A Look at Veep- Season 5 Finale: “Inauguration”

At the end of Veep’s third season, Selina Meyer’s life went through a major change when she became, not through the will of the people, the President of the United States.  Fast-forward two seasons and that political life is on the verge of coming to a close.  Can Selina and her team salvage anything when the odds are stacked against them?  Let’s see.  This is “Inauguration.”

Inauguration- Mike takes questions from the press

The episode begins with one day until the Senate vote.  Mike tells the press that Selina won’t make a statement about the House results and she is not interested in becoming Vice President again.  Mike stakes his reputation on that.

Inauguration- Selina and Tom talk about Vice President

In fact, Selina tells Tom James that he may just become an accidental president, as she did.  She offers her assistance with the transition of power by joining his administration.  He thought the same.  She wants Secretary of State, but he thought Vice President was the least he could offer.  Selina refuses to be Tom’s Vice President.

Inauguration- Team meeting

She then tells her team about Tom’s terms.  Mike is tired at the team meeting.  Kent ran polls on Selina, meanwhile: she’s the 43rd most effective president, right ahead of James Buchanan.  Selina asks about whether Marjorie and Catherine will be married, but then she turns her attention to Tibet.  If anything else, she wants that to happen in order to smoothen out her legacy.

But there’s radio silence from the Chinese.  She wants her goddamn Nobel Peace Prize.  It’s all about legacy.  Legacy meeting adjourned.  While Dan receives television offers, Selina tells Ben to help make sure that the Tibet deal happens.

Inauguration- Jonah and Richard settle into their new office

At the Rayburn building, Richard and Jonah settle into the office.  Jonah wants to spruce up the place with some fancy female interns.  Keep that in mind.

Inauguration- Ambassador Al Jaffar speaks with Selina about the Chinese

Ambassador Al Jaffar tells Selina that the Chinese are now nervous about the Tibet arrangement since Selina isn’t in power anymore.  She counters that she’s not out of power yet.  Plus, it’s unannounced as of now, but she’ll be continuing on as Tom James’ Vice President.

This turns out to be of interest to the Chinese after all.  However, it turns out that Tom James is at the Senate for the vote.  Selina and Ben enter the Vice President’s office.  After a moment, Selina decides that she can do this.

Inauguration- Tom offers to make Selina his Vice President

She then meets with Tom, who guesses correctly that she’s decided to accept the offer of Vice President.  And Selina won’t be any Vice President.  She’ll be a partner, but Tom can’t take this seriously and starts laughing.  It is quite funny.

Inauguration- Jonah meets his new aides

So Richard did get some interns, but they’re all dudes.  Not exactly fancy ladies, but they do make a damn good latte for Jonah.

Inauguration- Selina and Ben talk with the Chinese

Time for the Senate vote to start.  Selina, meanwhile, speaks with the Chinese about working together for four more years.  The Chinese President looks forward to working with Tom James.  Ben reminds Selina that she needs to keep an eye on what’s happening in the Senate.

Inauguration- Watching the Senate vote

The Senate vote is tighter than expected and Montez ends up overtaking Tom James.  Eventually, the vote ends in another tie.  As such, a tie in the Senate is broken by the President of the Senate: the Vice President.  Since Tom James never technically became the Vice President, the deciding vote goes to Andrew Doyle, who declares his vote for Laura Montez.

It’s official: Laura Montez is the next President of the United States, as the team realizes that Doyle has masterminded this entire affair in exchanging for becoming the next Secretary of State.

Inauguration- Gary rants at the team

As Selina leaves with heavy hatred for her country, Gary damns the team for letting down their leader.  He goes on a profanity laced rant and attacks everyone while Dan records.  Gary at least did his job.  He cared.  Well, okay.  Later, Selina destroys her coffee machine and tells Gary to get her some fruit.

Inauguration- Mike shows Amy a picture of his Chinese baby

One day until the inauguration, Mike shows Amy a photo of his baby, Ellen- who looks large for her age- while Selina goes through the rooms to take down various paintings.  Ben and Kent, meanwhile, both arrive at Robert Richards and Associates.  Following this, Mike briefs the press on Selina’s final plans before the inauguration: she’ll be meeting with Montez for coffee in the Red Room.

Inauguration- Selina has a drink with Richard

Charlie Baird will be nominated for Treasury Secretary.  Well, that’s a payoff.  Selina finds Richard packing up Jonah’s old office.  She invites him into the Oval Office, saying he was one of the good ones and could have been relied upon much more.  Selina is in disarray.  She doesn’t even remember how to drive.  Selina wishes that she won.  She lays down on the carpet for a nap and asks Richard to stay.

Inauguration- Catherine asks Selina about her hard drive

Inauguration Day arrives.  Gary finds Selina looking like a fucking wreck.  Luckily, it doesn’t look like she fucked Richard.  Catherine arrives in a fancy-ass dress and new hairdo, but she’s looking for a hard drive of her film.  Gary reminds a despondent Selina that everything can be taken away from her except her beauty.

Inauguration- Furlong tears into Jonah

Furlong breaks up the party in Jonah’s office and tells him that interns need to be less attractive than the politician.  He rips into Jonah and his team, but Jonah remains unaffected.  He is affected when he takes a hit to the nuts.

Inauguration- Amy talks with Candi Caruso

Buddy and Amy talk, but they’re interrupted by the arrival of Candi Caruso, who just got a new job as Montez’s Chief of Staff.

Inauguration- Mike and Wendy with their possibly six year old child

Mike and Wendy introduce Kent to their surrogate and Ellen, who is three, but Kent believes she that her head has the circumference of a six year old. Ellen confirms this when she says that, yes, she’s six.

Inauguration- Coffee with President-elect Laura Montez

Laura Montez meets with Doyle, Selina, and other representatives, and talk about the weather, which could drop low for tonight’s inaugural ball.  Selina ruins the moment by bringing up Laura’s heritage, which is questionable, to say the least.  The team, meanwhile, turns in their White House badges, but Mike can’t find his.  Shocker.

Inauguration- Laura Montez takes the Oath of Office

As Laura Montez is inaugurated, Selina asks Doyle why he did what he did.  Sure, Selina offered him Secretary of State, yes, but she did the same for a lot of people.  Montez takes the Oath of Office and gives her Inaugural Address, telling the American people that this is the dawn of a new era.

Meanwhile, we learn that President Montez has freed Tibet as the baby lamas are released.  This sort of announcement would put her in line for the Nobel Peace Prize.  Oh, how could this get any worse?

Inauguration- Tom and Selina talk about their futures

Later, Tom James speaks with Selina about the speech, but Selina just noticed the size of Montez’s tits.  Tom speaks about his future of running a multibillion-dollar hedge fund and then compliments Selina on her shoes.  Of course.

Inauguration- Selina, Gary, Amy, Catherine, and Marjorie wait in the rain

Selina bids farewell to her team.  She boards Air Force One, but then takes Amy with her for some reason.  However, the copter is forced to land due to engine troubles.  Still no word on Catherine’s hard drive, too.  As Selina overhears the festivities from the parade, she waits and waits until it starts to rain.

So where does everyone else end up?

Dan, now on CNN, may be in line for a full time gig to cover the State Department, but he turns it down once he receives an offer from CBS News.

At George Washington Hospital, Jonah heals up and tries to pawn off his second ticket to the Inaugural Ball.  Also, there’s a lump on his left testicle, so the doctor will run a biopsy to check.  Bob “The Eagle,” meanwhile, tells Montez that, in light of the missing ballots, Selina won Nevada.

Sue, for whatever reason, is still at the White House.  Well, at least life for her remains the same as the fifth season of Veep comes to a close.

Well, here we are at the end of Veep’s fifth season and the end, right now, it seems, of Selina Meyer’s time in the White House.  To say the ride was unpredictable would undercut the twists and turns that Selina and her team experienced up until the point where they realized the Presidency was lost.

Inauguration- Selina watches the Senate vote tally while Kent tells Gary that Doyle has the deciding vote

Like “Kissing Your Sister,” there’s time devoted to Team Selina standing around and awaiting their fates, but the stakes are higher here because even though the Presidency is beyond them, there’s the chance that they could all remain involved in a Tom James administration.  And given James’ popularity and likability with voters and politicians alike, this seemed an ideal route.

Inauguration- Selina wants to be Secretary of State

The key word being ideal.  We would expect Selina to step back into that thankless Vice Presidential position.  She’d have to swallow her pride and embrace the job she despised, but she’d still be a somewhat key player in Washington politics and she would still have her team.  More than that, though it’d be a step down from being President, Selina would have something at the end of the day.

Inauguration- Selina hates her country

This is Veep, though, where anything is possible.  I’ll commend the writing staff for not taking the easy way out and just putting Selina back where she started.  I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a regression for the show to make Selina someone else’s Vice President, but it would feel like familiar territory that could still garner great, comedic moments.  Veep could make a Vice President Meyer Redux work.

Inauguration- Selina looks down at Washington

So it was to my absolute surprise when it turned out that Tom James’ plan to usurp power from Selina ended up failing.  And with that, Selina’s political career came to a screeching halt.  And it comes after she fought to maintain her power and integrity.  She refused to serve as second to Tom James, but realized that if she wanted to keep her legacy, she needed to swallow her pride and return to that Vice President slot she so loathed.

Inauguration- Selina and Tom watch the Senate vote

But now, she doesn’t even get that.  It’s a ballsy move to remove Selina from power altogether, given the nature and title of the show, but it’s a welcome one that puts her in an interesting position come next season.  Does Selina just reenter civilian life?  As someone who has gotten by with others doing what she wants, it’s hard for her to accept normalcy.  She’s not used to things like driving or caring for herself.

Inauguration- Selina tells Tom that he now knows what it feels like to lose

Yes, Selina is a vain asshole and her incompetency should bar her from being in Washington altogether, but through the writing and Dreyfus’ performance, you sympathize with Selina when she leaves the White House.  Her telling Tom after the Senate vote that he now knew what it felt like felt honest.  He’s now in the same rut as her and it’s a stinging feeling to have your aspirations and career snatched away from you.

Inauguration- Selina listens to the inaugural parade

If she can’t be President, can she at least secure Tibet as a final victory?  Nope!  And this is a tad unfair, but hilarious all the same to watch Montez, the first elected female President of the United States, get credit for Selina’s deal with China.  It’s funny, yet sad at the same time because even Selina’s attempt at carving out her legacy goes to someone else.  Now that is pouring salt in the wound and kicking a character when they’re down.

