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The Newsroom - Episode 2.03 - Willie Pete - Review

This weeks episode of The Newsroom titled ''Willie Pete'' reminded me strongly of why I love Sorkin's writing when it fires on all cylinders. It has fast, witty and sharp dialogues, rich characters and a cohesive compelling narrative. It played beautifully of several plots that have come before and was the best episode of the current season. And might have been the best episode of the entire series so far.

Starting off strong with Will's (played by Jeff Daniels) tirade on the reaction an American combat soldier got at a republican debate. Or better said the lack of reaction the republican presidential candidates gave after the soldier got booed. How is equality for everyone, no matter what gender, skin color, religious convictions or sexual orientation not worth defending? How is not a common good? I don't want to go on a real tangent on the subject, but I wanted to add this.: Coming from a country where this kind of equality is normal, I find it appalling to see that this still happens in the United States. For a country that prides itself on being the greatest nation, you come across as pathetic and bigoted in moments like these. While your politicians fair no better when they don't defend this man, because they don't want to 'risk' association with the LGBT community. 

Back to your regular scheduled programming, with Will's M*A*S*H reference.

''When he was deployed to Iraq... he was worried that if his sexuality was discovered they might not let him go, as opposed to most of us who if told we were being deployed to Iraq would go Corporal Klinger faster than you could pull on a yellow taffeta picnic dress.''

After the news broadcast the, now infamous, mystery voice mail Will left Mac (played by Emily Mortimer) came back into play. Mac keeps poking at him to reveal its contents, but Will says he doesn't remember because he was high. Then Mac got an earful and Will reminded her that she slept with another man for four months while she was with him. The betrayal of trust will take a long time to heal, if it ever does. But first Will needs to stop being mad before these wounds can heal. 

Meanwhile Nina Howard (played by Hope Davis) came back in the fray after Reese (played by Chris Messina) leaked to her that Will wasn't sick during the 9/11 coverage, but actually was pulled off of it. Will went straight back on his 'mission to civilize' and invited her for a drink. In what must have been this weeks 'so crazy, it works' scene, between the mimosas and the pianist playing ''What the World Needs Now'', Nina agrees to drop the story after Will is completely truthful to her. Finally we learn the contents of the voice mail, which reveal that Will still loves Mac. This isn't exactly a huge revelation, I think most of us knew this, but Will still doesn't trust Mac after she betrayed him. In what might be another 'get back at Mac' inspired moment he slept with Nina, who then subsequently lied to Mac on the phone about what was in the voice mail. 

This was the first episode that made me like Don (played by Thomas Sadoski) and Sloan (played by Olivia Munn) as a couple. Other times went they hinted at the possibility of them being together I never really felt that there was chemistry there, but it came of great in this episode. Perhaps it took them some time to find their groove as I find Sloan much more likable this season as well. Could you believe Sloan would let Zane drag the through the office like that? I loved the ball peen hammer threat, but wouldn't that have been her first response normally?

"I'm going to take out each of your goddamn knuckles with a ball-peen hammer."

Don was still busy getting over Maggie (played by Alison Pill) by disassembling and reassembling office furniture, while Sloan gave him this look was funny. Don later backing up Sloan against her executive producer Zane was fantastic as well. 

''She's got 50 IQ points on both of us. There's nothing I could put in her head.''

Maggie's story was a bit on hold this week as she was preparing for her trip to Africa. Her freaking out over the side effects of the vaccines and medicines she had to take were hilarious. And not unusual in fiction things get lighthearted just before they get downright serious. Wondering what happened to Maggie in Africa will soon be over as it looks like next weeks episode will delve into that.

As for Jim's (played by John Gallagher Jr.) story, it still feels a bit aimless. He keeps asking the smart questions, even inciting others to take a stand and get thrown off the bus for their troubles. Hopefully it is the catalyst for his story to gain some traction as we've been seeing the same story play out for several weeks now. At least his rivalry, maybe now comradery, with Hallie (played by Grace Gummer) is more fleshed out and I liked how they revealed Hallie was just keeping quiet until the right time came along. Something that may now have been jeopardized by Jim. 

The Genoa story is still lingering in the background, simmering, and for a moment it looked like it would end in this episode. Until the translator found a second source in the tweets, giving the sergeants story from the previous episode more credibility and it looks like things will start to heat up from here.

Overall, it was one of the best if no the best episode of The Newsroom. And with ''Willie Pete'' one third of the season has already passed, how do you like season 2 so far?


Pascal Buijnsters Pascal's a Dutchman and has been a longtime commentator on SpoilerTV and started out as a writer for SpoilerTV last year. He is quite a TV addict and writes for a local, Dutch, newspaper. Next to that he's into soccer for his local team, a gamer and a fanatical swimmer. He writes previews and reviews for SpoilerTV for a variety of shows.

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