanctity of Life: Fictional character Sutton Hall was able to do more for the preachy Sorkin speech than any other character — besides Olivia Munn. His impassioned plea to be viewed as more than his skin color and sexuality was moving and engaging.
  • Re-Framed: Returning to the framework that gave them so much success in “The 112th Congress“, “Bullies” was comprised of flashbacks, anchored by an appointment with a psychiatrist (David Krumholtz). It revealed Will’s struggle with being the 5th grader that had to defend his family from the perils of his own abusive and alcoholic father. While it likened him to characters in other Sorkin television dramas, it opened the door for growth and created the three dimensional character Will needs to be if the show continues to revolve around him.
  • The Sloan Ranger: High hopes were had for Munn this week and thankfully she lived up to expectations. Before this she was heavily relied upon as a comic relief, but she was able to carry a serious story line in an authentic and charming manner. Added to that, her yell of, “Don’t call me girl sir,” was one of the most thrilling and rewarding tiny moments of the episode.

The So-So:

  • The State of Relations: The relationships of the show were touched on, albeit briefly, and they had their usual air of predictability. Will ran out and bought an engagement ring to cover his FOX faux-pas from five years ago, but doesn’t intend to return it. Jim and Maggie flirted by digging up dirt on each other; it has to be said that when Maggie asserts that she’s a great shot, it was a quality moment. Don screams his fear of Maggie and Jim’s budding romance at Sloan before inappropriately touching her. So to summarize, Will and Mac continue to creep towards a reconciliation, Jim and Maggie continue to flirt without fruition, and Don can no longer ignore what everyone knows he can see.

The Bad:

  • The Women: We get that the general public is as sick of reading about Sorkin’s depiction of women in The Newsroom as we are.  The problem is it’s hard to ignore when Maggie is so foggy on the meaning of the “LOL”, one of the most commonplace internet abbreviations, that she would include it on a bereavement card. She also confused the country Georgia with Georgia the state and almost blew up her parents house by shooting soda cans that were placed on top of a propane tank. Mac has been victim of gum in her hair on more than occasion, and her wisdom is likened to an explosion.  Sloan confuses Don’s remark on her expanding for a comment on her four pound weight gain, which made absolutely no sense. How does this collection of ridiculousness not provoke the ire of every viewer?
  • Republican: For perhaps the millionth time, it was trumpeted that Will is a registered member of the Republican party.  This time, in the midst of an opposition research meeting his staff was able to draw up all sorts of minor details about their bosses life. But they missed his political affiliation. Never mind the fact that Will has mentioned it in meetings more than once, but okay, we get it. He’s a Republican. Next topic.

The Quotable:

  • “And the U.S. is in no more danger of coming under Sharia law than it is the rules of Fight Club.”
  • “The deep south could have used you when the Russians invaded.”
  • “I am more than one thing. How dare you reduce me to the color of my skin or my sexual orientation.”
  • “How dare you presume to decide what I should think is important.”


Can we sweep all the relationship stuff under the rug? Probably not, but if we’re going to continue this run of success, Sorkin has to find a way to weave it into the plot without making everyone want to beat their brains in. That being said, it was top notch. More of this please.

Rating: 8/10

The Newsroom airs Sunday nights at 10:00 p.m. on HBO.
What did you think of the episode?