Inauguration- Selina tells Richard that she wishes she had won the race

There are several moments where you can see a sadness in Selina’s eyes and I’ll admit, it hurt to watch her world crumble around her.  Selina is great when she’s ranting and raving, but it’s the quieter moments that let us see the person who does care about doing a good job and wants some validation for her work.  When Selina tells Richard that she wishes she had won, it felt real and not just her wanting to claim victory.

In fact, it makes me curious what a Selina Meyer administration would look like if she had a more competent staff.  Richard is bumbling, yes, but he was pivotal when it came to the Nevada recount and can be both useful and knowledgeable.  Put him on Team Selina and there would still be errors, but those moments where he showcases how much he knows about politics could have made for an almost better team.


I kind of see Selina as a less-competent Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation.  She has political aspirations in her future and wants to serve her country, but has many missteps along the way.  And given how far Selina has come from becoming an accidental President, it’s a stinging blow that she never really won the Presidency.  She walked into this position, but also had to fight to keep it.

Inauguration- Mike introduces his baby to Kent

In the end, she lost, and some television shows would just stick with Selina’s reactions, but the greatness of Veep comes not just from Selina, but her staff’s antics.  We watch them grow agitated and then despondent when most of them realize that they’re out of work.  There are some bright spots: Mike gets to be a father, Dan is on the road to becoming a media personality, and Sue at least gets to stay on at the White House.

Inauguration- Gary says that Tom screwed Selina in all the ways

But nowhere was the reaction more visceral than Gary chewing out his team.  Not since “East Wing” have we seen him tear into another character, but it felt earned.  For five seasons, Gary has been Selina’s right man and taken more than his fair share of criticism from damn near everyone.  But despite a short flirtation with Charlie Baird due to his kindness, Gary has remained loyal to Selina.

Inauguration- Gary ranting

To see her in such a low position hurts him.  As if her failure makes it his failure by proxy.  But again, Gary has remained committed to Selina.  Others on the team, not so much.  Or, at least, not as devoted as he has been.  For him to blame Selina’s loss on them was extreme, but very satisfying to watch nonetheless.  As great as Tony Hale is as the mild-mannered Gary, it was fun to watch him let loose.

Inauguration- President Laura Montez gives her inaugural address

In a season of errors, backroom deals, political sex scandals, and all the mismanagement that makes Veep what it is, this was a very good finale that makes me anxious to see where Veep goes next now that Selina has been shown the door.  Does Selina go on to write a book about her life in Washington?  Will she ever return to politics in any capacity?  Will President Laura Montez really usher in a new era?

So many questions and possibilities, and too much time between now and Season Six.  Either way, even if some of the stuff in Nevada fell flat at times, this was another great season of Veep that definitely has me hooked for the next chapter in Selina Meyer’s life.  See you then.

A Look at Veep- Season 5, Episode 9: “Kissing Your Sister”

Catherine, out.  All those times Selina sent Catherine from the room or we’ve watched the First Daughter recording in the background have led to this.  With the election still undecided and now left to the House, let’s check in on Catherine Meyer and see just what she’s put together all this time.  This is “Kissing Your Sister.”

Kissing Your Sister- Team Selina watches the House vote

The episode begins with Selina’s team watching the House vote on the next President.  Also here watching is the ever-present Catherine, who is not only still recording, but has enough footage to present her documentary about her passions and interests.

Kissing Your Sister- New York Times article on election

One of the biggest things that happened to the Meyer clan was the House, for the first time, selecting the President since Election Night ended in a tie.  Catherine gives us a recap of the last season finale and presents the title of her documentary: “Kissing Your Sister.”  I’m feeling confident in this product already.

So Catherine takes us through the journey and how she ended up discovering something about herself.  Sue did not agree to be on film, by the way, so her face will be blurred.  Of course.

Kissing Your Sister- Selina is asked when she first knew that she wanted to be president

In the first of many interviews, Catherine asks her mother when she first knew that she wanted to be President.  It began in 1973 when she was asked to be her father’s date to President Nixon’s inaugural ball.  Dad said that people didn’t like Nixon, but they respected the hell out of him.  The same applied for Selina.  That is not the best way to encourage your child.

Kissing Your Sister- Richard talks with Jonah about the vote

And while the vote for the next President is underway, not every member of the House is present.  As in Jonah hasn’t made it to the Hill and Richard sets off to retrieve him.

Kissing Your Sister- Catherine interviews Tom James when Sidney Purcell enters the room

Following the election, we recount Selina selecting, nay, forcing Tom James serving as Economy Czar.  Catherine interviews Tom James about the job: there’s a lot to it, but he’s clearly not a fan.  Catherine also happens to catch Sidney Purcell and the Speaker of the House joining Tom for a meeting.

Kissing Your Sister- Bill Ericsson is interviewed in jail

Even Bill Ericsson is interviewed during his stint in jail.  Still counts.  He’s still bitter about Team Selina, but he hopes that Tom James wins the Presidency just so Selina can be dealt a major blow.

Kissing Your Sister- Selina talks about boxing up negative feelings

Back to the interview with Mom, Selina balks when Catherine asks how she’ll react if she loses the election.  When you have negative feelings, you put them in your box, stuff that box down tight, and then shove it into the back of your head.

Kissing Your Sister- Gary is asked about the economic crisis

Next up is Gary, who is asked about the financial crisis, but prefers to talk about how he prepares tea for Selina.  He does eventually answer a question about the economy, though: the country ran out of money.

Kissing Your Sister- Mike shows Catherine the baby's room

And we learn that Selina did think of firing Mike, who tells Catherine that he feels he is improving at his job.  After all, it requires him being fast on his feet.  He takes us through his home and a room that has been converted into a nursery for the incoming Chinese baby.  He hasn’t checked the room for lead.

Kissing Your Sister- Amy begs Selina to send her to Nevada

Then we catch up with Amy basically pleading that Selina send her to Nevada instead of Candi Caruso.  Selina calls it Amy eating shit and takes this opportunity to throw Amy’s words about Selina being a terrible president back at her.

Kissing Your Sister- Selina talks while Charlie Baird is nude in the background

Again, Selina doesn’t want to think about losing.  After all, she lost the first time she ran for Congress.  After that, she went to Arizona, which is apparently where she had her nervous breakdown.  If you watch in the background, you’ll notice Charlie Baird walks out without any clothes.

Kissing Your Sister- Jonah finally joins Richard and talks about this historic day

Jonah rushes out to join Richard, who is documenting the trip on Catherine’s behalf.  Selina is also on the line and tells him, in the nicest way possible, to vote for her.

Kissing Your Sister- Selina and Catherine show Grandma around the White House

We then watch Selina showing her mother around the White House.  I’m guessing her mother is deaf because she’s shouting at her.  Later, at the funeral, Selina feels the hole for her mother’s casket is not deep enough.

Kissing Your Sister- Amy attempts to ask out Dan

Next up is Dan, whose grandparents are apparently dead.  Catherine catches Amy try to ask out Dan, but he’s far too distracted to give a damn.

Kissing Your Sister- Amy keeps starting over her interview

Then it’s Amy’s turn.  She’s far too concerned with making sure she gets her age right and that she controls the filming process, not Catherine.  Amy is vain like that.

Kissing Your Sister- Mike has converted the nursery into a man cave

Mike was upset about the sanctions, so he turned the nursery into a cave for himself.  This transformation somehow cost the same as the child.  Wendy does not know about this.  Oh, Mike still has not checked for lead yet.

Kissing Your Sister- Marjorie is interviewed

Marjorie’s answers are short and to the point.  She won’t say if she’s killed a man and pauses when asked if Selina is a good president.  Then, she asks Catherine to dinner, even though Catherine isn’t a lesbian.  Marjorie just assumed.

Kissing Your Sister- Jonah gets vulgar at an elementary school

With Harry Sherman’s death, Catherine followed Jonah to New Hampshire. There, we learn that Jonah is eating so much pussy that he’s shitting clits.  Good to know, but not so much for the classroom of elementary school students.  Then, during the taping of his political ad, he’s unable to chop a block of wood.  So Richard does it, which would explain why we saw Black hands in the actual ad.

Kissing Your Sister- Richard talks about working with Jonah

Richard is next up, and he says that his only downside is that he’ll miss his Gilbert and Sullivan Society annual shows.  But he likes working for Jonah.

Kissing Your Sister- Paul Graves votes for Selina

Paul Graves, who paused for the longest prayer ever, eventually casts his vote for Selina Catherine Meyer.  Richard soon crashes into a stop sign.  Jonah can’t take an Uber because he’s been banned, so the two decide on Lyft instead.  Missouri abstains, which Ben thinks is Tom making his move.

Kissing Your Sister- Dan asks Catherine about going hallway to hallway with Marjorie

For whatever reason, Catherine films herself waking up Marjorie.  Following this, Dan asks Catherine if it’s weird going hallway to hallway with her mother’s twin.  Well, there’s a description of scissoring I’ve never heard before.

Kissing Your Sister- Ben introduces his wife, Joyce, played by Sumalee Montano, to Catherine

Ben has no idea what he’d do if Selina lost the election.  Oh, and Ben has an Asian wife, Joyce, played by Sumalee Montano.  She took care of Ben after his third heart attack.  Joyce is his best nurse, apparently.

Kissing Your Sister- Kent in a motorcycle group

Gary tries to call Charlie Baird to hang out because of course.  But onto something more intriguing: Kent’s life outside of Team Selina.  He’s part of a motorcycle club, which might be the most awesome thing ever.  This helps him keep the Washington skirmishes in perspective.

Kissing Your Sister- Roger Furlong discusses Selina

Furlong will miss Selina if she loses.  Apparently, she’s the only person in Washington who understands him.  Sure.

Kissing Your Sister- Mike has converted the nursery again

After watching Selina again chew out Mike behind his back, we learn that the man cave has been converted yet again.  The television will remain for educational purposes.  He still hasn’t checked for lead.  Also, there’s a ton of hockey memorabilia.

Kissing Your Sister- Catherine in the closet while Selina and Tom James fuck

And, to my surprise, we learn that Catherine was actually in the closet as Tom and Selina fucked at the Christmas party.

Kissing Your Sister- Gary wants the sofa removed

Gary tells Catherine that he’ll be fine if Selina loses the election.  Given what he just witnessed, it’s understandable why he’s fumbling with his words.  He even has the love couch removed.  After Gary, we watch Catherine have a brief talk with Andrew Doyle, who is excited to be Secretary of State, even though that job is to be assigned to Paul Graves.

