Social media play a starring role in “News Night With Will McAvoy,” Episode 15 of HBO’s “The Newsroom.”
ACN financial reporter Sloan Sabbith (Olivia Munn) is devastated when nude pictures of her appear on a “revenge porn” site. She initially claims the photos are fake – her head on someone else’s naked body – but admits the truth when company president Reese Lansing (Chris Messina) confronts her with damning evidence.
“It’s me. I lied. I’m sorry,” says mortified Sloan.
Worse yet, there are more embarrassing photos out there for Web surfers to ogle at. And she’s trending No. 1 on the Internet.
Sloan was drinking wine with now ex-boyfriend Scott (Paul Greene), one of those master-of-the-universe financial analysts who give Wall Street a bad name. She bought a camera and posed for photos that were “just for us.” But when their relationship soured, Scott exposed his creepiness by posting the intimate images online.
Crying in a darkened office, Sloan is comforted by executive producer Don Keefer (Thomas Sadoski).
“This is my life now,” she laments. “I wanna die!”
Don assures her that humiliation will evolve into rage. That process doesn’t take long, for Sloan pulls Scott out of a meeting and puts him on the floor with a swift kick to the groin and a fist to the nose.
“I made it to the rage phase,” she proclaims, embarrassed no more.
Back in the newsroom, senior producer Jim Harper (John Gallagher Jr.) is attracted to and worried about associate producer Maggie Jordan (Alison Pill). She’s unpredictable and moody following an assignment in Africa in which a boy died in her arms.
Maggie’s been drinking and she’s wearing the same clothes two days in a row. No one complains about her job performance, however, until she makes a terrible edit of the 911 emergency call in the Trayvon Martin shooting. Maggie is a mess!
“The thing is, I’m afraid to sleep alone at night so sometimes I go out,” she confesses to Jim.
Will Jim rekindle their romance? Or has he fallen for Hallie Shea (Grace Gummer), that cute reporter he met in New Hampshire?
Other questions on “The Newsroom” involve “Operation Genoa,” a Special Forces rescue mission in Pakistan. Did the U.S. kill civilians with chemical weapons? And, if so, will someone go to prison?
Naval Intelligence liaison Shep Pressman (Frank Wood) wants ACN to abandon the story. Speaking with executive Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston), Shep warns that if such a scandal came to light, “America would lose any claim to moral authority around the world.”
Posing a hypothetical, Shep asks what the U.S. should do if a captured Marine was about to be publicly beheaded. Wouldn’t we save him by any means possible?
At first Charlie doubted the nerve gas rumors. Now he believes ACN’s investigation could topple a presidency.
“This is a true story. It happened. And we’re going to prove it,” Charlie vows.
Finally, news anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) is mad about social media attacks, including a fresh accusation on Twitter. Will’s anger ratchets higher when he thinks his abusive father phoned during a newscast.
Someone else made the call, however, because his father suffered a heart attack.
Executive producer Mackenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer) urges Will to reconcile with his dad before it’s too late. But it is too late. Will’s sister tells him their father just died.
“It really is all right,” Will says to Mac, trying to finish the newscast as if nothing happened. But when the camera’s red light goes on, he freezes before breaking a long, painful silence.
“Well, I guess it’s just us now,” he says, as if talking to his sister. But he’s talking to the nation.
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