The Newsroom's Happy Ending: What Does It Mean for the Show's Future?
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers from Sunday's Season 2 finale of HBO's The Newsroom. Read at your own risk.]
Depending on who you ask, The Newsroom will be back for a third season on HBO. But you might not have guessed that from watching the show's Season 2 finale.
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The finale focused primarily on the "News Night" team reporting on the 2012 election in the shadow of the huge failure of the false Operation Genoa story. But before the episode ended, nearly every other ongoing plot thread from the season (and series) was tidily wrapped up in a seemingly happy ending.
Sloan (Olivia Munn) figures out that Don (Thomas Sadoski) bid $1,000 under a fake name for her book, which she signs for him before planting a huge kiss on him. Jim (John Gallagher Jr.) both apologizes to his ex-girlfriend Lisa (Kelen Coleman) and manages to encourage Maggie (Alison Pill) to let go of the guilt she's been carrying since the tragedy in Africa. Jim also gets the estranged roommates to talk to each other for the first time since he came between them a year ago — all without wrecking things with current squeeze Hallie (Grace Gummer).
Then there's Charlie (Sam Waterston), who spends most of the episode begging bosses Leona (Jane Fonda) and Reese (Chris Messina) to accept his and Will's resignations for the "institutional failure" that led to the Genoa story being broadcast and to Jerry Dantana (Hamish Linklater) suing ACN for wrongful termination. But after being inspired by the honorable news broadcast his team has built, Charlie refuses to quit just moments before Reese decides that ACN wouldn't settle the case or let the broadcast's stars leave.
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Most significantly — and perhaps the most out of the (Tiffany & Co.) blue — Will (Jeff Daniels) realizes that he can be happy again if he forgives MacKenzie (Emily Mortimer) for cheating on him and takes responsibility for his own failings. So, he grabs the ring he bought last season to prank MacKenzie, runs like a madman through the studio and pops the question.
"I didn't return [the ring] because I'm in love with you and because of, uh, will you marry me?" he says. "No matter what you say, there's no chance I am ever going to hurt you again. And no matter what you say, I'm going to be in love with you for the rest of my life. There's no way around that; that's just a physical law of the universe. You own me."
Despite his fumbling delivery, MacKenzie says yes, and they share a kiss two seasons in the making. Cue a cover of "Let My Love Open the Door" as all the characters smile at one another and the on-the-way-to-healing Maggie does her best Jim impression by clicking a yellow news alert. Even well past midnight on election night, the news goes on.
But will The Newsroom? HBO is infamous for renewing its series early, but, despite network executives' indication that they are happy with the ratings and want a third season — and despite Jeff Daniels' tweet suggesting Season 3 is a go — no official announcement has been made. The hold-up, it seems, is tied creator Aaron Sorkin's busy calendar. "We are excited about proceeding to a Season 3 and are continuing our conversations with Aaron about schedules," HBO said in a statement.
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Given that finale, which was in the can before the second season began airing in July, some might wonder: Did Sorkin tie up everything on purpose? During a revealing interview with The Hollywood Reporter earlier this year, Sorkin hinted at how taxing writing The Newsroom can be. ("I have no ideas right now," he said. "I've come to realize that it's only being scared to death that gets it done.")
So, does Sorkin, who is currently working on a script for a Steve Jobs biopic and may be finally moving forward on The Trial of Chicago 7 with director Paul Greengrass, even want to continue The Newsroom? Although Sorkin declined to be interviewed for this story, a source insists to TVGuide.com that the answer is yes. "He really does want to do a third season," the source says. "He's not a typical writer in that he just turns in a script — he's very involved in everything that he does. It's truly just a matter of balancing schedules. But there is interest and the desire."
A longer hiatus to accommodate Sorkin's schedule could also be beneficial to The Newsroom's "reporting the news of the recent past" structure. The finale ended in November 2012, less than a year from present day. Delaying the start of production on a potential Season 3 would give him more stories to tell within his framework.
Of course, there are some stories that could continue. Although ACN plans to fight Jerry Dantana's lawsuit, viewers were given no real sense about whether the network would win the battle in court. (In fact, Marcia Gay Harden's attorney suggested in earlier episodes that they'd probably lose.) And even though Will and MacKenzie's engagement wasn't particularly earned this season (what happened to Nina Howard?), it could be fun to see them navigate the workplace with less baggage and resentment between them.
What do you think? Did you like the finale? Do you hope the show is renewed for a third season?