Deprived of Sweet Lady Liquor, Jack instead imbibes some single-malt exposition: he reminds us that "Danny's girlfriend" (known to you and me as Jordan McDeere, the president of the network) is bleeding in the hospital after delivering a premature baby, Tom's brother is being HELD HOSTAGE IN THE MIDDLE OF AFGHANISTAN, and Simon just went on the air and "declared his allegiance to Al Qaeda." Simon gets all "Say what?" about that last part, and Jack answers by repeating Simon's "No wonder they want to kill us" line. Simon once again explains that he was trying to set the record straight about Tom and Mark by getting his reporter friend Leon Kushman to report the truth. Jack momentarily flips at hearing Kushman's name, which I don't understand and which is never explained, but I'm mentioning it because who knows if it'll be important next week as we enter Year Three of our examination of this long, dark night of Studio 60's soul? Anyway, Simon explains the sequence of events that led to his outburst, and all the while, Jack wants to know if the reporters were blocking the door back inside, because if they weren't, why didn't Simon go back inside? Jack really does seem to understand the impulse to explode, but he also says they're going to draft an apology for Simon to issue. Simon, of course, says he won't apologize. Because why would you apologize when you fly off the handle and yell and scream and -- on the doorstep of your place of employment and speaking as a de facto spokesperson of that place -- make multiple assertions that you wish other people dead? The parallel between Simon's situation and Matt and Danny's from 2001 falls apart before it even begins, because Simon actually should apologize. So Jack is beyond over this and essentially begs Simon to read an apology, if not for the show's and the network's sake, then for his own: he'll never work again. Jack compares him to Michael Richards, which is interesting, because it's not like an on-air apology helped him any, unless the African-American community decided to make amends with him without telling me. Simon still doesn't care and still won't apologize. "Fire me," he says, "or shut the hell up." ["Once again, Sorkin plagiarizes himself, as Dana once said precisely that same thing on Sports Night, only, again, her situation was sympathetic and Simon's is totally not." -- Miss Alli] And go on without the hope of more "Pimp My Trike" sketches? Jack is in a pickle indeed, and he once again asks if Danny has any booze. His bug-eyed look of desperate alcoholism lets us chuckle all the way to the opening credits.
When we return, we're still in Danny's office, but enough time has passed for Jack to find a bottle of something. Where'd he find it? In Simon's dressing room, of course. Simon continues to appear like nothing is bothering him in the slightest, while Jack continues to subtly push the idea of suicide. After all, Simon already advocated homicide with his earlier comments. Simon once again tries to lay out his case, that the press is simply too awful not to elicit such a response. He asks Jack if he sees what media outlets are camped outside: "the entertainment press," Simon says, with a particularly sour look on his face. Hey Simon, much as everyone else you work with seems to think otherwise, you do work on an entertainment program. Shouldn't the entertainment press be the only press covering your crap-ass show? Simon's objection -- that the media used Tom's connection to the tragedy to make the hostage story more accessible to American viewers -- seems to logically point to the fact that the legit media are the ones who shouldn't be in their parking lot. Whatever, we're mere days from being done with this show for good; I refuse to dwell. Jack says he did everything he could to keep Tom's connection to the story out of the news precisely because he agrees with Simon that it put Mark in greater danger -- even though Captain Boyle said last week that the terrorists could give a shit about Studio 60 -- and in fact, Jack agrees with Simon on pretty much everything he said tonight. And Simon is still going to apologize for it. Simon is flabbergasted at this seemingly paradoxical situation. He was right! Propriety and reckless hyperbole don't matter! Now Jack starts to get mad. "We're doing it right this time!" he yells. "This time" as opposed to when? Why the time Matt and Danny got fired, of course. Remember, we have that whole tedious flashback story to contend with? Jack says that he wasn't the bad guy in that situation -- he was trying to help them. They could have ended things with a simple apology and they didn't. Simon's like, "Now that you mention it, here's my two cents on a subject that's absolutely none of my business." He tells Jack that Jack broke his word six years ago and that's why Matt and Danny lost their jobs. Jack's like, "Listen, stupid, they lost their jobs because I kept my word." Who's right? Who's wrong? And will we actually get an answer this week? Don't know, don't know, and totally not, in case you were wondering.