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

Last week, Selina’s biggest issue was standing next to Gerald Ford.  In hindsight, she might prefer that to who ends up in one of her pictures this week.  Let’s head to “Qatar.”

The episode begins in Doha, Qatar, where Selina and Gary attend a funeral.  Selina gives her well-wishes to Sheikh Muhammed Hamid, and Gary is sure to divert her away from Colonel Omar Al-Saleh- a Sudanese warlord.  Having a picture with him would be disastrous.  Then Selina runs into President Lu and attempts to talk Tibet, but Lu and his translator just evade her.

Selina then meets Ambassador Al-Jaffar’s nephew, and he’s not too bothered about his uncle’s death. He apologizes to Selina for how the Tibet situation unfolded, but then he takes his leave when he spots the Israeli Trade Representative approaching.  Selina then takes a photo with Mamnoon Akhtar and his brother, but guess whose also in the photo in the background?  Yup.  The Sudanese warlord himself.  That’s a real photo bomb.

I apologize for using the term photo bomb.

At the brownstone, Catherine and Marjorie Skype call Selina and the team to announce that they’re pregnant!  I only brush over this so quickly because Selina has something more important to deal with: the press is hammering her over taking a photo with Omar Al-Saleh.  As such, Selina’s international reputation is in jeopardy.

To mitigate this, she needs a photo with a female hero.  That, hopefully, will cancel out this bad press.  After a few options that won’t end up panning out or that for various reasons, the team settles on a Sudanese women’s rights dissident by the name of Nyaring Ayun, who is under house arrest for opposing Omar Al-Saleh.  As a child, she was forced to undergo traditional female genital cutting.  Amy goes to set up the meeting.

Over in Washington, Jonah dines with other members of Congress.  After going into detail about his troubles with Daylight Saving Time and his bathroom schedule being thrown off, Jonah diverts the team from work even further by suggesting they have a name.  He decides on the Jeffersons, even though that happens to be the name of a resident.

That’s why Jonah likes it- Thomas Jefferson isn’t played out like Hamilton, who of course was not a president.  Regardless, the Jeffersons it is.

Over at CBS, Jane continues to hit on Dan in front of the staff, so he tells Stevie that the constant harassment is a problem.  As for the sudden cold temperature in the studio, Jane thinks the cold helps her and Brie’s nipples pop more.  That much is certain.

Team Selina arrives in Juba, South Sudan, where Selina receives gifts while Richard attempts to take pictures.  To make this excursion even more fanciful, we learn that the team is surrounded by land mines.  Also, one of the kids attending this journey is wearing one of Jonah’s campaign shirts.  I have several questions about that.

Furlong stops by Jonah’s office and informs Kent and Ben that he needs Jonah’s support for his airport bill.  When Jonah arrives and learns of Furlong’s bill, he decides that in exchange for his support, he wants to be invited to Mrs. Furlong’s dinner.  Mrs. Furlong only takes couples, so luckily, Jonah has a date in Shawnee.  Furlong doesn’t think much of Shawnee at first.

This is when Ben informs Furlong that Shawnee is the daughter of Sherman Tanz, so Furlong’s tune changes in an instant.  Also, surprise, Jonah and Shawnee are engaged. There’s a ring on hold at Tiffany’s.

Back in Sudan, Selina meets Nyaring Ayun, played by Nicki Micheaux, for the photo op and presents a peace lily for Ayun’s brave stance for freedom.  Nyaring tells Selina that under Colonel Al-Saleh, the oppression of women has increased, and it’s why Selina finds this photo so vital to toppling the patriarchy.  How do you do that?  Well, Selina will figure that out later.

Amy and Richard interrupt and tells Selina that three meerkats have gotten caught in the engine of their plane.    So who else has a plane?

