You would think that anyone would want to take a brief leave of absence after the death of a loved one. Well, given the ongoing recount, that might not apply to Selina Meyer. But even though she’s committed to winning this race, on Thanksgiving of all days, the country is less interested in Selina’s desire to win the race and more her opinion on the salmonella outbreak. It’s important to prioritize. This is “Thanksgiving.”
The episode begins the day before Thanksgiving, as Selina pardons two turkeys, named Drumstick and Cranberry, from the dinner table and tax evasion. That’s a bargain.
Dan, meanwhile, has been greened, so Ben sends him to work with Tom James since he’s understaffed anyway.
Selina asks Marjorie how she’ll be spending Thanksgiving. It will be in Maryland. At the White House, Selina gives Sue a few days off, and that’s good, as she’ll be having Thanksgiving dinner with her husband and family. Last year, in fact, she had 250 people over- no one from work. Of course.
Catherine will be meeting her father and Monica. Dinner will be held at Grandma’s house- the first one since her death- but Selina has to stay at the White House to call Congressmen. The calls can only be done in the Oval Office. It makes a big difference to know she’s calling from there.
Jonah shows his mother around the White House when he spots Dan without his badge. He uses this as an opportunity to gloat, but Dan hopes that Jonah dies a horrible death choking on a dog dick. It wouldn’t be the first time. Richard will be joining Jonah for Thanksgiving dinner. Jonah is only mad that he didn’t invite Richard first. He then does just that.
Thanksgiving morning and Ben reports on a North Korean military exercise. The South Korean Prime Minister wants a few minutes, but Selina will call her later this afternoon. Her day is booked with a visit to Dr. Abernathy a de-bagging of Selina’s face.
All cuts will be internal, behind the eyelids, which will lead to a bit of bruising. That’s not a problem for an actual doctor. Not like Gary, who is pushed out. At the very least, Selina will be all healed by Monday.
Back at the West Wing, Kent watches news about the salmonella outbreak. Ben wants Tom James sent out to deal with this. But Tom is busy making friends with Dan, so much so that he was able to fast-track a badge for him. As far as treating his staff, Tom values openness and straight talk.
The press bombards Mike with questions about the salmonella outbreak. Instead, he brings up Dr. Robert Weinburg from the CDC. Wendy, meanwhile, is pissed, as she’s stuck at home with both pairs of relatives.
Back to the procedure, Selina looks fucking awful, but Kent and Ben arrive to discuss the salmonella outbreak. Selina wants to make a statement, but Kent doesn’t want anyone to see her. She should stay hidden. Good idea. They suggest Tom James make a statement, but Selina maintains that she’s the young face of the administration. Vice President Doyle can give a statement, but he can’t be told why.
After Tom James has a segment on MSNBC about Thanksgiving, he sends Dan to get him some coffee.
Ben then meets with Doyle and asks him to make a statement about the outbreak. Ben’s excuse is that Selina’s mouth is swollen from dental surgery, so she’s not fully capacitated.
Doyle does indeed give a statement while also fielding questions about Thanksgiving. Mike, meanwhile, learns that the surrogate is on board.
Selina, meanwhile, is all ready to make calls to various Congressmen. Bill Jaeger is first on her list, but he’s trying to work out things with his wife and thinks that Selina is calling about salmonella. More than that, he thinks that Selina should talk about the outbreak. If the American people hear it from her, she can get away with anything. Right. So next up is Congressman Coffey.
More cases of salmonella are reported- including New Hampshire Congressman Harry Sherman. Mike tells Wendy that surrogate Debra-Lee is on board. He wants to celebrate with a quickie and will sext the hotel room number to Wendy.
Dan does more grunt work for Tom James. In the worst indication of where he may be headed in the future, he runs right into Gary, who is preparing a dish for Selina.
Selina continues to field calls when Kent and Ben yet again barge in on her to report that Congressman Sherman has died. It could be the best thing that happened, as Sherman was an O’Brien diehard. New Hampshire could give Selina the election. Ben makes a call to the kingmaker of New Hampshire. However, O’Brien is offering condolences, so Selina wants someone from her team to give a statement.
Ben tells Doyle to deliver another statement, but Doyle is still skeptical of Selina’s condition. As such, he wants to see Selina for himself.
Dan has spent a lot of time in Tom James’ junk mail and noticed some mentions of Sidney Purcell. Dan wants into whatever Tom’s endgame is, but Tom mentions Dan’s breakdown and stress that must be due to losing Nevada. It would be a shame if Tom mentioned that Dan is having more mental problems.
That evening, Kent tells Selina that she has to be nice to Tom. Doyle enters, sees Selina’s horrifying face, and tells Selina to cut the shit. He’ll give a statement, but in return, he wants to be considered for Secretary of State.
Selina finds it funny, but it’s the job that Doyle wanted. As a woman of her word, Selina indeed gives her word. I don’t think he should take Selina’s word, but I’m not on politics. Doyle addresses the press on Sherman’s death.
Dan tells Kent and Ben that he thinks Tom James is up to something with Sidney Purcell. Ben doesn’t think that Tom is that stupid. It’s possible that Dan is indeed crazy.
