The intro has been tweaked, but make no mistake, this is the same "Newsroom."
Perhaps as a nod to some criticism of its first season, "The Newsroom" opened Season Two with a vastly less heavy-handed intro. Gone from the credits are the images of Brinkley and Cronkite. Instead, viewers are now treated to shots of New York City and the ACN crew preparing for a broadcast. Fear not -- Aaron Sorkin may have changed the opening, but the body of his show is still filled with the rapid-fire dialogue we have come to expect.
"First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All The Lawyers," which opened fourteen months after the Season One finale, began with not the hero America deserves, but the one it needs right now.
Will McAvoy, seated across a conference table from the ACN legal team, answering questions about a story that his team reported, then retracted, called Genoa. It was here that we were reintroduced to Maggie, who now sports something of a Pete Rose haircut. We learned that she changed her look after some kind of traumatic experience she went through while covering a story in Uganda.
We then saw the fallout of Will's "American Taliban" line, as it kept Reese Lansing, the president of ACN's parent company, from being admitted to a meeting with the U.S. House of Representatives. There are consequences to words and actions, you see. That would be a theme throughout the episode.
Next was a scene from the broadcast control room, where Jim and Mackenzie scrambled to put out metaphorical fires while Will sat at the broadcast desk doing his best Ron Burgundy. This scene served mostly to reintroduce us to these characters and to lay groundwork, showing what mistakes can be narrowly avoided, and what mistakes are made when working in a fast-paced environment.
After a brief stop in the newsroom to re-familiarize ourselves with Sloan and Don, we saw Charlie pulling Will from covering the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. More consequences.
It was then time for Maggie and Jim to deal with the consequences of their decision to kiss, then go on with their lives as if nothing happened, in the Season One finale. Maggie wanted to make things less awkward. Jim decided to run away and travel as a reporter covering Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. We also saw Mackenzie and Will continue to play verbal footsie with a late night phone call.
With Jim away to cover Mitt, Mackenzie brought in a guy named Jerry to fill in. I remember the actor playing Jerry from "The New Adventures of Old Christine," as well as the Miranda July movie that I didn't like as much as her first one.
Jerry has some ambition, it would seem. Will asked Sloan to keep an eye on him, allowing Olivia Munn to show some of her comedy chops. I like her. I once had a dream that we went antiquing in Ellicott City.
Neal then tried to convince Mackenzie to cover what would become Occupy Wall Street. she turned him down at first, but eventually suggested that he should check it out. She has some instincts, let me tell you.
Jerry brought in an unstable military expert for a panel on drone strikes. After the broadcast, the guy told Jerry that he would give him the kind of story that makes and breaks people. The Genoa story. The one, that we learned in the first scene, eventually put ACN on the hotseat.
Don and Sloan had a scene together, reminding us that Sloan likes Don, Don might like Sloan, but Don thinks that a good guy would be with Maggie. Or he did, until Maggie's cousin sent him a video of Maggie's "Sex and the City" meltdown from last season's finale. He decided to move out after seeing Maggie profess her love for Jim.
The closing scene saw Mackenzie facing the legal team in "Newsroom" current day, meaning 2012, laying out the scope of the Genoa story and how it nearly tripled the size of News Night's audience.
I'm a dialogue junkie, so while I see the flaws that "The Newsroom" has had with story during its brief run, there is usually more than enough to keep me entertained. "First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All The Lawyers" certainly fell under that heading.
Although it was just "C story," I just wasn't into the Occupy Wall Street angle, although I'm all for giving Dev Patel's Neal something to sink his teeth into. I thought that the "B story" mercifully wrapped up the Don/Jim/Maggie triangle that had long-outlived its potency.
As for the main storyline, I'm not wild about an angle that would make Will and his crew seem too foolish, as they often manage to make themselves look that way unintentionally. But, this was just the first of nine episodes this season, so I'll withhold judgement until it has the opportunity to play itself out.