Kissing Your Sister- Richard and Jonah end up outside

Back to the House vote, Jonah and Richard have finally arrived at Capitol Hill and end up rushing through security, but in their haste to find the House chamber, they end up outside.

Kissing Your Sister- Meeting Marjorie's family

Then we follow Catherine to join Marjorie and visit her parents.  Marjorie merely refers to Catherine as a work friend.

Kissing Your Sister- Catherine tells us that she and Marjorie had a fight

Instantly following this, Catherine tells us that she and Marjorie had a fight.

Kissing Your Sister- Selina consoles Catherine

When Catherine shares this with her mother, Selina isn’t affected by it.  At all.  She calls Marjorie insufferable and says that there are other lesbians in the secret service.  Anyway, Selina isn’t concerned with legacy.  She just wants to do the best possible job.  Catherine can’t keep up since she’s still sobbing.

Kissing Your Sister- Mike finds Selina interviewing Wayne

Mike catches Selina interviewing Wayne, but he has no idea that he’s about to lose his job.

Kissing Your Sister- The baby room is now the love palace

The baby room, meanwhile is now the love palace.  Mike has still yet to check for lead.

Kissing Your Sister- Selina realizes that she might lose the House election vote

When it looks like Jonah has made it to the House, it turns out that this was earlier for the swearing-in ceremony.  In the present, though, there are now three abstentions when Virginia votes for O’Brien.  Right now, neither O’Brien nor Selina has the votes to win this in the House.  Gary tries to console Selina by saying that she can run again in four years.  Then Washington votes for O’Brien, too.

Kissing Your Sister- Selina tells Amy that she wants Jonah to vote for O'Brien

Selina has everyone leave except for Amy.  She wants her to call Jonah so he can vote for O’Brien because that way, she can run again in a shorter amount of time compared to Tom James, who would probably win a second term.

Kissing Your Sister- Marjorie tells Catherine that she loves her

Jonah is still searching for the House chamber when O’Brien then gets his 25th vote.  Marjorie then tells Catherine that she admitted the truth to her parents and she loves her.  Oh, and Jonah finally makes it and votes for Selina Meyer.  It’s too late for Jonah to change his vote, too.  No do-over.  Good news and bad news all at once.

Kissing Your Sister- Selina talks about the possibility of losing

So it’s a no-decision for the House of Representatives.  The potential race between Tom James and Laura Montez heads to the Senate.  If Selina loses, then she loses.  Selina knows that other Presidents have lost and gone on to do great things.  But she tells Gary that she can’t lose this.

Kissing Your Sister- Selina meets with fans

Selina is in the Red Room when a group of tourists enter.  She’s as overjoyed as they are and enjoys the love from her supporters.  This is a bittersweet moment, isn’t it?

Kissing Your Sister- Catherine and Marjorie at an animal sanctuary

A tie is apparently like kissing your sister.  Catherine got to kiss the sister she never knew she had.  And she did indeed get to start up that sanctuary for rescued animals.  Well, it’s progress.

In essence, “Kissing Your Sister” has two main stories at play here: Selina and company awaiting the results of the House vote, while Catherine presents the work and results of her documentary.  It’s similar to last year’s “Testimony,” but the difference is that episode had to stick with Team Selina.  After all, they were the focus of that episode due to the investigation.

Kissing Your Sister- Selina bumps into the camera

By contract, “Kissing Your Sister” deals a lot with Selina and her team, yes, but it’s through Catherine’s perspective.  If we spent the bulk of this episode watching Selina wait around and do nothing while results filed in, it would have been funny, sure, but nothing noteworthy.  Also, it would have been too similar to Season 4’s “Election Night,” where the bulk of the episode was Selina waiting to see if she would win the election.

So this is a good place to let us see the fruits of Catherine’s labor.  The payoff to the many instances of Catherine recording in the background felt earned.  If Catherine had only popped up once or twice, we’d have to wonder when she got all of these scandalous moments when Veep is filled with nothing but.  Yet, Catherine has been lurking since the premiere and been a constant presence, so it’s rewarding to see the result of her work.

What’s great about “Kissing Your Sister,” which is a weird thing to say, now that I think about it, is that it’s not just an excuse to have a montage or season recap.  Yes, we’re seeing previous scenes from Catherine’s perspective, but it felt refreshing.  We’re watching Washington politics unfold from her view, but also giving us further insight and revelations on well-threaded moments throughout the season.

Kissing Your Sister- Selina wants Mike gone

For example, now we know that there was a separate meeting regarding Selina wanting to fire Mike, Amy attempting to get a drink with Dan, we saw Tom James meeting with Sidney Purcell, and Catherine captured Gary’s horrified reaction to Tom and Selina boning.  Of course he would want that couch removed.


It reminded me of the Community episode “Paradigms of Human Memory” where we’re watching previous moments and scenes unfold, but with new material.  It’s scary to think back to “Congressional Ball” and realize that while Selina and Tom are fucking, Selina’s daughter is just a few feet away and hearing the entire ordeal unfold.

Kissing Your Sister- Mike in the man cave nursery

But as enjoyable as it was to relive previous episodes through Catherine, I much enjoyed the time spent with various characters, Mike in particular.  His subplot about adopting a baby has been in the background.  In addition, we saw his dreams crushed when he didn’t get the hockey job, which makes me assume all the moments in the remodeled room took place before or during the events of “Congressional Ball.”

In addition, these interviews show just how little Selina has valued Mike as an employee as the season progressed.  Sure, he’s not the only one on Team Selina screwing up, but as Director of Communications and often voice of the President, his foibles are more noticeable.  So it was smart to juxtapose Mike’s constant forgetfulness of checking for lead against Selina deciding that it was time to replace him.

Kissing Your Sister- Ben and Joyce

Also big reveals for the episode were Ben and Kent.  I don’t remember ever learning that much about either of their personal lives, so it was a welcome treat to see that Ben only has a loving wife, but that he seems to have a thing for nurses.

Kissing Your SIster- Kent and his motorcycle group

And I never expected Kent of all people to be part of a motorcycle club.  Kent?  The man is so straight laced and meticulous that this out of left field reveal surprised me.  And yet, I can see it, given how it helps him keep Washington affairs in order.

Kissing Your Sister- Selina tells a story about Nixon

When we get into Selina’s head, we get not just more of her vanity, but desire to be treated as a serious leader.  Her story about her father saying that people didn’t like Nixon, but respected him speaks volumes about Selina.  Think back to “Cuntgate” when she accepted that most people on her staff have called her a cunt.  She’s less interested in people liking her and more that she be seen as someone who knows how to lead.

Camp David- Selina meets with the Chinese delegation

There have been instances where we’ve seen Selina negotiate and be diplomatic, but those moments are outweighed by the many screw-ups and errors on both her part and the fault of her administration.  But she’s still a fighter who will do and say anything to ensure that, when the dust has settled, she has some sort of win.

So when she attempts to have Jonah throw his vote for O’Brien, she’s already accepted that she won’t become President, so she’s willing to be patient for a shorter amount of time under Doyle.  As the previous season established, Tom James is well liked by the general public, so of course he’d serve for 12 years since, as Amy pointed out, his Tom’s first term wouldn’t count since he would be an elevated vice president.

Kissing Your Sister- Selina with supporters

Selina isn’t going through the stages of grief yet, but she’s getting close.  Until the end of the House vote, she refuses to consider the possibility that she would not win the election.  And when Selina is in the Red Room with supporters, Dreyfus is great at showing the despair on Selina’s face.

Here’s a woman who has endured mishap after mishap, and just when she had a Plan B to minimize the damage, even that failed due to Jonah not getting the message in time.

Kissing Your Sister- Richard and Jonah at security

Which brings me to Jonah and Richard, who mostly played catch-up, but had their moments.  I loved the glimpse at Richard’s life outside of politics, as well as Jonah’s language used at an elementary school.  And much as Jonah loved to brag about working for the President in the past, it’s funny that he would not have any sort of identification when he arrived at the House, more so now that he’s a new Congressman.

Kissing Your Sister- Catherine cries

Then there’s Catherine herself.  It’s nice that Sarah Sutherland gets the spotlight for a change and she’s great in this episode.  Catherine is just as odd as her mother, but she just wants to be recognized.  She’s not an attention-seeker like her mother- she’s just lived in Selina’s shadow for so long.  This documentary is one of the ways for us to see the true Catherine.  When she’s away from all the political bullshit, I see a happier woman.

Kissing Your Sister- Marjorie and Catherine pet animals

Those little moments with Marjorie still show how weird this relationship is, but we saw a Catherine not shackled down by her mother.  Though I still maintain that Catherine has some pretty big mother issues.  Catherine is used to getting shafted by Selina, but when it comes from someone who looks just like her, when Marjorie calls her a work friend, she crumbles.  But by the end, she’s rekindled her supposed love.  Good for her.

“Kissing Your Sister” was a nice break from the usual Veep episode and felt refreshing with the reveal of Catherine’s many hours of recording.  It added layers to an already complex character who for so long has been ignored and relegated to the background.  In addition to Catherine, it filled in the blanks on plot points planted throughout the season.  With neither O’Brien nor Meyer having secured the votes, we’re headed to the Senate.

And with the season finale coming up next, what will become of Selina Meyer?  Will be she knocked back to the Vice Presidential position she so loathed?  Would Tom James even want or need her in his administration, should he win?  Well, if last season’s tied election is indicative of anything, it’s that we might be in for a surprise.  See you all at the finale.

A Look at Veep- Season 5, Episode 8: “Camp David”

After making the tiniest bit of progress during “Congressional Ball,” Selina Meyer decides to take her family away to Camp David for some relaxation and to escape the busy world of politics.  Just ignore the Chinese delegation to your right.

Camp David- Meyer family and Gary headed to Camp David

The episode begins two days before the New Hampshire special election.  Selina is raging at Amy and Dan due to Jonah’s poor debate performance.  This, in turn, hands New Hampshire to O’Brien, but now, Selina can spend time with her family…and Gary.  Catherine is just happy her family can get to know fun Marjorie.

Camp David- Selina talks to Gary about her meeting with the Chinese

The group arrives at Camp David, while Selina tells Gary about her meeting with the Chinese, who, who want complete secrecy.  So Gary is tasked with keeping the rest of the Meyer clan away.

Camp David- Gary knows all about Monica's popcorn ornaments

Inside, Monica is decorating the Christmas tree with some popcorn ornaments.  Catherine tells Selina that Marjorie is a raw vegan, and she’s turned Catherine into one as such.  Andrew thought Marjorie was Selina.  Easy mistake.  Also, in light of the estate, Catherine is unsure how to spend the money.  Andrew wants her to sell, but Selina wants no talk of money.

