'The Newsroom' finale sets up Season 2 with new stakes and all the greatest fools

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newsroom-finale-will.jpg "The Newsroom" was one of the most polarizing shows of the summer, with extremely vocal critics and supporters alike. In Sunday's Season 1 finale, some loose ends were tied up, but even more were left hanging loose, setting up a Season 2 with higher stakes than ever.

the-newsroom-john-gallagher-jr-1.jpgFirst, let's talk about romance. Jim and Maggie have built up a palpable, powerful tension over the course of the season, culminating in him racing to her house in order to "gather his rosebuds" in some grand, romantic gesture -- and, instead, finding himself (again) settling in a relationship with Lisa. Months later, Maggie was waiting for a commitment from Don, who seemingly still thought of her as a late-night phone call, as we saw in the pilot.

Exhausted from working overtime and from strained relationships, Maggie fully lost her cool on the side of the road, screaming at a bus full of "Sex and the City" fans about how her life did not -- and would never -- resemble Carrie Bradshaw's.

Normally, we roll our eyes at "The Newsroom's" overwrought, dramatic monologues -- particularly the ones coming from female characters, because they're written as particularly petulant and self-involved. This one, we excused and even kind of loved, because it had already been established that Maggie was hanging by a thread. Plus, it wasn't an explosive, disruptive rant in the middle of the office. This time, it wasn't a work thing. She even blurted out her feelings for Jim, not realizing that he was on that bus listening.

Not to mention, if HBO airing a "'Sex and the City' is B.S." rant wasn't delicious enough, the heart-racing anticipation of their delayed first kiss pushed us over the edge. Swoon. Of course... we've watched television before, so we knew it couldn't be that easy. She got home to end things with Don, and he asked her to move in with him -- the commitment she'd been waiting for. Jim knew that she wouldn't be able to resist Don's offer after waiting years for that sign.

Sigh.

Meanwhile, it was revealed that when he was high in May, Will left Mac a revealing voicemail, but it was deleted before she heard it. She was pretty desperate to find out what he said -- all we were able to hear was, "I really want to tell you that I've never stopped..." Which, of course, leaves only a few options. We were hoping they might finally stop discussing how their relationship was and start discussing what their relationship could be, but no such luck this season.

The voicemail was key, though, in bringing down Reese. The fact that the voicemail made its way to Nina from TMI -- who proved to be a slightly better person than we had previously assumed -- was proof that Reese had been hacking phones, "News of the World" style. Though Solomon never got the chance to see justice served, his tips were right, and Charlie, Mac, and Will were able to hold that information over Reese and Leona in order to get them to allow an explosive broadcast.

the-newsroom-emily-mortimer-1.jpgWill's broadcast about RINO - Republicans in name only - technically would've taken place last August, but it was incredibly timely given the polarized state of our nation today. With the divide in the United States of America at a critical point, a brave, groundbreaking broadcast such as this would be impossible to ignore... if it were real.

Critics have rejected the idea of some sort of inspired new news broadcast, challenging the realism of the show and the room for this sort of rhetoric in the real world. That may be the case, but man, in this fictional world? It was sure nice to hear someone lay down the law. Something like this could have really shifted the conversation in a more productive direction for this election. If it were real.

So here's what we can expect and look forward to in Season 2, which will air in June 2013.

1. The death threats against Will will continue to be explored. With Neal's online sleuthing and unparalleled patience seeming to pay off, and the culprit still out there, we're sure to see some payoff next season.

2. Hello, that was definitely a spark between Sloan and Don. Given her new career prospects, we're super glad that she's sticking with "News Night" -- and we're even more intrigued by her admission that she's interested in Don. Don has drifted from an unremarkable, smarmy character into a likable guy who we really root for -- thanks to that poignant moment with the pilot on the Osama Bin Laden episode. But is he really the guy for Maggie?

3. Jim! Jim! Jim! In Season 2, we expect him to be a grown up and give Maggie space to ruin her own relationship on her own. We also expect him to continue to provide this Tumblr with excellent fodder.

4. What did Will's voicemail say? It's lost to the abyss of Nina's recycling bin, but if we don't start seeing some progress between him and Mac like, yesterday, we're going to get bored. We're just hoping that their ultimate inevitable hookup doesn't lead to even more middle-of-the-office nervous breakdowns. We're over those.

5. The greater fool intern could be a very interesting addition. She's obviously got some cojones, and her arrival at ACN is definitely a sign that despite his struggles, Will has made a difference in the time since he first met her. We can't wait to see how her presence shakes things up.
Photo/Video credit: HBO