The Newsroom Watch: Episode 7, 5/1

The Newsroom hinges upon our memories of major news events of the last two years; last night's episode takes perhaps the biggest of them all--the announcement of the killing of Osama Bin Laden--and builds a surprisingly funny and touching evening of television out of it.

THE SHORT-SHORT VERSION: Let's separate this into plotlines. Charlie gets a tipoff that he's going to want ACN staffers to be in the office by 9:15 on a Sunday night (May 1st), because something's happening. It's the one-year anniversary party of News Night 2.0, and there's a big party at Will's house for the whole team. We get to see Will play a little guitar, and then Neal's girlfriend gives him some pot-laced cookies, which are very strong, but don't worry--he's also taken some Vicodin (...uh oh). Anyway, Charlie eventually reveals the tip-off, and the gang hops into some cabs to race to the studio. A very high Will and his bodyguard are stuck in traffic, and Will makes a run for it, which gets his bodyguard in trouble with the cops when a few officers stop him for getting out of his car. And, as he's thrown on the hood of his vehicle, we get the best line of the night: "nothing I can do about being big and black at the same time."

Don, Sloan and Elliot are stuck on a plane that's touched down when the news trickles in, and we get a lot of back-and-forth about Maggie and Jim and Don and learn the entire plane is sick of it. Sloan's the one to get the first official confirmation of Bin Laden's death, even as a pimply youngster two seats over tries to hit on her.

We reconvene in the studio, and the big game now is that Obama's going to speak at 11, and the team is looking for scoop confirmation of Bin Laden's death before the announcement. Twitter speculation doesn't cut it, and there's a lot of debate about ethics...Will arrives, having jogged there and with some felafel. Still high. He eventually sobers up, which is good. We learn Neal's girlfriend lost her father on 9/11, and there's a whole bunch of conflicted emotions there. Lisa dumps Jim. Elliot tells Don he sees that he doesn't love Maggie. So, we know where this is going.

And then we get the endgame--Will gets a text from an old sports buddy of his named Joe Biden, which is enough confirmation for everyone, and they go on air and make the announcement just before Obama's speech, which trails out into the credits.

SOME THOUGHTS: This ended up being a much more charming and goofy episode than I expected from such an epic news moment, but it really worked. I think seeing the team goofing off at a party and watching them have to snap back to reality was a great bit of contrast, and we're now very much seeing the loyalty Will has instilled in his crew. I also love that this team has now been together for a year, and that we wasted no time on the wet-behind-the-ears newness of the group.

I still want the women of this show to be more capable--Mac had some great control moments tonight, but Maggie's chief talent thus far is pining, and Sloan needs to, once and for all, prove she's more than just a nice pair of legs and an excuse for Sorkin to write about news screwups. I like these characters. Show me why they're where they are.

I really enjoyed this episode; we have three more left, and we've seen nothing of Reese and Leona in the last two. The next three weeks are going to require some huge ramp-up and payoff to make this work, and I'm looking forward to seeing how that happens.

See you in seven, friends!