The Newsroom aired it’s season finale last night on HBO, entitled, “The Greater Fool”, which also happens to be the title of the cover story Brian (Mac’s Ex) did on Will and News Night 2.0. The article was a scathing attack, it has been out for weeks and Will is taking it very hard. So hard in fact that he is mixing Effexor, Bourbon and naproxen, causing him to vomit blood and lands him the hospital.
The finale was a mixed bag, between mad cap silly MacKenzie freak outs, Maggie’s sidewalk rant at the Sex and The City Tour bus, and how neatly the hacking scandal was wrapped up, and Leona’s about face. I think the show was done shooting before it even aired and before they knew it was going to be renewed. That could explain why nothing was really left hanging, it even looked like Will and Mac were getting back together.
I still love the show, but I had a lot of issues with the finale. It was too staged, too obvious, the montage set to The Who‘s “Baba O’Reilly” was supposed to be one of those moments when the hero and the troops rally and we rally with them, the music pumping, the in your face we will rise again, came across as insincere and didn’t get me going at all. Because I never felt our Newsroom folk were really that down and out. Haven’t thy been rallying like this all season, didn’t we just see a scene like this last week when Will decided to drop Casey Anthony and go back to the old format proving Brian wrong.
Let’s discuss what didn’t work, the way MacKenzie and Sloan are written and portrayed. MacKenzie has become more and more shrill as the weeks have progressed. She is completely unprofessional, and her emotional outbursts are an insult to women, who manage to get through their workdays without screaming at the top of their lungs and pouting or making moon eyes at their ex while they beg to know what the voicemail they never got said. Sloan is supposed to be this highly intelligent woman, but Sorkin manages to diminish her by making her socially inept and overly concerned with the size of her ass. Cliche
Its been a while since I watched the West Wing, but I don’t recall CJ, or Donna being written this one dimensional or insulting. I know Sorkin has it in him to write better female characters, so let’s hope he pulls it together for next season or just like the Republican party woman will be turning off Newsroom in droves.
I knew that Jim and Maggie couldn’t end up together,(well not this season anyway) but to have her move in with Don! Really! Maggie would be far more interesting, if she had said no to both and worked on some character development before she took on her next relationship. Lisa had just pointed out to Maggie that she and Don are no any further along in their relationship than they were a year ago. And all Don has to do it light some candles, spread some rose petals and all of sudden this grand gesture makes up for what a jerk he is. Oh Maggie, and Aaron Sorkin, this isn’t a 1990’s rom-com, is Katherine Heigl joining the case next season.
What did work, the 3 big moments that needed to, thereby redeeming the finale.
The confrontation scene with Leona and Reese, the fake out with the envelope, Sam Waterston really makes every scene he is in, I hope he is nominated for a supporting actor Emmy for his work on this show, he elevates all those around him. The opening banter between Will and Leona was tight, great barbs. The fake out with the beef stew recipe, while not new, was effective and the perfect middle finger to Reese.
Will finally finds out it wasn’t a hallucination, it was Mac at Northwestern holding up those signs, the signs that prompted his speech. A speech I happen to agree with, and an America I long to have back.
The Greater Fool, is an economic term, they rely on him to buy long and sell short, self delusion and ego propel him, his belief that he can succeed where others have failed. We need The Greater Fool. Anytime someone is called a “fool” on TV I am always reminded of Shakespeare’s use of the Fool character, he always turned out to be the smartest character in the play. King Lear anyone.
The final moment, the pay off if you will. The girl who asked Will the question at Northwestern that started it all is applying for an internship. It takes Will several hours to realize who she is and when he confronts her, she says she has been watching the show and she wants to be The Greater Fool. Congratulations Don Quixote, your mission was not in vain.
We all have the potential to change, to hear the message and change.
What will next season bring, who knows, I hope they keep the good and tone down the personal lives hysterics.