The Blackout, Part 1: Tragedy Porn - Recap

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The episode begins and Will is shown chatting with a potential magazine profiler about how he wants the changes at News Night documented. He is dismissive of the writer who once wrote for Newsweek and now runs a blog. The writer, Brian, is insulted that Will basically wants him to audition for the job of writing about him. The writer want to know what Will is prepared to talk about: his childhood, his Republicanism, his personal life. They in the end arrive at a common ground. Meanwhile, Will is shown going to a meeting with Reese, Charlie and Mac. It's May 27, 2011 and Reese is dressing them down for not reporting on Casey Anthony. They took a big ratings hit because of it, from second to fifth place.

They all take credit for the choice not to cover it. But it was Mac who makes another righteous plea about Reese being in business with advertisers while she's in business with viewers. Reese points out, she has no viewers. Mackenzie says they'll just wait it out, "how long can the trial go on?" Charlie though orders them to start covering Casey Anthony. Meanwhile, Brian goes out to the newsroom and chats with Jim, whom he knows from the past. Jim starts talking to him about the debate but says he can't really talk to Brian until he gets instructions about what they can talk about. Meanwhile, Mac and Sloan meet at a bar. Sloan asks her about Brian Brenner who she thinks is cute. Mac admits that Brian is the guy that she cheated on Will with.

Sloan then points out that, Brian doing the piece is really "messed up". Later, Brian and Will talk about how hard; Will has been on the Tea Party. Brian asks if Leona Lansing has asked him to tone it down. Will says, he won't do Brian's reporting for him. Brian keeps probing asking if Leona is using her own tabloid magazines to target him for firing. He also points out that losing half his audience makes Will more vulnerable. Then he realizes that, Will is trying to get a heroic portrait out about what they're doing at News Night, so if Leona lowers the boom it will be clear it is for her own political gain with the people she wants/needs in power in Washington. Mac later comes in and explains about leading with Casey Anthony. Charlie meanwhile, goes to a library to meet with his deep throat.

The guy asks him to take his battery out of his cell phone. He does it for him. The guy explains his long career as a cryptologist and then in private sector as a big deal IT guy, and then back to the NSA where he's a big software honcho helping with data mining in a project called "Global Clarity" that intercepts billions of phone calls and emails, illegal warrantless wiretapping to hunt for terrorists, which violates the 4th amendment. He says he went to the Inspector General at the Pentagon and got nowhere because no one wants to be seen as soft on terrorism. He tells him that TMI has been doing the same phone hijinks as Murdoch's papers and that Leona's son, Reese has been ordering the phone/email hacking. Charlie is aghast. He wants to know why this guy is whistle-blowing.

e says he didn't spend his life fighting Communists to have the U.S. come to this, spying on their own. He tells Charlie to vet all the material and figure out a way to protect himself from Leona. Later, Charlie calls Mac into Will's office. They shut out Brian. He then explains about his deep throat, Solomon Hancock and that TMI has been hacking and that it goes as high as Reese. Charlie leaves and Mac asks why Will asked Brian to do the profile. Will says because he owns him now because Brian needs a cover story to revive his career, since his blog went bankrupt and if he writes a negative profile people will think it's because of the soap opera of their tangled history. Later, Reese excitedly tells Will that the viewers are coming back as are the advertisers. Will though, can't look at him.

Reese notices this. Will though, says he's looking at him normally. Later, Will, Jim, Charlie, and Mac meet about vetting Solomon. Jim is going to handle it. He's also aghast at the story. They explain what Jim will have to do and how tricky it will be and how he'll need not to raise any flags with the NSA. Will though, doesn't remind him about confidentiality. Meanwhile, Mac goes to her office and Brian wants to interview her. He points out that it's a bad week for him to be there. She agrees. Then they have it out personally. He brings up the email in which she says she cheated on Will. He then points out that he thought they were dating so actually she cheated on him with Will. She says what they had was not a real relationship, but more like drunken booty calls.

She says she's paying the price for it since she works 30 feet from the life she could've had if she hadn't been stupid and now he's looking at the life he could've had, if he hadn't been such a “douchebag”. Maggie meanwhile, gets a call from a woman who has tweets from Anthony Weiner. Will meanwhile, wants to get a drop in with his therapist. Lonny doesn't like it. His doctor it turns out, has a patient. Will though, convinces him to give him a minute. He explains about what he's doing at News Night, selling out, yelling at the staff etc. He says he's fine with all that, but he is worried about his decision of hiring, Brian. The doctor says Will is holding his hand over the candle because he thinks the trick is "not minding". But that isn't the trick, the trick is forgiving Mackenzie.

The doctor points out that while, Will is working through this, he's hurting Mac. He says he knows. He tells Lonny he's not doing it on purpose. Meanwhile, Maggie meets with the Weiner tweets woman, Sandy. She shows Maggie the tweets, they are racy. Maggie asks why she's doing it since it seems like she's a willing participant. She in turn reveals that, she didn't know about the other women. She did, however, know about his wife. She says that she was fooled and the world needs to know "what kind of guy he is". Maggie asks if Sandy is sure she wants to pile on. She's also doing Access Hollywood, ET and Fox, as it turns out. Maggie is disgusted by her but says they want her on the show. Meanwhile, Charlie chases down Leona on the street and tells her that they know where the tabloid stories are coming from.

Leona in turn asks him, how it would look if they had one of their own news magazines go soft on Will. Charlie scoffs at TMI being called a news magazine. She in turn, reminds him about what she said about going easy on the Tea Party or 'context' would be created. He tells her that she needs to hear him. She though blows him off. She then tells him to tell Will that, he's one mistake away from having his own podcast. Meanwhile, the Weiner girl is getting ready to pre-tape her segment. Will meanwhile, comes to the set and they meet. She tells him, she's a big fan of his. Mackenzie meanwhile, asks for a sign from God that she's not doing a big thing badly, and then suddenly, the power goes out. The episode ends at this point.