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

Selina Meyer travels the globe, spreading democracy like patient zero.

Her words, not mine.  Let’s take a trip to Georgia…the other Georgia.

The episode begins at a polling place in the Republic of Georgia, where Selina, led by her guide, Oleg Petradze, played by Peter Banifaz, will serve as an observer of the country’s first free and open election.  You know, because Selina loves spreading democracy.  Of course, she doesn’t really think that.

Instead, Selina sees this international travel as great PR for her book.  Not too far, Kent and Ben advise a bored Jonah to read the schedule since he’s far from invested in this trip.

As Mike attempts to check into the hotel, it turns out that he doesn’t has a reservation since, according to Richard, he was a last minute addition.  Selina runs into Kent and Ben, and we learn that Selina is here because now Secretary of State Doyle has picked her for this position.  You know, in case the United States needs a scapegoat.  Selina then gets a call from Doyle, but she’s put on hold because of course.

Selina then confronts Jonah in their first meeting since he cost her the election, and she warns him that she will destroy him in ways so creative that she would be honored at the Kennedy Center.  Please, like Selina is allowed at the Kennedy Center.

Anyway, Jonah asks Richard if he’s going to beg for his job back, but Richard already has a better job working with Selina.  Jonah tries to talk with some other members of Congress, but they’re ‘jet lagged’ and leave him dry.

On CBS This Morning, Dan interviews Buddy and Amy on the dashcam footage and grills Amy on Buddy exposing himself.  As Dan rolls the footage, Amy maintains that she’s happiest when she’s with Buddy.  In the interest of full disclosure, Dan feels the need to mention that he had a brief relationship with Amy when she was a much younger woman.

I’m left wondering how much of a national news story this is if Dan is covering the governor’s race instead of a local Nevada affiliate, since I’m guessing Dan isn’t stationed in Nevada, but whatever.

Doyle finally gets through to Selina and informs her that he’s backing Professor Nikolai Genidze, who leads the opposition party.  Nikolai is an up and coming voice for democracy and his win would be a great victory for the Doyle Doctrine. Then, much to Selina’s chagrin, she learns that she’ll be taking her lead from the U.N. Special Envoy for Election Monitoring.

And who else would it be but Minna Häkkinen?  Minna pops up to confirm that she is supervising Selina’s supervising.

That evening, Mike tries to get Kent to let him stay in his room, but Kent isn’t going to have that and can’t be bothered to even think of a reason to keep out Mike.  Also, Mike’s now sporting a green thumb, so turns out he might have voted in this election.

While Jonah gets shut out from dinner with his colleagues, Mike then goes to Gary and it turns out that both of them voted.  They agree that no one can learn about this, and this job’s expensive enough as it is for Mike, but despite them sharing a colossal error, Gary also won’t allow Mike to room with him.

The next day, Minna tells Selina about her support of Nikolai Genidze.  Apparently, once he announced his run, President Murman Shalikashvili tried to poison him in a sushi restaurant.  Nikolai survived, but he has some scarring.  Selina and Minna then come face to face with President Shalikashvili, played by Eugene Alper, but Minna is short with him.  Turns out Murman is an old client of Ben’s, who gave him advice from time to time.

Murman pulls Selina aside to let her know that he’s not a huge fan of America right now based on its last election.  Huh.  Go figure.  However, he does want to make a sizable donation to Selina’s library- about $10 million worth.  Selina is stunned, but refuses to accept, even though Murman assures her that the money would be untraceable and come from the his Georgian AIDS foundation.

Across the pond in New York, Dan joins Marjorie and Catherine and before they can make their proposition, he immediately agrees to be their sperm donor so they can have their baby.  The only condition is that Dan not ejaculate for the next three days.  Tall task, I know, but Dan requests that the clock start in 40 minutes so he can get a quickie.

Selina tells Ben and Kent about Murman’s potential donation and how she doesn’t want to take the money, but if she did, she wonders if she’d be compromising her integrity and reputation.  After all, without that, she’s nothing.  According to Kent, a library donation technically wouldn’t be illegal under American law.  So really, Selina could take it.  Thanks for the non-answers, guys.

On the road, Selina asks Minna if it would be all that bad if Murman won, even with his death squads and torture.  Minna maintains that Nikolai is Georgia’s only hope and then regales Selina with a less than interesting story about how her son tried to kill himself by weighing his boots and jumping into an ice hole.

