It’s election night on The Newsroom. The Super Bowl of journalism. Everyone on the News Night squad must be sharp, rested and ready to reinforce the Power of Democracy. Charlie reminds the team that tonight the world will be inspired by America.
Except the team is anything but inspired. Mac hasn’t had any sleep; her usually perky ponytail has been replaced with flat hair. Charlie wants to resign, as does Will, but Leona isn’t having any of it. And Will, of all people, is in charge of morale. But why do they want to be fired so badly?
Because if they aren’t fired, all of their office affairs and love politics will be aired in Jerry Dantana’s wrongful termination lawsuit. A bad situation made worse, and now largely out of their hands. So Mac and Sloan reach for something they can control. Mac becomes obsessed with her Wikipedia page, which says she went to Oxford rather than Cambridge. And Sloan tries to find out who bought the copy of her book that was sold for $1000 at auction. (If I had to guess, Don bought the book.) Maggie is trying to piss off Jim with the help of the lady from the Romney campaign, Taylor, who gives her a piece of intel that will prove useful later.
Naturally, while they’re all going crazy, they are also forced to kill time waiting for progress in the election. Elliot gives a tour of the bunker where statisticians are crunching numbers and the election is being called, state by state. Sloan speaks without thinking and Taylor, now a political commentator on the show, fuels the already deadly conversation with a gambit about liberal media bias.
To make it all worse, Jerry Dantana has decided to sue Don for calling the now-unemployed anchor a sociopath in a job reference. Rebecca Halliday, who is mostly slinking through scenes in cocktail attire as self-described “liquid sex,” informs Don (somewhat jokingly) that he may want to think about taking a second mortgage on his house. This could be a doozy.
But because this is the News Night team, and they’re now in their do-everything-horribly-wrong phase, they call the state of Michigan too early in the election. (It’s Jim’s fault.) Meanwhile, Mac, despondent, with extra baggy eyes, wants Will to fire her. He refuses. She accuses him of being interested in protecting his image. Pissed off, he finally concedes. She’ll be done at the end of the broadcast.
The lead that Taylor gives Maggie ultimately results in the team’s best tip since the BP oil spill story from season one. Apparently, CIA director General David Petraeus is about to resign due to allegations of an extramarital affair.
Returning to his chair, Will invites Taylor to ask him again about his personal politics, as if accepting her challenge. As the episode closes he’s staring down the camera (and by default Mac, who is on the other side). The intensity of his look seems to suggest he no longer cares what she or the audience think about him. The hole in his heart, his Achilles’ heel, is now filled in, at least temporarily. But what will it look like to let his politics out of the bag on election night? For that, we’ll have to wait until next weekend’s season finale.
Last episode: News Night’s No Good, Very Bad Night