There may have been no real surprises in the 2012 election – no hanging chads, Supreme Court cases or new chapters written on race in America – but The Newsroom last night was another story. (More on the size of Mac's ring shortly.) While the election was cooking along as expected, the News Night team was struggling to regain trust in themselves after erroneously reporting the U.S. dropped chemical weapons on civilians.
But with the exception of Jim calling Michigan instead of Mississippi too soon, the team killed it, by living up to the standards of News Night 2.0. When faced with the decision whether or not to run the story that General Petraeus would be resigning due to improper conduct, they chose not to, though it would have meant a ratings boost and a chance to prove to their competitors they still have it. Instead, they ran the story about a candidate's comments on rape, because it gave viewers information that might impact their decisions at the polls.
Slowly, Charlie and Will started to regain trust in themselves. "When did we decide [Genoa] was an institutional failure?" Charlie asks Will, pointing out everything that's happened is actually Jerry Dantana's fault. Don has always said this, and he rallies the staff to resign if Charlie, Will and Mac do. So far Leona won't accept their resignations, but she hands the decision to Reese.
Meanwhile, Maggie and Jim begin to reconnect as friends, and she helps him cover up his mistake in calling Michigan too early. Hallie also encourages him to talk to her, because cutting off your own hair and dying it a terrible shade of red is alarming. Maggie confesses it was because the little boy in Uganda loved her blonde hair. Maggie and Jim's mutual crushes seem to be off the table for now, and slowly they are repairing their friendship. Maggie confesses that she first noticed Jim when he paid attention to the yellow news alert, when no one else did.
With everything generally under control on the work front, the characters can start living their lives again. Will realizes that he can't force Mac to take all the blame for Genoa, just like he can't make her take all the blame for the fact their relationship didn't work. ("Except for the things she did wrong, she did everything right, too. The rest was me," Will says to Charlie.) He immediately reaches into his briefcase and fumbles for a key to open the top drawer of his desk. Inside he finds the quarter-million-dollar ring that he'd cruelly told Mac was a practical joke. When he finally finds her in the studio, she's still pissed off.
During the seven-minute break, he takes Mac offstage and pulls out the ring with a rock as big as the Andes. Bumbling, he confesses his eternal love for her, and Mac agrees to marry him.
Slowly, more loose strings are tied up. Sloan walks into the studio and lays a big kiss on Don, after figuring out he bought her book. Lisa is working as a caterer at ACN's election party, and Jim finds out she's upstairs. He apologizes for everything, especially making her feel stupid. After the run-in, there's a shot of Lisa and Maggie talking again. Reese shows up with his date, a Rockette, becomes the good guy, and tells Charlie he won't accept his resignation. Charlie steals his thunder by telling Reese he isn't planning to resign anyway.
And in the last scene of the season, Maggie hears the ding of a yellow news alert. Although she's unsure if she has the guts and fortitude to be a real newsperson, knowing what Jim would do, she walks over to the computer and clicks the alert.
What what will happen to Maggie's hair? What color, what length, what style?
What was that yellow news alert?
Will Taylor keep commenting? Do people actually like her?
Where are Sloan and Don heading?
Will Neal ever get a real assignment?
Will Reese and the Rockette get serious?
Last episode: The Results Are In