Veep Recap: A Potential Tragedy


Storms and Pancakes
Season 4 Episode 6
Editor’s Rating 5 stars


Storms and Pancakes
Season 4 Episode 6
Editor’s Rating 5 stars
Photo: HBO

Are we surprised Tom is such a charmer on the campaign trail? Selina, normalizer-in-chief, can barely shake hands and smile simultaneously without stumbling. But Tom — dashing, easygoing, charismatic Tom — is winning all the hearts and minds. The headlines are all, “Tom James: Best POTUS We Never Had.” The New York Times profile of Tom calls him a “lone wolf.” Even though, as Tom points out, “a wolf is actually a pack animal. I’m more of a lone squirrel.”

Selina is happy that he’s such a hit, but also peeved that no one is giving her credit for choosing so well. (Never mind that Tom was, as we all know, Amy’s pick.) Her VP is stealing her spotlight. “Headline thought: I want more headlines.”

Selina, making an already awkward situation exponentially more awkward, entertains a very dangerous line of thought. She pulls Gary aside to tell him about the “sexual tension on this bus.” Gary, clueless and eager, a puppy in human form, is like “froooom..?” And then he just says “Exactly!” emphatically so Selina can’t tell that he’s not quite sure what she’s talking about. Clearly Selina has studied the Cher Horowitz Book of Romantic Body Language because she points out that Tom crossed his leg toward her. (Gary: “Totally. Totally.”)

In a not exactly shocking twist, Selina reveals to Gary that, 12 years ago, she and Tom, well, they almost … “Kissed?” Gary asks. “Fucked,” Selina says.

Meanwhile, a literal storm is brewing, one that’s going to, as Ben puts it, “take North Carolina from behind.” Don’t worry, everybody, Mike has a weather app! Ben is also alone in the office with Sue while the rest of the gang is on the campaign trail, and the loneliness is getting to him. Sue, Queen, has no tolerance for his boredom. He tells her it’s “so quiet in here. It’s like a morgue full of dead librarians,” and she just says, “I like the quiet, sir. It allows me to get things done when I am busy, like I am now.”

First, Tom and Selina participate in this healthy bike-ride thing. Selina is concerned about her abilities — “I can’t fall off. I don’t want to break a tit. They weren’t cheap.” — but Tom isn’t so great at bike riding either. Well, he did the Tour of Italy in 2008, but “my mountain times were embarrassing.” And later, Tom completely humiliates Selina by flirting with her but not remembering their romantic almost-tryst at all. Zero tension as far as Tom is concerned! Selina is mortified (but really, who wouldn’t be?).

Mike’s press release about Amy’s departure said she resigned because she was mentally unstable, even though she is clearly the sanest person in Selina’s batshit orbit. She retaliates by texting Mike that he looks sweaty on TV. Kent is fascinated by all of this: “I wish I understood vendettas. They’re so time-consuming.”

Amy’s moving on with her life, or at least, she’s trying to, landing a job through Dan at PKM. She’s already dressing for theme, wearing the black-white-gray color palette that makes her practically disappear into the walls. But she can’t let go of her past, following Selina’s movements the way you Facebook stalk an ex, irritated to see that Selina is implementing all the ideas that, when Amy suggested them, “got shot down like a hang glider over the Pentagon.” She’s there to provide access to the White House, or, as she calls it, “that backstabbing madhouse.”

Dan throws himself a party to announce his return to — what, exactly? Public life? Being a normal person? Anyway, he is BACK, like denim and the measles! His party looks vaguely depressing. Amy hates D.C. In the grand tradition of blonde, white girls everywhere, she literally can’t even.

Dan responds to this scenario with actually solid advice: “The best way to get revenge on these people is to use them to make a shitload of money. Mark Twain said that!” Amy might say she hates this godforsaken sweaty swamp town, but Dan knows better. She screams because it feels so good to scream — true story! But be careful where you try it — and oops, this makes Dan look like a maybe-rapist and the police come out. At ease, officers! Everything here is just fine.

Next stop on the campaign trail: a pancake breakfast! Why are these such campaign staples, anyway? Who decided the best way to get a read on a potential POTUS is to see how they man a flapjack station? Tom, of course, “is some sort of pancake genius.” Then Tom suggests going straight to North Carolina so they can be on the ground as soon as the hurricane passes. “This is a potential tragedy that could be great for you,” Ben says.

As is the law of the Veep universe, all good ideas produce atrocious political results: The storm misses North Carolina and hits Florida instead, where Selina’s opponents are, and Selina’s state of emergency was requested for nothing.

I absolutely love the Jonah story line in this episode, vicious as it is: Jonah finds out that there is a class-action lawsuit against Teddy and he’s asked to testify. Except, insult to ball-grabbing injury, all of Teddy’s other victims are women. Tall women with Jonah-style haircuts. “I feel like I got felt up again, but this time by the law.”

And a few other things:

  • How perfect is Selina’s contradictory campaign slogan: “Continuity With Change.”
  • Richard would read Doyle’s terrible memoir. He loves to read.
  • Selina, to Tom: “Your bike is a lot bigger than mine. I should be riding in a basket like ET.” 
  • Amy’s attempt at spa relaxation lasts approximately seven minutes, half of which she spends on the phone: “Did I tell you I slept in? Well, I got up early, but then I stayed in bed looking at Politico. That site has turned to shit.”
  • Go, Amy! Getting Dan’s clients and his desk and his parking spot? Hero.

Compliment of the Episode: Amy, to Dan, about his party: “Well, this is a soulless parade of vanity and ambition.” Dan’s reply, “Yeah, isn’t it great? Sliders are good, too.”

Runner-up: Gary, to Selina, about Tom’s prowess at the pancake breakfast: “You are Beyoncé. He is backup booty.”

Insult of the Episode: Amy, at the party, to some bitch who expected Amy “to be in a straitjacket”: “I hope your vagina falls off!”

Jonah shall henceforth be known as: a middle-age woman, apparently.

Veep Recap: A Potential Tragedy