Ah, the dreaded gun control question. Always a fun topic, but if you’re Tom James, you can talk your way out of anything because you’re just that good. If you’re Mike, though, the press secretary who is supposed to be good at talking, your life is just one massive headache.
The episode begins with Mike and Kathy having breakfast. It may be the only good moment that Mike has this entire episode, as he’s not looking forward to work. He’s been getting hammered by the press on the Families First Bill. Well, that was the original name. Selina wanted it to be called the Meyer Bill, but the press likes calling it the Mommy Meyer Bill instead. Kathy tries to encourage Mike, telling him that Selina won her first debate thanks to him.
Only two more debates to go, but the next one is on foreign policy- basically a pop quiz on the entire world. Mike heads off and promises to get something for Kathy’s birthday, which is today, and which he forgot.
At the White House, while Team Selina watches the President’s first debate performance, Sue informs Selina that her dinner guests are confirmed for tonight. Selina’s getting back together with some friends from Selina’s old law firm. Also, there’s been a shooting in Pittsburgh. Four dead, including the gunman, who was an ex-Marine. Selina tells Sue to get Mike on drafting a statement. Apparently, he has a thoughts and prayer template. I can’t tell if that’s a good way to save time or just incredibly awful.
Elsewhere, at the American Concrete Foundation Convention, Dan and Amy find themselves lobbying for…well, concrete. To assist, they need the help of sale bait. As in independent, well-educated, young women that also happen to be very hot to lure congressmen into the room in a way that is deeply feminist. I suppose that’s a better way to look at it than hot girls with tits and ass that use their assets to draw in men, but that’s just me.
Mike holds a press briefing and answers questions about the potentially doomed Mommy Meyer Bill.
Elsewhere, the rest of the team discusses the bill, which is getting crucified on the Hill, just like that Jesus guy. O’Brien isn’t a fan of it and even issued a statement: “If Families First is passed, the whole concept of family will come to an end.” Selina doesn’t care, though. She feels that the people love it, but Tom disagrees. People want to pay for their families, not other families.
All of a sudden, security swarm the room. There’s an intruder and all precautions must be taken. Much to Bill’s surprise, there is no secret bunker or elevator that leads to a secret bunker. Soon enough, the culprit is caught, but apparently he came “to kill Tom James and that bitch.” Never mind that someone set out to kill Selina- he didn’t even know her name. Anyway, Kent heads off to help set up for Tom James’ town hall event.
At said setup, Richard and Jonah work with the lights and audio for the town hall. Jonah is glad to be out and about on the campaign trail. It really helps you forget about being molested.
Back at the White House, Mike notices members of the press watching what I think is either a gif or Vine video of him ducking when he heard about the shooter at the press conference. Assuming this all takes place in real time, someone was able to create this in very little time, but hey, that’s technology for you.
Catherine finds it hard to believe that someone like the President can get an award from a country one day, and then almost be killed on another. Selina isn’t too worried, though. She’s more focused on tonight’s dinner- she only wants pizza.
Back at the concrete convention, Sidney introduces Dan and Amy to Aiden Grant, played by Graham Winton, who won the previous Mexican border fence contract. He would like to win the new one as well, which means he needs to speak with Congressman Martin, but not his obvious erection. Obviously.
We then cut back to the town hall, where Tom James speaks about the connection between the lack of education and poverty, as well as poverty and crime. Families First will break that link. But then someone asks James, in light of the shooting in Pittsburgh, if it’s time for stricter gun control. James’ response? Reaction is easy, but understanding is hard. Isn’t it possible that the shooter was also a victim? After all, we’re talking about an ex-Marine whose mine was maimed in the service of his country.
Kent relays this to Ben, who tells him to make Tom stop talking, but it’s no good.
And no one at the White House is able to warn Selina about Tom’s comments in time before she directly addresses the press. Luckily, she ducks out and lets Mike do his thing just when one reporter asks whether the President shares Tom James’ views on the shooter in Pittsburgh.
Over at the concrete conference- this subplot isn’t really that interesting, if I’m honest- Sidney learns that Tom James may have just made himself an enemy of every stupid person with a gun, of which there are many. If nothing happens now, the gun and security clients will wonder why they pay Sidney Purcell so much money, which is bad because he needs them to pay him and not try to shoot him in his sleep.
Amy suggests putting Congressman Reece in front of a camera so he can criticize Tom James for sympathizing with murderers. In turn, Sidney Purcell is spared from any unhealthy gun debate. Dan gets right on it. Purcell notes that he enjoys this sibling rivalry between Dan and Amy, which would make him Daddy.
At the White House, Selina is worried about Tom James being a loose cannon and if the press will know that she chose him at the last minute. But then she and everyone tears into Mike for not being able to handle the situation, as well as the naming of the Mommy Meyer Bill. Mike tries to stand his ground in an admirable show I can’t help but enjoy, but he’s outnumbered and overwhelmed. It’s been a long, damn day.
Back at the town hall, Tom James has a prepared statement, but he prefers to speak from the heart instead. Nothing he says will help the victims, but he can say that he’s very sorry if he added to their grief. It’s actually that simple.
Jonah and Richard are so enthralled with Tom James’ apology that they think he should apologize for all of their screw-ups, like the data breach. Tom initially thinks that they’re just talking about Jennifer Graham, but the two let on more than they know, prompting Tom to believe that there’s another data breach he didn’t know about. He offers the two a ride back to DC.