Back at the grand hotel, Jonah tries to join the big kids’ table and it turns out that the other politicians were just hazing him.  Okay, so no problem.  When Jonah joins the rest of the group that evening, they all hop into the cab and drive off, leaving him to take the next one…even though he has no idea where they’re going.  Of course

Minna introduces Selina and some of the team to Nikolai Genidze, played by Stephen Fry, and Selina is instantly repulsed by his less than flattering face.  Minna, though, has a strong attraction to Nikolai, and no one needed to know that.  Nikolai, by the way, lives in a less than appealing looking home for someone running for President.  Also, Minna and Nikolai are lovers because everybody needs love.

Richard offers Jonah an opportunity to hang out since Jonah doesn’t have any immediate plans, and Jonah soon relents, as he’s already aware of a concert going on tonight.  So Richard gets to wear his tourist hat.

Back to Nikolai and dinner, Selina whispers to Gary to try the soup just in case it’s been poisoned.  After some hesitation and possible contemplation of how he ended up at this point, Gary slurps the soup and soon tells Selina that it’s ‘delicious.’  Before Selina can dig in, she sees that there are carrots in the soup and decides that she won’t have any.  Mike, though, digs right in because he’s hungry.

Nikolai talks with Selina in private about Murman’s potential donation.  She denies it, but Nikolai feels that Selina is worth so much more, so he offers a $15 million bribe.  For the library. Selina is surprised that Nikolai has $15 million, yet he lived in such a sordid home, but Nikolai’s secret is that this is all for show.  He teaches at a university, but he has a telecommunications monopoly and owns a popular soccer team.

Well, if you want to control the population, it does help to control the flow of information. That’s just my two cents, but anyway, turns out that almost everyone, even Doyle, is fooled by Nikolai’s act.

So Jonah and Richard end up at the club, where the playing band’s name translates to Panzer Division.  Yeah, it’s a skinhead gathering.

When Minna asks Selina about her meeting, she also tells her that the poison engorged not just Nikolai’s face, but also his penis to the point where the texture resembles a sea cucumber.  It happens to be great for vaginal orgasms.

At a campaign event in Nevada, Buddy thanks Amy for sticking by his side, even though she did that for the cameras.  Buddy heads out to face the crowd so he can tell them that he’s withdrawing from the race.  He needs to spend more time on thinks that matter, like his fiancé, who is now nowhere to be seen.

Back in Georgia, Murman is in the lead with more votes than there are people in the country.  As Selina’s phone rings, Gary takes it out and reveals his green thumb.  Caught, he then rats out Mike in the process.  The call is from Murman, who Selina tells that she can’t accept the donation.  In that case, Murman ups it to $20 million.  Selina’s decision, though, will be in made the interest of democracy and integrity.  Yeah, right.

Selina tells Ben about the offer just as Minna informs here that there will be a joint press conference announcing that the U.S. and I.E.C. will argue that this election was unfair.  Selina says that this isn’t uncommon for a young democracy, so maybe Murman is the uncontested winner.  See, Selina has had time to reflect, but maybe Minna’s feelings are clouded by her feelings for Nikolai.  As such, Minna offers to recuse herself.

On the State Department plane, Selina rants against her time in Georgia, but then Mike enters and turns the news to CBS This Morning.  Dan, the only news anchor in the world, apparently, is covering the news of Georgia, where Murman was arrested before he could be sworn into office.  So whose in charge instead?  Oleg Petradze.  Don’t you love how elections work?

At Andrews Air Force Base, Doyle congratulates Selina on her hard work in Georgia by assisting with Murman’s ousting and exposing Nikolai as a ruthless oligarch.

Richard reveals that, since the Georgian coup and a dip in the exchange rate, the $20 million donation is now a paltry $389,000.  Well, that’s disappointing.  As the episode comes to a close, Selina tells the crowd that her goal was to ensure open and transparent elections, and this is what she calls the Meyer Doctrine.  Ha!

As interesting as it’s been to watch Selina make it on her own with a smaller team at her disposal, sometimes a return to normalcy is warranted.  We get that in “Georgia” where Selina reunites with most of her old team in a situation that feels like classic Veep, but with a twist.

