‘The Newsroom’ Recap: Don Quixote Rides Again (Season 2, Episode 3)

Credit: HBO

Who leaked that Will wasn’t sick on 9/11? What did that voicemail that Will left for Mac say? Who the f**k is Willie Pete? We weren’t dying to know the answers to these questions, but this episode gave them to us anyway.

The Return of Don Quixote

Charlie informs Will that gossip columnist Nina Howard knows that Will didn’t have the flu on 9/11, which was his excuse for not doing the anniversary coverage. Instead of denying the story, Will wants to meet Nina to tell her the truth and “appeal to her God-given humanity.” Oh please, Will. Last week you wanted to take the easy way out, now this week you want to be Don Quixote again with your “mission to civilize.” Which is it?

So Will and his apparent moral superiority meet Nina in an empty dining room, accompanied by a piano player. As Will goes into a big speech about why Nina should kill the story, she shuts him up by saying she won’t report it. She likes that he told the truth about Charlie taking him off the coverage. Well, that was easy. But wait a minute, how did she know that Will was telling the truth? Charlie and Will figure out that Reese must have told her and storm his office to accuse him. But Reese doesn’t give a f**k. He leaked the story basically because he doesn’t like Will. And since Will and Charlie can’t get their blackmail tape (where Reese admits to phone hacking) to work, they have no choice but to walk away, having failed in their mission.

The Mysterious Voicemail Revealed

Mac has been incessantly bothering Will about the contents of the voicemail he left for her the night that bin Laden was killed. Will claims he doesn’t remember (you know, because he was high) but Mac won’t stop pestering him. He finally snaps at her, saying “sometimes you’re not as cute as you think you are.” What was that you said earlier about stopping the bitchiness, Will?

Nina, who knows what the voicemail said, jogs Will’s memory at their meeting. The message said “I’m not just saying this because I’m high, I’ve never stopped loving you.” Will still denies having any feelings for Mac. Nina later hears from Mac when she calls to thank her for not reporting about Will. Mac can’t help herself and asks Nina if she remembers the voicemail. Nina tells her that all Will said was that she did a great job on the bin Laden broadcast (which wasn’t exactly a lie, since that was part of the message too). Then after Nina hangs up, we find out that she’s in Will’s apartment.

On the Road Again

Jim is annoying the Romney spokespeople and all the other reporters on the press bus by asking too many questions. He asks about Romney’s plan to reduce the national debt but doesn’t get a straight answer. He points out inconsistencies and false information in Romney’s statements and gets no response. He’s just trying to do his job; you can’t blame him for trying! Actually, according to Hallie, yes you can. This is her third time covering a presidential campaign and she’s tired of Jim acting like he’s better than everyone else.

But then Jim shows her a statement that Romney made in 2002 saying he was pro-choice (even though he now claims to be pro-life), which causes Hallie to speak up. Jim tries to convince his fellow members of the press to start a revolution, to reject the talking points and start demanding real answers. They could leave the bus, travel in cars, and “cover the campaign the way a campaign should be covered.” But his uprising wasn’t as triumphant as he had hoped, and only Hallie and one other guy join him in getting off the bus.

Credit: HBO

Willie Pete

And now for the weekly Genoa update. Jerry and Mac meet with Eric, the Marine that they talked to last week who said he was part of Genoa. His story sounds convincing, but they need more proof. Jerry rounds up a team to make some calls, and they also check if anyone in the village tweeted about the extraction. They can’t find any new leads and are about to call it quits when Jerry reads one last tweet. “Willie Pete everywhere, burning.” Who’s Willie Pete? Actually, it’s not a person. It’s a slang term for white phosphorus, one of the chemical weapons Eric said was used during Genoa. Other tweets from the same account: “Helicopters, grenades.” “Men in gas masks, machine guns.” “Americans. White smoke.” They’re basically describing Eric’s story. Does this mean Genoa actually happened? Spoiler alert: No.

Other Observations

Maggie freaks out about the side effects of the malaria pill she took, and says she’s feeling confused and afraid only ten minutes after taking it. Really? Really?? Why do you insist on making Maggie so clueless and unbearable, Sorkin?

Don fixes his chair, because he apparently doesn’t have anything else to do. He’s also obviously jealous that Sloan had a date with another guy.

I love Sloan’s blue dress, and how she threatens to take out her executive producer’s knuckles with a hammer.

I’m pretty sure Stillman (the other guy who left the bus with Jim and Hallie) is my favorite character, because he’s the only one who acts like a normal person. And he made a smart move in stealing the turkey sandwiches. 

Follow Mary Oates on Twitter @mary_oates | Follow Hollywood.com on Twitter @hollywood_com

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