The Newsroom Takes Its Victory Lap

Aaron Sorkin gives his show's fans just what they desired: a big win for Will McAvoy and the gang.

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But not so fast, fans of romantic plot lines that make sense. Don wins Maggie over by asking her to moving in with him, and Jim is stuck with his second choice, Lisa.

The night of Will's triumphant return to the newsroom, Leona and her corporate weasel of a son, Reese, finally fire Will—Leona's terse "You're fired" has been oft-teased by previews throughout the season. But, with the phone-hacking revelation, Will, Charlie, and Mac turn the tables on the devious Oedipal duo. More is a stake is than just the integrity of an entire media company: This comes down Will's Tea Party-Crusade, which Charlie implores Leona not just to permit, but to join: "Let's do the news, you and me."

[Paul Ryan and Generation X: It's Complicated]

The show concludes by coming full circle, with Mac confirming that she had held the sign that inspired Will to go on the pilot episode rant about America's greatness, or lack thereof, that started his whole News Night 2.0 mission in the first place. He even hires the "sorority girl" who asked the "moronic question" as an intern. Sloan has also decided to stick with the show, "The greater fool is someone with the perfect blend of self delusion and ego to think he can succeed where others have failed, this whole country was made my greater fools," she says, explaining her decision.

Her description of 'The Greater Fool' obviously applies to Will, who, consistently displayed the ego, and Mac, the self-delusion throughout the highs and lows of The Newsroom's first season. But it is apt characterization for the show itself. The Newsroom had its problems along the way: chauvinistic writing the demeans its female characters, trite romantic subplots that distract from the show's more compelling themes, a naïve interpretation of how news comes together, plenty of ego, plenty of self-delusion.

But its intentions, like those of its characters, have been noble. They have captured the attention of viewers, particularly those who inhabit the world outside the media bubble and who can willingly subscribe to such a romantic—if not fantastic—interpretation of the news industry. The season's finale delivered just what those viewers wanted: a thrilling victory for Will and his team, after their many disappointments. The Newsroom ended on a strong note, namely the booming chords of The Who's "Baba O'Riley," which powered the mid-episode turning point, and one unlikely to be forgotten when Season 2 rolls around. 

  • Read last week's The Newsroom recap.
  • Read: The Politics of Dirty Dancing, 25 Years Later
  • Check out U.S. News Weekly: an insider's guide to politics and policy.
  • Tierney Sneed is associate editor of U.S. News Opinion. E-mail her at tsneed@usnews.com and follow her on Twitter.