September 15, 2013 7:50pm PT by Erik Hayden
'The Newsroom' Recap: It's Been a Year
[Spoilers ahead from Sunday's episode, "Election Night Part II"]
A frantic marriage proposal, a spontaneous kiss and a cover of Pete Townshend's "Let My Love Open the Door" closed out the season finale of The Newsroom. And, yes, it was also Election Night at ACN.
The HBO show, which kicked off its plot in August 2011, covered 14 months of news in nine episodes this season. During that time, it's featured Occupy Wall Street, presidential politics, fake chemical weapons attacks in Pakistan, the drone war and violence in Benghazi.
Figures ranging from Dominique Strauss-Kahn, George Zimmerman, Anwar al-Awlaki and Gen. David Petraeus have been name checked or critically dissected by the show. Media ethics were discussed and a ripped-from-the-headlines news scandal (see: CNN's "Tailwind" segment) provided the backbone for the driving story arc of the season. There was even a Jerry Maguire moment among embedded reporters on the Mitt Romney campaign bus.
The last episode, however, featured less breaking news and more on a few romantic plot lines that had languished throughout the Genoa plot line. The big reveal of the finale? Will McAvoy proposed to MacKenzie McHale. And she accepted.
"Except for the things she did wrong, she did everything right too, the rest was me," the ACN anchor says to himself before bolting out of a meeting. He rushes through the newsroom, yelling at everyone as they work, before finding Mackenzie. "It took you long enough," she replies to the proposal. Will reveals the news to the entire ACN staff, to cheers in the room.
In a similar fashion, Sloan Sabbith and Don Keefer also finally strike up what could be another workplace romance. A sideplot involving a sort of signed book by Sloan that's been sold at a charity function was revealed to be purchased by Don. The TV business anchor finds out, kisses the shocked news producer and then heads back on the air to report the latest updates on Campaign 2012.
Elsewhere in the newsroom, Jim Harper and Maggie Jordan start talking again. When Jim finds out that Maggie cut and dyed her hair herself, he confronts her. She recounts her fateful trip to Africa -- in which a random act of violence killed a child she had met -- and tells him the story.
Meanwhile, there's still the final fragments of the Genoa plot that need to be resolved. Jerry Dantana -- the fired D.C. producer who doctored an interview that lead to ACN airing a fake segment on the U.S. military using Sarin gas -- once again does not appear. A lawsuit is ongoing and the public fallout since Genoa aired has been so intense that the senior staff feels pressure to resign en masse. In Part I of the finale, Will had said he was firing MacKenzie.
But no pink slips were handed out after all. Will, along with news division president Charlie Skinner, decide that they aren't resigning. Why the sudden shift? Last week, Part I of the finale teased the possibility that the ACN team would rewrite history and break the news of Gen. Petraeus' resignation on the last day of the campaign.
They ended up not running the the story, opting to break news on a candidates' offensive comments that could help decide a Congressional race. It seems that the decision to hold on the Petraeus story played into Will and Charlie's insistence that they not quit. Charlie rules out institutional failure, which Jerry had alleged after his firing over Genoa.
So, at the end of these nine episodes, all the principal Newsroom characters (sans Jerry) appear to have storylines set up for a potential season three. Once again, like season one's finale, the last episode closes with Will McAvoy making a bold choice -- in this case, it's keeping his job and then proposing -- and disregarding his critics.