Finally, Aaron Sorkin’s big drama the Newsroom is back on air for its second season – with a new opening credit – taking place a year after the first one. And the season opens with an episode which should have named “it’s all about the consequences” as the episode focuses mainly on two incidents and their aftermath: Genoa and the American Taliban remarks.
But first: the Genoa incident which is going to be a big part of the season. The episode starts with Will McAvoy being questioned by the cable channel’s counsel led by Rebecca Halliday a really expensive lawyer (Mackenzie points out that the more expensive the lawyer is the worse is your situation). The hearing is about something called “Genoa” which happens to be a military operation the network wasn’t supposed to talk about. And despite being asked by the Department of Defense not to run the story of this operation, News Night did. As usual Will plays the cool sarcastic guys making fun of the lawyer every time she is saying Geneva instead of Genoa.
Suddenly the interrogation is stopped by a short red-haired woman…and you need about 2s before saying “holy s**t it’s Maggie! What happened to her?” Thankfully, Halliday has the same question. We learn by Will that Maggie wanted to run a story and went to Uganda where things were very fast and she came back “all messed up”. It’s also an opportunity to see a protective Will who defends Maggie after Halliday pointed out she looks like the Girl with a dragon Tattoo. “If what happened to her, happened to you, you would kill yourself or spent the rest of your life crying.” Tell you it’s all about consequences. So what happened?
Let’s go back a few months ago – precisely fourteen months ago:
The last season’s consequences:
In case you forget: last season, Will attacked the Tea Party and called them the American Taliban something to which “The Taliban resented it”. Later Reese Lansing, president of the channel was kicked out of a meeting at the Capitol Building due to McAvoy’s attacks as some members of the House Judiciary are Tea Party members.
August 23, 2011, Will is anchoring the story of rebels taking Tripoli (Libya). Meanwhile Jim Harper joins Mackenzie McHale telling her they need to change the Dominique Strauss-Kahn part because they were going to report he was being charged with attempted rape, but in fact he is only being investigated for it. They need to do a quick voice-over work which is quite amazing as it really happens. As there are some technical problems we discover that Will knows Rebecca Black’s Friday lyrics and loves singing it. His “American Taliban” remark has big consequences as they are going to be “officially condemned” and advertisers are pulling out. So Charlie asks Will not to cover the 9/11 anniversary and tells him to get sick around the 9th or 10th and it will appear quite natural that someone else is covering the news.
Meanwhile, Jim is having some issues seeing Maggie and Don playing the perfect couple, especially when she comes to talk with him wanting things to go back to the way they used to be. Jim refuses remembering her that it’s awkward because she wants the situation to be awkward. So when he learns that one of the channel correspondents broke his ankle and won’t be able to cover the Romney campaign he decides to replace it. Mackenzie is against his decision until she understands he took it for some personal reasons too after he yelled “Fire me or send me to New Hampshire”. Soon he discovers that the American Taliban remark is going to make his job more complicated. Indeed, if the bus campaign has 40 empty seats, Jim is asked to drive his own car by the organization.
Too bad for him because back in NYC, Don leaves Maggie’s apartment in what seems to be a break-up. His reason is a youtube video entitled “Another New Yorker Loses It”. Wondering what this video is about? Remember last season when Maggie kinda declares her love for Jim yelling against a Sex in the City bus tour. After seeing the video, Don decides to put an end to their relationship “I spent this whole time thinking I was a bad guy for not being in love with you”. Now we can imagine this was one of the trigger that leads Maggie’s Uganda trip and red hair.
This season soon-to-be consequences:
First let’s start with Neal Sampat. Neal heard a few things about a movement named “Occupy Wall Street”. For him, it’s the next Arab Spring. He wants to cover this story but Mackenzie refuses pointing out there are a lot of protests in the Big Apple every day. She even reads him the list of all those protests. Neal defends his case and finally, Mackenzie agrees he attends the general Assembly of the movement tonight. Just to have some information. There, the people aren’t happy to see him as he is working for a news network but he gets along with Shelley one of the major figures of the movement. At first she is reluctant to get in touch with him and the network. But Neal admits he wants this movement to succeed. He gives her his card and tells her to find one clear message for the movement. As we know, Occupy Wall Street ended to be a big worldwide protest and so Neal had quite a great feeling to cover this. And soon, we may see the consequence of his decisions.
But the major story of course is “Genoa”. With Jim away we are introduced to Jerry Dantana from the ACN DC bureau, his replacement. Jerry wants to talk about the drone policies: “How does Pakistan feel about us invading their air space to kill people occasionally?” Will agrees to make a panel about it and even agrees Jerry to contact his guy instead of Jim’s. This expert annoys the news team and Will is doing nothing to stop him. Mackenzie is angry and tells Jerry to use Jim’s contacts the next time. But later the expert talks with Jerry privately about the panel but the most important is a story he wants to tell him. “I’m going to give you a story but you have to use me to follow it. It’s a story that “makes careers and ends presidencies.” It’s about a black op called “Genoa.” So here we are the starting of the Genoa case.
Later at the bar, Mackenzie meets Will. She is still mad at him for what he did during the panel. He admits his behavior was due to the 9/11 coverage. The exchange between the two of them is quite cute and even funny sometimes. Then Will asks her when Jim will be back. “In a couple of weeks,” she answers. “Oh, what could possibly happen in a couple of weeks?”
Fourteen month later….we’re back to the hearing. We learn a little more about the Genoa incident “It was impossible to believe. But piece-by-piece the evidence started coming in and suddenly it was impossible to deny. It was the biggest thing any of us had ever touched, including Charlie. It was the Pentagon Papers and we were the only ones who had it.” She also points out the covering of Genoa made the show the most viewed program in the history of cable news.
But why did it happen? It’s only about the what ifs? What If the Romney reporter hadn’t broken his ankle? What if Jim hadn’t gone to cover Romney? What if Jerry hadn’t come to New York? What if the panel had Jim’s guy instead of Jerry’s guy? What if?
The episode ends with Mackenzie starting her deposition while Will and Maggie are waiting, sat in the hallway.