Al-Jaffar does, as Selina goes to meet him in Qatar.  He’s glad that she called, and she’s arguably in much better hands with him than her incompetent staff.  He tells her that there have been developments in Sudan, as in China wishes to get its hand on some of Sudan’s precious resources.  Well, Selina at least remembered that the people of Qatar are very wet-fingered.  Phrasing, Selina.  She goes with him back to his palace…

Back at CBS, Stevie brings in someone from Human Resources, Roberta Winston, played by Da’Vine Joy Randolph, to speak with Dan about his sexual harassment claims against Jane.  Such an accusation could get Jane fired, so it’s convenient that this is when Jane enters the room and learns of the accusations.  Jane rages and admits that she’s not even fucking Dan.  But everyone knows.

Overseas, Selina requests a report on mineral rights in Sudan and basks in her encounter with Al-Jaffar, though Amy cautions her boss against going out on such a limb for the ambassador and believes Selina may be moving too fast.  But Selina finally feels like herself.  She asks Amy if she can date someone Muslim, though such a move would be political suicide.

So Selina and Al-Jaffar meet at a Marina when the Chinese arrive via helicopter.  Selina’s still upset about the Chinese giving Tibet to Montez instead of her and tells Lu that China will need Sudan’s resources, even though there may be other sources.  Selina figures that the people of China would question Lu if they can’t access certain resources.

And in what’s gotta be one of this show’s biggest damn understatements, Lu figures that Selina really craves public acknowledgement.  However, for seven GDP growth, Lu agrees to the terms.

But then Selina turns on the news to see that Laura Montez is also meeting with Nyaring Ayun, though Americans are criticizing her for not addressing the abuse of women’s rights.  So Selina decides she’ll be returning to Sudan to say what Montez would not. And yeah, she’ll need Al-Jaffar’s plane as well.

So Jonah and his team join Furlong and his wife, played by Beth Littleford, for dinner. Roger toasts to Jonah- and Shawnee- for the support with the airport bill.  Jonah asks if he can have a better office in exchange for his support.  When Mrs. Furlong leaves, Roger rages about Jonah’s demands, but Jonah still feels that he deserves more.  Shawnee threatens, on Jonah’s behalf, to have his entire district withdraw support for the bill.

So yeah, Roger will start looking to get Jonah a new office.

So we’re back in South Sudan, with Mike looking much worse, when Selina meets Nyaring again and tells her that’s ready to speak on women’s issues.

At the Arab Conference on Human Rights, Al-Jaffar tells Selina that Colonel Al-Saleh has arrived, as this warlord is one of the sponsors.  And any speech that condemns his record on female rights might scuttle the deal, so it’s best that Selina focus on positive elements of Sudan.  If this happens, Selina will get credit for Tibet.

So Selina addresses the crowd, in the most open-minded way, and says that women’s rights are human rights.  And those rights have different priorities.  Some practices require a firm stance, like female genital mutilation.  She avoids criticizing Al-Saleh altogether and ends up getting a standing ovation.

Jonah gets a new office, but only three floors down from his previous one.  It’s still a power move to him, and he plans to christen this new office with Shawnee.

Back at Jaffar’s palace, Lu thanks Selina for nothing.  The Tibet deal is off, as Al-Saleh hoped that Selina could have been more enthusiastic.  There will be other deals down the line, and Al-Jaffar can’t be with someone like Selina since she’s White.  At the very least, Al-Jaffar’s father only disapproved of Selina’s race, not her age.

It’s Jane McCabe’s last day as a regular part of the CBS Morning family.  She gives a painful goodbye to the viewers, but she’ll be doing a series of specials coming from CBS’ digital platforms.  However, Dan assures her that this is not a goodbye.  However, it is for us.  End episode.

If I can credit Selina Meyer with anything, it’s that she gives a damn about her legacy. Less so the excitement that should from her daughter announcing that she’s going to have a baby.  No time to focus on that.  Ex-President Selina Meyer needs to make sure that she’s remembered for the right reasons.  That’s hard to do when the media is always gunning for the second she gets caught up in or causes the smallest mishap.