Camp David- Minna Hokkinen arrives

Ben and Kent tell Selina that the Chinese are en route.  In exchange for lifting sanctions, a plant will be built in Ohio and another in North Carolina, which would go for Selina.  Mike has a press release ready.  Oh, and Sue tells Selina that not only will the Chinese be coming to Camp David, but Minna Häkkinen as well.  Indeed, the Finland Prime Minister does arrive.

Camp David- Minna gives Selina advice on the deal with China

While the Ryan campaign deals with flailing numbers, Selina and Minna talk the Chinese deal.  Minna tells Selina that, during negotiations, she needs to stand her ground also bang the table, which Selina never does.

Camp David- Meyer family exchanges gifts

Later, it’s time for the family to exchange gifts.  Catherine gives Selina a goddamn pen while Andrew gives Marjorie a goddamn book.  Specifically, a first edition of Gertrude Stein.  Truly the cutting edge of gifts.  Monica, meanwhile, noticed some Asian folks outside in golf carts.  That’s never good.

Camp David- Selina meets with the Chinese delegation

The Chinese soon arrive and Minna introduces them to Selina, all while Gary tries to whisper facts.  The Chinese present a photo of a sad piglet, which apparently looks like Catherine, but the gifts don’t stop.  The Chinese also present silk and a tapestry, which is a symbol of royalty.

Selina, in turn, only has one gift: a geode that represents the solid foundation between the two countries.  It also sparkles.  Gary then arrives with another gift: two bottles of wine.  The wine is at least an acceptable present.  Unfortunately, the President of China does not drink.  But wait, Selina has a final gift: Catherine’s goddamn pen.  This the Chinese accept.

Camp David- Team sees that Jonah shot himself in the foot

Selina is upset that the Chinese out-gifted her.  There’s more bad news, sort of, when Dan reports that Jonah literally shot himself in the foot, which is actually hilarious.  He’s is in critical condition.

Camp David- Selina takes the Chinese delegation on a walk

The President of China requests a nature walk, and though Selina doesn’t want it, she starts walking the Chinese delegation around the camp.  Mike asks one member from the Chinese team for a piece of gum.  He’s presented with…something and ingests it.  His phone thanks the man in Spanish.

Camp David- Catherine tells the Chinese delegation that she is a raw vegan

Catherine interrupts the walk and tells the Chinese that she and Marjorie are raw vegans.  Great that Catherine chose this moment to say that.  Selina tells the Chinese that her family are here for a cover story.

Camp David- Selina gives Marjorie the silk that the Chinese gave her

That evening, the family plays Monopoly when Gary and Selina arrive.  Catherine thinks that Gary has Marjorie’s gift, which ends up being the silk from the Chinese.  That silk is apparently government property.  This might also be the most emotion Marjorie has ever shown yet.

Camp David- Amy shows Dan an NRA attack ad on Judy Sherman

The next morning, Amy pops by in some very conservative looking pajamas to tell Dan that the NRA has issued an attack ad on Judy Sherman.  Dan then spots an NRA poster outside.  It’s a Christmas miracle.

Camp David- Team talks New Hampshire

Back at Camp David, Mina interrupts Selina’s meeting, which is apparently about Kuwait and not New Hampshire.

Camp David- Minna and the Chinese spot Catherine kissing Marjorie

Minna leaves to take the Chinese for a walk when they spot Catherine and Marjorie, wearing the silk, kissing.  However, because Marjorie’s back is to them, Minna and the Chinese think that it Catherine is kissing Selina.  Whoops.

Camp David- Minna tells Selina that the terms have changed

So the Chinese change their terms and want the United States to hand over the islands.  They were offended by the incident with Selina’s daughter.  But hey, Selina had to let Catherine finish.  Because Selina and Minna don’t get specific, they don’t know what the other person means.  And Mike learns that he’s been chewing nicotine gum, which he continues to eat because why the hell not?

Camp David- Selina storms out of the meeting

The Chinese and American meet to negotiate their terms.  Per Minna’s instruction, Selina declares this unacceptable and storms out when the spots Andrew talking with Catherine.  Andrew talks about his plans to destroy a Brazilian rainforest in order to start up a resort when Selina arrives and tells her daughter to talk to her about money concerns.

Camp David- Catherine learns that Selina gave her pen to the Chinese

And then Minna arrives to tell Selina that there have been seismic developments with the Chinese.  She also tells Catherine that her mother gave the Chinese leaders her pen as a gift.  The Chinese leaders that Catherine did not know about until now.

Camp David- Selina learns that she may be freeing Tibet

The Chinese economy is in a poor state.  If the United States lifts the sanctions, the Chinese might be prepared to discuss Tibet’s potential independence.  Selina would play a role in that, and this is some man-on-the-moon legacy shit.  Minna tries to explain some conditions because this deal just includes potential talks, but Selina is too ecstatic about Tibet.  Mike, by the way, gets the good news that the surrogate is pregnant with twins.

As the special election commences, Selina tries to tell Catherine about her good news, but Catherine only wants to talk with her father.

Camp David- Selina presents a culturally sensitive freedom log

So the Chinese/American deal goes through at long last.  Selina presents the traditional Christmas meal: a freedom log.  The Chinese don’t want Selina to deliver a statement on a sensitive issue, though Selina wants the world to know her accomplishments.

Camp David- Selina learns that the Chinese have her emails to prove that she lied

Oh, and the Chinese are aware that Selina lied about the Chinese hacking her servers, even though they really did.  They even have Selina’s emails to prove that she lied.  Selina wouldn’t want word about that to get out, would she?

Mike smokes up and learns from the Chinese that he’s going to have a Chinese baby due to the adoption papers going through.

Selina asks Andrew about his investments when Ben and Kent burst in to tell Selina that Judy Sherman has conceded.  As such, Jonah has won the race and will be voting for Selina, which would hand her the presidency.  Selina hangs up before Jonah can talk more about the issues.  As Amy and Dan realize that they just elected Jonah to Congress, Jonah calls out the various people who did not vote for him.

Jonah will be sworn in with the rest of the freshmen.  Catherine tells Selina that she’s keeping the beach house and turning it into a sanctuary for rescued farm animals.  Okay, sure.

I don’t want to say that “Camp David” feels like a filler episode because it isn’t.  It advances several plotlines that we’ve been getting throughout the season and continued to show Selina working hard on both the domestic and international front.  I can’t put my finger on why the episode feels a bit disjointed compared to others this season because I did still like it, but it felt a bit underwhelming.

Camp David- Mike gets good news

Maybe that’s because it didn’t utilize everyone so much as just show them.  If this is a family affair, I’m not certain why Selina’s team had to come to Camp David, more so since they had almost nothing to do.  Almost.  It was fun to hear Ben air his grievances with the Chinese and I’m glad that Mike got a plethora of good news, but other than that, this episode didn’t need any of them.

Camp David- Catherine will talk to Andrew about her money situation

Instead, let us spend more time with Selina’s family- and Gary- and see how they interact.  Hell, let this be an opportunity for Selina to operate without her entire team at her side.  Plus, they would just be a phone call away and if they needed to come up, then no problem.  My issue is I don’t think they needed to appear in this episode for as long as they did if they aren’t utilized as well as Veep uses its cast.

Camp David- Jonah in the hospital

The same applies to the New Hampshire team.  First off, Jonah seems to have bounced back from his gaffe off-screen.  His victory seems to come not from the team, but from his own blunder.  So really, Amy didn’t even need to make the voyage to New Hampshire.  The team calls out Jonah on his shit, which is what anyone would do, but in hindsight, Amy didn’t bring much that Dan, Jeffrey, and Richard accomplish.

Camp David- Jonah tells Selina that he plans to vote for her as President

However, it’s going to be interesting to watch Jonah as a Congressman.  Granted, he’s still a placeholder, but his bump in the polls has come from him railing on Selina’s record.  Of course, he’s pledged to back her, but I wonder how the people of New Hampshire will react when the man they elected to Congress ends up supporting the very politician that he attacked.

Camp David- Minna talks with Selina

As for the actual Camp David storyline, it says a lot about the quality of a character when Minna Häkkinen has only appeared three times and still makes every appearance memorable.  She’s the opposite of Selina: polite and diplomatic.  And she comes off as uncorrupted by the political process.  A great counter to the harsher, blunt Selina.

Camp David- Selina reacts to her possible involvement with a Tibet solution

And even her advice ended up working in Selina’s favor.  It was funny that, despite the setbacks, being out-gifted, having to maneuver around Andrew to talk with Catherine, and trying to balance work with family that Selina got some semblance of a win.  She’s got Jonah in her pocket and is on the verge of helping foster independence in Tibet.  However, the Chinese also assume that she kissed her daughter, so you can’t win them all.

So really, like “Congressional Ball,” Selina comes out of this looking like a winner.  A wounded winner because she can’t escape a situation unscathed, but a winner nonetheless.  And don’t get me wrong.  My criticisms of this episode don’t take away from another funny episode.

Whether it’s Gary whispering to Selina as she’s trying to hear Minna, Selina scrambling to find a new gift, or Catherine and Marjorie’s continuing relationship, there was a lot to find funny this week.

Camp David- Andrew tries to sway Catherine's decision on her money

Though it does leave me wondering who would be a better parent for Catherine.  I’m glad we followed up on her inheriting her grandmother’s estate, but she can’t even enjoy that.  It’s clear here that Andrew is willing to listen to Catherine, but he also wants her money.  Selina, by comparison, can never give Catherine the time of day, but at least wants to make sure she’s not being tempted.

Camp David- Selina reminds Catherine that Andrew is a crook

You know, scratch that.  Andrew and Selina are both bad parents.  Plus, Selina gave away the very gift that her daughter gave her.  And of course that pen ended up being the one gift that the Chinese loved.  Even at Camp David, Selina Meyer can’t catch a break.

But again, she scores a win by hopefully having a hand in Tibet.  And with Congressman-elect Jonah Ryan headed to the House of Representatives, she has the vote needed to secure her Presidency.  Despite the blunders, things are looking up for Selina.  So she must be headed for a misstep soon.

A Look at Veep- Season 5, Episode 7: “Congressional Ball”

It was Thanksgiving two episodes ago, and now it’s Christmas time at the House that Selina Meyer is trying to keep.  In New Hampshire, meanwhile, the Jon H Ryan campaign hits a snag when a nemesis of Jonah’s returns to put throw a wrench into his New Hampshire run.

