Evidence of Things Not Seen
By: Lady Sharon
By: Lady Sharon
The title of this week’s episode, Amen, isn’t the end of a prayer. It’s the alias of a stringer reporter News Night uses during the resignation of President Mubarak in Egypt. It means “the hidden one.” There’s lots that’s hidden this week: a secret reporter in Egypt, the secret mastermind of a Valentine’s date, secret meetings in dark rooms, and secret (almost) payoffs.
But there’s also an obvious change in temperature in the News Night bullpen (as I hoped there would be), a greater sense of teamwork and uniting against outside foes. And this makes for a much more enjoyable hour.
Grab your favorite drink – tea or not – and read on as I evaluate both what’s hidden and blatantly apparent in this installment from Aaron Sorkin on The Newsroom.
Mubarak Resigns from Office In Egypt
Don is the EP of Elliot’s show, and being the sleazy climber that he is, really wants Elliot to be impressive this time out – which isn’t happening from the room of the Cairo Radison! So Don “bullied” Elliot into leaving the room for some juicy reporting and footage.
In the streets, Elliot gets beaten severely with a rock. He has lacerations and some broken bones. Thankfully, he’s alive, and when he comes home safely, Don does feel guilty. That was nice to see, and made me like him a little more. Just a little.
|The hidden one, |
played by Amin El Gamal
But now there’s nobody to report from Egypt.
Neal, aka adorkable but stereotypical IT guy, knows another stereotypical IT guy/reporter dweebie in Egypt. Well isn’t that convenient!
Neal convinces the News Night heads, and then convinces his Egyptian contact to report for News Night. This Egyptian can move throughout the crowds, getting interview and footage without being noticed and injured.
His alias is Amen, which means the hidden one in ancient Egyptian.
It takes some encouraging to get Amen to agree:
Neal: "Every news outlet in the world is gonna be there. But you’ll be the first Egyptian reporter on an American network to describe what it’s like living through this 'Berlin Wall moment' for the Middle East. This is history and you will never forget tonight."
He agrees to do it and to show his full face and reveal his real name on air. Yeah, stumping for us isn’t going to be dangerous or anything…
Neal finally has a storyline that doesn’t involve hearing people arguing about their personal lives. I loved getting to hear how he discovered that he wanted to be a journalist (7/7 train bombing in London). And he nails it.
It humanized him, although I still feel like he’s the kid brother of the group. It’s almost like they can’t decide if they want him to be comic relief or if they want him to sit at the grown-ups table.
The Valentine’s Day (Almost) Massacre
Its Valentine’s Day and Maggie and Don have a romantic evening planned. But Lisa tends to ruin Maggie’s VD by being depressed and drinking and crying all over Maggie. To pre-empt the drunken Beaches, Overboard and The Notebook-fest, Maggie buys gifts, cards, and makes dinner ressie’s for Jim to take Lisa out.
|Don't screw with me |
James T. Whateveryournameis
It takes Jim a few minutes to understand that Maggie has schemed up a date and all the fixin's for him so she can be with Don.
Maggie: "Don’t screw me on this James Tiberious Harper."
Was Maggie subliminally wishing it was her date with Jim and not Lisa’s? Was she just transferring her dream of a date with Jim to Lisa? And the gifts she buys for Lisa (a charm of her favorite animal, a bottle of her favorite wine, dinner at her favorite place, and lingerie) seem more thoughtful than the room at the Four Seasons and a dozen roses that Don gets her.
Maggie’s either afraid of leaving Don or afraid of a wonderful healthy relationship with Jim. She needs some help realizing that she would be better off with Jim. She’s just bashing his love for her with a door. Literally. And repeatedly. And Don’s the door!
Of course, Jim ends up getting distracted by work and forgets his dream date with Lisa. So Lisa very uncouthly barges into the bullpen and stages a nutty on Jim. She overcame her freak-out pretty quickly and then reeled Jim back in with sex.
And edible underwear.
Who the hell wears edible underwear out on a date?!?!? That’s like wearing a Fruit Roll-Up for 5 hours while sitting at a restaurant. That’s one big warm, squishy wedgie over her supposedly fashion-forward head.
|Imagine wearing this for underwear for 5 hours!?!?!|
Sloan, Mac and the Economy
Mac is going on a panel on “Is TV News Equipped to Cover the Economy.” In Mac’s case, the answer is no.
Predictably, ditzy Mac doesn’t know a bloody thing about the friggin’ economy. Can’t even balance her checkbook. So she asks Sloan to teach her a few pointers so she doesn’t look like an idiot.
