Will takes his spot on set and Sloan comes running in, returning back from the future to tell Will he needs to ask about the debt ceiling. Will blows it off until Sloan explains that Doc Brown took her for a ride in his Delorean. They ended up in May 2011 and shit gets really hinky…and they’re back live.
They cut to yet another fake member of Congress to ask about the debt ceiling, but he’s in the middle of his victory celebration so he “can’t hear” them and just keeps spouting his stump speech about how he plans to be fiscally conservative and responsible. I think this is what they call “foreshadowing.”
With the results all in, Jim walks around the newsroom telling various staffers to go home, customizing his smarm for the respective staffer. That’s why he’s a good guy. Charlie sees Jim greasing his way around the room and likes the cut of his jib. He wants Jim to join him and Will for a drink. Jim tries to nerd off about it being a
schoolwork night but Charlie disgustedly tells him to be a news man and Jim meekly agrees. Ah, gender equality by being sexist toward both men and women. You’ve progressed, Sorkin.
Then Jim beelines over to Neal who’s dictating Will’s blog entry and mocks him with a not bad HAL impersonation. Neal gets the joke but tries to geek out about how accurate Kubrick was…but spots Maggie prettily sitting on the spiral staircase. Neal nods and Jim says he’s just going to tell her she did a good job and tentatively walks over…just in time to see Don come down the stairs and the two of them make out. Ouch. That one’s going to leave a mark. And yet…UNPROFESSIONAL! Neal tries to sympathize but Jim cuts him off before he can feel any more like an asshole.
THEY’RE AT WORK.
One last trip up to the war room and Jane dismisses numbers guy to tell an elaborate joke about Jesus and Moses playing golf and if it wasn’t a personal favorite of Ted Turner’s, it really should have been. As Charlie chuckles, Jane wants to know what’s the what with Newsnight and she’s not amused.
Charlie gives a canned speech about how the ratings have stabilized, it’s a show she can be proud of, and it’s all Charlie’s fault, anyway. Jane, whose name is Leona (Like Helmsley? Really, Sorkin?), chafes at this and wants the old Hack McAvoy back, but Charlie goes off on a Sorkin sermon about how they’re delivering the facts and facts don’t have a political affiliation and this is the most dangerous body of Congress ever elected…Leona understands all that but she has business before them. Then Charlie sobers up long enough to boot Reese from the war room, too.
Man, I should have drunk more bourbon.
With Reese out of the room, they go at it like two old pros with wildly different interests, and there’s more chemistry and sparks and fire between Waterston and Fonda than all the Y&R histrionics of the once and future couples on the staff. She points out that ACN is a tiny part of AWM’s holdings and Will’s screwing the company over with his bloviating and Charlie counters that the news should not be beholden to financial concerns. Leona reminds him that it’s not a conversation among equals and she needs Will to back of. Charlie rubs his eyes in frustration.
Then he pulls out a speech about Joe McCarthy and compares Michele Bachmann to McCarthy. Yeah, not so much. Avoid Godwin’s Law, Charlie. Facts are on your side. Leona swats the idea away with some mild sexism of her own then lays down the hammer that she’ll just fire Will if he doesn’t do as she wants. She’s not asking him to lie, just to tone it down.
Charlie isn’t believing this and thinks programming against him will be tough, but he has a three-year non-compete clause. Then Charlie continues to be naïve and wonders how she’d explain Will’s firing. Oh, Charlie. Cause is the easiest thing to manufacture. Leona agrees and leaves the room, calling back to the joke’s punchline and asking Charlie if he wants to play golf or fuck around. Charlie’s face says he wants to crawl into a bottle of bourbon and not come out for a month.