Sure, Selina is here to represent the United States, but while she’s often the fall person or scapegoat when something goes wrong, this time the country is on her side.  And in addition to swiping the Doctrine line from Doyle, she manages a major win.  Well, a sort-of political win.  She doesn’t get nearly the amount of money she hoped she would get for her library and she still ended up with two less than desirable choices for the bribe money.

But after Andrew’s infidelity and the library being put on hold, Selina aiding a more open election does boost her profile and give her more foreign relations credit for her book and political profile if she does indeed try to pursue another run.  Side-note, speaking of running, I think one of the bigger laughs I got came from Mike declaring that the team might be able to win an election with this Georgia situation…with Selina right next to him.

It’s nice to see Selina interacting with her team again, even though Ben and Kent aren’t much help and Selina remains as indecisive as ever as she’s torn between the difference of $5 million.  Of course she would wonder if there are technicalities, as it’s not a bribe, but generous donation to her library.  So it’s going to a worthwhile cause, even if it’s coming from a corrupt politician.

Despite how America’s most recent election turned out, both in the real world and in Veep, Selina still manages to find a situation that’s somehow less flattering than her own. Whether it’s the father telling his daughter that she can’t be President, Oleg going from guide to the President, or both candidates offering Selina absurd amounts of money for her support, the world of politics really is a horror show- at home or abroad.

That said, it was great to watch Selina try to make the best out of an increasingly difficult and frustrating situation, not to mention frustrating people.  Sally Phillips is excellent every time she shows up as Minna and this time, with her fawning over Nikolai despite his scars, and how she declares Selina to be her best friend, is no exception.  She’s to Selina what Jonah is to the rest of Congress, that one nuisance you just want to leave.

The difference is that Minna isn’t a pain in the ass….I mean, she is, but she has good intentions.  Whether she truly believes Nikolai is Georgia’s best chance or she’s being guided by her loins instead of her brain, it was a nice change of pace to see her obsessing over someone when her role was to be as impartial as possible.

But it wasn’t just about Selina and Minna.  This episode made good use of the rest of the team in some great comedic moments.  Gary, in his unwavering devotion to Selina, risks his life to taste some soup, only for Selina to disregard her dish because it has carrots.  If that isn’t true, if not insane, devotion to your boss, then I don’t know what is.

Not to mention the hoops that Gary and Mike have to jump through in order to prevent others from knowing that they voted.  I’m not going to question how that happened, how Mike ended up with green on his nose, or why Gary felt he could remove a scarf with his teeth.  It’s all part of the comedy and it was great to watch them fumble around in an attempt to hide the fact that they, as Selina put it, fingered the Incredible Hulk.

I was wondering if Veep would touch upon the fact that Richard swapped Jonah for Selina and I’m glad the show did address that.  But despite Richard jumping ship, he does still care for his old boss and Sam Richardson’s smile and demeanor are so pleasant that it’s hard to be angry at Richard for anything.  I imagine Jonah feels this way as well, as he relents and chooses to hang out with Richard after he’s been snubbed by his own peers.

And the reveal that the two wound up at a White Power concert was a great reveal.  How Richard was allowed to enter in the first place or the fact that there’s apparently a skinhead working as a doorman at the hotel is anyone’s guess, but it made for a funny moment when Jonah, upon realizing where he and Richard were, made a quick escape.

It looks like Amy’s about to work her way back into the fold now that she’s left Buddy.  No way in hell would she keep spending her days as the loyal woman standing by her man, more so after Buddy announced that he would end his campaign. And Amy certainly wasn’t going to move up in the world if she wasn’t a campaign manager anymore, so of course she’d flee on the first chance she got.

And even though it looks like he’s covering every story in existence, at least Dan got to interact with her for a bit…and flex his muscles as anchor by showing the footage of Buddy’s arrest.  Also, even though Dan is scum and not much better than the rest of Team Selina, I buy that he’d be a willing sperm donor for Catherine and Marjorie.  Though I question why the two would go to him of all people.

So even though Selina walked away with less money than she had hoped for, and still under questionable circumstances, “Georgia” was a fun trip that reunited most of the Veep gang and showed just how much of a clusterfuck democracy is outside of the United States.

Combined with some great physical comedy and giving every character an opportunity to shine, “Georgia” made for an enjoyable watch as Team Selina reunited to do what they do best: maneuver out of a screwy situation.

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