Congressional Ball- Selina speaks with Congresswoman Penny Nickerson, played by Stephnie Weir

The episode begins on Air Force One with Selina talking to Congresswoman Penny Nickerson, played by Stephnie Weir.  I instantly like this casting.  Anyway, wants to reauthorize amphibious fighting boats in Nevada, but Nickerson will need to back Selina in exchange.  Selina then offers her a chance to call someone from Air Force One.  She chooses to call her husband, who is going through chemotherapy now.

Congressional Ball- Ryan Campaign Rally

At a Concord rally, Jonah rails on Selina’s handling of the economy.  His anti-Selina Meyer rant has bumped him up in the poll by five points.

Congressional Ball- Mike drops some hockey talk into his press briefing

At a White House press briefing, journalists tell Mike that some people in Nickerson’s district don’t want the boat, but Mike disagrees.  Another journalist asks about Catherine, but that’s where Mike stops questions.  Oh, and by the way, keep in mind that Mike makes a hockey reference by saying ‘drop the puck.’  This will become important later.

Congressional Ball- Team discusses the staffers list

It’s Christmas time at the White House.  With Congresswoman Nickerson’s support, Selina takes Nevada.  Also, the 50 hottest staffers list is out.  Amy hates it and Kent doesn’t like the list’s methodology.  Candi Caruso at least ranks high.  As does Gary, who ranks number 21.

Congressional Ball- Dan, Jonah, and Richard discuss the list

Dan, Jeffrey, and Richard feed news to Jonah about his campaign, though Jonah is also preoccupied with the staffers’ list, specifically because he is not on it.  Dan is number 26, though he has a strategy.  Richard at least agrees with Gary’s ranking because of his eyes.

Congressional Ball- Selina wonders what is up with Tom James

Roger Furlong details roles and responsibilities of everyone on Selina’s team for the annual holiday party.  Tom James has nothing to add, though.  Once he leaves, Selina wonders whether Tom is helping O’Brien, based on his meeting with Sidney Purcell.  Then, she remembers that Tom asked for Treasury Secretary.  She tells everyone to keep an eye on Tom.  Mike checks to see if there was another meeting about him.  No.

Congressional Ball- Jonah and Richard mock debate

Dan and Jeffrey field potential debate questions to Jonah.  Richard does a better job of being Jonah, as it turns out.  Then the team learns that Jonah mentioned the town of Brattleboro, which is in Vermont, not New Hampshire.  No one on Jonah’s team is tracking Judy Sherman, so Richard is selected to do so.  Also, according to Jeffrey, if Richard was 10 percent less Black, he could be President.

Congressional Ball- Selina asks Catherine and Marjorie if they're more Ellen Degeneres or Jodie Foster

Selina and Gary dress up for the party when Catherine enters with Marjorie.  Seriously, the fuck?  Selina asks how the two will play the lesbian angle, based on the questions Mike has received.  Will they be more like Ellen Degeneres or Jodie Foster?  Marjorie and Catherine respond that they don’t want their private life to be politicized.  Good luck with that.

Congressional Ball- Ball begins

The party begins and it’s time for the orgy to start.  Selina still doesn’t like how Catherine’s hair looks.  Selina greets various politicians and their aides, while also asking for their support.

Congressional Ball- Mike tells Sue that he might have a new job lined up for him

Meanwhile, various people, Sue included, talk up Mike’s hockey reference.  Turns out that he wants to leave and get a different gig as Director of Communications at the NHL.  Also, the surrogate for him and Wendy is now pregnant.

Congressional Ball- Selina learns of plans for a 9-11 memorial in Bozeman

Selina learns about a potential 9-11 memorial in Bozeman that focuses on first responders…who were traumatized by what happened to the first responders in New York.  Furlong responds that this can go under the Homeland Security budget.

One woman introduces Gary to her daughter because he was seen in the list.  Amy is baffled when Gary shares this news with her, so I can only wager that Gary is in for a rude awakening soon.

Congressional Ball- Selina introduces, Connie DiBenedetto, played by Concetta Tomei, to Catherine and Marjorie

Selina speaks with Connie DiBenedetto, played by Concetta Tomei, of Oregon.  She is the Chairman and only member of the Gay and Lesbian Caucus, who wants to talk about Selina’s environmental policy.  Rather than do that, Selina introduces her to Catherine and Marjorie because that’s appropriate.  After that, she gets out as soon as she can.

Congressional Ball- Richard has useless footage of Judy Sherman

Back in New Hampshire, Richard returns with footage of Judy Sherman calling him some horrible names.  Well, sort of, because he can’t operate a camera to save his life.  The footage ends up being useless.

Congressional Ball- Paul Graves, played by Phil LaMaar, tells Selina his terms in order to get his support

Selina is still taking photos with politicians, among them is Congressman Paul Graves, played by Phil LaMaar.  Another casting I instantly like.  And side-note, that’s two Mad TV cast members that I know of in one episode.  Graves would like to be the Secretary of State.  Selina may be able to accommodate, and with that, Graves will back Selina.  This position was promised to Doyle, but obviously, Selina can just change her mind.

Congressional Ball- Bill Jaeger tells Selina that he plans to abstain

Furlong then tells Selina that one member of Congress has flipped.  Bill Jaeger, after some soul searching, has decided to listen to his conscience and will abstain from the tie-break.  Selina tosses up a hypothetical scenario where a member of Bill’s staff is on her knees and he’s about to come all over her face.  Selina is not the staffer in this scenario.

Congressional Ball- Kent explains again how Tom James could become President

It turns out that Tom isn’t lobbying, he’s just asking members to abstain.  As Kent said on Election Night last season, if there’s a tie in the House, it goes to the Senate, meaning Tom could become the next President.

Congressional Ball- Selina confronts Tom about his plans

Selina confronts Tom by asking him for a dance.  On the floor, Selina mentions Tom’s encounter at the Korean BBQ and calls him a cocksucking backstabber.  How very direct.  As Tom attempts to explain, Selina pulls him aside to talk in private.

Congressional Ball- Tom and Selina argue before they decide to fuck

Yes, Selina knows about Tom’s meeting with Sidney Purcell and how he’s trying to fuck her.  Tom doesn’t back down.  He calls out Selina’s relationship with Charlie Baird and her bad decisions, of which there are many.  Tom believes in public service, but Selina counters that he just wanted to be close to the Presidency.  That much is also valid.

Selina brings up a night in the cabin with green shoes.  She wants the truth and gets it: Tom wanted to fuck her brains out.  Indeed, the two start fucking right then and there.

Congressional Ball- Gary catches Tom and Selina having sex

At the same time, Ben and Mike wonder where the President is.  Neither of them knows, but Gary does.  And he’s horrified by what he sees.

Congressional Ball- Teddy returns to taunt Jonah

We cut to a Ryan campaign rally at a bowling alley, where Polly, played by Lauren Potter, points out the spelling on Jonah’s campaign shirts.  Also at this alley is Teddy Sykes, who is looking forward to some bowling.  Jonah, though, doesn’t back down.  In fact, he tears into Teddy and calls him a bully.  Teddy is in cahoots with Bill and the Sherman campaign.  The two leave, their work apparently done.

Congressional Ball- Mike loses the NHL gig

Tom and Selina return to the party.  A reporter thanks Mike for helping him get out of Washington politics.  Better yet, he’s the new Director of Communications for the NHL.  If you look carefully, you can see the light in Mike’s eyes fade.

Congressional Ball- Selina threatens Nickerson for her vote

Nickerson is now on the fence, though Selina promises that, if she wins, her administration will come to her district and pretty much rain down hellfire.  Yes, Selina will have her vote after all.  Jesus Christ, Selina.

Congressional Ball- Candi Caruso tells Amy that she's engaged

Candi Caruso catches up with Amy.  In fact, Candi is surprised to see her after what happened in Nevada.  Candi, as it turns out, is engaged to Gary Welsh, who was supposed to be on the hottest staffers list, but his name was mixed up with someone else.  Well, what do you think about that?  Amy tells Gary that he’s a typo.

With the party winding down, Selina is in exactly the same place as when the party started as far as how many people will back her in Congress, plus Graves.  In New Hampshire, though, Jonah’s rant is caught on video.  Because of the way it’s presented and shot,it looks like Jonah is yelling at not Teddy, but Polly.

Mike, meanwhile, makes golf puns and is tells the press that he is ready to talk about Catherine and Marjorie again.

“Congressional Ball” is a fun episode that again showed Team Selina trying to solve a crisis while also making the most out of a black tie event where everyone should be filled with holiday cheer.  Of course, there is no such thing in Washington.

Congressional Ball- Jonah at his rally

But let’s jump to New Hampshire first.  So I might be wrong on whether Jonah would be called out for his wave in the previous episode.  Bill and Teddy having footage of him chewing out Polly just because Teddy is out of frame is a wicked move that I do not put past Bill Ericsson in light of his ejection from Team Selina.  I would guess that other people had to have recorded Jonah ranting, right?

Congressional Ball- Dan talks with Bill and Teddy

Having Bill and Teddy as antagonists to Dan and Jeffrey may force them to get nasty with their tactics when things appeared to be going fine for Jonah.  Dan is confident most of the time, but Bill and Ted make for a powerful duo, given their past relationship with Dan and Jonah.  Instead of capitalizing on Jonah’s momentum, they’re playing defensive.  It doesn’t help that Richard squandered his potential by not being able to operate a camera.

Congressional Ball- Jeffrey likes Richard

What’s worse, this puts a serious dent in Jeffrey’s plans.  While he may normally have the state wrapped up, not only is he contending with a widow of the deceased congressman, he has to deal with Jonah’s ineptitude- not to mention Dan and Richard’s- and might have to think outside the box when it comes to Teddy and Bill.  The House of Jonah could tumble at any moment, but I’ll be curious to see whether they have a counterattack ready.

Congressional Ball- Selina promises to rain down on Penny if she wins the election

As for Washington, I’ve got to give Selina credit.  While most people are preoccupied with the list of hottest staffers, she’s actually trying to get work done.  And she has to because being President of the United States requires little to no rest.  Whether it’s making deals and threats with various congressmen, Selina is trying to make sure she’s still President when this recount business is finished.

Congressional Ball- Selina greets partygoers

So even though, at the end of the day, she makes almost no progress, I appreciate Veep not having Selina get bogged down in things like the staffers list or Jonah’s campaign in New Hampshire.  Granted, this doesn’t mean her tactics are worth praise, if introducing the one member of a gay caucus to your now-lesbian daughter and threatening to bring down full force onto Congresswoman Nickerson’s district are any indication.

