Dazed and Confused
by: Lady Sharon
The Greater Fool is another one of those flashback-flashforward shows that was complicated and hard to follow. I can only handle one or two time shifts before I get dizzy. And this week, the birds were circling overhead for this and many other reasons.
The romance drama in this show like a bad soap opera. But if it was a soap opera, someone would have died and come back to life already… as an alien. So maybe it’s not quite that bad.
Neal has the trolls hot and bothered because he took credit for the death threat against Will. And now there’s 100 more death threats. Sloan almost leaves News Night, but doesn’t. And she turns the God-awful love quadrangle into a pentagon of Satan’s own making. Why oh why aren’t these story lines over ye?t
Sadly, these plots and the agonizing office romances make little to no progress in the season finale, and we are left with many open wounds for pouring salt on next season.
Who You Callin’ a Fool, Willis?!?
Despite the insinuation in the previews where Mac finds Will on the ground in his apartment, it wasn't an attack on his life. He just had a bleeding ulcer from combining anti-depressants, pain relievers and booze. I’m annoyed but not surprised that Sorkin hung us out to dry on the killer angle - at least until next season.
Sloan Sabbith tells Will, "The greater fool is someone with the perfect blend of self delusion and ego to think that he can succeed where others have failed. This whole country was made by greater fools." Nicely done, Olivia.
A greater fool is really an optimist, a dreamer, an idealist. That’s nice, and I like learning new things. But shouldn’t Will know this? And why then is this label bothering him? Is the article a complement? Or an insult? Nevertheless, he’s exhausted, deflated, and says he’s going to give in. (mental head slap)
Charlie comes in to cheer Will up and gives him practically the best pep talk I've ever heard.
Don't sugarcoat it, Charlie. Tell us how you really feel.
But then... A change of heart!
Will's nurse, at Charlie’s urging, comes into his room to spin a tale of woe. Her great aunt doesn’t have a driver’s license, because she doesn’t have or need a car, and therefore will not be able to vote in the upcoming election because of the new voter ID law.
Nurse Cooper: "I wanna know what you are gonna do about it? I wanna know why I don't see this on the news, young man."
This injustice with a human face makes Will do a 180. He leaps from the bed and strides into ACN studios to get back to business!
So overly and unnecessarily dramatic. Including The Who song. Photo: source
He goes on the air, with great aunt Dorothy as the poster child, and calls the voter ID law “a solution without a problem.” He then rips the Tea Party Republicans a new one (proponents of this law), and everything they stand for. He says they’re Republicans In Name Only (RINOs); they’re the American Taliban.
Whoa, that was harsh. And not a productive contribution to the political debate, mister. It’s just the same insincere mocking and name calling that breeds intolerance. Those are definitely fighting words, but only those of a much less educated and civilized man than Will or Aaron. Tsk Tsk.
Do Not Operate While Under the Influence
Charlie meets with Solomon Hancock, his NSA whistleblower, to give him the bad news: While ACN will continue to pursue the story, Solomon can’t be the face of it because he’s just not a credible source.
Solomon is shocked and saddened by this, and Charlie offers to give him the name of a psychologist. Solomon declines the offer and refuses to give Charlie the evidence of wiretapping done by Reese Lansing. He waxes poetic about how he used to see his children more often, and on Sunday’s always made them beef stew. (I don’t smell stew, I smell a plot setup point.)
|This is another skilled and nuanced performance|
by Sam Waterston. Photo: source
But Solomon messengered an envelope to Charlie right before he died….
Meanwhile, Nina Howard is back, this time touting an “unimpeachable source” that Will was high the night bin Laden was killed.
Will, Mac and Charlie figure out that Nina got the info from the wiretapping that Reese has been doing. They must have hacked Mac’s phone and stole a voicemail Will left for her on May 1, then they deleted it.
The voicemail started with Will saying, "I'm not just saying this because I'm high..."
Leona and her Douchebag son, Reese, meet with Charlie, Will, and Mac. A few niceties were exchanged and then the inevitable…
Leona: “Were you high on the air the night we killed bin Laden?!?! (yes) Well, you were very good. You’re fired.”
Charlie confronts Leona and Reese about where they got that information, saying that it only could have come from Will’s voicemail to Mac, and the only way they could have gotten that was from the wiretapping.
Charlie produces the envelope that Solomon left for him, stating that it contains proof of the tapping. Reese looks like he may be shitting his pants (as clearly indicated by him taking a sip of water. Hello: Acting 101) and finally admits that he did order the wiretapping. Leona is flabbergasted.
