Better Late than Never: 10 Random Thoughts On Studio 60 Episode 19

Credit: NBC

We have four more episodes before the series finale of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. If you thought the previous episode ended with tears, “K&R Pt. 1” will eviscerate you and have you on the edge of your seat. Timothy Busfield takes over directing from Thomas Schlamme and Sorkin gives us a precursor to the brilliance that is The Newsroom in the first part of a three-part story. All three episodes will be posted this week and the finale of the series will be posted on Monday.

So, without further ado, peep my 10 thoughts below and then stick around for my review of the episode, which might be a little short but that’s okay. Expect the third part’s review to be longer.

  1. Here is some incredible camera work again from none other than Timothy Busfield. Yes, Cal is directing this episode and he’s already doing a damn good job of it. Tom is feeling some unimaginable pain. He’s in shock. He’s shaken and the camera’s shot is tilted to indicate that. He’s not in his right mind right now and who would be after all of this? 
  2. “Haven’t we had every fight at least once before?” Yeah, pretty much, and the audience probably hasn’t even seen the half of it. What we have seen is enough to echo that sentiment. Can Harriet and Matt just stop arguing for once? That’d be great. 
  3. Matt not being able to tie a tie and the whole conversation about having a clip-on bow tie reminds me of both The American President and a conversation Donna and Josh have at least once in The West Wing about ties. Sorkin really does recycle his stuff, doesn’t he? He knows what works.
  4. I expect Danny to do something with this ER doctor if Jordan doesn’t. This ER doctor and I are about to go to war and I’m not even in this episode. Danny is about to come unglued. The baby is choking, her heart rate is dropping, Jordan’s blood pressure is up and the doctor is just so nonchalant about this. I’ve seen this before on ER and it doesn’t end well. (But seriously, “Love’s Labor Lost”. Season 1 episode 20. Whitford will emotionally destroy you, as will the episode.)  And there is Danny being like, “nope.”
  5. 2020 and we’re still fighting this war. Also, Studio 60 is definitely a precursor to The Newsroom and I love it.
  6. Well, now I know why Mary Tate was introduced. Is she going to be the savior of this horrible mess? Please tell me yes because I need her to be the savior of this because I don’t feel like she has a place in this series beyond that. 
  7. Jack is an ass. Wow, is he an ass. Cocky and full of himself. That hasn’t changed one bit, has it? Not at all. 
  8. Oh my god. I am having some ridiculous ER flashbacks. I don’t like it. Whitford is too good at this kind of thing and I am having some major anxiety here. Dear God. This entire episode is giving me anxiety. I love it but I don’t. 
  9. Cal is making some good points. Mary is trying to save the day, but Cal’s right. The money given to these terrorists is just going to fund them so they can kidnap more civilians and servicemen. That’s horrible to say, but it’s the truth. 
  10. Okay, but, Danny proposing to Jordan in the hospital after carrying around a ring for a few weeks is just… god, I love him. He is so adorable and I love him and Jordan so much. This moved way too quickly for me, but I get that the series’ time restraints caused it. I acknowledge it but say that it’s still wonderful.

Oh, man. The acting and the writing in this episode as well as the directing and the editing really floored me today. I was very impressed with what Sorkin, Busfield, Whitford, Amanda Peet, Nate Corddry, Matthew Perry, and Sarah Paulson achieved in this episode. I’ve not seen The Newsroom, it’s on my to-watch list, but this type of high intensity and dynamic drama is exactly what I think of when I think about The Newsroom. Of course, everyone pulled out the stops with this episode. I loved every moment of it. I was a bundle of nerves the entire time and I don’t think the second part is going to let up. Not by any stretch.

For a majority of the episode, Danny and Jordan are separated from the main cast of characters. Jordan was taken to the hospital at the end of “Breaking News” because she couldn’t feel the baby kick for over six hours. Once in the hospital, the audience learns that Jordan’s blood pressure is high and she’s starting to experience symptoms and signs of preeclampsia. For an avid TV watcher, and as someone who’s watched a lot of Whitford’s back catalog of TV and movie roles, Danny and Jordan’s portion of the episode gives me some terrifying ER flashbacks. I’ve mentioned this in the thoughts section of the post, but I wanted to touch on it here. Sorkin is good at medical tension. He’s written it a few times in The West Wing to fantastic dramatic effect and I have a feeling the last four episodes of Studio 60 are just going to prove that.

This part of the episode feels like a John Wells production and as I said earlier, the parallels between ER season 1 episode 20 “Love’s Labor Lost” are not lost on me. Not by a long shot. Many of the familiar beats are there. A young doctor dismissing the early signs of preeclampsia. Said preeclampsia rearing its ugly head forcing an emergency c-section. Bradley Whitford as the loving and doting significant other trying to get the doctor to do the right thing but ultimately trusting the young doctor. This makes me very nervous. If anyone hasn’t seen “Love’s Labor Lost,” then you wouldn’t understand, but this… I don’t trust Sorkin to not throw us a curveball. Something is going to happen to Jordan and Danny is going to be an emotional wreck and I am not ready for Whitford to emotionally destroy me again. I’m just not.

That being said, I am so excited to see how this pans out. Excited and anxious because the writing is so sharp. Studio 60, sadly, never found its proper footing but I like how these episodes have ramped up the drama. There is still token Sorkin wit that will make you smile, but for the most part, this is drama of the highest caliber, and a part of me wishes that we would’ve been given more moments of drama in the run of this show because the cast brought the heat. We all knew Paulson could handle the drama, but for me, who’s not watched and has no desire to watch American Horror Story, this is such a breath of fresh air and I love it. She continues to crush everything she’s given.

Corddry does as well and his bits as Tom wrecked me. They couldn’t have cast a better actor to portray Tom. Busfield simply amplifies Corddry’s performance by his terrific camera work that brings the audience into Tom’s shock and trauma. Not that he needed much help because Corddry is a phenomenal actor and continues to prove that every single episode. I can’t wait to see how he’ll continue to break my heart in the next part of the three-parter. He wasn’t in this episode much, but it was enough to shake me to my core and make me feel incredibly bad for Tom and his family. I’m sure that’ll only intensify.

Shelby Arnold
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