Unintended Consequences
The Newsroom | Season 2 | Episode 4

Unintended Consequences

TV-MA | 58 MIN

Written by Aaron Sorkin
Directed by
Carl Franklin

Maggie meets with Rebecca Halliday, who explains that she's representing ACN against Jerry Dantana in a multi-million dollar wrongful termination lawsuit. She asks Maggie about an interview Jerry conducted with General Stanislaus Stomtonovich. Maggie maintains the general never said, "It happened," but Dantana has alleged her word is unreliable after her experience in Africa. Maggie is offended that the case hinges on her state of mind, but reluctantly talks about her trip.

A year earlier, Maggie and Gary fly to Entebbe. In exchange for access to the forward operating base in Uganda, the team agrees to do a human interest story about soldiers building an addition onto an orphanage. Gary films around the building. When he enters the classroom, the children erupt in screams -- they think his camera is a gun.

Maggie meets a young child named Daniel, and, at his insistence, reads him the same book over and over. Daniel is captivated by her blonde hair, a color he's never seen before. It gets too late to drive back, so the crew is forced to stay overnight at the orphanage.

The same night Maggie leaves for Africa, Neal briefs Shelley as she prepares to represent the Occupy Wall Street movement on News Night. As she gets camera-ready, Neal and Jerry lament their dead end; "Hamni8", the Twitter user who they believe described Genoa, is untraceable. As Shelley walks to the studio, she reveals she heard a story from a fellow protestor who wrote a report about the U.S. using chemical weapons on civilians. She agrees to lead Neal to the source in Zuccotti Park, but changes her mind after her on-air appearance goes disastrously -- Will rips her apart, citing the movement's disorganization and lack of leadership. Neal tells Shelley not to blame Will: "He didn't do anything to you, you tanked." She punches him in the stomach and storms out.

Jim, Hallie and Stillman arrive at the hotel after the official Romney press bus. Upon check-in, the group realizes they've lost the perks of being officially affiliated with the campaign, including hotel reservations. The three reporters are forced to share one room. The next day, they follow the campaign bus by car. Jim and Stillman overhear Hallie's conversation with her male boss, who's concerned her "stunt" is hurting their campaign coverage. He's wildly offensive and tells her to "stop being a little bitch."

At Mac's urging, Jim presses Taylor for a statement from Romney. She loses her temper and as consolation, offers Jim a 30-minute interview with the candidate. Jim donates the spot to Hallie. When Taylor informs Mac of what happened, Jim is pulled off the campaign.

Hallie overhears that Jim gave up his interview for her. She confronts him; her personal and professional relationship with her boss is none of his business. He doesn't care if she's insulted -- he thought it was the right thing to do. Later, Hallie realizes the implications of Jim's actions. She tells him she's upset he's going home and kisses him.

Jerry and Neal approach Mac with a deal. Shelley's prepared to bring them to her source if Will issues an on-air apology. The outlandish request is even more implausible, Mac explains, because Will is unaware of the Genoa story. Mac is saving him for the red team, a group who hears the story for the first time once it's finished to identify holes.

Eventually, Will seeks out Shelley and admits that he was extra aggressive during her interview to burnish his reputation as a moderate. He confesses that he's having a crisis of confidence. Subdued, Shelley agrees to take Neal to her source, but Will reveals they've already found him. The man's name is Leon Deit. Mac and Jerry interview him and brief Charlie on his report, which seems to corroborate the use of sarin gas.

Back in the African orphanage, Maggie and Gary wake up to gunfire from nearby cattle raiders. The adults rush to load the children onto a bus. Maggie realizes Daniel is missing and finds him hiding under her bed. Gary pries the bolted bedframe away from the floor, and Maggie carries Daniel towards the bus. He is hanging on her back when he's shot and killed. It wasn't until later that Maggie was able to translate the raiders' demands. They were yelling, "Give us the camera."

After the incident, Maggie and Gary return to America. Maggie is sent to a psychologist who prescribes an antidepressant, which she does not take. Haunted by images of Daniel toying with her hair, Maggie cuts it off herself. She maintains that Stomtonovich never said "it happened" and she's fine, but Rebecca isn't convinced of either assertion.