Maggie doesn’t understand why she’s so upset that Jim lied to her.
Well. That’s not exactly true.
She’s upset that Jim lied to her, and she’s upset that Lisa lied to her. She’s a grown woman, she doesn’t need coddling.
She also doesn’t need her boyfriend trying to make her feel bad. She and Don have been together a year, on and off, but it still feels like he’s the executive producer and she’s an intern sometimes. Like he’s somehow inherently better or more than she is, that some kind of hierarchy exists in their personal relationship. What Don does is make her feel bad about her relationships and staying on News Night out of some misguided loyalty to Will. But she feels good about making her own decisions and forging her own path outside of what her boyfriend does.
But with Jim...
Jim knows she’s a work in progress, but he doesn’t hold that against her.
She doesn’t want to compare the two of them, because her relationship with her boyfriend is obviously going to be miles apart from her relationship with her senior producer.
There is something about him that gets under her skin, dating back to the early days of their relationship. She doesn’t know why she needs to be mean to him, she just knows that she does.
Well, she does know. But it’s not exactly something she wants to say out loud.
Because she likes him.
She likes him and she knows that being mean to him is the only way that they can communicate because anything more and it becomes too obvious that she likes him.
She has a crush and she doesn’t want it to be a Thing. He’s her boss and she is already dating someone who was her boss. But it’s not like she gets off on power, she just happens to fall for guys who are also conveniently her boss.
Sometimes Maggie thinks that Jim might like her. (Okay, she thinks that a lot of the time.) But it was never expressed or even alluded to until the Bigfoot conversation. She’s hated him for no reason for a long time, but this time, she has a reason.
She just couldn’t get over the fact that Jim lied to her. They’ve been working together for nine months, and he’s never lied to her. But she sets him up with her roommate and when she asks about it, he felt like he should lie about it.
Naturally, she’s more than a little upset.
Mostly because Jim lied to her, but also because he slept with Lisa.
He’s been sending her mixed signals. He has a crush on her. She thinks that a lot of the time. But he also encouraged her to get back together with Don and stay with him, instead of breaking up every time they get into a fight. So there’s that part of her that thinks he just is a friend and wants what’s best for her.
They’ve had a lot of little moments that make her think there are weird unresolved feelings on both ends: their flirt-fights (because that’s what them fighting is...it’s flirting, though she’s pained to admit it, because she has a boyfriend), him taking the fall for her fuck-up with Brewer’s office, and him talking her through her panic attack. Don always left her alone for those. She doesn’t like everyone seeing her in a moment of weakness, so she went to be alone and try to calm down.
So she calls Lisa and begs her to please stop having her sleepovers taking her Xanax because she needs it at times like this. And then Jim walks out and starts talking to her and her pulse slows and maybe it’s his training that helps her get through her panic attack, but she doesn’t think so. She thinks it’s his voice and his presence that calms her.
For all that Maggie Jordan is, she’s not a liar. She can’t lie to herself. She can try to feign lack of emotion for Jim Harper, because she has a boyfriend and she shouldn’t like him. She can’t even lie to her roommate because when she talks about work, every story relates to Jim in some way.
Somewhere along the line, he has become the male lead in all her stories. There’s so much depth to the things they do together that she can’t help but overflow with Jim stories and anecdotes. And they’re always together, which is a side-effect of them working together, long hours and stressful stories. They play off of each other. Neal notices. Mack notices. Tina and the rest of the staff notice their tension.
Don notices too.
She should have figured that her boyfriend would get jealous of her colleague. That’s how they started, too. But she loves Don, and he has no reason to feel threatened by anyone. He makes her feel important. He’s a big man, and for some godforsaken reason, he chose her.
The thing about Don is this: he will always think of her as a subordinate, as an intern that was accidentally promoted. He’ll always see her as the bumbling girl who spilled coffee on herself and two others her first day at work, and, to some extent, he still sees her as the bright-eyed midwesterner who sees the world as better than it is.
He will have feelings for her. He will sleep with her, and let her spend the night. But she didn’t leave the sinking ship that was News Night, and he will always see her as naive, if only for that reason. And sure, Don hopped back on board once he saw how well-received it was, but he left. Any trust that Will had in Don went away when he left for 10:00.
Her crush on Jim was starting to make itself more apparent, so Don fucked with her head. He made it impossible for Maggie to say no to setting up her boss and her roommate, just to fuck with her head.
So the date goes well, but Jim lies to her because he feels uncomfortable talking about relationships with her. Then the Bachus-Politico thing happened and she had to call him and Don called Lisa, hoping to hear her phone ring in the background, and he was right. She is frustrated and appalled, but she’s not sure which man she is actually upset with.
And then Jim had to go and talk about the one thing they don’t talk about. He talks around it, sure, but they both know that she has every idea what he’s talking about.
She’s not mad at Jim She’s not mad at Lisa. She’s not even mad at Don. Maggie’s mad at herself for thinking that she could keep her feelings under wraps for any amount of time, and that frustrates her, and he has to look at her the way he does and she doesn’t know how much longer she can hold out, trying to stop the inevitable from happening.
This thing she has with Jim isn’t a matter of if, it’s a matter of when, and she only hopes she doesn’t drag anyone else down with the two of them.