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The Newsroom - Episode 2.08 - Election Night, Part I - Review

The fallout of the Genoa story continues in the penultimate episode of The Newsroom's second season. The despair is clearly hanging in the air and Charlie parading around with alternative job applications probably didn't help. The bottom line is clear: there can be no mistakes, even if election night is one of the most (if not the most) hectic nights for a news program.

Early in the episode there is a terrific scene between Rebecca, Charlie and Will, which set the table for the rest of the episode. Leona is still unwilling to accept the resignations of Will, Charlie and MacKenzie even threatens to sue them if they try to leave on their own accord. The message from Leona comes through ACN's lawyer Rebecca Halliday, who sports a look for the party she describes as ''liquid sex''. Leona is willing to go far for ''her team'' and meanwhile Charlie plans to appeal to Reese to get Leona to accept their resignations.

Will is remarkably calm during all of it, kicked back in his chair, and tells everyone that he has appointed himself in charge of morale for the night in an attempt to clearly disarm a volatile Charlie. Charlie, who gets increasingly unhinged during the episode, remains volatile despite several attempts by Will to calm him down. And eventually cuts him off with “There is no bright side, Father Flanagan. Don’t finish that sentence!”. Charlie goes on a rant about Jerry Dantana's lawsuit and yells ''We have gone to the zoo!''. 

Later at the party, Charlie goes to Reese as planned to convince him to accept their resignations. Turns out he doesn't need convincing and agrees with Charlie, but... "My mom says I can't.''. He goes on a long, hilarious rant about how his mother harasses him about not being married, wanting grandchildren and if he is gay. After getting busted by Rebecca, Charlie is sent back downstairs, tail between his legs, to cover election night. Rebecca reminds Reese that she has to get paid for that conversation. Ha!

MacKenzie was a mess this episode, blaming herself hard for the failure that was Genoa. Will harshly described it as “You look like you were grown in an environment that’s cold and damp.”. And he is not completely wrong, Mac looks more than a little rundown after what happened with Genoa. Will tries to convince Mac to put the Genoa debacle out her mind and help produce quality election TV. Mac, on the other hand, has a different idea.

Mac feels she ruined his professional life with the fake Genoa story and draws interesting parallels to her breaking Will's heart six years ago when she cheated/lied on/to him. She calls Will a bomb waiting to go off and wants him to say whatever he's got to say to her. Will tries not to make matters worse and refrains from saying whatever he wants to say to Mac. Mac, understandably, gets angry for how long he has held this grudge against her, saying: “King George forgave AMERICA in less time than it’s taken you!”. The conversation soon ends with some more hilarious banter as Will has to go on the air to cover election night.

Later on during a commercial break, both Mac and Will square off once more. Mac tries to goad Will into firing her again and says some hurtful things about him. In a terrifically acted scene Will finally gives in and fires her, or puts Mac out her misery as she'd like to call it. Will was the only who could do it, without going through Leona, after revising his contract in the pilot episode. Something Charlie reminded him off earlier in the episode.  

He fires her because he loves her, as this will put her on the road to end her agony. I don't believe Mac will actually leave The Newsroom, judging by the promo for next episode Will already seems to regret his decision. Perhaps if they finally came clean about how they felt about each other, things would mend between them. 

Maggie was unbearable in this episode, she apparently blatantly hates Jim now and would go a long way to cross him. Even teaming up with Taylor for a story, it was great to see Taylor back though even if it was brief. The scenes in the makeup room with Elliot and at the news desk with Sloan were often hilarious. But boo Maggie, besides Hallie is more fun anyway and her banter with Jim is funnier too. 

Though Jim has a slight mix up, which might cost him, when he mixes up Michigan and Mississippi which causes the News Night team to call the race for the republican who is probably going to win it anyway. After Charlie telling anyone who messes up the run out of the building and keep running across water, Jim tries his best to correct his mistake without anyone taking notice. Surely this thing will come back to bite him in the ass. 

Don is a guy who can't catch a break as Jerry has now filed a second lawsuit against Don for calling him a sociopath  Oh Don, you let you anger get the best of you and now that little weasel has even more ammunition  As if we needed more reasons to hate Jerry... It did give us another great scene with Rebecca though, which is always a plus. 

The story Maggie got from Taylor, lead her and Don to two other potentially bigger stories. So at the end of the episode they take it to Charlie, who must be at wit's end by now on how to move forward with a discredited ACN. ''Great!'', Charlie says, “As long as it’s not a potentially libelous story about misconduct in the armed forces, I’m listening.”. The looks on the faces of both Don and Maggie are priceless, but Charlie's reaction is even better when they tell him the story is about the possible affair of one General David Patraeus. 

And Charlie breaks down...

Our cliffhanger is Will saying, “Remember what I said before about my personal politics? Forget it. Take me apart.”, moments before returning from commercial break  I can't wait to see what happens next!

9/10

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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