Congressional Ball- Penny Nickerson defies Selina

Side-note, now that I’ve mentioned Nickerson, I would like to see her become a recurring character, if just to see Stephnie Weir on a regular basis.  Even more so since The Comedians got the axe.

Congressional Ball- Tom and Selina face off

But onto Selina’s confrontation with Tom that resulted in sex.  Well, I didn’t see that one coming because it did feel like he was trying to take control from behind until he was in charge.  Yes, that could have been rephrased.  But we haven’t had heard it from his perspective- we’ve just seen Dan call him out and Mike spot him dining with Sidney Purcell.

Congressional Ball- Tom argues with Selina

It doesn’t help that Selina has tried to keep Tom on the sidelines, so of course it seemed like he got the shaft a few times.  Again, phrasing.  So why would two people who are on the same presidential ticket, yet have such disdain for each other, throw caution to the wind and start fucking mere seconds after an argument?  Repressed emotions?

Regardless, it seemed to give Selina her second wind and try to get those endorsements, only for that to not matter since she’s right back where she started, plus Graves.  So it remains to be seen how, if at all, this will affect her relationship with Charlie Baird, if that’s even still ongoing.

Congressional Ball- Selina gets Nickerson's vote

Even still, it’s nice to see that, for all of Selina’s faults and fuck-ups, she still knows how to negotiate and get her way.  Profane negotiations, mind you, but they produced results and she managed to put the fear of God into Congresswoman Nickerson.  If anything, sex with Tom at least seemed to light a fire under Selina’s ass and make her even more motivated to ensure she maintains the Presidency.

Congressional Ball- Gary watches Tom and Selina fuck

She might be the only one of her staff having a good day, since Mike had his dream job swept from underneath him and Gary not only spotted Selina and Tom fucking, but he learned that ending up on the list was a fluke.

So Team Jonah has to go on the offensive while Selina still needs to make more power plays to ensure she’s still President when the season ends.  I foresee one of these ending horribly, but since this is Veep, that could apply to both situations.

A Look at Veep- Season 5, Episode 6: “Cuntgate”

Even if you’re not President of the United States, you’d probably guess that there’s no quick fix solution to the economy.  Worse still, there’s no easy solution.  If you’re Selina Meyer, there’s no way to come out of this looking good, especially when it turns out that someone thinks that she’s a cunt.  And yes, it’s a gate.

This is Cuntgate.

Cuntgate- Mike speaks with the press about the bailout

The episode begins with a press briefing as the Dow continues to drop.  Mike tells the press that bailouts are not on the table, but infusions are possible.  That’s a bailout, Mike.

Cuntgate- Economic crisis team discusses which banks to bail out

Tom James leads the economic response team on which bank to bailout, with three in the running.  However, the administration can only afford to bail out two.  An Illinois bank is in play since that could help win the state, but another bank belongs to Charlie Barid.  Ben tells Selina that she can’t bail out Charlie Baird’s bank because it will look like she’s playing favorites.  But Tom feels that the bank is financially stronger.

Cuntgate- Jonah crashes the focus group discussion

Following this, we get the first Jonah Ryan for Congress ad.  Catherine films a focus team’s response: the folks aren’t a fan of Jonah.  His head, for example, is too big for his body.  The only positive is that the kid is cute.  Jonah bursts in to rant to the Pepperidge Farm ad motherfuckers, as he calls them, but Jeffrey and Richard escort him out.

Cuntgate- Selina reads Politico article about someone calling her a cunt

Selina’s team watches this unfold.  She’s surprised that Catherine hasn’t been around as of recent.  She brings up a Politico article on Gary’s machine about a West Wing staffer that called the President a cunt.  Kent wants to focus on relaunching Jonah’s campaign.  Selina suggests getting Dan’s help, but he turned down the offer, so Ben is interviewing prospectives.  Selina, meanwhile, has Amy find out who called her a cunt.

Cuntgate- Amy asks Dan why he isn't on Jonah's campaign

While Mike tries to get Dan to join in on a GroupOn, Amy asks why he isn’t jumping on board with Jonah’s campaign.  After all, if Jonah loses, no one would blame Dan.  But if Jonah wins, Dan will look like a political genius.  Dan claims that he’s not worried, but soon speeds off to jump on the Jonah train.

Cuntgate- Dan takes Candi's job from underneath her

Dan then interrupts Ben’s meeting with Candi Caruso.  Seconds later, Candi’s position on Jonah’s campaign has been filled.  Candi just can’t catch a break, can she?

Cuntgate- Amy asks Mike if he knows who called Selina a cunt

Amy’s attempt at an investigation doesn’t solve the mystery of the one person who called Selina a cunt because it turns out that both she and Mike have said it on separate occasions.

Cuntgate- Selina decides to bail out Charlie's bank

Selina, meanwhile, decides to bail out Charlie’s bank, regardless of how it will be perceived by the public.  In Selina’s mind, this is good for the country.  That is her final solution.  Phrasing, I know.

Cuntgate- Dan declares himself as Jonah's campaign manager

At the Ryan for Congress HQ in New Hampshire, Jonah speaks dramatically while Catherine records B-roll.  As Director of Communications Richard receives copyright claims from bands featured in Jonah’s ads, Dan shows up enters and declares himself as Jonah’s campaign manager.  He immediately takes charge and tells Jonah that he answers to him, now.  Dan also takes Jonah’s office.

Cuntgate- Charlie and Selina dine

Selina dines with Charlie, who apologizes for their compromised relationship, but he also says that whatever move she makes won’t affect what they have.  They then decide on a quickie.

Cuntgate- Selina asks Amy about her progress with the investigation

Then, at 2 in the morning, Selina calls Amy into her office to ask about the investigation.  Amy suggests pushing it back, but instead, Selina rattles off three employees to be fired because such an article should not have been published.

As Selina lights a cigarette, she tells Amy that people don’t want her to be President because she’s a woman, but she won’t back down.  Amy is no stranger to being called a cunt.  That much I could have guessed.

Cuntgate- Catherine talks to Selina about how she's been since Grandma died

Catherine returns to Washington to talk with Selina about how she’s been since Grandma died.  Also, she’s been thinking about her past relationships.

Cuntgate- Ben and Kent inform Selina that the public dislikes her bailout decision

Before this turn into an actual mother-daughter talk, Ben and Kent enter to explain that approval ratings for bailing out Charlie’s bank are 4.3 percent, even if it’s the right decision.  No one understands the economy.  And a few states in Congress could be lost due to Selina’s decision.  So she later decides to bail out a different bank.

Cuntgate- Mike tries to get Marjorie to join his GroupOn

Mike again tries to offer friends for his GroupOn, but no one is on board.  Not even Sue or Marjorie.

Cuntgate- Jeffrey and Dan dress Jonah up for a meet and greet

Back in New Hampshire at a restaurant, Jeffrey and Dan dress Jonah up like Clark Kent for a meet and greet.  Dan is joined by Bill Ericsson.  His charge was thrown out on appeal.  He’s working for the Sherman campaign.  And yes, he’s still pissed at Selina.  Go figure.

Cuntgate- Tom interrupts Selina's moment with Catherine

Selina’s very brief moment with Catherine is interrupted by Tom James, who, through some smooth talking, gets Selina to change her mind.  She soon says that both Charlie’s bank and another will be bailed out.  However, she then changes her mind again.

Cuntgate- Leon asks Amy about the three firings due to Cuntgate

Leon runs into Amy at a store to talk about three firings due to Cuntgate.  It’s a gate.  Leon warns Amy that she won’t want to be the face of Cuntgate, even though she has the perfect face for it.

Cuntgate- Selina changes her mind again

Selina again meets the economic team and, after meeting with Mike, decides to change her mind yet again.  Ben confronts Mike about this decision.  Turns out it was just about Wendy helping him with student loans, which Mike only has because he’s not good with money.

Cuntgate- Karen gives Selina some form of advice

Code black.  Selina is on an opinion shopping spree.  Ben and Kent can’t meet with Selina because she’s too busy talking with, of all people, Karen.  Fucking Karen!  It’s as useless as you’d expect.  Selina still needs more time, but Tom tells her that a decision is needed.  So Selina will give them a choice tomorrow morning.

Cuntgate- Jonah thanks Dan for his help on the campaign

To help clear her head, Ben suggests tearing into Jonah and Dan.  Selina does just that, but it ends up having the opposite effect.  Both spurned by Selina, the two find common ground.  Jonah even thanks Dan for helping with the campaign.

Cuntgate- Jonah takes the stage and wins the crowd

Jonah soon takes the stage and deals with Bill’s hecklers, but he then attacks Selina’s record.  And that ends up winning over the crowd.  I must admit, it’s a damn fine moment for both Jonah and Dan.

Cuntgate- Mike takes questions about Cuntgate

Mike again deals with economy questions from the press, but then Leon brings up Cuntgate- it’s still a gate.  The other reporters, in turn, focus on the gate.

Cuntgate- Selina makes her decision

Mike and Amy then talk with Ben and admit that they both have called Selina a cunt, but so did Ben.  And Kent.  And Gary, but he called her a crone.  Selina enters and decides to bail out Charlie.  She has more time, but doesn’t need it.  This is the best for the economy.  She goes off to tell Tom.

Gary is happy for Selina’s decision, more so because of the happiness she gets from Charlie.  Selina meets again with her economic team.

Cuntgate- Selina and Charlie at a bookstore

At a bookstore photo op, Selina tells the press of her planned Christmas shopping.  Charlie doesn’t want a book for Christmas.  He already has one.  Tom James soon calls Charlie and is upset about the decision.  Politico was apparently right about her.

Cuntgate- Selina learns that Catherine is in a relationship with Marjorie, somehow

Later, Selina learns of Jonah’s bump in the polls, which is apparently good news.  And Catherine tells Selina that she’s met someone that works with the administration.  It’s…goddamn Marjorie.  How in the actual fuck?  Marjorie will be resigning from Selina’s detail.  Selina and Gary need a moment to process this.  As do I.  At the very least, Selina wishes her mother was alive because this news would have killed her.

Cuntgate- Selina guesses that everyone called her a cunt

As the episode comes to a close, Amy enters just as Selina guesses that everyone called her a cunt, Mike, while trying to reimburse his GroupOn, spots Tom James dining with Sidney Purcell, and Marjorie and Catherine are giddy.  Someone has to be.

Trust the American press to take the focus off of President Meyer’s agenda and focus on something more personal.  “Cuntblock,” like the previous “Thanksgiving,” has Selina focusing on an actual national matter.  Here, she does managed to stay more focused on the economy, but her ego and desire to serve her own agenda get in the way.

