[Review] - The Newsroom, Season 3 Episode 5 And The Series Finale Episode 6, "Oh Shenandoah" And "What Kind of Day Has It Been"

Courtesy of HBO
Let's get this over with, shall we?

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that were almost certainly killed by Sloan.


I realized something while watching Oh Shenandoah, that suddenly made the entire run, but especially these final six episodes of the The Newsroom, make sense: it's a Big Mac meal. Stay with me on this, OK? From the description, it sounds pretty good. All the right ingredients in a pleasing arrangement, served at a location that is a trusted and established brand. Maybe you've had one before, or really enjoyed something similar from another chain and figure this has got to be just as good. And maybe the idea of the thing over powers your ability to effectively judge the quality of the thing itself. So it sits in the back of your mind, and festers until one day you realize that, hey, I haven't had one of those in a while, why don't I go get myself one.

At first, everything is fine. It's a little more expensive than you remember, especially for what you are getting. And at closer inspection, it isn't as nice to look at as the commercials suggest. All the ingredients are there, but it seems to have spent more time under a heat lamp than on a grill. But you've paid you money, and you are hungry, so you bite in. And chew. And there isn't anything initially revolting about it, so you keep going. In fact, at times, it's down right delicious. But you keep working your way through, and the further you go, the more your body starts to tell you something that your mind has been ignoring. Something isn't right. Something feels wrong. What you've been shoveling into yourself isn't healthy. And you finally reach a point where you just can't go on. You can't even finish it. To look down at the remains causes your gag reflex to jump. Maybe that last bite will taste like a million dollars, but the culmination of the dozen previous bites turns your stomach. Now you sit there, feeling partially sick, disgusted at yourself, and vowing never again. Which is probably a lie.

This review, which isn't really what this is going to be, so I'm sorry to have lied about that. But this review is overdue. By a week and a half for the finale, and longer for the penultimate episode. And the reason is, I only watched the finale yesterday. I just couldn't be bothered. Contempt, episode four, was aptly named, as it described perfectly the Charlie Skinner-level rage I felt for the series after watching that episode. So, I sat down to watch Oh Shenandoah, and realized that the rage I had felt was the last emotion I was capable of feeling towards this show. Two episodes left, and I had checked out. A lot of people on line got properly upset about Oh Shenandoah, but I didn't have it in me. I tried to hate it, dislike it, even mildly be amused by it. I felt nothing. I might as well have been watching paint dry, for all the interest it provoked in me. I watched it, turned it off when it was done, and felt nothing. So, when the finale aired, I wasn't being petty or bitter when I didn't watch it. I just didn't muster any energy to do so. I kept finding better things to do with an hour of my time. It wasn't malicious, it just felt more natural to not watch it than to make the effort.

The only reason I did force myself to sit down and watch it was because I felt I had an obligation, to write this article, and then be properly done with the series forever. If I weren't reviewing this series, I doubt that I ever would have seen the finale. And let me be clear, there are shows that I have reviled, shows that I've reviewed for this site and others that I haven't, that I've seen through to their finales, be it season or series. I've given up on shows in the past, but never mid stream. But The Newsroom inspired such viewer apathy in me the likes of which I have never experienced. I was more emotionally overcome by my reaction to the show than by anything the show itself did. I'm a man of extreme passions; I like or dislike intensely. I had no idea I could be so utterly, completely unfeeling about anything as I was about how this show might end. That was new for me, so I suppose I should thank Aaron Sorkin for the experience. That seems be to be about the only thing I should thank him for, in all of this.

I'm not going to recap the events of these episodes, despite that being what I should be doing. I'm not going to go over the dialogue, the sets up, the self indulgences, the cliches, the flashbacks, the emotional manipulations and character assassinations. And I'm certainly not going to harp on about how Sorkin resorted to the most unforgivable of dramatic options, the endless parade of eleventh hour character developments that make it seem as though they are achieving something as they leave us, though we'll never get to experience these successes with them, so what is the dramatic point? That these developments are far more interesting than most of what happened to them over the course of the show speaks to the failures of the series in general. But if you want to know about these things, and how they are used in the final two episodes, I've reviewed every other episode of seasons two and three, and recapped all of season one a few years ago. They are all on this site, under The Newsroom tag, and I say happy hunting. Because anything I might have said here, I've said far too often in there. It's all the same; nothing has changed. What didn't work then didn't work now, and now it's over so we can stop worrying about it (if you were worrying about it at all). If this is how we got to Memphis, then I'm getting on the first bus heading back home.

Goodbye, Newsroom. Don't write.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.

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