Luckily, Shelly from Occupy Wall Street (let’s call her OWShelly) tells them about a source right before she goes on the air to get pummeled by Will. Sorkin mercifully cushions the blow of a blatant plot device by having Jerry make a meta joke about how they need something to just drop into their laps. OWShelly then melts down on air, gets irrationally offended by it, and punches Neal in the stomach before she can lead him to the source. One would think a PhD student would come prepared with more articulate answers for an interview on national television, but that extra X chromosome must be weighing her down.
OWShelly demands an on-air apology from Will in exchange for the source, which leads to painful face-offs with both Sloan and Don. Both scenes read like excuses for Sorkin to take even more potshots at his (generally young, often female) critics on the left, using phrases like “persecution complex” and making OWShelly into an ever more self-righteous parody of the Offended Liberal. Her scene with Will towards the end of the episode, however, comes close to redeeming this mini-arc, with our “hero” apologizing in a rare moment of self-awareness. He admits he used the interview to seem like a moderate; she finally raises some genuine objections to Will’s view of OWS beyond “he made me seem stupid.” And that’s the story of how Will McAvoy ended up crashing an NYU anthropology class.
Did you forget about Jim’s campaign-trail adventure already? I almost did! That aside mercifully comes to a close this week when Jim goads the Romney press aide into telling him to go fuck himself. To make up for being terrible at her job, she gives him an interview with Romney, which he then grants to Hallie. This is because Jim feels sorry for her after he overhears what Sorkin thinks is a realistic example of workplace misogyny (it’s overblown, which is hilarious, because his scripts have pitch-perfect workplace misogyny in them all the time, because that’s how Aaron Sorkin actually thinks). Thanks to a Skype mishap that’s a hell of a lot more realistic than last season’s infamous email, Hallie finds out and blows up at Jim for being a naïve, condescending know-it-all. She’s right, but in the Sorkin universe Nice Guys™ like Jim carry the day, so they make out by the hotel pool before Jim goes back to New York and Maggie, initiating love triangle number two.
Much to this episode’s detriment, there basically is no story of the week except the minor controversy surrounding the name of Rick Perry’s family ranch. Will defends it because he’s not enough of an ass already; Elliott says the name on air in an attempt to be as edgy as Will. That’s pretty much it for the week, except Jerry and Mac finally getting their hands on a report written by the OWS source. It describes Pakistani villagers exhibiting symptoms similar to those induced by sarin gas. Sam Waterston gives a Troubled Stare for the ages, and Jerry Dantana is that much closer to getting fired.