The second season of Aaron Sorkin's HBO drama series "The Newsroom" promises to be every bit as entertaining as its first. If not more so, due to a unifying structural choice that promises an overarching story as opposed that last season's 'news story of the week'.
We open the season with Will McAvoy (played by Jeff Daniels) giving a deposition to ACN's defense attorney Rebecca Halliday (played by Marcia Gay Harden). Rebecca words to us what the central story of this season will be with these words:
“You went on the air with a story that alleged the US used nerve gas during an operation, which is a war crime, and a doctored interview and a producer who says that News Night conspired with the pentagon to cover up Operation Genoa.”
Apparently something went completely wrong and now the news team at ACN has to pay the price for that. Rebecca mentions the consequences if they fail: "no one responsible for Genoa will ever work again." As the episode moves along we learn that Genoa was an exclusive story about a US black op that was "bigger than Watergate" and their coverage almost quadrupled their ratings. With MacKenzie McHale (played by Emily Mortimer) giving the a deposition at the end of the episode, I think the rest of the team will be giving depositions as well every episode. This is a similar structure which Sorkin used in ''The Social Network'' and could give us a few tidbits every episode while the flashbacks catch up to the characters present.
Maggie Jordan's (played by Alison Pill) subplot is also touched upon at the deposition Will gives. Maggie looks distant and is sporting shorter red hair after she went to Africa where it "got real , real fast". To be honest when I heard this I really felt for Maggie, because around that time there were reporters who got attacked/raped while covering protests in Africa and the Middle East. Usually when a woman makes a serious change to her physical appearance, especially to be de-sexualized it may have something do with with a sex crime she witnessed or was a victim of. Rebecca alluding to Maggie as "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo", might have been foreshadowing in that regard.
Two other subplots for the season are introduced in the flashbacks, with one being Occupy Wallstreet and the other being Romney's campaign tour. Both are severely underestimated in their importance, MacKenzie doesn't believe Occupy Wallstreet will lead to anything, but has Neal Sampat (played by Dev Patel) check it out anyway. It's fun to see Neal stretch his reporter legs and I hope to see him do more of this in this season. On the other hand Romney's campaign is also underestimated as at this point he is still trailing a lot of points behind his opponents, but Jim Harper (played by John Gallagher Jr.) takes the job anyway to get away from Maggie.
Relationships are still the shows biggest weakness, all of them. Everyone involved in a significant relationship with another character on this show is a bumbling love fool, they never say exactly how they feel. Instead they make jokes and laugh it off. Poor Don Keefer (played by Thomas Sadoski) has to find out from Maggie's niece via YouTube how Maggie really feels about Jim. And Sloan Sabbith (played by Olivia Munn) fares no better when confronted by Don about her advances towards him.
Overall the premiere of season two of The Newsroom was a return to form and then some, fixing a lot of issues people had with the first season. Unfortunately the obstacles in the relationships still feel contrived, but it is a minor misstep in an otherwise excellent show.
Also what happened to the theme tune?