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The Greater Fool


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Drama, USA, 2012

Synopsis "The Newsroom" - "The Greater Fool"- August 26, 2012Tonight's season finale is separated between the present day and flashbacks starting 8 days prior.We start in the present-- or the show's present Aug. 8, 2011-- with Will talking about an elderly black woman who has been disenfranchised from voting.We flash back to 8 days earlier where Mac, Charlie, and Lonny are searching Will's apartment for him and he seems nowhere to be found. Then Lonnie notices a drop of blood on a copy of New York magazine that has Will's face on the cover. Brian's story is out. Lonny looks down and sees a blood trail. They follow it to the bathroom where Will is on the floor with lots of blood around him near the toilet.At the hospital the doctor reports that Will has internal bleeding likely from a perforated ulcer brought on by taking too many anti-depressants. Mac didn't even know he was taking them. Apparently, Will was depressed over Brian's story which Mac refers to as a "hatchet job."We come back to the present and Will continues talking about new laws that disenfranchise elderly, minority voters, clearly working up to talk about the Republican plan to do just that in order to make sure they are elected.We then flash back to seven days earlier and the story meeting which Jim is running because Maggies is at the airport. After he takes pitches he asks about "Sex and the City" because he wants to show interest in things Lisa is interested in. Neal tells Jim to take one of the "Sex and the City" bus tours. Maggie is annoyed by all of this.At the hospital Will is sleeping with the New York magazine on his chest. He wakes ot see Mac. She is sweet and starts whacking him with the magazine asking why he "did it." She tells him that he has to stop being sad about the article. She says he's gotten bad press before and it isn't worth the two weeks he's been depressing. Will quotes the nasty remarks people have said about him in the article. He believes those people are right. She tells him to get up off the mat and man up. He says he might not be coming back. She says he is if she has to make him.Mac meets with Nina who tells her that she has a source that has told her Will was high on the air the night he reported on how we got bin Laden. Mac sputters but Nina says it's an unimpeachable source and that she's doing them a favor by giving them the heads up that when she gets a second source she has to go to press. They argue about Nina's trustworthiness. Nina tells her she knows it's true.Mac goes to Charlie and tells him. Charlie can't believe it since Will was so great. They realize this is the story that Leona will use to take Will down. Charlie tells Mac to buck up.Charlie goes to meet with his "deep throat" Hancock and tells him they can't use him because he's not a creidble witness because of his background issues. Hancock is sad about this and tries to plead his case. Charlie says if Hancock is the face of the story he'll contaminate it. Hancock understands but is disappointed. He starts musing about his Sunday nights with the kids. Charlie says stories like this make him nervous and suggests therapy. Hancock gets angry and continues to insist that he's a good source on TMI and the hacking they're doing on Will. Hancock points out if he gives him the TMI proof Charlie won't need him. The deal was that Will would do the whistleblower story first. Hancock is angry and says it's been a long time since his kids came over for Sunday dinner.We move up to a flash back five days earlier than the present and Sloan is doing her economic report. Don walks in and asks about a job offer she got. He grills her as they walk-and-talk. She talks about going to get paid in the venture capital world since she's not "moving the needle" in the economic world. She's leaving in three days. Don sees this as having three days to convince her to stay. They have a moment. Don tells Sloan he's going to ask Maggie to move in with her. She says if they're living together it will be harder to break up. He says he knows. She gives him a speech saying that somewhere along the way someone told him he was a bad guy and he believed it and now he's doing what he thinks a good guy should do like commit to a nice girl he likes but probably doesn't love. He asks her "Why are you single?" She says it's because he never asked her out. She says she caught him off guard. He agrees. Jim enters and Sloan tells Jim about Don and Maggie's news. Jim sputters and pretends to be happy and leaves. Don looks at Sloan and says she's wrong and that he does want to commit to Maggie. She says that's what a good guy would do.Back in the hospital Jim visits Mac and Will. Jim talks about the news and Mac asks about office gossip. He talks about Don and Maggie. Mac gets mad that Jim didn't "gather ye rosebuds." He explains he accidentally gathered the wrong rosebuds. Mac gets mad at him and whacks him with one of Will's pillows and says he has to do something or they'll end up like Mac and Will. Jim says that wouldn't be very nice to Don, Maggie, or Lisa. He tells Will the magazine piece was BS and leaves. Mac asks why Will wanted the magazine story in the first place. Will talks about the end of "Camelot" and the end where the young stowaway goes from town to town telling the story of "Camelot" and what's possible. He says the story was supposed to be his young kid telling the story of what News Night could be. She tells him everything is going to be fine and great except one thing: and she tells him the NIna news. She asks if he can figure out who her source is. Will doesn't know.Jim comes to Charlie to tell him that Solomon Hancock killed himself...by jumping off a bridge. Charlie tells Jim to call his parents once in a while.We cut back to the "present" and Will talking about being a "RINO" a "Republican in name only" and complaining about the fringe Tea Party element of the party and quotes some of the more racist and incendiary comments. And then he brings up Dorothy the disenfranchised voter.We cut back to five days earlier. Charlie gets a special delivery marked "personal" from Solomon Hancock while Neal is talking about trying to smoke out the internet death threat guy. Lonny doesn't like it but Charlie tells Neal to go for it.In the hospital, Will is obsessively