The big surprise for me with last night's episode is that, after last week's nailbiting final ten minutes and the escalating plot in Egypt, I expected an ending and an entire plotline that was a lot less joyful. But The Newsroom's fifth episode ended up being a surprisingly positive little romp.
Anyway, THE SHORT VERSION: We start on February 10, 2011, a full month after last week's episode. The revolution in Egypt and the union issues in Wisconsin are the news hotbuttons this week. Will's protege Elliot is in Cairo, reporting from his hotel room; Don eggs him into reporting from the ground, and Elliot gets severely beaten. Maggie nails Jim with a door accidentally.The team needs a local man on the ground iin Egypt, and Neal suggests a fellow internet journalist who goes by the name of "Amen," who's actually a teenage boy named Khalid. He does a great job of on-air reporting, but then goes missing.
Eliot comes home all beaten up and is hailed as a conquering hero, and there's some debate about whether or not he goes on-air looking like a post-fight Rocky. The answer is no. Oh, and there's a production meeting where Will has to explain the plot of Rudy to the team because Mac lets slip that the jersey scene makes him cry. Anyway, it's revealed that there's a private security firm that can broker the safe return of Khalid for $250,000. Jim's head is bleeding, too, and he acts all manly and refuses to get it looked at until Eliot sees a doctor, which he does. And then Neal punches a computer with Rush Limbaugh on it because he's mocking the journalist beatings in Cairo, and breaks some fingers. So everyone's jacked up this week.
Nina, who works for trashy newsshow "TMI," has decided to go after Mac instead of Will, and after some stories about Mac and Will's relationship, decides to lightly fabricate a story about Mac almost getting her crew killed in Pakistan. Will meets with Nina, and almost buys her off for $50,000, but then decides to just tell her that she's screwed, and Nina and her boss Leona can throw whatever they want at him, he's got an hour of news every night on his side. Sloan spends the episode teaching Mac economics for a news panel, and that sort of goes nowhere.
Jim stands his girlfriend up on Valentine's Day, and Maggie sort of races to his defense and everything smooths over. And then Will pays the $250,000 to get Khalid home safely, and the entire staff lines up outside his office with individual checks, a la the jersey scene from "Rudy." Awwww.
THOUGHTS: Not a bad episode, but it felt sort of...well, smarmy. I enjoyed it, but this felt like an episode of Sports Night, And most of the drama with Khalid was lifted directly from the tail end of Studio 60. Last week was a better offering; I'm hoping next week, as the Tea Party battle ramps up, is a return to form.
See you in seven, friends...