This is what we know from the season premiere of Newsroom based on the deposition that is framing the season’s events: The season takes place between September 2011 and and Sandy Hook in December 2012. During that time, Maggie (Alison Pill) will travel to Africa, specifically Uganda. Something transformative and really bad happens to her during that period while she is away, something that provokes her to cut her hair and color it to look like “the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Many of us have predicted that Maggie will be raped because there is statistically a lot of sexual violence in Uganda.
However, a sexual crime feels tonally suspect for an Aaron Sorkin dramedy, though he does dabble in heavier “issue” subjects from time to time. But there’s not a big story that takes place in Uganda during that period that Sorkin can wrap a sexual crime on an American journalist around. What there is, as one Redditer suggested, is Kony 2012.
Many of you, I’m sure, remember Kony 2012, a short film created by Invisible Children that called for the ouster of African militia leader, Joseph Kony. The short film was seen over 97 million times and is considered the most viral video of all time, which is exactly the kind of story that Aaron Sorkin is likely to cover, especially in a season in which he’s finally figuring out the Internet. The movement had a huge groundswell of support, until the guy behind the film, Jason Russell, had a public mental breakdown, got naked, ran into traffic, and began screaming incoherently. Then everyone lost interest.
That, too, is something that Sorkin is likely to cover.
But how does this affect Maggie, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you: One of the less discussed stories to come out of Kony 2012 campaign was its effect on Uganda. They didn’t like it. Not one bit, in fact. Ugandans saw it as a transparent attempt to legitimize a U.S. led invasion of Africa, an important fact to note in a season that’s been all about American military overreaching, from the Drone strikes to Operation Genoa. In fact, during a screening of Kony 2012 in March of 2012, Ugandas broke out into violence, protesting what they believed to be an underhanded motive behind the film, especially given the fact that Kony was not even believed to be in Uganda at the time (Kony and his forces had, in fact, fled in 2006). Many in Uganda felt that the Invisible Children organization was a business empire posing as a charity, and that they were being exploited to sell T-shirts.
My guess is that Maggie gets caught up in the violence during screenings of Kony 2012 in Uganda, and that poor Gary Cooper probably gets seriously hurt (or murdered) during the melee. Such events, in fact, would mirror an arc with Donna on The West Wing (that would result, ultimately, in Donna and Josh getting together). However, that arc actually took place after Sorkin left the series, so he wouldn’t even be stealing from himself, if that’s the direction he actually takes the Maggie storyline. It certainly makes sense, though, since a traumatic event like that might lead to Maggie and Jim reconciling, which does seem to fall in line with something Sorkin might do.