Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) was back on air Sunday, Nov. 9, as “The Newsroom” returned to HBO for its third and final season. After Season 2 ended with a surprising election night proposal for Will and Mackenzie (Emily Mortimer), Season 3 picked up almost 6 months later with ACN still recovering from the Genoa scandal in the premiere episode, “Boston.”
After a revamped (and pretty slick) opening credits sequence and theme, the episode began with Will and Mackenzie discussing groomsmen and bridesmaids for their wedding (Diane Sawyer made Mackenzie’s cut). Will was having trouble thinking of enough friends to make up the wedding party. However, their conversation was interrupted by the Boston Marathon bombing (dating the episode as April 15, 2013).
The event sent the whole newsroom into a whirl, bringing back a bunch of familiar faces. Maggie (Alison Pill) was interrupted while in the middle of an intense workout (looking better than ever with her hair back and a new attitude), while Don (Thomas Sadoski) had to be pulled from jury duty. Mackenzie, though, was being cautious about reporting on the bombing not wanting to break in solely based on Twitter updates. Meanwhile, Jim (John Gallagher Jr.) convinced Mackenzie to send Maggie to Boston with Elliot (David Harbour) as his producer, but Will threatened to fire her if she did not deliver.
While most of ACN was focused on Boston, Neal (Dev Patel) received a mysterious communication from an anonymous source.
Elsewhere, Sloan (Olivia Munn) met with a source about a possible story about a major media company buyout. She later bumped into Reese Lansing (Chris Messina) who was hiding from his sisters who were visiting. He shared that ACN was in a bit of financial trouble.
At the rundown meeting the next day Neal revealed that someone was trying to send him classified government documents. He needed an air-gapped computer to make contact with the source and while Charlie (Sam Waterston) and Mackenzie did not want to pursue the story, Will gave Neal his private credit card to get the computer.
On day 3 of the Boston coverage the station got nervous when CNN reported an arrest had been made in the bombing. However, CNN later retracted the statement. In Boston, Maggie got a lead on why their competitor got the story wrong, getting wind of disinformation being disseminated by the Boston police to identify a leak.
By day 5 of the Boston coverage, one of the suspects was dead after a police chase, while the other, Dzhokar Tsarnaev, was still on the loose. Meanwhile, many on the Internet had identified a man named Sunil Tripathi as a suspect. All of ACN’s sources in law enforcement denied it, infuriating Will who disparaged the Internet’s mob mentality.
Back in Boston, Maggie had to fill in for Elliot on air when he accidently had an allergic reaction to walnuts. To the surprise of Mackenzie and the rest of the newsroom (including Jim) she nailed it, impressing everyone at the station.
Later, Reese met with Will and Charlie and informed them their ratings were less than stellar and that they had dropped to fourth place. Will decided he was quitting, but the conversation was interrupted when Neal came to tell him that he received classified documents from his source showing that falsified news stories in Kundu resulted in deadly riots in the country. However, after Mackenzie showed up to hear about the story, Neal revealed that in his interactions with the anonymous source he had induced the source to send him more classified documents as proof of their credibility (an act that Will points out will put him legal jeopardy for conspiracy to commit espionage.) To make matters worse, Sloan showed up with some bad news. She had been working a former student as a source for her story (pretending to romantically available) and discovered that ACN was the company being bought out. Finally, Jim showed up with news that Dzhokar Tsarnaev had been cornered by Boston police.
With everyone’s backs to the wall, Will decided he would not quit, but that ACN would continue to do the best news show on television and that the ratings would come (he added that Neal would need a lawyer).
What did you think of “The Newsroom” premiere? Tweet your thoughts to @Ja9GarofaloTV.