As the days go by news comes in that Charlie’s NSA source has killed himself but before doing so, has sent Charlie a document. Armed with this, Charlie goes with Mac and Will to confront the Lansings with the accusations. Reese finally admits that he is involved in the hacking and that Leona, despite her spiky persona, doesn’t want to see her company taking this direction. The whole News Night team now seems secure with Leona’s blessing to continue the work they have been doing, regardless of the fact that she is in with the Tea Party crowd that Will has continually bashed on the show.
It seems that her faith in them was misplaced and it allows Will to go out and fully attack the Tea Party motivations, bringing the story back to Dorothy Cooper, a woman who was the aunt of one of Will’s nurses and has had her voting privileges removed.
If you look back over this whole season, Sorkin’s main through line has been to attack the Tea Party. His targets are totally spot on and his criticisms are entirely valid, but it gets in the way of the drama. The concept of The Newsroom has allowed Sorkin to create his most politicised work yet and it is essentially an outlet for his opinion. Like an opinion page of a newspaper, only in visual form. This is all fascinating and I do agree with by and large every attack he makes, but it is a distraction and it feels like soapboxing, subtlety is practically none existent here.
Fittingly, The Newsroom Season 1 finale doesn’t fail on any expectations we’ve come to have of it. It is as bipolar as you like with great scenes at one turn and truly cringe inducing scenes at another. Sorkin has somehow regressed as a writer, while on a show like The West Wing or a film like The Social Network where everything was honed to absolute perfection, The Newsroom feels like a younger writer’s show. One where they have tried to do everything and failed to deliver all the constituent parts into a coherent whole or with an equal footing of quality.
As he has said many times before, Sorkin is a romantic writer, he writes with a very idealistic view of the world and of his characters. For The Newsroom, that hasn’t quite worked, he presents all the characters as having flaws and yet all their actions seem to be entirely humiliating or gold star perfect. Every single one of the characters flip between the two extremes of complete idiot and total genius (especially Sloan, Maggie and Neal) so often that it is hard to believe in the characters as actual people.
But as much as Sorkin talks about being motivated by romance and by his heart, in actuality, The Newsroom is a show being motivated by the brain. It’s become a very cerebral show, with the rapid fire dialogue and grandstanding politics cutting any kind of emotional beatdown into the ground. That balance which was found so effortlessly in The West Wing seems lost here. Think back to “In Excelsis Deo,” the 10th episode of The West Wing where the character’s emotions collided with their political affiliations to create truly mesmerising drama. There’s nothing like that here.
It’s a terrible shame too, because there is potential, there is the opportunity for this to be the new West Wing, but it’s just not there yet. I hope that Season 2 perks up a little bit but for now, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed as The Newsroom Season 1 draws to its close.Previous