A few thoughts on “The Newsroom” series finale coming up just as soon as I'm a newsman on the side…
“What Kind of Day Has It Been” was the title of the first season finales of all three of Sorkin's previous TV shows, and now the title of the final “Newsroom” – which, at 25 episodes total, was only slightly longer than any of those shows' first seasons. Structurally, it resembled other things Sorkin has done in the past – the flashbacks were evocative of “In the Shadow of Two Gunmen” from “The West Wing” – and with most of this show's personal relationship business long since wrapped up, he used the finale to tweak the characters' history a bit to acknowledge different ways in which the show fell short.
So it turned out, for instance, that Jenna's seemingly oblivious question from the pilot was actually intended as a desperate plea for optimism from a young woman who was aware of the many problems that Will then ranted about. Similarly, we were told that Sloan's attraction to Don didn't come out of nowhere, but actually began before we met either character. And perhaps in response to the various complaints about how he writes women primarily as enablers to the greatness of men, Sorkin let Mac sarcastically say, “Like it's every little girl's dream to make a man better at his job.”
Along the way, there were some lovely moments, like the way Thomas Sadoski played Don's reaction to being given Charlie's bow tie, and some pleasing Sorkin banter, like Maggie repeatedly explaining to Jim why she wants to interview for the job in D.C. And there were indulgences, too, like Will playing the entirety of “How I Got to Memphis” with Charlie's grandson. And rather than go for some grand closing moment, Sorkin smartly went for a simple sequence showing that life, and the work, will go on without Charlie, and without us in the audience to see it.
On Friday, I wrote about why I kept watching this show despite my many problems with it, and why I'll surely do the same if Sorkin ever changes his mind and creates another TV show. This was a miss for me; maybe the next one, if it exists, won't be.
For those of you who stuck it all the way through the end – whether out of genuine enjoyment, forensic interest, or simple hate-watching – what did you think of the finale?