A Look at Veep- Season 3, Episode 6: “Detroit”

This week, Veep shows just how important it is that all politicians keep their views in check at all times.  Whether in private or public, you never know whose eavesdropping.  And the ever present hot-mic can be there to make your private comments viral in seconds.  Selina’s on the trail again, but more troubles with her team, mismanaged words, and a run-in with the Statue of Liberty make for a frantic time this week.

Detroit- Selina, Catherine and Gary ride past protesters at National Jobs Summit

The episode begins in Detroit, where Meyer and company are set to attend the National Job Summit, complete with protesters.  Everyone’s already making plans: Selina plans to announce 7,000 new jobs, Catherine is excited to be on the trail and new campaign manager Dan is chewing out the networks to make sure Selina is covered.  Amy, however, complains about Selina’s personal trainer.

Oh, and Andrew is there, too.  More family drama, of course.

While Selina mingles, Amy-before Dan, mind you- breaks the news that a shooting took place nearby.  Emily La Fuente, a journalist that Selina never liked, was killed, but the team believes the shooting will overshadow the jobs announcement.  Yeah, why’d this woman have to go off and get killed the same day the Vice President was to make a major announcement?

Detroit- Jonah complains about not having a retractable lanyard

Elsewhere, Jonah complains about not being given a retractable lanyard.  Priorities.  However, he gets a chance to mix when he proposes to Mike a photo-op between Maddox and Meyer, just to prove that the two don’t hate each other.

Detroit- Sally Phillips returns as Finland Prime Minister Mina Houkenen to talk about guns

Sally Phillips returns to Veep to reprise her role as Finland Prime Minister Mina Houkenen, who is also at the conference.  To Selina’s delight, the husband is not, so no more random groping.  Houkenen is there to deliver the keynote address.  She and Meyer talk guns, with Houkenen insisting that America has too many firearms.  Selina, though she could be joking, says that there can be too many guns in America.

Detroit- Ray, Selina's personal trainer, played by Christopher Meloni, sees tension in Amy

Oh, we learn that Gary’s arm troubles are a thing of the past thanks to Selina’s personal trainer, Ray, played by Detective Elliot Stabler himself, Christopher Meloni.

Detroit- Jonah talks with Mina Houkenen about Selina's gun remark

Jonah has a run-in with Houkenen, who he manages to convince that he is part of Selina’s team.  Thus, it’s perfectly fine for the two to discuss Selina’s comments regarding the Second Amendment.

During some down-time, with Ray stretching Selina out, Mike brings in a statement that Selina can sign regarding the journalist’s death.  Amy, though, believes that Team Selina is getting too big.  Ben isn’t overly impressed with Mike’s draft of Selina’s speech: it needs something noteworthy that will automatically produce a memorable sound byte.

Detroit- Selina brings Amy aside to tell her that she's sleeping with Ray

Selina brings Amy aside to talk in private to ask what she thinks of Ray.  Amy is now perfectly fine with the trainer, which is great, because Selina is sleeping with him.  Selina wants him around, but for now, only Amy knows this secret.

Except everyone else but Mike already can guess this.

Detroit- Frenzy after Catherine punches protester

The group heads to the summit, but when they get out of their vehicles, trouble ensues.  A protester dressed as the Statue of Liberty gets a bit too close, so Catherine does what any Vice Presidential daughter would do and punches the guy out.  The whole planned speech is thrown into an uncontrollable frenzy and everyone is whisked away.

Detroit- Sue and Kent report to Team Selina

From D.C., Sue and Kent relay a change of plans to Team Selina, which just gets wind of a story regarding Selina’s comment on guns.  Makes you wish you were still dealing with the abortion issue, huh?

A now ticked off Selina does not want to do the handshake with Maddox, but Dan insists that good public relations will do wonders for their poll numbers.

Detroit- Catherine and Andrew come to Selina's room

That will have to wait later, as Selina and Ray have wonders to perform on each other.  Amy and Gary stand watch outside Selina’s door and the watch goes fine until Andrew and Catherine conveniently shows up.  When Selina emerges from the room, she and Andrew have a spat about their past relationship.

Detroit- Touching Selina

And to make things better, Houkenen shows up and apologizes for the story.  She didn’t intend for the comments to go public, but she was told that Jonah was part of Selina’s team.

The next day, Dan is eager to neutralize the gun issue and plans to do so by having Selina show up at the Wayne County Gun Fair- an all woman’s gun fair.

Detroit- Handshake with Maddox

Not before the handshake with Maddox and a chance for a viral photo takes place, though.

At the gun show, Dan advises Selina to be both conservative and liberal at the same time.  Easy, right?

Detroit- Selina at gun show

While the women in attendance are glad to meet the Vice President, they’re more excited to meet Catherine, whose popularity has exploded since punching Lady Liberty in the face.  The women even already have shirts with her face on them.  I don’t know how someone does that in such a short amount of time.

The team heads back to the summit so Selina can present her jobs amendment, only for Andrew to tell her that the company has defaulted.  There will no longer be any jobs after all.  Whoops.

