We all knew Genoa was going to be a train wreck. That despite the interviews and tweets, manifests and eye witness accounts, that ACN's biggest story was going to fall apart in spectacular fashion. What we didn't know was why?
Even the "Red Team III" couldn't have seen this coming.
I had little doubt that Jerry's undoing would be that silly basketball game in the background of the General's interview. That belief was solidified when Mac started asking Will stupid questions about game clocks and penalties in a conversation I only half listened to because I knew the only purpose was to lead her back to that video.
By the time the control room guy was parading the LED clock around the news room, I felt like I was watching a comedy sketch instead of a drama.
I'm still completely floored that Jerry thought he could get away with it. Talk about ego. When he told Mac he wouldn't have done it unless he was sure, all I could think was that if the story was actually true you wouldn't have had to tamper with the evidence.
I was surprised that when Will said he'd already heard the story that no one asked him from where. That he and Charlie never even suspected that they might have the same source.
And then brick by brick, Operation Genoa turned into rubble at their feet.
Maggie had to admit that she wasn't in the room when Jerry conducted the interview with the General... Sweeney let it slip that he'd lied about suffering a traumatic brain injury... and the Department of Defense was quoting the Espionage Act.
Mac was the most impressive as she slowly realized that she unintentionally led the interview with Valenzuela. She was only looking for him to confirm the story. All he had to do was repeat what she fed him.
All along I'd wondered if this was just one giant series of circumstances that led to what ACN attorneys referred to as "Institutional Failure" or was the news network being set up to take a massive fall. It was most definitely the latter, and for reasons I could have never seen coming.
One of the best exchanges, in a night filled with many, was between Charlie and Will as Charlie gave a rousing speech about why he still backed their story in this The Newsroom quote…
Will: How much of what you're saying do you actually believe right now?
Will: I thought it was in the mid-80s. You pulled it off.
Charlie: Experience. | permalink
When Charlie met with Shep, his confidential source in a parking garage of all places, I couldn't wait to hear his story. When Shep started talking about his son David, I got nervous. When he mentioned rehab, my stomach started to turn and by the time he talked about his funeral I was just waiting for the final blow.
So David was an ACN intern fresh off a stint at rehab. He posted something stupid, was warned and continued to do it anyway. When Charlie said he deserved to be fired, I agreed with him. But considering the kid's father was a respected source at the Pentagon, perhaps a phone call to dear old dad should have been in order.
Shep: I thought about having you killed. Then I thought what does Charlie Skinner fear more than death. | permalink
Enter Operation Genoa. A diabolical work of revenge from a grieving father willing to bide his time to do it right.
But my favorite scene of the night was watching MacKenzie walk into that room with tears in her eyes and tell Will, "We have to retract Genoa tonight. All of it." She said it as though there was no one else there but the two of them.
Will didn't have to say a word. His face spoke volumes as he watched the tears well in Mac's eyes and her words sunk in. Gone were the accolades of a controversial but career-making story along with its I Love Lucy ratings. Genoa came crashing down around them all.
Enter Leona Lansing. Jane Fonda stole the show with one scene as she swept in with her evening gown lamenting her missed opportunity with Daniel Craig. Like Don, she was pissed. Jerry Dantana, that little weasel, deserved to get fired and he wasn't going to get a dime of payoff money just to make this go away.
And as Charlie, Will and Mac all offered their resignations she was having none of it.
Leona: You will resign when I fire you out of petty malice and not before. | permalink
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.