Episode Reviews (4)
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The flashbacks continue as the series comes full circle
This is the middle of a trilogy, and as such, the name of the game is escalation. Situations need to get more and more complicated driving into the conclusion, and that thought process drives both time periods explored in this story. In fact, the stories are so compelling that I was screaming at my television in frustration at the end.
Some found my comments in the previous review somewhat naïve and ridiculous. After all, they said, “we already know how Matt lost his job, why would you need more context”? At it turns out, there’s a lot more to it than supporting Bill Maher, and we’re getting to see that process unfold. In fact, this time around, the writers beat the audience over the head with the message: this is not going to end well, because it didn’t end well last time, either.
In the past, Matt and Danny were left with the burden of doing something they didn’t want to do: put on a season premiere right after the initiation of the War on Terror and with their writers’ hands tied behind their backs. Matt wants to play it safe, but as reinforced on many occasions, he also recognizes when a sketch will work and should be allowed to happen. This was the case with “Crazy Christians”, as seen earlier in the series. That brings everything to a head, with Matt allowing the “wrong” content to leave the writers’ room and Danny in charge when it’s about to happen. We already know how the story will end, but now there’s a lot more context.
The situation in the present is not quite a parallel in terms of putting on content that Jack doesn’t want on the screen. It’s tonally parallel in that Matt and Danny are in charge when the situation gets beyond Jack’s control. Like Wes in the past, Jordan is in the hospital, so there’s nothing between Jack and Matt and Danny. Both of them are distracted by so many personal issues that they miss the crucial matter of keeping Simon away from the press. And considering how hard Jack was trying to keep the network and Studio 60 from being even more of a target, that’s really the final straw.
The connective tissue is the war, which again helps to place the series in a more consistent context. This is interesting, because while some fans probably caught the undertones from the very beginning, this trilogy makes it abundantly clear. This was never a show about how television works. This has been a show about how television works in wartime. And that adds a sense of nuance to every episode, every scene, and every line. It compels the audience to go back and watch again from the beginning, because placed in context, scenes that once sounded like Sorkin ranting to the audience now sound like characters speaking from the heart.
The inevitable effect of this trilogy, and the series-capper that will follow, will be the acknowledgment from many of the critics who dismissed the series in the first place. The series still has its flaws, but looking back, this “Lost”-esque look at how the characters have come full circle is more than worth the effort.moreless
When I watched this episode on line I did not hear the huge background noise that normally accompanies the last few episodes, it did not suck.
This is the best one in a while. Too much contrived drama, the pregnancy and Tom's brother at the same time. I guess this episode was done before the cancellation and this run should be renamed, Desperation one, two and three.
While this is written by the creators of West Wing it misses their whole teamwork and casting magic. This uses some of those people but misses the mark with the lack of really good chemistry.
Yes, it is better, but this show just seems to be missing something, as on the better weeks I say to myself, you are getting warmer.
The CJ episode was in insult to the watching faithful, and that forever sealed it's fate in my eyes.
Will this be picked up by another network, I doubt it. Was it good TV, well compared to Pirate Master it is a masterpiece.
I am still amazed that people consider that good TV.
Tom was great, and rightfully angry, worried and just unhappy with the whole concept of not giving out any information. But then with the way the media can and does think that putting people's lives at risk is their job, as long as it is not theirs.
I think back to Geraldo in Iraq. They should have thrown him in jail. You think that the military high command in Baghdad does not watch TV, and they have all the channels there with English speaking people and VCR's running 24/7. Tell the world where you are and where you are going next.
There are reasons for not telling the family or anyone if there is a rescue operation, or any info as it might just end up on CNN.moreless
The politics are a bit much but the chemistry between the leads clicks like never before.
I do think this whole thing of Tom's brother is pushing it a bit in terms of taste and shows how the series has just given up its original "behind the scenes" aspect. But again, I see some tongue in cheek stuff of the reporters asking if "this is some ratings stunt," a nice bit of irony. What makes this shine is that we finally get some real great chemistry between Danny, Matt and Harriet. The hospital opening was just so...real, so natural, no speeches or anything, just three great actors playing off each other well with nice lines. I especially liked Matt's "I will commit a crime and lead the police on a high-speed pursuit!" line. THIS was the Sorkin I wanted, not the speeches or the politics or evils of bad TV ranting but the guy who can do crisp dialouge. If the series had been like this from the start, it wouldn't be ending now.
I do worry about the Jordan in danger idea and the thing of Danny not seeing the baby because he might not be able to take her is a nice little twist. I also like how the one writer was the one worried as his wife had died of the same condition. The personal stuff is much better than the political for this show.
On that end, I liked how the military guy pretty much put Simon in his place when he was yelling over Tom's brothers' condition, basically saying "I'm in the military, you work on a TV show, I'm the expert here." Of course, all this led to the big end of Simon blowing up at the reporters and while I can understand his motivations, it was a really dumb move and hope we see the fallout from it next week handled well.
The flashbacks weren't too bad, mostly setup for next week and again, while the whole 20/20 vision talk makes it too much, I liked the challenges of writing comedy in that period. The network guy was good, not a total jerk but obviously stuck in a rough job and can't wait for next week. A shame it will be the next-to-last time we see these guys.moreless
A good episode but could have used more of Simon
I wish they hadn't left Simon screaming at the press until the very end. Could have used more of Simon. The Danny/Matt flashback was good. Harry and Danny in the hospital was great. Loved that the doctor forgot to tell Danny the baby had been delivered. Danny and Matt were great in this episode.