The highlights of “One Step Too Many” are a series of conversations and questionable choices among various members of the cast as the show also delivers the final piece of “Operation Genoa” in the taping of an interview from a retired general (Stephen Root) giving the news byte Jerry Dantana (Hamish Linklater) needs to push the news story onto the air (although he certainly helps things along by editing the raw footage to get the on-air confirmation he desperately needs in order to stop a story he has chased for seven months from dying in a rundown meeting). Although the interview, Jerry’s impassioned argument for the story, and his choice to edit the tape are the big takeaways for the season’s arc, it’s the smaller conversations between various pairs of characters that carry the episode.
Taking advice from Nina Howard (Hope Davis), and feeling insecure about the target sampling he did under MacKenzie‘s (Emily Mortimer) nose, Will (Jeff Daniels) gets talked into trying to broaden his appeal by appearing on the ACN morning show in a ridiculous segment which ends with him in a football helmet and breaking up with Lady Macbeth (as MacKenzie refers to Nina). Will gets his good-natured comeuppance, not from MacKenzie’s regular browbeating (which has grown old at this point in the series), but a much more amusing series of conversations between Will and Sloan (Olivia Munn) who points out why Will feels he needs the audience’s approval but also why he should be happier with the show he’s doing now.
Both alone, Don and Don (Thomas Sadoski) spend the night in a bar together discussing their mutual romantic failures and MacKenzie polling Don’s approval of Jerry and Genoa (which Don isn’t sold on and airs his concerns about airing the story even if it is proven true). Jim (John Gallagher Jr.) is equally skeptical of Genoa and has his own romantic minefield to wade through when the Romney campaign hits New York and his romantic evening alone with Hallie (Grace Gummer) is infringed upon by a double-date with Neal (Dev Patel) and a crazy drunken Ron Paul supporter (Melanie Papalia) as well as Taylor (Constance Zimmer) who joins the group for the evening to champion the cause of a man she no longer works for after being fired earlier that day.
Will’s on-air commentaries and interviews in this episode (when he isn’t tossing a football) mainly have to do with the use of religion in the Republican primaries and the discussion of the separation of church and state. With the use of montage, we get the end of the Republican primary season all the way up to the Republican National Convention and the naming of Paul Ryan as Romney’s running mate (albeit without much discussion of either man). The final piece of the puzzle for Operation Genoa is laid at the feet of News Night, although even with Jerry’s editing of the tape Charlie (Sam Waterston) is still reluctant to pull the trigger on a story given its ramifications. Next week’s episode will finally give us the show’s reporting of the war crime and the fallout as the truth about Jerry’s actions and Genoa itself will slowly unfold.