The Newsroom Season 2 Premiere – ‘First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All The Lawyers’

By | HBO Series: The Newsroom | Jul 15, 2013

“Well, will one of you please fuck Mrs. Halliday?”

The Newsroom S2 Premiere

 

Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) made his return to the ACN Newsroom this past Sunday in an episode that rivals its series opening counterpart from season one. ‘First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All The Lawyers’ is newly stylized, refreshing and seems to address many of the scrutinizing critiques surrounding season one. The season two premiere opens with a much improved title sequence and picks up 14 months after Will’s verbal attack on the Tea Party, aka the American Taliban, using flashbacks to reconstruct the events leading up to that point. Flashbacks are certainly nothing new to the series, but Sorkin does a fine job of creating questions from the very start – The meeting with AWM attorney, Rebecca Halliday (Marcia Gay Harden), Maggie’s (Alison Pill) new look, and the tension surrounding the classified black-ops mission – Genoa.

RECAP:

The Newsroom S2E1 Recap

Before we dive into all of that good stuff, lets get all of the personal issues our characters have been struggling with out of the way:

Neal (Dev Patel) is still in pursuit of his first big story. Occupy Wall Street is currently in the beginning stages of development and Neal attends one of the movements preliminary meetings, hoping to understand what OWS is all about. It was refreshing to hear the political motivations surrounding the movement rather than focusing on the bizarre hippie overtones. Either way, this is certainly a step up from Neal’s ‘Big Foot’ pitch from last season.

Jim (John Gallagher Jr.) has had enough of Maggie and Don’s disgustingly cute office relationship. After a producer sustains an injury on the Romney campaign, Jim sees an opportunity to get away for a while by heading to New Hampshire to fill his shoes. Jim soon discovers that the trip north is anything but friendly. Apparently, the Republicans were quite offended by McAvoy’s insinuation – shocking, I know. Jim’s escape seems rather premature after we discover Maggie’s ‘Sex and the City’ confession has found it’s way to YouTube. After confronting Maggie about this laughable insight, Don (Thomas Sadoski) moves out of his own apartment… yea. Basically, this relationship trio continues it’s downward trend from last season.

Jerry Dantana, (Hamish Linklater) a producer from ACN Washington, makes his way to New York to fill in for Jim. The ambitious new character shares Sloan’s (Olivia Munn) passion for in-depth investigations on the Obama administrations drone program in Pakistan. After Will refuses to counter against the panel, Jerry’s expert confides that he has knowledge of a story that ‘makes careers and ends presidencies’ – Genoa.

Which leads us back to the good stuff, and when I say good stuff I’m talking about Will McAvoy. In light of Will’s attack on the Tea Party, Reese Lansing (Chris Messina), President of AWM, is shunned from a House Judiciary Meeting on SOPA, raising the stakes for AWM’s involvement in Washington. Charlie (Sam Waterston) is forced to make a tough decision, pulling Will from coverage on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Will’s relationship with the audience and MacKenzie (Emily Mortimer) is still an ongoing matter of interpretation, but it’s clear that his conflicting interests from season one have carried over.

LOW POINTS:

‘The Newsroom’ is still suffering from a pretty blatant lack of political balance and continues to spew out some pretty laughable, melodramatic moments (check out Don’s departure from his own apartment for reference). Sorkin makes no effort to hide his personal opinion on drone strikes, using McAvoy as the scapegoat to defend the program. Disagree? Thats fine, but you can’t deny that characters who are against the use of drones were set up as the ‘good guys’ while those on the opposite side were either ignorant or cowardly. I was really hoping that the dialogue surrounding issues such as these would support both sides of the political spectrum, but it doesn’t look like thats going to happen.

Its almost as if Sorkin doesn’t want Republicans to watch his show. Republicans = bad. Democrats = good. Plain and simple. The one saving grace, as far as balance is concerned, is that the drone program has been heavily utilized under the Obama administration. Ok, I’m starting to swerve from the point, but you know what I mean.

Newsroom low points

HIGH POINTS:

‘First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All The Lawyers’ is, in my opinion, the best episode of ‘The Newsroom’ to date. If you disagree, feel free to state your reasoning in the comments below. The stakes from season one have returned, the threat of Will being taken off the air, but now the entire ACN news division is in jeopardy. The aftermath of Operation Genoa will slowly unveil throughout the season, giving us a solid foundation for conflict which wasn’t introduced until episode 3 of last season. Even scenes that may not be directly correlated with the main plot have received an upgrade. Mac’s handling of the switchboard error was an awesome display of ‘heads up’ thinking. The coverage of the rebel takeover of Tripoli and the on-the-spot edit of the ex-IMF Chief were also subtle but entertaining tweaks in the episode.

To put it simply – shit is actually happening. Jim leaves, Neal has a story, Maggie and Don are finished (I think), Jerry is already stirring trouble in the newsroom and once again Will finds himself on the hot seat. Is this sudden influx of information due to the downgrade to 9 episodes for season 2? We’ll have to wait and see, but if things continue at this pace you won’t hear any complaints from me.

The Newsroom S2 Highs

All in all, the highs outweigh the lows in this episode. I’m looking forward to another great season of ‘The Newsroom.’ Are you? Join the conversation below and let the HBOWatch community know what you think.

Here’s the preview for S2/E2:

I’m David Pergolini, goodnight.

 


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  • Trisha G

    Please tell me there is a season 3, 4 & 5….I JUST LOVE IT…the best show on television – Trisha G

  • @IRNerdivore

    I felt this episode missed the mark a little. I suspect that the “confusion” of the scenes is going to be more of a set-up for the storytelling style of this season, but I am not sure that they managed to capture the essence of season 1. I am hopeful for the rest of the season though as the writing seems more complex and less predictable. I am hoping for more realistic female characters as well. Season 1 just left the female characters kind of feeling like cardboard cutouts of actual people. Still, love the show and I am looking forward to episode 2.

  • Disappointed

    The tight dialogue and clear plot lines from season one are not evident in this first episode. It is difficult to figure out what exactly happened with Genoa with Will and the lawyer both talking at once. Much of the dialogue sounds like the characters are speed dating. I hope the next episode is clearer, because this was my favorite show of last summer.

    • David Pergolini

      Solid point. I had absolutely no idea what was going on at first. The dialogue is certainly a lot of information to process, making some scenes seem rather overwhelming. I had to watch the episode a second time to really get what was going on. Maybe I can shed some light:

      Genoa is a black-ops mission which American forces were said to have used nerve gas to kill the enemy and, obviously, civilians. ACN ran the Pentagon papers and are now facing severe backlash from… well, I don’t know.

      A LOT of shit went down this episode. I’m not sure if it’s due to the 1 episode cut back or if Sorkin just wanted more conflict. Either way I’m liking the action. I think Sorkin spent a lot of time on character-to-character interaction last season, trying to give us a better understand of who they are and how they act, essentially annoying the audience. Episode one was packed full of main plot conflict, which is something I am totally ok with.

      Hopefully things will start coming together, until then enjoy the show!





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