The Newsroom Recap: Screw YouTube

The Newsroom Season 2 RecapWhat do a Laundromat, the continent of Africa, a lack of hairdryers, YouTube’s privacy policy and universal voicemail settings have to do with this week’s Newsroom? They’re all part of Maggie Jordan’s emotional downfall, which in this episode gains momentum like a pebble rolled from the top of Kilimanjaro. (At least she’s got Sloan around as a hilarious emotional – and literal — Sherpa.) Meanwhile, Will takes out the frustration from his latest identity crisis on New York’s finest and Jim grumbles in the Granite State. Read on for the major developments of “The Genoa Tip.”

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LAUNDRY BASKETCASE | On the morning immediately following the events of the previous episode, Sloan shows up at the office to find Maggie asleep on her floor. After a half-hearted attempt to pretend she hasn’t spent the night at ACN, the blonde blurts that she left Don’s immediately after their break-up. (Please note the “Oh hey now” look on Sloan’s face when Maggie mentions that she’s moving back in with Lisa, meaning that Don is as free as can be.) Sloan sympathetically suggests that Mags call Don, but he’s not taking her calls, and here’s how Maggie knows: “If it goes to voicemail after two rings, they saw your name and sent you to voicemail,” she says flatly. “OK, I have to retrace my entire life now,” Sloan observes. (Heh. And wait a minute – I do, too.) She allows Maggie to hide her bags in the office, then invites her down to the company gym to shower. (Not like that, guys… though I’d bet there’s plenty of fan fiction that would prove me wrong.)

Speaking of fanfic, Maggie’s figured out that the person posting the incriminating YouTube video is a Queens resident named Erica who writes a blog filled with Sex and the City fan fiction… and who is at that exact moment watching her delicates tumble in an Astoria fluff-n-fold. (Thanks, FourSquare!) Sloan grabs some of Maggie’s bags and declares herself sidekick when Ms. Jordan announces her intentions to ask the woman, in person, if she’ll kindly remove the vid before Lisa sees it. It’s not the worst idea ever – especially because YouTube apparently takes five days to respond to video-removal requests, and time is of the essence – but Maggie’s crazy eyes and unfortunate choice of words totally spook Erica. So then Sloan proposes that Erica, who’s hesitant to part with the traffic Maggie’s video has brought to her blog, tweet something that Sloan will then retweet, thus drawing her 400,000 or so followers’ attention to Erica’s faux-SATC exploits. After some negotiation (with Sloan’s “I like Charlotte” as hilarious punctuation), the deal is done.

ROOMMATE RECKONING | Next on Maggie’s smooth-things-over checklist: Get back to normal with Jim… except Harper (as he stated last week) is uninterested in returning to the way things were. She calls him on the campaign trail, ostensibly to ask for help with ideas for a story that she and Gary CooperNotThatOne can cover in Africa but really to make nice. Their conversation contains the following exchange – MAGGIE: “You’re lost.” JIM: “You know what? Look who’s talking.” – soooooo… we’re just gonna label that one a work-in-progress. (But watch out, Miss Maggie; blonde and bitchy Romney reporter Hallie may be exactly the kind of distraction Jim is going to need in the near future.)

Next list item: Become a go-to person at News Night. On anything. Africa’ll do. So after Jerry all but gift-wraps a good angle for the Africa trip for her – “It’s the next place U.S. soldiers are going to go to die” — Maggie pitches it to MacKenzie, who reluctantly says yes. (The news that violence is ramping up in the area they’re planning to visit puts a bit of a damper on Mag’s joy, though.)

Finally, she returns home, where Lisa’s waiting for her roomie with a hug and a reality check. “You’re so full of s—t, Maggie,” she whispers. Just guessing, but I think Erica might’ve re-posted the video. The ladies have an argument in which Lisa demands to know how far things went between her boyfriend and her best friend, then informs Maggie that because neither of them can afford to live alone, their relationship will be strictly landlord-tenant from now on. Then she storms off to her room to break up with Jim by sending him the link to the post. (P.S. Kelen Coleman is awesome; I’m glad the girls are still living together, because it gives me hope we’ll see more of her this season.)

WILL MCAVOY’S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS | Unfortunate Thing #1: A convicted cop killer Don believes is innocent is nearing the end of his time on Death Row in Georgia. Don wants Will, a former prosecutor, to use News Night to push for clemency in the man’s situation. But Will says he won’t. First of all, he points out, journalism’s role is to inform, not advocate. And second, there’s Unfortunate Thing #2: Pleading for the life of someone found guilty of offing a police officer isn’t going to do much to help Will’s post-Tea-Party-as-Taliban public image, which is currently fodder for hate sites that Will can’t help but read. (The one calling him “Will McAdouche” is my favorite.) Both of those developments have a direct effect on Unfortunate Thing #3 – Neal getting arrested while visiting an Occupy Wall Street protest – when a frustrated Will stalks down to the station and gives the desk officer an earful of high-volume, slightly unhinged legalese, then pulls himself together and convinces the cop to void Neal’s arrest.

Later, at Hang Chew’s, MacKenzie dumps a drink on Will. “Use your words!” he says. (Ha!) She’s mad over his earlier refusal to hold the Obama administration accountable for the drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who was highly active in al-Qaeda. But Mac doesn’t know that Will has already drafted the next evening’s show, which will demand that Obama release the memorandum authorizing the attack. And as Willie Nelson croons “You Were Always on My Mind” in the background, Will and MacKenzie share a moment. Later, back at the studio, Don gets word that the Death Row inmate has been killed via lethal injection. (Side note: How are you guys feeling about Don these days? I swing from thinking he’s a huge tool to kinda digging him, though my pendulum hovers near “tool” more often than not. Not sure where I stand on him after this episode.)

STORM’S A-BREWIN’ | The story on Operation Genoa, the faulty story that will eventually land News Night in a world of hurt, moves forward when MacKenzie gives Jerry the go-ahead to pursue it, even though she doesn’t believe his tip. After all, as she points out, what are the chances that an American black op used nerve gas on civilians in Pakistan and that all of the people involved in the operation would be able to keep the secret all this time? But by the end of the episode, Jerry seems to have found the silver bullet: a former Marine named Eric Sweeney, who tells the producer and MacKenzie that he can verify the story because “I was there.”

Now it’s your turn. What did you think about the revelation that Sept. 11, 2001, was Will’s first day as an anchor? Are you hoping Sloan and Don become a thing? Is Hallie just a little too mean? And as far as beats go, does Africa seem like a sudden – and kinda arbitrary – interest for Maggie? Sound off in the comments!