Which is to say: I mostly really liked this episode! Hands down the best one so far (though there were still some facepalm-worthy moments). I was torn between looking forward to it, and being anxious that the focus on Sloan would get her hit with the Awful Writing bat. And it did not! And there was much rejoicing.
It's been speculated that Sloan is the Maddow to Will's Olbermann (only more straight and less white). This is the first episode where I could actually see it. She may well be on track to having her own show here, and in the meantime she got moments of adorable dorkiness and I love it.
So we got to see Sloan screw up. But it's not a failure of ethics, or character, or basic competence, or romance intruding on professionalism, anything that would make me tear out my hair and curse the names of the writers. Just the opposite. She screws up in the pursuit of spreading the truth -- of doing the news. Both her options involve considerations of professional standards and the public good. Also, she gets to shout in Japanese at a lying interpreter on-air. Who wouldn't watch that?
Dr. Dr. Sloan, you are forever my favorite. All my hearts.
The Awesome: Other People Edition
In the earlier episodes I felt like Don was being set up to be the cardboard-cutout Jerk Boyfriend, paving the way for the angelic Jim to sweep Maggie off her feet. But he's gone and started showing evidence of a likable personality. How 'bout that.
Also: Will! This show just might redeem Will's obnoxiousness for me yet. Acknowledging that he can be a bully, and wrong, and that his speech in the pilot was not 100% Justified Manly Wisdom? Mmm, Newsroom, I don't know where this sudden self-awareness came from, but I like it. More please.
First off: Will! What is the deal with this ring, huh? How creepy can you get?
This is more on the writers, but I was baffled by this episode in light of Will's presumed Republicanism. If he can't imagine that a gay black person might agree with enough conservative positions to also be a Republican, how can he himself acknowledge the humanity of gay and/or black people, and still think there are enough important, worthwhile conservative positions for himself to identify as a Republican? (Or is this some convoluted way of showing that Will is seriously racist/homophobic, and secretly wants to drive the queer/POC people out of his party?)
I could be interested in this Will-Sloan mentoring relationship if it had been set up, like, at all. They've had one conversation so far. His "wisdom" has been shown to include (a) an unfortunate amount of bullying and (b) a lot of need to be dragged into bravery by MacKenzie. And meanwhile it's MacKenzie, "are you in or are you out" MacKenzie, "best EP in the business" MacKenzie, whose "wisdom" is described by Sloan with a mimed mushroom cloud? I know she can't do economics, but come on.
Meanwhile, Maggie is shown as being incompetent in whole new fields, including "geography" and "chatspeak". And Charlie is shown as being casually sexist/racist in a way that I think we're supposed to interpret as endearing. It's really not.
So there was that. But it's generally an improvement, and if we continue on this path maybe future episodes will have no random racism at all? Also, Dr. Dr. Sloan being increasingly fantastic. Fingers crossed.
(Dear episode 7: please please please don't start backsliding.)