Review: Veep (Season 5, Episode 8)

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Incredible

Amy to Jonah: We have to keep you away *sporadic hand movements* FROM PEOPLE.
Dan: Yeah, surround him in some trees, make him look human sized.
Bob: Yeah, back to the natural habitat where your little nitwit mother found you in, you fucking shaved sasquatch.

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It’s painful to say it, but “the huge gaping hole that is Jonah” did it. He somehow managed to find a way to become a congressman. After being so low in the polls that no one – including us – could believe he would make it, the NRA came striding in as a saving grace to boost Jonah (Timothy Simons) to the position where he could ruin the American government as we know it. The NRA’s sudden support of Jonah’s campaign comes down to his ability to shoot himself in the foot, quite literally – and his opposing candidate commenting on the danger of guns in America.

Meanwhile, Selina (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) has decided to take a well-deserved “little Meyer family weekend”, with Catherine (Sarah Sutherland), her ex-husband (David Pasquesi), his partner, Catherine’s girlfriend Marjorie (Clea DuVall), and… Gary (Tony Hale). However, in true Selina fashion, this little get together is actually a thinly veiled excuse to also bring her administration with her for a secret meeting. That’s a meeting with the Chinese President, to discuss lifting the sanctions Selina put on the country after the hacking and Twitter fiasco. In exchange, China agreed to build an electronics plant in Ohio and an engine assembly plant in North Carolina; securing Selina’s votes in both states, and keeping the Meyer presidency thriving.

Because Jonah’s congressional campaign seemed to hit a free-fall, Selina’s attempt to procure votes in North Carolina and Ohio was her only option. However, that didn’t even turn into the final plan. Finnish stateswoman Minna Hakkien (Sally Phillips) returns to give Selina some inspirational, yet ill-fitting advice: to convince the Chinese to “free Tibet”. Partially, as that’s what Selina and her team inferred from Minna’s suggestion of how to sway the Chinese into cooperating with the President. Part of that suggestion also involved Minna coaching Selina to “blow-up” in front of the Chinese, slamming her fists on the table and Ben commenting on how the President “isn’t normally like this”.

Much like in ‘Mother’, Selina finds her anger from other matters, this time through her ex-husband trying to convince their daughter to bargain the money that is entrusted to Catherine, enraging Selina to the point of scaring the Chinese to “free Tibet”.

‘Camp David’ illustrates the common talent within Veep‘s writing team; their ability to balance so many differing plot-lines into one, coherent mess. Whether it’s from Selina trying to play nice with the Chinese, Selina and her ex-husband trying to out-gift each other with their daughter and her girlfriend, the NRA ending up being Jonah’s saving grace to become congressman – it all falls so hopelessly into place.

No matter how drastically the episode nearly turns into complete disaster – as it so often does – director Becky Martin and Rachel Axler find the tension point that allows the episode to reach its conclusion, whilst nearly falling of its fine, comedic tightrope.

Veep airs on Sky Atlantic on Tuesdays at 11:10pm. 

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A film student stuck in a 90s timewarp of FBI agents, UFOs, conspiracy theories, alternative rock and grunge.

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