On New Year’s Eve Mackenzie’s (Emily Mortimer) boyfriend Wade (Mackenzie MacHale), an Assistant US Attorney, comes clean with Will (Jeff Daniels) about the government’s unwillingness to fund the prosecution of white-collar crime, and Maggie (Alison Pill) is mortified when Don (Thomas Sadoski) attempts to set-up Jim (John Gallagher Jr.) with Maggie’s roommate Lisa (Kelen Coleman).
Bored an lonely at the staff’s New Year’s Eve party, on less than great advice from Sloan (Olivia Munn), Will hits on a gossip columnist (Hope Davis) who believes she can fix him at least until the point where he starts lecturing her on the evils of her chosen profession. The result of the encounter not only gets Will a drink thrown in his face but he becomes the target of the columnist’s latest series of take down articles. Sloan’s attempt to make good by setting Will up with a friend who turns out to be a super-jealous gun-nut doesn’t go over so well either.
News Night starts out the new year with a series of features on stories they missed, or didn’t pay enough attention to, the year before which include the true cost of Obama’s trip to India and the Republicans groundless claims that Obama will take away all of Americans’ guns. Charlie (Sam Waterston) finally comes clean about his meeting with Leona Lansing (Jane Fonda) who he suspects is really behind the smear Will campaign. And Neal’s (Dev Patel) attempt to get anyone to take a legitimate new story on Bigfoot seriously works out only slightly worse than Will’s dating.
A week’s worth of craziness and feelings of betrayal boiling over is put on hold by the breaking news of the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in which the entire newsroom (even Don) rallies to make sure they get the story on the air, and get it right. This leads to a feeling of euphoria for Will that will no doubt be long forgotten once next week rolls around.
The best part of the episode comes in the episode’s final 10 minutes as the rush of everyone putting their personal squabbles over who everyone is dating is quickly brushed aside to do their collective jobs. I could do with less of the Maggie/Jim/Don triangle (and its lingering fallout), and I thought Mackenzie’s eventual eruption was oddly timed, but Will’s dating while trying to educate people about the news creates some enjoyable moments. Munn is showcased a little more this week, and gets off a couple of nice lines, but I’d still like to see her worked more into the show’s ongoing storylines rather than just navigating the fringe.