Sidney then learns that Tom James has apologized, but he doesn’t want to get rid of the gun guys since gun folks apparently don’t like it when you take things from them. Go figure. However, now Sidney wants to jump on mental health issues. He introduces Amy to Alex Barry, played by Armand Schultz, from Gemmill Pharmaceuticals. What’s a pharmaceuticals guy doing at a concrete convention? Well, construction brings builders, builds bring sex workers, and sex workers bring STDs. A very virtuous circle.
Selina finally gets to reunite with her friends: Anna, played by Suzy Nakamura, Deborah, played by Mo Gaffney, and a third woman played by Patricia Kalember. The four bond, but things have changed between them. For example, Deborah, now working pro bono, has been sober for five years and Anna’s husband died, so Anna ended up remarrying. Her husband wasn’t gay- just an asshole.
Tom brings Richard and Jonah with him to Friday night drinks, which the crew has done for the past five years. Well, presumably not that long for Bill. Everyone is overjoyed for Tom managing to save the day, but they then wonder if there’s anything else about him that they should know. There is: he thinks drugs should be legalized. Having seen what his son went through, he thinks that it’s the only way. That doesn’t sit well with the rest of Team Selina.
Soon enough, Tom wants to know about this other data breach. Mike, though he’s a spokesman and apparently isn’t supposed to say anything, spills that the Meyer campaign used the health records of dead children to target and appeal to voters who were recently bereaved parents. Tom could flip out and ask how the fuck this happened, but he just wants to move forward. The men toast to even more shit.
Dinner with Selina and friends isn’t going that much better. Her friends aren’t huge fans of the Families First Bill because of the added amendments- at least they read the bill- and think that Selina hasn’t thought through the tax margins. However, based on Tom James’ appearance on “Meet the Press,” they would be in favor of the bill if he sold it. But don’t worry, Selina. They believe in you as well.
And what other way to end the episode than with another lockdown?
“Mommy Meyer” was a good episode. It illustrated how difficult running a presidential campaign can be when the president’s ideals and beliefs don’t match up with their running mate. That’s not a rarity, but you’d expect their views to at least line up more often than not. Consider how President Obama’s views on gay marriage didn’t really evolve- or flip flop, you decide- until Vice President Joe Biden brought it up. You want the public to love you, but you also want them to know and believe that you and your partner agree on many things.
That’s not really possible for Selina and Tom James, who isn’t trying to be a thorn in Selina’s side at all, but just sees some things a bit differently than her, based on his personal experience. He calls the gunman a victim because of his history with war and he wants drugs legalized because of the time he’s spent with his son. He isn’t just throwing out random positions and stances for political convenience, as we’ve seen Selina do before, but standing by what he believes.
Such stances are what put him at odds with the rest of the team, but not the general public. Selina’s friends speak with adoration about Tom James, and his off-the-cuff apology for his remarks were so easily accepted by the public that it’s a surprise that they ever had any issue with what he said.
So though James is a bit more personable than Selina, we do see that he can stumble, which also makes him more relatable because we see that he isn’t perfect. Not that James ever gave off that vibe, but he does appear a bit more careful than Selina. In the end, Tom still had a good day.
But the person who didn’t have a good day was Mike. If I could think of an alternate title to this episode, it would be “Everybody Hates Mike.” He’s come a long way since the inauguration. At first, the press loved Mike, but the honeymoon is over. That applies to everyone, but Mike, unlike Dan and Amy, has managed to keep it together, despite the difficulty of his job. He’s the voice of the administration. If something goes wrong, he gets shafted. If something goes right, Selina is credited.
It’s unfortunate because we see that he still wants to devote time with his wife, who is so patient and loving, despite how stressed out he is. I did like the breakfast scene between Mike and Wendy. We see Catherine and Selina together a lot, but we don’t get to see the personal lives of the rest of the team. Mike, though, wants to have a healthy relationship with Wendy, but the job is taking its toll on him. I’m glad he stood up to Selina, despite quickly backing down, because we see that even he isn’t willing to just be a shit kicker. Given how Bill is now the Director of Communications, I would be surprised if he didn’t take Mike’s spot, should Mike decide to jump ship.
As for Selina, we get a glimpse of how her life before politics took over, and she came off as more carefree and open with her friends. At first. As the night went on, their lives became too different. Friends drift apart. We don’t like it, but people change and move on to other endeavors. In Selina’s case, not only did her friends change, but they’re also critical of her work as President, as seen when they say they’d buy the Families First bill if Tom sold it. The more I think about it, people take their issue more with Selina than with her policies.
After all, the first shooter said he came to kill “Tom James and that bitch.” He didn’t even refer to Selina by her name.
The subplot with Dan and Amy wasn’t all that interesting to me. I mean, I liked them giving a pep talk to the sales bait and Sidney thinking of himself as Dan and Amy’s father, but most of this subplot involved them reacting to things happening with Team Selina. If the concrete lobbying is setup, then fine, but I just wish it was more engaging than it was this week.
With three episodes left this season, I’m curious how Veep will wrap up with Selina. She’s trying to do well, but the odds seem to be against her and more in favor of her running mate, I think, but I could be wrong. You can never underestimate the power that is Hugh Laurie.