The Newsreader – Season 1, Episode 5 (No More Lies)
I’m going to review the penultimate episode of the season character by character.
Helen and Dale – Helen tells Dale that Lindsay finally approved her story on Caroline Gibson, a single mother who contracted HIV after receiving a blood transfusion, which Helen mentioned in the pilot. Helen also tells Dale that she feels he should interview her as it will boost his career.
When Dale asks Dennis for a camera crew, Dennis says Tim’s available but Dale asks for another crew. When Dale and his crew get there, the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS that would have been typical in that time period is present, when the crew asks Dale questions about touching door knobs or being in physical contact with Caroline. During the interview, Caroline tells Dale that she had a blood transfusion after the birth of her first child and ended up passing the disease onto both her children.
We then cut to the editing suite, where Lindsay comments that the story is dire and expresses his concern about the ratings going down if they air it, as the ratings have declined in the past when the network aired similar stories. When it’s mentioned that Caroline said that she believes gays poisoned the blood bank, Dale is quick to point out that it’s unsubstantiated however Lindsay wants to add the quote to the end of the story. When the final cut airs and as she watches, Helen is clearly unhappy with it, and later asks Dale if she made her remarks on the record and he says she did. Tim also watched the story and chastises him for the hatchet job.
The next morning, Helen and Dale do a photo shoot together as a couple, and while Dale struggles at first, he eventually relaxes and enjoys himself. Afterwards when they arrive at work, they find protestors outside the studio, one of them is Adam Lyndell, who is making his first onscreen appearance. Dale tells Helen that he is a research contact. When they get inside, Noelene shows them an opinion piece on the broadcast, which states that the quote from a US gay activist that was included with the story was false. Later, Helen goes outside to speak to the protestors and asks for an interview so they can tell their side of the story, Adam volunteers.
After Noelene is sacked (which I’ll get to), Dale goes home and calls Helen to tell her about it, asking her to talk to Lindsay to reconsider. When Helen asks him where he is, he tells her he’s at home as he has to be up early the next day as he’s covering ANZAC Day events. They briefly fight about it and out of anger, Helen drinks.
The next morning, Helen goes to Adam’s house where she meets his HIV positive lover, Russell. Adam tells Helen that he went to high school with Dale, and Russell only agrees to do an interview if it’s live on the desk, so he’s not subjected to same treatment as Caroline Gibson. Dale eventually finds out about the interview whilst he’s in the editing suite and sees the run sheet for the program.
Helen and Geoff (who I’ll also get to) interview Adam and Russell. Whilst Helen tries her best to be respectful, Geoff asks them questions which changes the focus of their story to their non-monogamous relationship, and makes out that Russell contracted HIV due to being promiscuous. Adam also reveals during the interview that his family no longer speak to him. Dale watches the interview at home and Tim watches at work, both of them with tears in their eyes. Helen tries to apologise to them afterward, and while they don’t entirely accept her apology, Russell tells her that they’ve been subjected to worse treatment. Meanwhile Val calls Dale about it and offers to call Adam’s family so Dale doesn’t have to face him, but Dale tells her to leave it be as Adam has been through enough.
The episode ends with Helen asking Dale about his connection to Adam. Dale reveals that Adam made allegations that Dale forced himself on him but it wasn’t true, they were messing around. Helen asks him if anything else like that has happened since then. Dale tries to avoid answering the question by telling Helen he loves her, but eventually admits to the kiss with Tim. Helen runs out of the apartment.
Noelene and Rob – Noelene and Rob’s relationship progresses in this episode with Rob quitting out of solidarity when he learns that Lindsay sacked Noelene. When Lindsay calls Rob out on liking Noelene and then tells him he’s scraping the bottom of the barrel as Rob is walking out, he turns back around and faces Lindsay. While it seems like Rob is going to punch him in the face, he just makes a statement that makes it clear Rob pities him.
Afterwards, Rob goes and sees Geoff, apologising for not coming to see him sooner and he tells Geoff that he can’t handle interviewing Adam and Russell on air. Later, when Noelene comes home from the park, she finds Rob is sitting down with her family and he let the news of her sacking slip to them. He also informs her that she has her job back, when she walks him out, she asks him out for a drink and he accepts.
What I found interesting about Noelene’s sacking was that even though Lindsay was angry, he gently fired her, and even defended her to management before she was fired. When Rob demands to know why she was fired, Lindsay tells him that management wanted a head to roll, so it wasn’t entirely his decision. The fact that Dennis also offers to call people at other networks to help her find another job, shows how valuable and loved Noelene is.
Overall I enjoyed this subplot, especially the insight into all the characters who defend Noelene, which shows how they really feel about her.
Geoff – Geoff is home from the hospital and is supposed to be recovering, but is clearly itching to get back to work. He chastises Lindsay for Dale’s interview and comes in to do the interview with Adam and Russell after Rob tells him he quit, and ends up taking over it.
At the end of the episode, Geoff is breathless when he comes home and has a drink, much to Evelyn’s chagrin.
Overall, I felt that this was a strong penultimate episode with Dale’s secrets revealed to Helen and the audience, Rob and Noelene’s relationship developing further, and Geoff being too stubborn for his own good in regards to his health, which may come back to bite him in next week’s finale.
I’m looking forward to reviewing the finale next week and finding out how the season ends.