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The Newsroom Review: ‘I’ll Try to Fix You’

By on July 16, 2012
The Newsroom image © HBO

The Newsroom image © HBO

“I’m on a mission to civilize!” Will McAvoy insists at numerous points throughout this week’s Newsroom episode. If you think he sounds a tad condescending, you are not alone. Will receives several drinks to the face while trying to ‘civilize.’ Between that and Neal’s determination to prove that Bigfoot exists, the episode has quite a few humorous moments. More seriously, it focuses on the love triangle between Don, Maggie and Jim, as well as the ongoing task of creating a respectable news program. Since Leona Lansing threatened Will’s job last week, that last bit is something of an uphill battle for the news crew.

After three episodes of painful pining, the Maggie and Jim storyline has become more interesting. Don (finally) notices the chemistry that his girlfriend and Jim share, and so decides to set Jim up with Maggie’s roommate, Lisa. Apparently aware of Maggie’s feelings for Jim, Lisa is initially reluctant, but ends up agreeing to see Jim. After the first date, Jim tells Maggie that he isn’t going to see Lisa again. Thanks to a scheming Don, Maggie finds out Jim was lying.

In an uncharacteristically flippant move, Maggie responds to Jim’s lie by sarcastically commenting on it in the office. They are in the middle of Neal’s Bigfoot presentation when Jim pulls Maggie aside and apologizes for lying. However, he also calls her out on why it is so important to her. When she claims not to know what he is talking about, Jim suggests that she ask Don, since clearly Don gets it. Everyone gets it, Maggie. Everyone!

Maggie is not the only one suffering from relationship troubles. Will tries – and fails – with three different women throughout the episode. His first attempt is with a woman who, unluckily, ends up being a gossip columnist. When Will finds out the woman’s career choice, he cannot help lecturing her on it. He goes so far as to say her job is a bad form of pollution and that he has more respect for heroin dealers. Cue drink to the face.

John Gallagher Jr., Emily Mortimer and Alison Pill looking attentive. Photo: John P. Johnson © HBO

Will’s second attempt is with hilarious guest star Kathryn Hahn, who brings a joint and a handgun to Will’s apartment. When Will finds the gun in her purse, he unloads it and lectures her, finishing with an example of how an attacker would disarm her. When she asks if it is wrong that his turning the gun around turned her on, Will responds with an emphatic “yes”. Later, Sloan tells Will the gun-toting woman is kind of crazy and may shoot Will for not asking her on a second date. Will says that since Sloan set him up with the crazy person, he intends to use Sloan as a human-shield.

Third time is not such a charm? Will’s third pursuit is similar to the first disaster. Upon hearing about his date’s interest in reality TV gossip, Will insults her in a variety of creative ways. He is in the middle of his patronizing speech when he receives another drink to the face. For a smart man, Will learns that lesson a bit slow.

All of these dating mishaps come back to haunt Will when he ends up on the front page of the scandalous TMI magazine. When Charlie, MacKenzie, Don and Will meet to discuss damage control, Charlie realizes it is Leona trying to ruin Will’s reputation. He comes clean to Will about Leona’s threat, enraging him. Adding fuel to the fire, it then comes out that Will agreed to a no-compete clause in exchange for firing rights over MacKenzie. Of course this news upsets MacKenzie, so the two of them engage in yet another argument fraught with unspoken tension.

Near the end of the episode, the newsroom is in messy chaos as all the relationship drama plays out. Just when it seems the staff could not be more unprofessional, Maggie finds out that Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been shot. Suddenly everyone snaps to attention, and within seconds the entire newsroom shifts into news mode. There is some angst as they debate about whether or not to report that she has died, since the other major networks are all saying it. Since they do not have the evidence, Will decides against it. Moments later, when they receive word that Giffords miraculously survived the shooting, the newsroom celebrates. This entire montage is done to Coldplay’s ‘Fix You.’ Corny? Maybe, but still goose-bump inducing.

It seems like The Newsroom is now really hitting its stride. The characters and their stories are developing to be quite intriguing. The writing is very good as we see Will slowly transforming from popularity-obsessed to dedicated about his program (thanks in part to MacKenzie). While the show progresses around real news stories, there is a lot more to it than that. Above all else, the politics of the news function as a backdrop for a very good story. Since the episode finished with a passionate Will determined to keep his job, that story is only going to get more exciting. Check out the next episode July 22 on HBO.