‘The Newsroom’ returns to the spotlight for final season



Elliott Williams

It’s here, folks. The third and final season of Aaron Sorkin’s thought-provoking drama, “The Newsroom,” premiered last week, and carried with it the momentum to keep die-hard fans on their toes and reel in new viewers. 

Critics and fans have been raving over the first episode, aptly titled “Boston,” which focuses on the Boston Marathon Bombings of last year. Stakes are high this final season, which will span only six episodes, as ratings and viewership have been sub-par for the first two installments. “Every story needs a final word,” a motivating message that HBO provides on its website before viewers even click on the episode. For many fans, however, these final words seems premature. 

This season brings with it the development of characters we’ve only just fallen in love with. Will (Jeff Daniels) and Mac (Emily Mortimer) are planning their wedding, debating over whether they should invite guests like Diane Sawyer and Brian Williams. Maggie Jordan, played by Allison Pill, steps out of her comfort zone as an associate producer to live report on the bombings when anchor Elliot Hirsch has an allergic reaction to walnuts. It’s one of the few lighter moments in an episode that is much more deliberate than previous ones. Better yet, we begin to see the development of budding romantic relationships amongst a whole collection of editors around Atlantic Cable News—this includes the slightly impossible duo of editor Jim Harper and ACN newcomer Hallie Shea, who were at odds for many episodes of season two. 

In “Boston,” Sorkin takes jabs at the reliability of citizen journalism, pointing out that authorities had to reveal information regarding the Boston Bombing case “before they wanted to,” because news outlets got the information wrong.

A series that started with the same mission as that of its leading anchorman, “a mission to civilize,” provides a much-needed reality check for news organizations. News organizations need to be held accountable, and ought to focus on getting the news correct over reporting the news fast. “The Newsroom” acknowledges that doing the news “right” isn’t always easy.

In a report on the Boston Bombings, ACN is gun-shy and waits until all the facts are straight, while CNN jumps the gun and broadcasts incorrect details on the subjects—but despite its efforts to accurately report the news, “News Night with Will McAvoy” has fallen from second to fourth in viewership rankings. 

Perhaps, this is self-reflective of Sorkin. He realizes that his show isn’t performing well, yet he still wants to end it correctly. Sorkin is almost as pessimistic as his lead, Will McAvoy—who quits his job and rejoins in a span of five minutes during the episode—claiming that he is “pretty certain” he’s done writing for TV after “The Newsroom,” according to Variety.com.

But hopefully, Sorkin will change his mind like Will, who finishes the season opener with, “It’s not the beginning of the third act. It’s the end of the first.” Sorkin, who penned the Oval Office drama “The West Wing,” left that show after four seasons.  “The West Wing,” like “The Newsroom,” while well written, received criticism for being too idealistic and optimistic.  

Season three promises to be even more dramatic than the last two, as ACN struggles to recoup from the Genoa scandal of Season two and faces the reality of a vicious takeover by ACN owner Reese Lansing’s own family members. To top it all off, Neal (Dev Patel) has mistakenly appropriated stolen government documents from an unknown source, and now will potentially face charges of espionage. Indeed, this is a lot to handle. Yet, it also provides a lot to look forward to in a series that is certainly short lived, underrated, and underappreciated.

So, between your doses of CNN, FOX, NBC and CBS news this Sunday don’t forget to check in on Will McAvoy and his “News Night” at 9 p.m. ET, to catch more of this fast-paced finale.