looking at the footage of the panel event where he lost it and thought he hallucinated seeing Mac, but we know he really saw her. Charlie comes in and tells him to forget about the story and introduces him, again, to his mean nurse. It turns out that disenfranchised voter Dorothy Cooper is the nurse's great aunt. She wants to see a story on it. She berates Will to do it. After the nurse leaves Will asks Mac if he ever played anyone the voicemail message he left her after the bin Laden broadcast. She says she never got it. He says he said in that message that he was high and she couldn't forget what he said in that message. She insists she never got it. Suddenly they all realize that she didn't get it because TMI hacked Mac's phone, heard the message, and deleted it. This is enough for Will. He gets fired up, pulls out all of his tubes and says he's ready to get back to work. He then gets a little dizzy. But he's up and at 'em.They all begin working tirelessly, all weekend on the story about Dorothy Cooper. Maggie keeps coming in and handing Will information on different Republican presidents through history. It gets late and she is dismissed by Will and Mac to meet Lisa and Don for dinner.But only Lisa is there as Don is still working late and tells Maggie to basically swing by his place at midnight, which annoys her and Lisa. Lisa tries to get her to see that Don hasn't been much of a boyfriend and Maggie lets slip the whole "Jim was coming to talk to me but you cut him of with a kiss before he could finish his sentence." Lisa freaks out and leaves the restaurant. Maggie runs after but doesn't see her.As she runs outside she is splashed by a "Sex and the City" tour bus. She hears the tour guide talk about single women in New York. Maggie then goes off on a rant about how "SATC" isn't remotely an accurate representation of singlehood in NYC which ends with her saying that she has fallen for the man who is dating her best friend. Suddenly Jim pops his head up and says "Maggie?"She takes off running. He gets off the bus and chases after her. She hides but then confronts him. They kiss. Knowing that Don is about to ask her to move in with him and, because he is a good guy, Jim pulls back. Maggie makes it seem like she is going to go break up with Don.But when she gets home with her prepared speech to Don he greets her with a rom-com apartment filled with candles and rose petals and a small box with... a key to his apartment in it. Even though he never actually utters the words "I love you" she is clearly touched when he says he wants badly to make this work. Her phone rings. It is Jim. She ignores it and kisses Don.The next day Leona and Reese Lansing meet with Charlie, Mac, and Will. Leona is incensed that Will was high on the air and takes relish in firing him. But Charlie and Will lay their cards on the table. They accuse Reese of hacking Mac's phone and eventually he admits it. Charlie lays the envelope on the table from Hancock claiming it's a record of all the phones Reese hacked and that it has transcripts. He then produces a tape recorder, proving he taped Reese confessing he hacked phones. And not just Mac's. Leona is aghast at her son. He says he did the right thing, the thing she wanted done ultimately. She says she would never want this. Charlie tells Leona that they will shutter TMI and let Will do the show he wants to do and says he knows she's one of them and actually wants this, not just to appease politicians and make money. She agrees but tells Will to aim true. After they leave she opens the envelope, the only "proof" inside is a recipe for beef stew.Back at the newsdesk Sloan explains to Will what "the Greater Fool" is: essentially a patsy, someone we need to take the fall or who believes they can do the impossible and that this whole country was made by greater fools. He surmises she is staying. She is. Will asks about a young blond girl in the newsroom who looks familiar. Sloan doesn't know who it is.During the break Mac asks Will what the rest of the message said, reaizing he never told her. He won't tell her now.Back on the air, Will enumerates all of the fatal flaws of the far right wing/conservative/Tea Party movement and says they can call themselves by any name but what they are is the American Taliban and they can't survive if Dorothy Cooper is allowed to vote. Leona and Reese watch the broadcast with trepidation. Everyone is loving what Will has to say. He gets cheers and applause in the newsroom after the show.Don is excited that Sloan is staying. She says she is but from this moment forward they will never speak or have eye contact again and walks away.Don comes in and gives Maggie a kiss. He leaves. Jim enters. She knows that Jim lied to Lisa about who he really came to see that night. She says Jim made Lisa happy. He says when she didn't answer her phone he knew. And she realizes he knew Don was going to ask her and says he's a good guy. Jim says "so is Don.'Mac chases after Will and asks what was in the message. He won't tell. He starts explaining about his "hallucination" at the Northwestern panel. She pulls out her pad with her notes on it. He can't believe it was really her. She thinks they're having a romantic moment but he erupts and asks why she didn't tell him sooner. She says she was waiting for the right time. He asks about the familiar girl in the newsroom when Neal and Lonny bust in. Neal explains about his "smoking out" plan and apparently that turned into 100 new death threats so Lonny is still in the business of protecting Will. He then goes back to the girl in the newsroom and finally realizes it's the girl from the panel who asked the question that sent him on the rant at Northwestern. He wants to know why she's here: she's applying for an internship, she wants to be the "greater fool." He tells her to ask him again; what makes America the greatest country in the world? He says "you do, hire her."We cut to Nina Howard listening to Will's message. At the end of the message he said, "after tonight I really wanted to tell you that I never stopped..." He is clearly going to say "loving you" and Nina ends the message. She puts the message in her trash and then empties her trash.


Directed by Greg Mottola  

Starring Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, John Gallagher Jr., Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, more...

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