Selina and her comrades spend this episode being forced to do the one thing they might be the least equipped to do: They’re being held accountable for their no good, very bad, possibly unconstitutional behavior.
“Let me say to the American people,” Selina says, and already we know this is not going to be good/accurate. “There is not one ounce of truth to these allegations.”
I like that Veep breaks with standard procedure here and dedicates the entire episode to the House Judiciary Committee Hearing and the supplementary interviews to which Selina, staffers, and Catherine are subjected. We get the same sensation watching this as these characters have experiencing it: this claustrophobic, walls-closing-in, no-way-out feeling.
First, we hear the staffers we literally just watched do everything within their power to see to it that the Families First bill died like the kids of the bereaved parents who got that targeted mailer from Selina, insist that they fought oh so valiantly to make the bill pass. “If I had kids — which, actually, I do — this bill would be my baby,” Ben says. “We sweated a full transfusion of blood to pass the bill.”
Dan and Amy do a little semantics dance in an effort to distinguish themselves as consultants, not lobbyists; when Jonah is asked how he would characterize these two lovebirds (come on, they deserve each other), he offers this useless but fantastic read: “Ms. Bruckheimer is a strong, independent, flexible woman. Lord knows there aren’t enough of those in D.C. Dan Egan? He’s a solid five-and-a-half, six.” Dan sees right through Amy’s Amish pilgrim top and Spring Awakening hairstyle: “She can’t have believed this would work! She never looks this humble.”
What I really enjoy about this hearing is the unflappability of Ben. There’s so much bullshit flying around — of course, he is lying up a storm, too — but he is still a voice of, if not reason, reality. When he says, “You’re acting like there’s a correlation between what should happen and what actually happened,” my reaction is: This man just uttered the thesis of Veep.
The other thing I appreciate beyond measure, that I can only assume is a direct response to our regular listing of the best monikers Jonah earns every episode, is the extraordinary list of Jonah’s nicknames, collected by Dan. It is perfection. My favorites: Jizzy Gillespie, Jack and the Giant Jack-Off, One Erection (Jonah: “Do we have to go through all of these?”), The 60-Foot Virgin, Jonah Ono, Transgenderformers, Benedict Cuminhisownhand.
Our unceremoniously fired intern, Leigh, makes a triumphant return with some stellar one-liners, including, “The drama queen in me likes to say that they sacrificed me at Easter,” and “I value confidentiality and, paradoxically, I don’t care who knows it.” But shit gets real when she tells the committee about the leaked data on bereaved parents for the I Care mailer. Oooooh boy.
Gary shows up, only to be very overwhelmed by the whole situation (“It’s like a U2 concert!”) and reveal the heartbreaking fact that he thought these colleagues were his friends but they never were, a problem he’s had since middle school. Mike makes an appearance to weave quite the tangled web of lies about whatever medicine he could have been retrieving from his car at a key moment: “I want to say it’s called crouch cream, but that’s not right. It has a silhouette of a horse on it. I think it’s called Knee-Z?” His deleted voice memos are stored in the cloud, because of course they are.
I am not sure how to feel about Selina breaking off her daughter’s engagement for political expediency. I do like her exit line, though: “I have to go, I have to call the President of Africa. South Africa, specifically.”
The man who takes the fall for it all is Bill Erickson, whose awareness of this fact — “I’m a victim of snowballing!” — isn’t enough to save him. That’s what you get for firing Leigh!
And a few other things:
Kent: “Though it may appear that there was nothing going on, I can assure you there was lots going on underneath. Like a swan, or Professor Hawking.”
Selina, burning Gary yet again: “Gary has a very limited set of skills. Mainly I would say they are picking objects up and putting objects back down.”
“Unlike in reality, I would have gotten Iwo Jima right.” Sue for POTUS, Sue for everything, Sue for always.
Selina’s statement about the end of Catherine’s engagement: “This may be a good day for truth, but it’s a sad day for love.”
Tom James, ladies and gents: “Gary Walsh, you need to understand, is a 12-year-old boy, trapped in the body of a 12-year-old girl.”
Compliment of the episode:
Dan, on his OTP: “Sure, I love money. There’s something else that I love: a lady called the United States of America.”
Insult of the episode:
With everyone trying to save their own skin, this was a banner episode for insults. But top honors go to Dan, awkwardly trying to throw Gary under the bus: “He’s the bag man, but he’s also the, uhh, bad man.”
Jonah shall henceforth be known as:
His only contribution to the nickname list: “My college friends called me Tall McCartney.”