Is this the meanest episode of the season? I don’t think we’ve ever seen the insults fly this fast or furious. Things get DARK. Like, 9/11-joke dark. Maternity-health-crisis joke dark. Botched-abortion-joke dark. Rape-joke dark. It’s so dark, democracy could die in here.
Anyway, I loved it. But that’s the kind of recapper you’re working with.
Things start pleasantly — red flag! — with Selina and Jaffar (and Gary) returning from a romantic getaway in St. Bart’s, where Selina basked on a topless beach and Gary didn’t see anything. But Selina returns home to discover that not only is her staff incompetent, as per usual, but also Catherine’s cervix is incompetent, which I thought was maybe an ailment the Veep writers invented but it turns out is a real thing! (With a rude name.) Selina is mostly concerned with the couch, which in her defense is French linen, and anyway Catherine is on bed rest, not couch rest, so what is she even doing there?
Perhaps in an effort to top the absurdity of her first book title — Some New Beginnings: Our Next American Journey — Selina has titled her autobiography A Woman First: First Woman. It sounds like a rough draft, but Mike swears it’s a pun on … something. Gary lands the earliest mention out of all the staffers: “As Gary poured my tea, I realized the hostages blah blah blah.” That is, unless you count Richard, who is in the dedication.
My favorite running insult through the episode — and like I said, there are a lot from which to choose — is Veep’s mockery of The Tonight Show and its reliance on dopey, childlike party games in the place of real interviews. This starts with Richard telling Selina, “The producers thought it would be fun — ” and Selina just cutting him off to insist that nothing is actually fun on that show.
Speaking of things that aren’t actually fun for Selina, Leon is running a massive exposé on the Meyer presidency based on the remarkably detailed diary Mike accidentally left at the Washington Post office. Some of the juicier tidbits: Selina was getting counsel from that personal trainer she was screwing (hey, he had a GED!) and she had an eye job. Selina tries to threaten Leon into retracting his whole story, but he is unmoved: “We’re the Washington Post and we’ve been sued by better terrible presidents than you.” (Mike: “Oh yeah? Name one.” MIKE.) When that fails, Selina offers Amy up as a sexual favor. He doesn’t bite; she doesn’t blame him.
Meanwhile, the revelations about the Meyer presidency keep pouring out. I love that this page of Mike’s diary is supposedly surrounded by his “poorly-drawn doodles of legs.” Mike is better at arms, okay? You should see his doodles on the page about the arms deal. Just as Selina is about to play “What’s in the Bag?” on The Tonight Show, her team learns that the Post has a scoop on the data breach. Remember how Selina knew about those kids’ Social Security numbers and medical data and used it to target her campaign mailers effectively? Yeah, she could go to jail for that. Selina bails and blames it on Catherine, but The Tonight Show is serious goofy business and she will pay for this flake-out before the episode is through.
I really enjoyed the choreography of Selina’s nightcap with Marjorie. Marjorie gets roped into talking about the Meyer Foundation for AIDS and Adult Literacy and Military Families and Childhood Obesity (Selina was inspired by old photos of Catherine) and Selina, who just cannot, calls Jaffar while Marjorie is still talking to plan a date that can start in ten minutes.
Just when Selina is thinking she might need to hop on one of Jaffar’s always-fueled-up airplanes to escape this “giant slalom down Mount McRimjob,” she gets some amazing news: Mike’s diary confirms that it was Selina, not Laura Montez, who negotiated with the Chinese president to free Tibet. Selina is finally getting credit for Tibet! Something she’s wanted all season! Of course, we still have one episode left where this victory can go to shit, but for now, what a day for Selina! Yale is even interested in the presidential library. Yes, Selina already started demolishing Meemaw’s house, but that’s Catherine’s problem now.
Selina makes her valiant return to The Tonight Show (in a phenomenal dress, by the way) where Adam Scott is our host. In a very un-Fallon like manner, Selina has to sit and smile while children read the meanest reviews of her book to her face — sort of a twist on the Jimmy Kimmel mean tweets, except she is ambushed with this experience. But whatever! Selina got credit for Tibet and it seems like she and Jaffar are doing great, so there’s really nothing to worry about except for the fact that Catherine is bleeding out of her incompetent cervix in an ambulance somewhere. I guess we’ll get to that next week.
Meanwhile, Jonah has been exiled to a hilariously miniature office as punishment for his shutdown antics. He struggles to find himself in Selina’s book because he thinks the index is sorted by first name — “Kent, I was looking up jobs because they’re important to the American people” — and then finds out he didn’t make the cut at all, even though “I ruined her administration, like, four times.” Sherman Tanz swings by to say he’s pulling all his financial support from Jonah and will be cutting off Shawnee if she doesn’t ditch her beloved, but Shawnee stands by her man because true love (?) and also because she has a trust fund.
Shawnee wants to move up the wedding so Jonah gets that circumcision. As he shakes off the fog of surgery and makes a great impression on his medical team (“I’m your doctor, and it’s shiksa”), Jonah’s life totally crumbles. Uncle Jeff arrives with so many brutal insults and nicknames for Jonah, I’m pretty sure he spent the entire drive to the hospital putting together the list in his head so he’d be ready to rattle them off the minute he got there. In addition to calling Jonah an “epileptic Picasso painting,” Jeff reports that golden child Ezra will be taking Jonah’s place on the ticket. Upon learning this, Shawnee IMMEDIATELY dumps Jonah. It must have been some kind of land-speed record. Uncle Jeff scream-laughs as Jonah contemplates both his short-term nightmare — six weeks without an erection — and the long-term one, wherein he is unemployed and has to attempt dating again.
A Few Other Things …
• Selina, gagging at Catherine’s pro-uterine unicorn tea or whatever: “Whatever happened to half a bottle of red wine and a pack of Virginia Slims?
• As everyone contributes items to a list of who hates Selina, Richard offers “white, working-class voters.”
• Kent rolls up to that congressional basketball league looking like he’s auditioning for a Wes Anderson movie about a congressional basketball league.
• Furlong, to Jonah, re: his basketball shorts: “Even Kobe Bryant wouldn’t rape you in those things.”
• Naturally, there is a copy error on the first page of Selina’s book.
• Dan can’t teach in high school because “girls these days just can’t keep a secret.”
• What does Uncle Jeff think of Sherman Tanz? “That human melted candle who puts the ‘Jew’ in ‘why people hate Jews.’”
• In other news, Danny Egan will no longer be waking up with us on CBS: This Morning because Jane is back in the chair. He, Kent, and Ben are the “three Meyersketeers” and who knows where these so-called genius operators will land next? Either way, Dan will probably get his teeth whitened.
Insult of the Episode
I’m going with Selina’s reaction to Catherine’s incompetent cervix diagnosis: “Well, why should the cervix be any different from the rest of her?”
A close second is Selina shouting at Mike: “WHY DID YOU WORK FOR ME, YOU STUPID MUSTACHE.”
Compliment of the Episode
Jane, after announcing to all the world that Selina negotiated the Tibet deal: “She’s a heroine for our times.”
Jonah Shall Henceforth Be Known As
The Creature From the Jizz Lagoon, h/t Uncle Jeff.