By Huntress Thompson
This episode is about egos targeted – some hold up against threat, and some are pierced through.
The gun in the first act takes the form of a death threat left on News Night’s website, aimed at Will.
Will is now accompanied by a great big bodyguard, Rob Riggle as Lonnie Church, wherever he goes, and this now includes his new psychiatrist’s office. Will McAvoy has had a spectacular thorn in his paw, and has retreated into his lair to lick his wounds for the last few years, so the situation is ripe with comedy and also cruelty as he finds his boundaries steadily invaded.
Aaron Sorkin characters are almost always well-crafted, but rarely subtly crafted, so when he tells you Sloan Sabbith is clever, he tells you she holds multiple degrees in Economics, tutors the executive producer on her show and speaks fluent Japanese, and whenever any of those things comes up, the rest of the room must be suitably awed. She also wears giant Velma-From-Scooby-Doo glasses when she’s being especially clever.
Meanwhile, it turns out Don and Sloan have the chemistry of a couple in a 1930s romantic comedy, with enough conversational ping pong to make Gilmore Girls seem like an Ang Lee film. I wonder if this’ll come up later, at all?
The episode climaxes with a devastating on air confrontation, as an emotionally cornered Will does some cornering of his own. He turns his wrath on a gay, black, Republican political advisor/professor, but it turns out Will isn’t the only one who doesn’t take kindly to being confronted.
Both Sloan and Will take ill-advised leaps of faith in episode 6, each believing that they deserve to come out on top in the end. When things fall apart, Will is reassuring, saying, “We fucked up. Let’s just live with that now.” But before you write them off as self-righteous fools, Will reveals an old souvenir, and Sloan is ready to fall on her sword.
In this show, the characters aren’t fools, because fools are easy to dismiss – these are people who choose ideals over reason (often falling short), so they’re really easy to root for. (See also: Don’s last exchange with Sloan.) These characters will not always be right, and they won’t always deserve your support, but they’ll either seduce you with their bravery, or they’ll leave you behind.
Oh – another tremendous ego-off? Sloan vs Charlie. Oh yeah. Brace yourselves.