‘The Newsroom’ season 2, episode 5 review: A full hour of ‘News Night’ and bad news

What happened? -Last week, “The Newsroom” had arguably its strongest episode of the season, and despite some of our fears over a Sloan Sabbath bit related to an invasion of privacy, we have to say that somehow, Aaron Sorkin has figured out yet again a way to up the ante. “News Night with Will McAvoy” is the best episode of this series to date: A strong, self-contained hour that was basically this show meets “24.” Everything happened in relative real-time, and it was both extremely relevant to the overall story and also poignant for individual reasons.

One of these such reasons was hearing about the death of Will’s father, which happened while he was on the air during his show. All thanks to his decision to not pick up the phone right away, he didn’t have the closure that he apparently seemed to want at the end of the day.

During the show, he tried to distract himself with something as silly as some hate-tweets that were sent his way courtesy of a vengeful reporter, and that worked for a time; unfortunately, it wasn’t enough in the end. A combination of emotion towards his father and frustration over having to read a correction (the fault of a clearly distracted Maggie related to the Trayvon Martin case) ended up being far too much for him to take when it comes to keeping his composure.

As powerful and well-acted as Will’s story was, there were a ton of other good ones that filled in the episode. Mackenzie keeping a college student from having his coming out moment overshadow a young suicide, as was her and the team’s move to take out a pair of people who were trying to pull a Howard Stern-esque prank by calling and claiming that they were “sources” calling from the Middle East. Charlie dug deeper on the Operation Genoa story, and Sloan and Don dealt with her photo crisis in some great ways.

First of all, this was probably the best work that Olivia Munn has ever done, and Sloan and Don both showed a very human side as they went through her own stages of grief over the ordeal. She knew it was embarrassing, and that she would have to move on eventually, but how are you able to do that in such a dire situation? The end of it was perfect as she sought her revenge, even if it was a little convenient that the ex-boyfriend worked so close to the “News Night” studio.

We really cannot say enough about just how gripping and well-put-together this one. While “The Newsroom” cannot do every episode in real-time, this was a fascinating experiment that focused only on what people love about the show, and informed us so much about the variety of characters in the process.

Photo: HBO

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