Detroit- Mina Houkenen and Selina Meyer for Q&A

Kent, however, is able to make a quick switch so the speech is instead a Q&A with the panelist, who just happens to be Prime Minister Mina Houkenen.  When the Q&A begins, Houkenen presses Selina to mention the jobs announcement, but Selina tries to change the subject.  She sidesteps it long enough for Houkenen to literally force the announcement into her hand.  When Selina mentions the 7,000 new jobs, the crowd not only applauds, they give her a standing ovation.

Luckily, Selina won’t have really lied for another six months.  Also, she wants Andrew on Team Selina.  That can only end well.

So this week, we see the importance of sticking to your figurative and literal guns, less so clinging to religion.  When you’re not a public figure, you can get away with saying something potentially scandalous or controversial.  Not so when you’re a well known figure and especially when you’re the Vice President who is running for the Presidency of the United States.  Making an offhand comment in such a high position of power can lead to someone being offended, even if that was not the intent.

As we’ve seen throughout the show’s run, Selina Meyer is not one to mince her words.  We see so much of her life away from the cameras that we get an understanding of her political philosophy and politics as a whole.  When she’s with her team, she doesn’t need to censor herself.

Detroit- Maddox puts his hand on Selina's back

But the political world is ever changing and always moving.  Like a photo, a few seconds of banter can lead to an everlasting moment that mold a politician’s life.

Detroit- Mina and Selina talk about babies having guns

Unintentionally angering constituents is not new, but for the most part, what makes Selina different is that we as an audience don’t see her interact all that often with the voters she’s angered.  Now, the confrontation during “Clovis” is an exception, but whenever Selina says something damaging, we usually hear of its impact and the fallout it causes.  We don’t see Selina process it because she’s moving onto something else.  That’s the nature of the political business, especially when running for President.  Such a busy life means you don’t get to slow down and take in your surroundings.

It’s interesting to see Veep tackling such hot-button issues with abortion, fracking and now guns.  It plays well to the real life context of how much politicians have to shift and change their views based on the political climate.  Whether someone is flip-flopping or their views are evolving, politicians can change their minds in an instant, which is why it’s so important to stick to your beliefs as is.  For Selina, however, that would mean offending the gun lobby, which she needs to get her into office.  Dan’s line about Selina being liberal and conservative at the same time shows the tightrope politicians always walk, and sometimes walk back, when making their views known.

Detroit- Dan late on delivering news

Dan fits well into the fast paced life of campaign manager just fine since we’ve already known him to always be on the move.  So far, for obvious reasons, only Amy seems affected by it to the point that she herself believes that Selina is her best friend.  And Anna Chlumsky always manages to make Amy look so self-centered that it probably helps that she have a close friend in the wake of losing the job she very much wanted.  It is clear, though, that Dan still buckles to higher authority figures and hasn’t fully let the power get to his head- as we see when he chews Mike out for his badly written speech, only to backpedal when he learns that Ben wrote it.

Detroit- Catherine REALLY doesn't want to go to a gun show

I liked Catherine’s outburst, but I wish we got to see more of her sticking up for herself.  Throughout the episode, she complains about Dan sending her to outlets like movie awards shows just to do damage control.  Problem is everyone around her is so busy that they still see her as a kid worth ignoring.  Even at the end, because Catherine tells Selina that are problems are tied to Dan, she should speak to Dan.  We don’t see Catherine that much, but whenever we do, we see a girl who has missed out on having a normal childhood due to her mother’s political ambitions.  If she’s going to continue traveling with Team Selina, I do wish she’d show more of a spine.  Now that both Mom and Dad are on the team, however, I wonder whether she’ll have any say in anything.  Hey, at least the girl gun lobby loves her.

Detroit- Jonah waits for the big photo moment

Jonah was actually used effectively this week and not just for jokes.  By being the one to leak the story about Selina’s gun comments, he put her on the defense and scooped the rest of the competition in the process.  It was breaking news as it happened, so good for him, even if his involvement this week was minimal.  Plus he got the photo op he wanted with a nice viral photo as a bonus.  I’d say he had a pretty good week.

Detroit- Ray guesses Rudolph

Briefly on Ray.  I think Christopher Meloni did a fine job playing him, but I wish he had a better introduction.  Given how the others speak of him before he actually appears, it gives off the vibe that he’s been around for awhile and we don’t know how much time passed between this week and last week’s episode. Maybe not all that long, but I wish our first impression of him had also been the team’s first impression.

“Detroit” showed how easy it is for politicians to backpedal their words when they think no one else is listening or will take them seriously.  It doesn’t turn Selina into a flip-flopper, mind you, since she doesn’t regret what she says, but it does show that politicians ought to watch their words since it only takes one leaked story to get the ball rolling.  There’s no clear answer when it comes to hot-button issues.  If there was, politicians would be able to get things done and people would be less divided, but that’s a reality that we’ll never live in.  The choice to involve Andrew with the team can’t end well for Selina since mixing family with politics has never worked in her favor.  Sure, she’s at least trying to reunite the family, but come on, you’re smarter than this!  I enjoyed the callback to the abortion debacle and how difficult it was to nail down a position on that.  Hopefully the fracking issue reappears as well, as these sorts of topics will only pile up as the race for the Presidency continues.

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