Charlie then reveals that he was tape recording the whole conversation, and uses the threat of the tape as leverage. He gets Leona to agree to un-fire Will, allow News Night to continue to do their news, and shut down TMI.
|"This is my don't mess with me face." Photo: source|
Charlie: "You're one of us... Let's do the news. You and me."
So are they friends now? Could Leona and Charlie, Will, and Mac be on the same side in season two? I hope not.
This was one conflict I could get behind. Everybody enjoys hating on “the man”… or woman, in this case. And I’ve loved hating Jane Fonda as Leona. I want to see her again embroiled in a tete-a-tete with Charlie or Will.
The scene ends when, after Charlie leaves the envelope on the table, Leona opens it to find not documented proof of the wiretapping, but instead, Solomon’s recipe for beef stew. Do you smell that? It’s not stew.
As the Newsroom Turns
The romance stories in this show have more intersections than a traffic circle in New Jersey. Sorkin needs to decide if he’s writing a drama or a soap opera.
Don plans to ask Maggie to move in with him.
Sloan likes Don, but never did anything about it.
Wuh? I didn’t see that coming. That could be an interesting twist, but who are we kidding? It’s not going anywhere.
Jim is still with Lisa, and he wants to make her happy by learning about Sex in the City, her favorite show.
Maggie has drinks with Lisa and tells her that she thinks Jim didn’t come to their apartment (in the last
episode) to talk to Lisa. Read: he came there to see me. Lisa gets mad and runs out.
Maggie tries to follow her, but gets cut off by, and splashed by a bus… a bus giving a Sex in the City NYC tour. How convenient.
Maggie loses her shit and yells at the bus and its passengers about how that TV show isn’t real, how real female professionals can’t be home at 3pm in the afternoon for gossip sessions and how when you fall for a guy and he’s dating your best friend, it’s “bad.”
That’s when Jim pops his head up. He was on the bus tour! ...Surprise! ...Not.
|Hallelujah! Exhale. Photo: source|
Jim follows after her, “Wait!”
He catches up.
Their eyes lock.
They take a breath.
It was really nice to watch the kissing, but it should have had more “oomph” and they should have gone back for seconds.
(Interesting factoid: In the Inside the Episode, Sorkin reveals that the kiss wasn’t even in the original script!)
Jim stops. He says, “we can’t do this,” because he’s with Lisa and she’s with Don.
|"Oh, Don! Oh, yes!" |
Oh, no. Photo: source
When Maggie gets to Don’s apartment that night, Don surprises her with candlelight and roses, and asks her to move in with him. She never says anything, but the look on her face says “yes.”
Later, Jim and Maggie meet in the bullpen and tacitly agree to keep the status quo. He told Lisa it was really her he came to see. Maggie calls him a good guy, and Jim says "So is Don."
So clearly, we’ve spent 10 episodes on this high school drama and are in the exact same place we started. Nowhere.
The Young and the Give me a Rest
Mac bugs Will to tell her what the rest of the voicemail was that he left her the night bin Laden was killed. He had hinted it was something about her. And perhaps their relationship.
But we do hear him say, “I really wanna tell you that I never stopped…” something. That’s when we see Nina delete the voice file. Permanently. D'oh!
However, Mac does finally admit that she was in the audience at Northwestern, and did hold up the sign that sent him off on a nutty and on the trail of Don Quixote… or King Arthur of Camelot.
Will: "Why the fuck didn't you tell me!?!"
Perhaps in an effort to provide us with some closure, we get this next bit. Is it a gem? Or is it far too coincidental to be believable? You decide.
Recall the college student in the first ep who asked Will the question that started him off on his quixotic trek? She’s in the ACN office, interviewing for an intern position.
Will recognizes her, barges in on the interview, and demands to know what the hell she’s doing here!?
Jenny: "I watch the show. And I read the New York article. I know what a greater fool is, and I want to be one."
Will: (pause) “Ask me your idiot question again.”
And then another pause. I remember that this is Aaron Sorkin’s world; that his protagonists are never purely evil; and that an honest-to-goodness heart-tugging moment is always brewing…
In the Inside the Episode, Sorkin himself says, "As long as there are young, energetic, vital people, who don't mind being the greater fool, then there's reason to be optimistic."
Despite my frustration here at the end, the ride of The Newsroom Season 1, has been enjoyable. I have hope for next season, and I will follow along behind like the kid from the end of Camelot. Yes, I too am a hopeless romantic, an optimist, and perhaps... a great fool.