Before you read this, you should watch THIS, or it may make no sense: it was posted on the 10th July on the Newsroom's Facebook page!
So, because Mac pushing Will up against the wall did not turn out to be the scene I wanted to see, this is me demonstrating ways in which Mr. Sorkin failed to turn this scene into a Will/Mac love fest. But it's only ep 1.
We'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
He barely made it two paces out of the studio before mac's face appeared out of the corner of his vision and a hot palm was shoving him up against the wall of the darkened corridor.
"Is this working for you?" She asked, pissed. He raised his palms defensively, opening his mouth to speak, but a finger was prodding into his chest and he knew she wasn't finished yet. "Because as far as I can recall, Will McAvoy was the one advocating that we should be challenging the views of security hawks to ensure that they're protecting, not scaremongering – in fact, he just got lynched by the Tea Party because he went so far as to call the far right the American Taliban!
So you can imagine my surprise when I watched him chicken out of a debate because he wanted to protect his own image. Let's just say I'm confused - care to help me out here?"
"No, I've said this before Billy – you're either in or you're out. So, make up you're mind – which is it?"
He stared at her dumbly. There was little light; just an eerie blue-grey ray casting dark lengths across her face and making her look suddenly ten years older. It was light – it wasn't what he had done to her – right? She looked tired, like the arms now crossing her chest were holding her upright and keeping her balanced. But there was still a fire in her eyes. And he knew, like he always did that she was right. He just –
It was like recovering from substance abuse. You feel vulnerable and alone, and temptation to go back there and seek some comfort in the very thing that was silently breaking you down, even though you know it's wrong and you're letting people who care about you down.
He wanted people to like him – he couldn't help it. He knew that it was 'against' what they stood for – that ratings should come second to the content, and moreover that he had signed off on this; but every time Reece slipped him the numbers in an email, or a memo, or whispered under his breath as the passed in the corridor, Will's insecurity gripped him like someone had a choke on his windpipe. And every time he caught Mackenzie's face when she realized what was going through his mind (because of course she did).
He figured that this was why he couldn't think of anything to say.
Mackenzie was looking at him in a manner so deep, so penetrating, so clearly desperate that despite his inability to speak he found he could not look away from her. And then she slumped.
Guilt. Shame. Failure.
Her eyes closed wearily, and her hand pushed her fringe of her forehead in the universal sign of frustration.
She turned away from him, coming to rest against the glass opposite. He was transfixed, waiting to see what she would do.
"I thought we were past this Billy."
She was staring at the floor, her fingers picking at each other as the glass kept her standing.
"Sorry?" He asked tentatively, convinced that any loud noises might create a crack across that delicate, porcelain skin.
She raised her head, fixing him with the look of someone who had accepted defeat – a look that had never been seen before on Ms. Mackenzie McHale.
She cleared her throat.
"I said 'I thought we were past this'." He felt himself shrink a couple of inches under the intensity of the glare she threw in his direction before she began examining her fingernails once more.
"Seriously Billy – I know we've had some ups and downs in the last few months, but after Casey Anthony I really thought…" She trailed off, her voice getting a little higher, as though she was trying to solve a puzzle in her head and had just reached a problem, "I mean even after the article you still didn't –"
Now she was talking to herself – she was trying to solve a puzzle, he realized. She was trying to solve him. And he hated that even he didn't have the answers.
Walking forward a few paces, pulling the hair tie out as she went before spinning back and pacing, Will tried to think of something to say – he at least owed her that.
"You know what, I agreed with everything he said –"
She spun around again, her nostrils flaring. "How about he way he said it?" She challenged, once more striding into his personal space. He closed his eyes for a second, trying to come up with way of saying 'you're right' without conceding the argument, but once again it was a blank.
"You were protecting your own arse." She insisted, "You didn't care about the programme, and you sure as hell didn't care about us. You keep ditching us Will! Whenever you get freaked out because you think you're about to do or say something that will dock the ratings points a notch or two you freak and you leave us looking like idiots!"
Her voice was raised now and there was a suspicious glimmer in her eye that looked awfully like –
"Do you know how that makes us feel?"
"Us or you?" He snarled back, suddenly defensive. She shoved him back against the wall again, refusing to back down, continuing as if he hadn't spoken.
"Like you're not with us? Like you're not really in this and you care more about people who've never met you than the people you work with every day? Like we're sticking our necks out to tell the truth when our leader is happy to sell out our values whenever things get tough. That's what the truth is Will – IT'S TOUGH!"
"Don't talk to me about the truth being tough Mackenzie." He warned in a dangerous voice. "You have no idea –"
"That's your problem!" She snapped back. "You think I have no idea, but I do. That's the side of this you're missing!" She caught her lip between her teeth, biting back tears, but it wasn't working.
She pushed off on her heel, intending to get out of there as quickly as possible, but she caught the confusion in his eyes amongst the anger.
The same feeling of exhaustion and surrender that had been weighing her down for the past week sunk heavy in her stomach once again and she realized that she was actually going to have to spell it out for him.
She allowed herself two deep breaths before turning to face him one last time. She needed to go home.
"You think I don't know what it's like to realize the person you're in love with doesn't love you back, but I really do Will. I really, really do. And maybe I deserve it, but it still hurts like hell.
Now if you could please get your head out of your arse and remember what we're supposed to be doing here, your young, impressionable, idealistic staff would very much like to feel like you value their opinions again."
With that she finally left, swinging the door out behind her, leaving Will's jaw on the floor behind her.
It took him a good fifteen seconds to chase after her, catching her just as she was pulling on her coat and switching off the lamp on her desk.
"Have a drink with me." He forced himself to say, before whatever ridiculous poltergeist was lurking in his head turned him into a jerk again. Apparently he didn't need a poltergeist to do it though. The look of hurt and confusion on her face told him that he had just said the wrong thing.
"Did you not hear me five seconds ago?" Her voice sounded dry and cracked now. "After the conversation we just had, you really think this is the best idea?"
"Mac, I'm not – I'm just trying to – Look, we need to talk, okay?" He looked at her pleadingly, "If there is anything I took from that conversation it's that we need to talk more. You're right, okay? I dropped the ball."
"Yes you did." She replied quietly. She was frozen, her finger still on the light switch in front of her, assessing him with her eye; sizing him up almost.
Eventually she sighed, flicking the switch.
"Frankly I'm amazed you actually took in any of that conversation. I'm not sure zombies hear that well, and that's what you looked like the whole time I was talking to you. Rude, that." She brushed past him and headed out the door as his the corners of his mouth twitched. The click of her heels stopped and he turned around to find her holding the door open for him.
"First one is on you." She said flatly, and he happily noted that the defeat he had seen in those eyes moments before seemed to have ebbed away for the time being.
Leading her to the door of his office to pick up his own jacket, he wondered how messed they could be for one of the most heart-breaking things she had ever said to him to become the spark that made him want to move them forward at last, after all this time.
There's an alternative version of this called "Walls". Hope you enjoyed :) Reviews are love!