'Newsroom' recap: Judge Not

the-newsroom-2.jpgWill apologizes to his viewers for doing terrible, ratings-driven news and promises that from here on out, his show will report facts and be better. He likens this to Richard Clarke's testimony before the 9/11 Commission, because being a ratings-hungry anchorman and being the counter-terrorism advisor when 9/11 happened are totally the same thing. Will's new, fact-based, non-partisan news quickly turns into six months of Tea Party-bashing in the run-up to the midterm election. Will watches good Republican incumbents lose their seats to stupid Tea Partiers in the primaries, exposes the Koch brothers as being the main funders of Tea Party causes, and then watches as Tea Party candidates do very well come election night. So I guess all that public-informing didn't save the world after all.

In the meantime, Jim watches Maggie and Don break up and make up over and over again, stepping in only when Maggie leaves a meeting in mid-panic attack and uses his embedded military knowledge to make it go away in like three seconds. Why bother with Xanax when you have Jim around? MacKenzie has her own issues, as she has to watch Will go out on dates a few times and reacts to this with her now-standard manic weirdness. Then she goes into hiding for most of the episode, resurfacing at the end with a new boyfriend. As for Neal and Sloan, they have very little to do, as usual.

And finally, the day after the election, Charlie is called into a meeting with ACN's parent company, AWN, and the people in charge to discuss News Night's declining ratings and liberal slant. Reese only cares about numbers and demographics. Charlie only cares about quality news and alcohol. Leona Lansing (Jane Fonda!), AWN CEO and Reese's mother, allows Charlie to bicker with Reese and defend News Night for the hour, then informs Charlie that with the Tea Party people now in powerful positions, she can no longer afford to allow one of her employees to antagonize them. She tells Charlie that if he doesn't tone down News Night, she'll fire Will. And then there won't be a News Night for everyone not to watch.