Granted, it’s hard to get around a botched photo-op, especially if someone is bold enough to try and stand in the background, but rather than focus on Selina’s outreach in Qatar, everyone’s just focused on Al-Saleh in the background, when there’s no way she could have known he would bomb her photo.  But once he does, the team scrambles for a quick fix.  Credit where it’s due, they manage to find a quick solution that would benefit Selina.

But going a step further about ways to credit Selina- she is, at the very least, a good negotiator and can swoop in on an opportunity if she’s certain it will garner a win.  So when Montez fails to speak up about women’s rights in Sudan, of course Selina will jump at a chance for some good press.  She’d be a fool if she didn’t, not to mention doing so would take the heat off of the photo bomb.

And even after all of that, coupled with thinking she has Tibet in the palm of her hand, Selina is forced to swallow her pride and avoid contradicting Al-Saleh.  It’s painful to watch her deliver such a bullshit speech, not to mention Amy freaking out about it in the crowd, but she does so in the hopes that, after contradicting what she stands for, she’ll at least walk away with Tibet.

Nah, this is Veep.  We can’t wrap up the episode having such an easy win.  So for something as arbitrary as not being enthusiastic enough- perhaps Al-Saleh would’ve preferred that Selina smile more- she doesn’t even get Tibet.  Right after she’s betrayed her meetings and words with Nyaring, she ends up with less than when she started.  At least she could barter with the Chinese, but now she’ll have to wait for the next deal.

Despite Selina making no progress by episode’s end, it was nice to see her happy, even if for a bit, in her brief fling with Al-Jaffar.  Sure, it didn’t go anywhere and chances are it ended before it could become political suicide for her, but for awhile, she got to experience happiness that she rarely, if ever, gets from her team or family.  And that’s kind of sad.

Also, this episode has what might end up being one of the most poignant scenes of the season, maybe the series.  At the conference, Selina tells Al-Jaffar that she needs a second to talk to her people, and she turns around to see Amy, Gary, and Richard dealing with Mike’s burned face.  She turns to Al-Jaffar and asks if he has people she can talk to- if there’s any scene that encapsulated the incompetency of Selina’s team, it’s that one.

At least across the pond, Jonah and Dan are favoring better.  Dan, despite not wanting to be at CBS at first, has quickly risen up the ranks by ousting Jane McCabe.  Part of me wishes we’d gotten to spend more time with Dan dealing with this, given that he only found out last week that Jane’s been spreading the rumors.  But it’s not needed and we got the point that Dan was uncomfortable with Jane.

If something doesn’t put Dan back in Team Selina, convenient as that would be, I think he could rise through the ranks at CBS because he’s got a real knack for the news.

There’s also Jonah, who is continuing to rise through the ranks now that he has Shawnee Tanz at his side.  It’s obvious that she’s pulling the strings here, but Jonah did have leverage when Furlong came to him for his vote.  Furlong, whose profane laded insults that never grow old, and that his wife seems to dislike with a passion, couldn’t keep Jonah down for once.

It’s a very…strange relationship, this one.  Jonah is naive enough to let Shawnee give the orders, but he’s starting to realize the level of influence he might have.  Mind you, that influence is within a very small sphere because no way would Jonah have been able to get a new office without Shawnee’s help.  Yet, anyway.

And by the way, Kent has a romantic partner: Julie, played by Deanna Bray.  Not that I doubted it, but Kent.  Has a romantic partner.  Someone who is fine with how direct he is.  If anything, this reveal might make him more secretive than Sue.

So what did we learn this week?  Don’t take photos when warlords are in the area?  Never compromise your principles for the sake of Tibet?  Always let your new girlfriend decide all of your political moves?  How about all of the above?  At least in “Georgia,” Selina got credit for helping with ousting Murman and exposing Nikolai.  Either way, “Qatar” was a fun watch that took Team Selina overseas for more international mishaps.

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