This week’s episode of The Newsroom continues the series’ commitment to engaging storytelling and lightning fast action. Scripted once again by creator Aaron Sorkin, “I’ll Try to Fix You” expands on several storylines that have been bubbling up since the first episode (including the will-they-or-won’t-they relationship between Jim and Maggie) as well as the fallout from Will’s “mission to civilize” which has disastrous results for him personally and professionally.
Most disheartening about Episode 4, though, is Sorkin’s blatant proselytizing about his political beliefs, using Will as his mouthpiece. Even though Will constantly reminds those around him that he is a registered Republican, it would be more accurate to describe him as a “Republican,” considering few, if any, of his views line up with the GOP. While it was originally refreshing to see Sorkin choose a main character who may reside right of center on the political spectrum, it is now clear it was just a ploy (or bait-and-switch, if you will) to appeal to a wider viewing audience.
Nevertheless, “I’ll Try to Fix You” is a terrific piece of television. Opening with a New Year’s Eve party in the ACN newsroom, Will is holed up in his office avoiding the festivities. MacKenzie interrupts Will’s solitude to ask if her boyfriend, Wade (Jon Tenney), can pitch a story. As it turns out, Wade, an Assistant Attorney General, is just trying to justify why the Department of Justice hasn’t ferreted out all of the financial corruption that is happening in the lending industry. Will is less than moved by Wade’s position and has no qualms about hiding it.
When Will does decide to join the party, Sloan convinces him that he should talk to people since that’s what a normal person does. A particularly attractive woman, Nina Howard (Hope Davis), catches his eye and he decides to approach her. MacKenzie recognizes the woman as a gossip columnist for TMI, known for destroying public figures. She tries to drag Will away, but he is unmoved. When Nina begins describing the “takedown” piece she is currently working on, though, Will is not only off put but quite irritated that the type of writing Nina profits from is considered journalism. He tells her “I would have more respect for you if you were a heroin dealer.”
The next day, Page Six runs a story about Will groping Nina at the party. Charlie isn’t really worried about the article, but he does find it amusing. However, it starts a downward spiral for Will of which he has no control. A few days later, he gets another drink thrown in his face by a woman who takes offense to Will calling her a bitch (imagine that) for following “Real Housewives” so closely. Finally, a date with one of Sloan’s friends, Carrie (Kathryn Hahn), goes awry when he finds a gun in her purse. The next day, a story comes out about Will partying with drugs and guns in his apartment.
While trying to assess damage control with MacKenzie and Don, Charlie realizes that the entire sequence of events can be led back to Leona Lansing. In last week’s episode, we saw Leona threaten to fire Will if he doesn’t shape up. What we didn’t see was her describe how she would create a smear campaign against him to justify firing him if it comes to that. Since Will now has a non-compete clause in his contract (which he acquiesced to in order to get the right to fire MacKenzie whenever he wants), Will is in a bit of a bind.
The real joy of this week’s episode is Neal (Dev Patel), who has been mostly on the sidelines so far. Neal is obsessed with convincing everyone that Bigfoot is real. While it sounds like a drunken rant at the New Year’s Eve party, Neal is stone cold serious about the topic. It is absolutely hilarious watching him try to convert the entire staff, including Will who is about as skeptical as one man can get.
While the Maggie/Jim/Don triangle may get tired very soon, it was fun watching the dance between the three as Don pushes to set Jim up with Maggie’s roommate, Lisa (Kelen Coleman), as a test to see how Maggie would react. The date goes really well, but Jim lies to Maggie about it. Why? And why does Maggie get so upset when she finds out Jim and Lisa slept together? Some good stuff is going to happen in the future. Let’s just hope it’s not dragged out for too long.