Cuntgate- Selina seeks advice from Karen

Selina this week is just as incompetent, indecisive, and inept as ever- hell, she goes to Karen of all people- but there’s more focus on her reputation and how the public perceives her.  She can’t be seen as weak on the economy because that would sink her reelection chances.

But if she’s strong on the economy and bails out Charlie’s bank, then she’s playing favorites.  Furthermore, as Tom indicated earlier in the season, any problems with the economy fall on the face of the person in charge.

Cuntgate- Selina appears to take Gary's words to heart

And it’s fun to watch Selina waver over and over.  At times, like the Families First agenda, we’ve seen shades of a President Meyer that genuinely wants to help the American people.  But then you get this version of Selina that just wants an easy solution where she doesn’t look like the villain.  That’s hard to do because, as Ben said, no one understands the economy.

It wouldn’t matter if Selina made a good decision.  The public would find a way to make her look bad, much as Jonah did during his speech.

Cuntgate- Selina tells Amy that people are after her because she's a woman

But more than the economy, we get more focus on how she feels the public perceives her as a woman.  And there’s some validity to that, but I find a lot of it to be baseless.  Think about how anyone who attacks Hillary Clinton can be twisted into a sexist.  Same with anyone who criticizes this all-female Ghostbusters film.  Are there shades of sexism?  Of course.

In Selina’s case, though, I think it’s less of people belittling her because she’s a woman.  Rather, they belittle her because she’s a less than stellar politician and a horrible person.  It’s all about her record, but as Selina tells Amy, the people can only want her out of office because of sexism, which is bullshit.

Cuntgate- Selina knows that everyone called her a cunt

At the end of the day, though, I think Selina accepts that people are always going to dislike her, but she’s going to keep going forward regardless.  Well, at least there’s some acceptance in that, especially since most of the team has called her a cunt.

Cuntgate- Catherine and Marjorie

What might not be accepted so easily is Catherine’s out-of-nowhere relationship with Marjorie.  It’s a hilarious surprise that I’m curious where Veep will go with this.  Marjorie hasn’t had much to do since her introduction, so this is a good way to keep her involved, even if she’s no longer part of Selina’s detail.

Cuntgate- Catherine tells her mother that she's found someone

Whether this makes Catherine an outright lesbian, a bisexual, or she’s just experimenting, I don’t know.  I’ve never really understood these people, but that’s beside the point.  Why this is such an interesting twist is the fact that Catherine hasn’t had much time to bind with her mother this season.  And one of the first things we learned about Marjorie was how eerily similar she looked to Selina.

Cuntgate- Gary and Selina react to Catherine's news that she's dating Marjorie

Is Marjorie meant to be a surrogate for Selina?  Can Catherine actually say she’s in love?  Either way, I’m interested, if just for the dumbfounded looks on Gary and Selina’s faces.

Cuntgate- Dan preps Jonah for his speech

Equally interesting of a pair was Dan and Jonah.  These two have been at each other’s throats for most of the series, and I get Dan joining the campaign so he can jumpstart his political career.  It makes sense that he’d use Jonah as much as Jeffrey is, but now the two realize they have a common foe in Selina.  While Selina venting to the two helped her relax, it also served to make Jonah a credible threat and potential future Congressman.

Cuntgate- Jonah compliments Dan

More than this, Jonah acknowledging that Dan proved vital to his image and the two coming together felt earned.  It would be easy for Veep to make this pair a gimmick, but because the two have enemies for so long, for them to join forces over their hatred towards Selina shows that even they can put squabbles aside for a moment to focus on a bigger threat.  That said, I don’t expect this to make them best friends forever.

Either way, between this, the focus group, and the return of Bill Ericsson on the opposing team, I am very much invested in this storyline.  Gosh, imagine the possibilities of Jonah going to Congress.

Cuntgate- Jonah won't back down

Instead of being the awkward fuck we know he is, he appeals to people’s distaste for Washington and makes some credible attacks on Selina’s record.  Though it helps that Selina isn’t what you’d call a good President.  I’ll be honest, as I was laughing at him going on the offensive, I got chills when he managed to not fuck up, but actually captivate the crowd.

Cuntgate- Jonah's salute

But I’ve gotta say, this quick moment here of Jonah waving is interesting.  It almost looks like a Nazi salute.  I could be looking way too into that, but the fact that we got a shot of it makes me wonder if we’ll return to it at any point.

Cuntgate- Amy discusses Cuntgate with Mike and Ben

As far as Cuntgate is concerned, first off, it’s a great name.  Second, it did draw attention to the extra scrutiny that women in power receive, but it also showed how little Selina’s team actually thinks of her once we learn that nearly everyone had called her a cunt.  I imagine Dan has done it least once.  Gary is far too innocent.  That would just leave Sue, who I don’t think has the time to even think of an insult for Selina.

“Cuntgate” was a fun episode that had a great main storyline and equally engaging subplot with potential Congressman Jonah Ryan making his mark.  Despite Selina’s desire to do the right thing on a topic as complex as the economy, she still faces scrutiny, but now she’s got to contend with the fact that people think she’s a cunt, she’s accused of playing favorites with Charlie Baird, and her daughter is dating her now former security lead.

Not a great time to be the President.

Cuntgate- Tom James dines with Sidney Purcell

Oh, and now Mike has seen Tom James dining with Sidney Purcell, meaning he and Dan have an inkling that the two are in cahoots.  Will word of this reach the others?  Even better, will it matter or can this somehow blow up in Mike and Dan’s faces?  Either way, I’m excited to watch it all unfold.

A Look at Veep- Season 5, Episode 5: “Thanksgiving”

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.”

Thanksgiving- Selina pardons two turkeys

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.

Thanksgiving- Ben tells Dan that he'll be working for Tom James

Dan, meanwhile, has been greened, so Ben sends him to work with Tom James since he’s understaffed anyway.

Thanksgiving- Sue apparently has a family

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.

Thanksgiving- Jonah shows his mother around the White House

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- Selina visits Dr. Abernathy for her operation

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.

Thanksgiving- Tom James presents Dan with a badge

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.

Thanksgiving- Mike has Dr. Weinburg field questions about the salmonella outbreak

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.

Thanksgiving- Selina's new look

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.

Thanksgiving- Tom sends Dan to get coffee

After Tom James has a segment on MSNBC about Thanksgiving, he sends Dan to get him some coffee.

Thanksgiving- Ben asks Doyle to give a statement in Selina's place

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.

Thanksgiving- Doyle speaks to the press about the salmonella outbreak

Doyle does indeed give a statement while also fielding questions about Thanksgiving.  Mike, meanwhile, learns that the surrogate is on board.

Thanksgiving- Selina makes congressional calls

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.

Thanksgiving- Wendy learns from Mike that their surrogate is on board

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.

Thanksgiving- Dan is Gary

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.

Thanksgiving- Selina learns that Congressman Sherman has died

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.

Thanksgiving- Ben asks Doyle to give another statement in Selina's place

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.

Thanksgiving- Dan tries and fails to find out what Tom James has planned

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.

Thanksgiving- Doyle tells Selina that he wants to be Secretary of State

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.

Thanksgiving- Dan shares his theory about Tom James with Ben and Kent

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.

Thanksgiving- Mike and Wendy try to have their quickie, but they smell something

At the Willard Hotel, Wendy needs Mike to be really quick, but then they smell something….off in the room.

Thanksgiving- Dan shows up at Amy's place and gets invited to Thanksgiving dinner

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.

Thanksgiving- Jeffrey, played by Peter MacNicol, talks about the special election

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.

Thanksgiving- Amy's father, played by Jim O’Heir, thinks Dan wants to have sex with his wife

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.

Thanksgiving- Jeffrey tells Jonah that he is his puppet

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.

Thanksgiving- Selina wears sunglasses

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.

Thanksgiving- Selina at first wants to give a statement

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.

John Kerry's black eyes

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.

Thanksgiving- Selina makes calls

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.

Thanksgiving- Kent and Ben see Selina's face after her operation

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.

Thanksgiving- Tom James isn't having any of Dan's crap

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.

Thanksgiving- Dan reacts to Tom asking if he had a nervous breakdown

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.

Thanksgiving- Gary and Dan

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.

Thanksgiving- Jonah understands that he will just be a puppet

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.

Thanksgiving- Jeffrey yells at Jonah

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.

Thanksgiving- Sue had a dinner with no coworkers

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.

A Look at Veep- Season 5, Episode 4: “Mother”

And so, we gather here to join President Selina Meyer and company as they experience a tragic loss that is sure to shake things up and lead to some moments of reflection, grief, and eventual acceptance.

Oh, and Selina’s mother is in the hospital and at death’s door.  “Mother,” for my money, might be one of the darker episodes of Veep that shows what Selina Meyer truly values most in life and what she doesn’t, but probably should.

Mother- Selina learns that her mother is in the hospital

The episode begins with Selina addressing a crowd in Jersey during a clean energy venture.  The winds are not blowing, though because the turbines are not running.  Mike tells Gary, meanwhile, that he and Kathy are meeting a surrogate.  Also, Selina’s mother is in the hospital due to a stroke.  Selina, though, is in no hurry to rush to her mother’s bedside.  Of course.

In fact, she’s more cynical than anything else.  Mike seems to like her, but Selina talks about her mother comforting her after an election defeat.

Mother- Dan and Amy spot a protest

Then we get a ballot hearing in Nevada.  The Meyer and O’Brien camps make their case, though Karen somehow manages to find a way to stall out the process of a deadline.  Outside, Dan and Amy find a protest that they discern to be fake.

Mother- Selina and family with Mom

At the hospital, Selina gets a call from Amy, who apologizes for Mom’s stroke.  Not about the recount, though.  Get the damn ballots counted.  Kent, Sue, and Ben are also at the hospital.  So is Andrew, at Catherine’s request.  Andrew introduces Selina to Monica, who Gary does not know.  He does, though, when Andrew mentions her blogs.

Mother- Dr. Mirpuri, played by Sarayu Blue, tells Selina about her mother's condition

At Mom’s bedside, Selina finds that Catherine has quite the tight bond with Monica.  Selina isn’t a fan of the music, even though it’s Mom’s favorite, and instead focuses on her fingernails.  Mother loves her hands.  Dr. Mirpuri, played by Sarayu Blue, tells Selina that all brain function in Mom has ceased, so she’ll need to stay on life support until she expires.

