The Sun's David Zurawik talks about the third and final season of HBO's 'The Newsroom,' on WYPR FM's 'Take on Television.'
"I'm not sure how I feel about new, confident Maggie," says Jim, after his former flame gives him a verbal smackdown. Maggie, Jim, Don and Sloan are carrying out orders from Mac and Charlie as the episode opens.
In response to the FBI raid on their newsroom, ACN threatens to broadcast the FBI digging through their offices live. This was a well-executed bluff on ACN's part, as they had no intention of actually breaking in with live coverage of the raid. It works, though, and the FBI stands down. There was some typically good comedy in this scene, and more liberal use of four-letter words than I can recall in previous weeks.
Rebecca successfully negotiates a one-week ceasefire with the FBI, giving ACN some time to get their house in order. After a week, Will and Neal will meet with investigators, where they will be asked to tell everything they know about the classified documents that they were provided, without giving up their source. If the FBI can identify the leaker based on that information, then Will and Neal will be fine. If the investigators still can't identify the leaker, then Will and Neal would be forced to give up the source, or else face jail time.
"That stunt with the cameras? That wasn't cool," Rebecca tells Charlie. "Neither am I," Charlie says. I disagree.
"This report says the world is coming to an end," Maggie tells Jim, as she clues him in on her EPA story. We're continuing the alphabet soup acronym game this week, I see.
Maggie asks Jim to help her push this important story to Mac and Will, as Will isn't aware of it yet, and Mac doesn't think that it's sexy enough to garner a prime spot on News Night. "I'm looking forward to working with you," Jim says. "I'm dreading it. Have a good day," Maggie replies.
None of this ACN drama will matter, of course, if Blair and Randy succeed in buying Atlantis, a fact that we're reminded of when Reese and Leona pay Charlie a visit. They tell him that they haven't been able to raise the $4 billion necessary to keep control of the company, and that they've decided to explore the idea of selling the news division.
The potential buyer is Lucas Pruitt, played by B.J. Novak. Charlie tells Will that Pruitt has ideas for what to do with ACN, which Will isn't happy to hear. The crew will travel to Washington to meet Pruitt at the White House Correspondent's dinner, despite Will railing against that event on television the previous year.
"This is a sad day for dignity," Mac says.
Next, we're treated to a sermon on the evils of new media, in the form of a scene between Jim and Hallie. Hallie, not written out after all, is taking a job where she will receive bonuses based on the number of page views she gets. Jim has a problem with that, as he believes that there is no way to write good stories on the web that will draw attention, and that anything that gets eyeballs on it must be sensationalist.
Don is eating salad in his office when the new HR vice president for the company asks him to clear up a complaint that was brought against Gary.
Don clears it up, but then the HR guy infers that he knows about his relationship with Sloan, and tells him that it isn't cool. Don denies the relationship, then rushes off to warn Sloan so that their stories will match up. Again, great comedy here. I need a single-camera sitcom spinoff starring Sloan and Don.
"You can bring him in, or we can kick his door down," Molly, the FBI agent, tells Mac in a secret meeting in a sauna. Molly and Mac are old friends, so Molly is willing to tell Mac that the FBI found solid evidence on Neal's hard drive that he committed a crime in dealing with his source. She urges Mac to get in touch with Neal and convince him to turn himself in.
Toby from "The Office," this season playing an EPA official, heads into the "News Night" studio for an interview with Will, following up on Maggie's story. He paints a picture of the report that is so grim, and delivers his lines with such a resigned quality, that it can't help but come off as hilarious. Will keeps looking for a positive spin, any positive spin, to put on the story, but the official basically says that it's too late and that life on the planet is doomed.
Will, Mac, Charlie and Rebecca meet with the FBI in Washington. The FBI tells the ACN team that they've tracked Neal down and that he's in hiding in Venezuela. The FBI attorney presses Will, telling him that he knows Will orchestrated ACN's response to this event in such a way that Neal would be protected from prosecution and that Will would end up taking the heat.
"Who's the source, Will? No one has to know you gave him up. No one has to know it was you," the FBI's attorney says. "You bungled this, and I can't help you anymore," Will replies. He's essentially calling the FBI's bluff, as he's confident that they won't haul him to prison for not giving up a source.
At the dinner the next night, Don and Sloan almost get busted by the HR vice president, who declares it his mission to break the two of them up. Charlie meets Pruitt, who seems like a real piece of work. "We could have a channel devoted to people who are stalking Danny Glover," Pruitt says, giving Charlie his vision for the network, should he buy it.
While these things are going on, someone claiming to be Neal's source approaches Mac while she's sitting by herself. The source turns out to be a woman who works for BCD, the PR firm, not the DOD, so the FBI is on the wrong investigative track.
The source presses Mac on why the story hasn't aired yet. When Mac tells her that it's because ACN is working with the government due to the national security implications of the story, the source threatens to publish the story herself. She gives Mac a deadline of four days.
Elsewhere, Will is glad-handing and posing for photos with party-goers when he's approached by a representative from the Department of Justice. The DOJ rep gives Will a grand jury subpoena, meaning that the FBI is willing to set a new precedent by potentially prosecuting Will after all, unless he gives up the source.