The Newsroom-The Genoa Tip-Emily Mortimer and Alison Pill

They say faith is something you can’t see, hear, or touch and for the cronies on The Newsroom that’s a good thing. After watching “The Genoa Tip” you’d have to have full confidence that the crew can pull things together. Our convictions aren’t that strong, but we’re sure Aaron Sorkin has a good episode coming right?

The Players:

  • Director: Jeremy Podeswa
  • Writers: Dana Ledoux Miller, Adam R. Perlman, and Aaron Sorkin
  • Cast: Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, John Gallagher Jr., Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, Dev Patel, Olivia Munn, Sam Waterston, Kelen Coleman, Hamish Linklater, Mamie Gummer, Mark Atteberry, Chasty Ballesteros, Harold Bridgeforth, Shaun Brown, John F. Carpenter, Aya Cash, Chris Chalk, Rosemarie DeWitt, Wyatt Everett, Nick Gehlfuss, Joel Johnstone, Margaret Judson, Thomas Matthews, Kosha Patel, Adina Porter, Marque Richardson, Trieu Tran, Riley Voelkel, Charlie Weirach, Ali Wong

Episode Title: “The Genoa Tip”

Maggie makes a play for Africa while trying to get that YouTube video taken down. Meanwhile, Jeremy and Mac get a big tip about Genoa and Don makes a last ditch effort to save Troy Davis’s life. Elsewhere, Neal gets arrested while Will deals with not covering the anniversary of 9/11.

The Good:

  • Origin Story: In the midst of  the rehashing of Will’s American Taliban comment about the Tea Party we caught a glimpse of the seed that birthed Charlie and Will’s relationship. More importantly, it became clear why Will’s recusal from the 10th anniversary coverage of September 11th was such a blow. The date also marks his first decade as a relevant anchor. Having never sat in the anchor’s chair before that night, the clip served as a recap of what an important day it was for news stations. However, since no one needs a reminder of  how significant the events of that day were, Charlie and Will’s heartwarming moment held little importance to the episode on the whole. Still, we’ll take what we can get.
  • Sloan the Sneak: When Sloan happened upon Maggie sleeping in her office, we were immediately suspicious of her friendly and overly helpful response. Not to say that Sloan’s a harpie—she’s generally ready to help someone in a bind—but her willingness to trek to Queens to get Maggie’s offending YouTube confession taken down boarders on unbelievable. Up until this point the only female Sloan made a point to befriend was Mac, a person of the same sex who has achieved the same professional success as her. Just near the end though, Sloan slipped into the control room during Elliot’s show it all made sense. Buddying up to Maggie just to score points with Don would be problematic for anyone except Sloan, which is why the writers scored big here.

The So-So:

  • Road to Romney: So is Mamie Gummer Jim’s new love interest? Since she’s literally everywhere that he is ready to help/tell him they’re competitors. It stands to reason that something might be brewing there soon enough, now that he’s broken up with Lisa and is ignoring Maggie’s calls (Side note: Lisa won the best speech of the night award for telling Maggie off about trying to hide the video. You never think it’ll go to the little guy.).  You should know better than to get your hopes up. Take that long piercing stare Will and Mac shared at the bar scored with “You Were Always on My Mind” buried at the end of the episode. This is Sorkin’s calling card. Hidden in each episode is a tiny glimmer of hope for every relationship that just almost might be a thing. Considering how long it took Josh and Donna to get together on The West Wing you should expect more of the same.
  • Genoa: Jeremy has managed to track down a soldier that was on the ground during the Black Op called Genoa. Mac really shines here, as she usually does during serious moments, radiating a kind of calm power that we admire. And as long as you ignore that the only way she could properly express her displeasure with Will was to pour a drink on him, she can remain that strong in your eyes. As if that wasn’t enough, Mac puts herself down in the same conversation, taking responsibility for the majority of the problems in the office and naming Will as the hero that solves them. Is it too much to ask that we get one episode where Mac can be the leader of The Newsroom and not just the girl that gets it right sometimes before she trips over her own feet?
  • Davis Drama: Rehashing the polarizing court case that is Troy Davis’, especially in light of current events is dicey.  We appreciate the need to bring it up, but what purpose did it serve? Don claimed to have a connection with the case and the defendant after covering it for nine years. Yet the personal relationship was never explained. So most of his brooding seemed like sad leftover breakup drama. If you’re going to try and pull on someone’s heart strings or try to rewrite history, it’s best to give the issue a full effort or just leave it alone.

The Bad:

  • He’s a Republican: We get it; Will is a member of the GOP. Last season, his right-leaning principles were mentioned in every other episode, usually before he did something moderate or leftist that completely contradicted his much-touted beliefs. Nothing has changed: Will supports the President’s decision to put an American terrorist, Anwar al-Awlaki, on the targeted kill list before bending to Mac’s requests that he demand for the release of the memorandum that allows the President to do so to an American without due process. Of course Will had to do it. He’s supposed to be an objective commenter, so a call for all relative information during serious action falls under his job title. The continued need for Will to repeat for the millionth time which party he supports isn’t. Silencing critics by doing the same things will not work. Make Will’s status as a Republican relevant or shut up about it.
  • Occupy Your Emotions: Amazingly enough The Newsroom made the Occupy Wall Street protests interesting for half a second by way of Neal’s unjust arrest and the video he managed to get out of the ordeal. Will headed to the police precinct to bail him out, and we knew this would be one of those resounding McAvoy moments where he shouts a lot and gets emotional but still manages to bring the message home. This was not that. Exploding on the officer at the desk about the drone attack and Troy Davis served no purpose. The scene was meant to convey Will’s troubled mind, but taking it out on innocent people is doing his character no favors.
  • Uganda A Go-Go: If this is supposed to be a transformative season for Maggie we’re going to need someone to hold up a sign when that actually starts. Maggie couldn’t figure out how to make African news matter to Americans. Let’s pass over the fact that finding a way to relate important stories to the viewing public is an essential part of her job and turn our attention to the fact that she could only get the answer from two senior male staff members. Anyone could have given her that national security answer, but it had to be Jim or Jeremy right? God forbid she figures anything out on her own.  Then, just as she claims Uganda for herself and Gary in a fit of strength, she chooses to do the most irresponsible thing possible and keep the violence in Kampala from Mac. If this is change we’re scared of what might happen if the writers go back to their old ways.

The Quotable:

  • Jerry: “I booked a bad cast. How long do you guys give people shit in New York?” Mac: “Ask A. Rod.”
  • “You can’t turn your arm counter clockwise and turn your leg counter clockwise at the same time. Go ahead, try.” –Elliot

Overall:

“The Genoa Tip” saw The Newsroom march farther away from being problematic and much closer to just a problem. Even the few things we like about the episode were riddled with issues. As much as we love Sorkin, he needs a reminder that drawing out romance is a thing for broadcast television, not the hustle and bustle of a premium cable program. As long as this show continues to point out that men value a good shower as much as women crave closet space, people aren’t going to be happy.

Rating: 6/10

The Newsroom airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on HBO.

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