Where do I even start on Mac?!
|... but I can't talk to you without sounding bitchy!|
Would I believe it more if Maggie was the EP? I believe it every time Maggie gets the scoop on a great story, but can’t navigate her personal life with a map and a flashlight.
But I expect more from Mac. Maybe I just want her to be CJ Cregg.
One more thing... why does Sloan always sound so condescending? I didn’t notice it until tonight. She comes off kinda bitchy.
Like “How dare you make me explain things to you that could help us raise the profile of the economy in prime-time? I’d rather set Will up with a dozen more girls who are ‘locked and loaded’ because that’s funner!”
TMI has TMI
|She's a journalist. Shyeah, right.|
Apparently Mac’s boyfriend, “Party On” Wade Campbell, has been on the show 5 times in 6 weeks. Turns out he’s also planning on running for office. That makes it look like Mac, Will and ACN are using him in all these interviews to help him get him elected.
And Nina wrote all about it.
Mac didn’t know that he was going to run, because Wade never told her. And when she figured it out that he was using her specifically for help getting elected, she dumped him like last week’s smelly, fishy trash.
When he called her ‘High Road,’ I wish she would have pushed him right off the terrace. Egyptologist my ass! But I digress…
Then Nina tries to publish a story about Mac getting a crew injured when she was in Pakistan.
Will arragnes to meet Nina in the back room of a bar for a show down. He plans to write a check to her for her silence. First, this would have leaked and been yet another story because he was going to write her a check! Second it would make Will no better than Nina, who calls both herself and Will “journalists.”
This is the final straw, and Will comes to his senses. He’s not gonna give in, he’s gonna fight… and win.
|What's the obsession here? |
Footnote: I don’t know what the hell is going on with the repeated Jennifer Aniston references. One of the recently-let-go writers must have a crush or something.
RUDY! RUDY! RUDY!
During all the chaos in Egypt, Amen gets captured and is feared dead. Neal feels completely responsible for this since he’s the one who found him and convinced him to report for News Night. The whole crew, even Don, Will, Charlie and Elliot Hirsch, drop everything and call their contacts to try to find him.
Elliot finds out that he’s being held by a group that wants $250,000 for his safe return. But ACN corporate won’t pay the ransom because Amen was a freelancer. Will pays it and tells no one. But Mac figures it out.
Mac: "Corporate didn’t wire any [money]. You did."
Will: (pause) "He’s one of our guys."
It’s great that instead of bribing Nina $50,000 to not print anything ever in TMI, he pays 5 times that to get Amen back, unifying his team at the same time. It was a great demonstration that the News Night family is behind him and his mission 100%.
Then Mac opens Will’s office door, and one by one, the crew of News Night file into his office and place a check on his desk. Each one uttering some variation of, “It’s not much but I’d like to help.”
And in the memo of each check, it said “Coach.”
This is all the more poignant because at the beginning of the episode we learn that Will cries during the jersey scene in Rudy. I mean, who doesn’t!?
"This is for Rudy, coach." Bwaaaahhh-haaah-haaaa!
I have to ask, when was the last time you (and everyone you worked with) brought your checkbook to work? ...Ah, it doesn’t matter. This is the first ep to make me tear up. I’m a firm proponent of the suspension of disbelief, so the poetry of a moment will always outweigh the impracticality of it.
Mac, Will and the News Night Team Come Together
Will ripped a decoration cardboard heart in half and hung it back on his door. That was a little ‘heart on the sleeve’ moment for him. Maybe even a subliminal sign to Mac. Poor guy.
|Have you hugged someone you love today?|
But Mac was the one that organized everyone to do that Rudy-thing with the checks in place of jerseys. And afterward, they HUGGED!
Will: “Nobody in his right mind would risk losing you.”
For all that was hidden in this episode, we learn for sure (as does the entire crew of News Night) that there is still a connection between Will and Mac. Thank goodness! They’re so much better working together then screaming at each other. I wonder how long they can keep this unrequited love going… the longer the better. For the show, that is.
And finally, even without recognizing it, everyone IS working like a team, and producing good news reports instead of incessantly talking about it!
Postscript: Bad luck, bad timing on two parts, Aaron
- Mac’s line about the movie Rudy and the team handing in their jersey’s being symbolic of “I want to take a shower with Rudy.” Ouch, that’s just a little too close to the sanctions on Penn State for Sandusky’s molestation of football players.
- ACN morning anchor Maria Guerro mentions movies at the “Cineplex.” This just days after the shooting at the Century 16 Cineplex in Aurora, CO.