At the Willard Hotel, Wendy needs Mike to be really quick, but then they smell something….off in the room.
Amy’s Thanksgiving dinner goes as awful as you’d expect. Dan shows up and is welcomed inside. After all, it’s Thanksgiving. I’m sure that will at least please Sophie.
Ben and Kent meet with Jonah’s uncle, Jeffrey, played by Peter MacNicol, who tells them that there will be a special election for Sherman’s seat. Sherman’s widow plans to announce a run. Jeffrey wants his nephew, Ezra, to run, but he’s currently serving in Afghanistan. To beat a widow, you’ll have to fight dirty. You need a spectacular dumbass who will sacrifice their name and reputation. There’s only one name on Jeffrey’s mind.
We then cut to Dan and Amy watching Tom James on ABC. Amy’s father, played by Jim O’Heir from Parks and Recreation, tells Dan to leave. After all, he has had sex with both Amy and Sophie.
Richard has dinner with Jonah’s family. Jeffrey tells Jonah about the special election and how he wants him to run. Jonah is overwhelmed by the news to the point that he actually prays to totally rock this shit. But he learns that the race is for one term and he is just a placeholder term.
Jonah is confident that once he’s in, he’s in, not just holding the spot for Ezra. But Jeffrey tells his son that he’s just a puppet. Jonah at least makes Richard his Chief of Staff.
As Mike once again fields questions on the salmonella crisis, Selina, now wearing sunglasses, meets with sailors and marines on the South China sea. Also, Marjorie still isn’t one for conversations. There’s a text from Ben- folks are liking the trip. But then, as Selina serves food, she and Gary are horrified to learn that Jonah is running for Congress.
After the turmoil of losing a loved one, as well as a mother, Selina mostly takes a backseat in this week’s “Thanksgiving.” That’s fine, as the strength of Veep comes just as much from its cast as it does the central character. And even if Selina isn’t the focus, people are still vying for her attention.
Just not for the reasons that she’d like. With the election recount still ongoing, Selina’s priorities are in the right place, for once, but her staff won’t permit her to make a public appearance. Given her look, it’s understandable.
Remember when John Kerry got injured and still made television appearances, despite his black eyes? A gruesome sight, but Kerry didn’t just shrink from the public light.
And to be fair, neither is Selina. In fact, it could be a bit of social commentary on the amount of pressure placed on women for their appearance. They’re put on pedestals and expected to look, act, and sound perfect. That’s hard to do, even more so when you’re President Selina Meyer.
At the very least, the injury isn’t the cause of some comical fuck-up during the procedure. Selina just hasn’t had proper time to heal. Despite that, she’s more than willing to put herself out there. Now granted, this had the potential to be an error in waiting, and it wouldn’t be the first time Selina went out in public with a screwy appearance.
So, in some odd way, I guess this made her responsible enough that she wanted to address the crisis herself? That’s a major stretch, since this is still Selina we’re talking about here. But Kent and Ben, much more protective of Selina’s horrifying appearance, weren’t about to let her take that risk. That or they don’t want the American people to go blind from Selina’s face.
Since Selina isn’t the central focus this week, we spend a fair amount of time with other characters. Dan thinking that Tom James is up to something does hold water. After all, Tom knew there was the possibility that he could win the Presidency over Selina. For all his good-mannerisms and supposed naiveté, he’s not stupid.
On the flip side of that argument, Dan has been known to go off the deep end more than once, especially in the past two seasons, so it’s possible that he’s 100 percent wrong about Tom. Is it a stretch to think that Tom has something else planned that could trip up Selina? Maybe, but right now, it will be fun to watch Dan try and figure this out, especially if it turns out to be nothing.
Plus, I loved the horror on his face upon realizing that he’s becoming as much of a lackey to Tom as Gary is to Selina. The difference being that Gary, more often than not, seems to like what he does.
But then we get the surprise of the week with Jeffrey wanting Jonah to run for the now vacant House seat. This has the possibility to go wrong in every way, but what’s great is not just that Jeffrey knows how incompetent Jonah is, but that Jonah actually wants to win and hold onto that seat. He’s a lackey, for sure, but if the past is any indication, he’s also power hungry, so I am very much looking forward to the Jonah Ryan campaign.
And it was nice to finally put a face to this Jonah’s uncle, who has been talked about since the third season and is a powerful man in New Hampshire.
Of the core characters, it looks like the only people who got to celebrate Thanksgiving proper were Amy, Catherine, and Sue. And Sue just happens to be more meticulous and careful to not invite anyone from work to her personal affairs.
While still a busy episode, “Thanksgiving” gave Selina and company a bit of breathing room. And yet, few of them appeared to be thankful for anything on this day of all days. Hell, they can’t even prioritize the election with the country more focused on the salmonella outbreak. The one time Selina tries to get serious work done and people want her take on food poisoning. Go figure.
But there’s still a fair bit of setup in this episode. Dan suspicious of Tom James’ intentions, Doyle’s desire to be Secretary of State, and the launch of Jonah Ryan’s congressional campaign will make for some interesting scenarios going forward through the second half of the season.