Mother- Kathy and Mike meet a potential surrogate

Elsewhere in the hospital, Mike and Wendy meet with their potential surrogate, who has already carried three babies to term, doesn’t drink, never smoked, and exercises.  Oh, and she’s a Christian.  Mike and Wendy are too, now.  They go to Our Lady of the Holy Womb of Jesus.  It’s not a well known congregation.

Mother- Selina and Catherine learn how Mom will die

There’s no plug for Mom as the news goes from bad to worse.  Instead, there’s a ventilator tube that needs to be removed.  After that, Mom’s organs would begin to fail and the doctors would track her vitals.  Catherine wails for life, but Selina rushes to Kent’s side so she can get a break from family matters.  Kent slowly places his hand on Selina’s shoulder.

Mother- Kent tells Selina that her favorable numbers are going up because of her mother

Good news, though: since word spread about Selina’s condition, there’s been an outpouring of support that’s driven up her favorable numbers by double digits.  If Selina pulled the plug, there could be a greater outpouring due to a death bump.  These fucking people.  Selina has some soul searching to do.  Furlong, meanwhile, reacts to O’Brien’s tweet, as Selina needs some quiet space to think.  Ben tries to offer solace to Selina.

Mother- Counter protest

So Richard and Jonah have been enlisted to run a counter-rally to O’Brien.  So they rally.

Mother- Gary and Selina pray

At the chapel, Selina asks Gary what she prays for- and it’s her.  Well, that’s sweet, I guess.  Gary literally has to give Selina some words so she can start her prayer on God easing her mother’s pain.  Also, please let Selina be elected as the first female President of the United States.  Lord, hear her prayer.

Mother- Selina's last moment with her mother

Dr. Mirpuri tells Selina that when the ventilator is removed, there may be some coughing.  She then gives Selina a moment to say goodbye.  She uses this moment to examine her mother’s nails and fumbles with finding nice words to say.  She regurgitates Ben’s quote- which she didn’t even like- when the others enter.

Mother- Selina's mom passes

Soon, the ventilator is removed, just as Ben and Kent get notifications on their phones.  The process only takes a few minutes.  Well, that’s good, given Selina’s schedule.  But then Gary also gets a notification.  Then Mom flatlines and passes.  When the doctor leaves, the team learns of the temporary stay in Nevada, meaning the count will continue.

And this is what gets an emotional reaction out of Selina.  Not because of Mom, as Catherine believed.  See, Catherine just entered, so she didn’t get to see Mom in her final moments.  Selina comforts her daughter, saying that Mom was only brain dead, and now there’s good news about Nevada.  My God, Selina, you are evil.

Mother- Selina goes through her mother's possessions

Later, Selina, going over some of her departed mother’s items, tells Catherine that she has no idea what it’s like to be the daughter of a pathological narcissist.  Selina also never got to play the good piano.  Okay.

Mother- George Huntzinger, played by Brian Doyle-Murray, tells Selina that people outside wish her well

The next morning, Selina meets with George Huntzinger, played by Brian Doyle-Murray: her favorite of Mom’s lawyers.  Selina learns that there are a ton of people outside that have come to wish Selina well since she’s in mourning.  Of course.

Mother- Selina meets with some well-wishers

So why not soak up some of that goodness?  Selina speaks with the diverse crowd.

Mother- Amy talks about Eleanor Roosevelt

Back at the Nevada Election Board, the recount continues.  Amy talks with an observer, but she goes off the cuff about Eleanor Roosevelt eating pussy.  Is it true, though?

Mother- Selina wants the recount stopped

The team learns that the new votes are now tilting towards O’Brien due to absentee ballots.  Selina is upset and tells the team to stop the recount.  This would look like a flip-flop, but Selina doesn’t give a fuck about that.  She’s about to be the first elected female President and right now, she’s tired of losing things.  You know, like parents.

Mother- Karen wants the recount to stop

So Karen now files a motion to exclude all upcoming ballots.  Dan rushes out to tell Jonah and Richard to stop, but the protest is all over the news.  Well, maybe Selina will get assassinated.

Mother- Tom James shows up at the funeral

Time for Mom’s funeral.  Tom James even stops by and finds that Charlie Baird is here, even while the economy isn’t doing so hot.  Mike has a eulogy prepared for Selina, who won’t let Catherine be involved.

Mother- Ambassador Al Jaffar, played by Usman Ally, sends a message from China

Ben then tells Selina that Qatar Ambassador Al Jaffar, played by Usman Ally, has arrived with a message from China in regards to the sanctions, which may undermine China’s economy.

China is open to indirect talks in exchange for Selina easing off the economic pressure.  On the table is everything from climate change to human rights.  Well, that was mysterious.

Mother- Selina learns that she lost the popular vote

Also, Karen could not stop the recount.  As such, Selina has lost Nevada, so this fight will go to Congress.  With all the new votes going to O’Brien, Selina has lost the popular vote.  Selina Meyer, in light of everything that has happened, now grieves.

Mother- Selina has lost Nevada

So it’s time for Selina to deliver the eulogy.  She talks of her mother’s piano, but she’s overcome with emotion.  She has lost…so much, but doesn’t get specific.  She lets Catherine play Tim McGraw.  As the music plays, Selina continues to drown in her tears not over the loss of her mother, but the loss of Nevada.  There’s still time to discuss the inheritance.  The bulk of the estate was left to Catherine.  So there’s that.

Trust Selina Meyer to put politics above everything else, even in a time of grieving.  Veep always excels with its writing, cast, and comedy, but “Mother” could be one of the show’s darkest episodes just because of how Selina deals with her mother’s death.

Mother- Catherine cries again

Or, should I say, doesn’t deal with it.  Death is inevitable.  Death is tragic.  Death is…something that warrants a time of reflection and grieving.  I’m no expert, so don’t quote me on that.  Point being that you’d think that losing someone as close as your mother would garner some sort of emotional response.

Mother- Selina tells Catherine about the good news in Nevada

Oh, who am I kidding?  Not that I’d expect Selina to show even the tiniest hint of sadness at losing her mother, but this shows just how much of a pathological narcissist she really is.  Irony isn’t strong enough of a word when she tells Catherine that she has no idea what it’s like to live under someone so cruel.

Mother- Selina with her mother

Throughout the episode, we see Selina take every step to avoid dealing with her mother’s condition and instead deal with the Nevada recount.  Focusing on her mother’s fingernails, trying to think up something nice to say before her mother dies, and not even giving Catherine the time to be present in those final moments, paint Selina as a very selfish person.

Mother- Selina flip-flops on the recount

To be fair, that’s nothing new, but I was floored at seeing how she didn’t process her mother’s slow demise.  Family isn’t priority for Selina, if her treatment of Catherine is any indication.  She’s a politician first.  And despite still being the President, Nevada is a major obstacle and pain in Selina’s ass since she needs that state.  The loss of a mother won’t change that.

Mother- Selina visits the well-wishers

Except when it turns out that grieving can work in her favor.  It’s not unlike politicians to speak openly about losing their loved ones.  Some call that scoring political points or using family as props, and that’s just how it works for Selina.  Only when Kent informs her that her mother’s condition is driving up her favorable numbers does Selina show some semblance of grieving.

Mother- Selina is tired of losing

Not because she’s sad, but because she’s still seen as an unlikable president and this would help make her look more appealing.  And let’s face it: part of what helps in a political campaign is coming off as palatable.  And if Selina is always screaming and bitching about how much her life sucks, very few people are going to vote for her.  So why wouldn’t she play up the sadness when people are watching?

Mother- Karen can't stop the recount

If anything, it’s even more of a desperation tactic than bringing in Karen because all she can is stall for time.  And even that ends up failing once she’s unable to stop the recount. Never mind that, as Mike said, it would have been a major flip-flop.

Mother- Selina has lost so much

When Selina finally lets her emotions go and cries as her daughter did, it is both sad and humorous.  The crowd thinks that she’s acknowledging the loss of her mother, but in reality, it’s more like she and her team losing a much needed win.  That, and not the death of her mother, is what drives President Selina Meyer to tears.  Unbelievable.

Mother- Catherine flips out

What’s more is that, even after Mom has died, Selina still finds a way to speak ill of her in front of her daughter.  And Catherine gets a fair bit of shit thrown her way, too.  As great as Julia Louis-Dreyfus is as Selina, Sarah Sutherland deserves praise for her performance as Catherine.  She’s so low-key, but here, she lets her emotions loose, whether sobbing at her grandmother’s condition or challenging Selina.

But then, we learn that the bulk of Mom’s estate was left to Catherine, so I’m curious if we’ll get any kind of follow-up on that.

Mother- Gary prays with Selina

The rest of the cast at the hospital is great as well.  Ben and Kent’s awkward attempts at comforting Selina, Gary helping Selina pray– of all things- and Mike offering to turn around so Selina won’t have to look at him is how Veep keeps the humor going at a quick rate.  It’s a credit to the show’s writing that there are so many comedic moments that stick and manage to get packed into just a half-hour.

Mother- Dan and Amy now need to switch the protest

Well, most of them tend to stick.  Yeah, I’m going on about Nevada again.  Despite how important of a job the Nevada team has, they’re not making much ground and I didn’t find these segments any more memorable than the previous week.  Better, though, if only because of how the team has to immediately flip their strategy once Selina wants the ballot count stalled.

The funny moments, like Jonah, Richard, and Cliff having to stage a counter-rally, or Amy going off about Eleanor Roosevelt, are fine, but I wanted to get back to the others at the hospital.  I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense, given that the Nevada situation is vital to Selina’s campaign.  But for me, these scenes didn’t hold my focus as much as the situation with Selina and her mother.

Mother- Kathy and Mike apparently attend Our Lady of the Holy Womb of Jesus

Meanwhile, we do again get some progression with other storylines threaded throughout the season.  Wendy and Mike have their sit down with a surrogate while masking their feelings on religion, while Selina learns that the sanctions on China may have ended up working in her favor.

Mother- Selina grieves for losing Nevada

So by the Transitive Property of Selina Meyer, thinks are not going to stay that way.  Hell, they already haven’t just based on her losing the popular vote and Nevada.

So what have we learned today?  If you’re a relative of Selina Meyer, don’t expect her to weep at your funeral unless it has to do with her, not you.  And the worst part of her day is that her fate now rest in the hands of Congress.  Again, “Mother” is a dark episode that shows Selina at one of her most narcissistic moments in light of a personal tragedy…to her political career.  Not her personal life.  That would be asking too much.

Yes, Selina Meyer did indeed lose so much this week.  Will she start winning?  I doubt it.