“IT’S ALL RELATIVE.”
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
Well that was a great way to start a season. The Newsroom has always been a strange show, one that is simultaneously berating the news media for its sensationalism, while at the same time sensationalizing its drama. Luckily, this season seems to understand what has worked and what hasn’t about the show in the past, (almost) completely avoiding the Jim/Maggie relationship that dragged the show down previously, as well as making the Will/Mack relationship cute and drama-free. The choice to have Will and Mack get engaged right at the end of last season, which at the time felt rushed, might now be the saving grace of this show as it sings its swan song.
Focusing on the Boston Marathon bombing’s media blow-up, “Boston” was especially strong in the actual “news” aspect, drawing attention to and criticizing the media and social media’s storm-and-mob mentality immediately following the tragedy. While in the past the show has been heavy handed and downright preachy when discussing these kinds of events, this episode’s critique felt well-deserved, while at the same time not overly harsh. It seems that last season’s humbling of the news team continues into this one, which really helps them seem like a part of the media, instead of proudly and stubbornly standing above it. The revelation that ACN has fallen from second to fourth place in the cable news line-up was a bit of a shock, especially considering that this didn’t happen after the Genoa debacle last season. Given that there is only five more episodes left of the show, it would be a depressing end if the news team is destroyed over something as simple as ratings. But that wouldn’t be all bad, especially if the rest of the season is as strong as this episode was.
“Boston” was also strong from a character standpoint, giving almost everyone something to do without making it disjointed. Maggie was particularly strong, rising to the occasion when the team needed her, not only going to Boston to produce, but actually going on camera after an allergic reaction left Elliot Hirsch unable to speak as well. Maggie has been tragically misused in the past, from being nothing more than a part of a love triangle to being an absolute mess following a traumatic experience. Seeing her exceed the expectations of those around her was fun. Sloan Sabbath also had a strong episode, though exactly what it is she figured out at the end felt rushed and poorly explained, so hopefully they go into more detail next week. As far as I can tell, she discovered that Reese’s siblings are trying to take over ACN by buying enough stocks to be majority shareholders (?), but the details are a bit muddy right now. Neal might have had his best episode yet, getting in over his head with a government document leaking source and accidentally helping said source commit a felony. Here’s hoping that the information he got can actually be used by the news team, and not as a self-destruction tool with no point.
“Boston” was a great start to the final season, having all of its best qualities shine while dimming the issues the show has had in the past. It was strong in almost every aspect, and even had the cheeky dialogue Aaron Sorkin is known for.
How do you feel about only having five more episodes? Did you think the news aspect fared well? You’re live with your comment in 3… 2…
*We do not comment on anything relating to previews for the next episode and beyond.
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