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The Newsroom – S2, Ep. 4 – “Unintended Consequences”

Shows like The Newsroom are so easy to write about. It’s kind of funny because whether it’s a good or bad episode, there is always plenty to talk about. This week’s episode wasn’t any different. Even though it felt like there was a lot less bouncing around from character to character going on, there was still a lot covered. As been the trend this season, we got check-ins with everyone, and most of the characters are progressing nicely within their own plot lines.

“Unintended Consequences” was a far-cry from last week’s episode. As you know, “Willie Pete” felt very much like it was just spinning its wheels to me. It was the first episode of The Newsroom that I had seen in a while that didn’t impress. This week, however, that has totally changed. In fact, “Unintended Consequences” may turn out to be one of my favorite episodes of the show to this point. I’ve got a bit more reflecting to do on that point prior to being able to say for sure, but it is easily up there. The episode blended funny and serious together so perfectly.

Before really even getting into the specifics, I have to say how well I thought the format of this episode worked. The main story here was Maggie’s (Alison Pill) experience in Africa, but the way it was put together was perfect. The style of present to flashback to present fit so well. Aside from really making Maggie’s story that much more intriguing, it helped to remind us of the issues that ACN is facing due to the Genoa story. Bigger than the format, though, was Maggie’s actual story. I’ll get more into this in a minute.

I also absolutely loved  the fallout from Will “murderlizing” Shelly (Aya Cash) on air. The way that he tore into her was pretty funny, but the true gold wasn’t found until Neal arranged meetings between Shelly and Sloan, Don, and eventually Will. In an episode that was much more serious in some other aspects, I found these exchanges hilarious. This was just another example of how well everything is written on The Newsroom. As I’ve said before, I could watch a show with only these types of interactions. Lucky for us, The Newsroom is much, much more than that.

Speaking of lucky for us, I believe that I can finally put one of my biggest complaints of this season to rest. Jim is finally coming home. Thank God. His storyline thus far has done absolutely nothing for me. He felt as though he had been left in the dust, while everyone else on the show was moving towards something better. But, it looks like this is about the change. I’m hoping that this will bring him back into relevance with the rest of the cast. I’m also hoping to see that he plays a a decent role in this whole Genoa thing.

There is so much more I could talk about, but I really need to jump back into Maggie’s story. As mentioned above, she was the centerpiece for most of this episode, and rightfully so. I’d be the first to admit that I have not liked Maggie’s character up until this point. That certainly has changed after tonight, though.

Man, was her story heavy.

The ending to this episode was so intense that it actually made me anxious to watch it. Due to the nature of The Newsroom, we don’t typically get these types of thrills. Knowing the outcome of the majority of the things that they talk about on the show prevents these types of reactions, but this was a totally different animal. It was definitely one of those moments where I kept asking myself, “Can you imagine?”

In short, no. I can’t. And, that is what helps to make this episode so ridiculously compelling.

Score: 9.5/10

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