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Veep – Shutdown Review: Selina Loses Control

On this week’s episode of Veep, audiences see Selina and her staff forced to deal with a government shutdown. The President ordered has ordered a shutdown, due to the staff’s lack of progress with their agenda. We find out later in the episode that he personally blames Selina for the shutdown, due to her recent behavior. Selina acts strangely throughout the episode in general, and at one point Amy even reveals to Dan that Selina has been taking anti-depressants recently and Amy has been having trouble dealing with her at times. Selina is angered by the situation at hand and attempts to make it right by light-heartedly furlough-ing everyone on her staff. Not being familiar with this phrase, it was a bit hard to catch on at first, but it seems that she was temporarily firing people and refusing to pay them, continuing to have fun while doing and not acting like herself at all. She is even surprised at something that Gary does, and as a big surprise to audiences, she furloughs Gary and tells him to leave the office. 

Along with the government shutdown, another situation arises when Gary must pick up Selina’s trash. He tells her about this in the following scene, only to find her confused and worried that some important trash of hers could be found by someone and leaked online. She conferences Gary in the other room, willing to tell only him the items in her trash that were so important that Gary needed to go to the dump in order to retrieve them for her. This seems like a silly thing, especially given how secretive she is about it; we never actually find out what valuable items got thrown away. The way it plays out, it seems as if she used something and threw it away, and would be embarrassed to have other people see what the Vice President threw away. Gary is ordered to go retrieve it since he is the only one Selina truly trusts and tells him what to look for. He brings along Jonah after he was not able to go to London  due to his inability to get his passport renewed during the government shutdown. 

Gary and Jonah encounter a man at the dump who refuses to return the trash to them unless they will do something in return. Jonah comes with the idea of letting him tour the White House, but the man feels that an appearance from Selina at the dump will make for good business, and he will not make a deal with them unless they are willing to get Selina down there. Selina ends up making an angry appearance at the end, but after hearing that it was Gary’s fault that the appearance was scheduled she decides to furlough him. Dan treats his furlough as an opportunity for some marketing and even gets a sort of job offer from Governor Chung when he goes to see the governer in Minnesota. 

We’ve seen the governer before, but it is even more apparent this time around that Selina should be nervous about him; we see him reveal more in this episode about wanting to take on staff members when he plans to run for president in the next election. It is particularly important that Dan schedule a meeting with him ensure that they are informed about the situation that had just occurred in his state of Minnesota, due to the government shutdown. It appears that an incident happened and had it not been for the shutdown, someone may have been able to prevent it. A man was killed by a bear, creating one of the main plot lines for the episode, in which much of the staff simply laughed it off saying that he must have been being careless. Mike is in charge of calling the widow, and her staff really wants Selina to have a chance to go see the widow in person in order to show that she cares, but Selina is not able to get there and instead is forced to make her appearance at the dump.

Selina seems to have truly lost control in this episode and is acting much on impulse; she does not seem to think about what she is doing at times. She also has a meeting with someone and jokingly mentions that a position in the cabinet might be in his future. This is someone who she is trying to make a deal with, but they do not seem to see eye to eye. He brings up an analogy of The Silence of The Lambs to fit their situation, asking if she is familiar with it and mentioning how Hannibal and Clarice were such different people but were still able to make things work in order to solve a case. He also makes a very sexist joke after Selina said that the movie scared her, mentioning how weird it was to see a female FBI agent, and Selina tried to play it off but it’s obvious that his comment bothers her. Being in a position of high authority, she is clearly entitled to feel insulted by such a comment, and I would have liked to see her stand up for herself after hearing something like that. Had this week’s Selina been on par with the way her character normally acts, it seems like she would have spoken up and insulted him back in some way. 

This episode is filled with comedic moments and while it’s a bit lacking in plot, it is certainly a pleasure to watch. After the serious events that have occurred in the recent episodes, it seems odd to spend an entire episode dealing with Selina’s trash and someone who was killed by a bear in Minnesota. Amy is certainly worried about Selina’s health, and I can’t help but wonder what is going on with Selina aisde from the issues with her ex-husband. One thing missing from this episode is her daughter and her ex-husband, who we heard her kissing at the end of the previous episode. This omission makes audiences wonder what happened to that plot device and how the writers are going to deal with it. Julia Louis-Dreyfus puts on a stellar performance as Selina in this episode, allowing her emotions to really get the best of her, rather than hiding how she feels. 

Thoughts and Quotes

— In an example of hilarious irony, Selina tells the staff: “We’re going to shut down the shutdown.”

— In reference to Dan and how he isn’t emotional after his furlough, Amy mentions that “he is like Spock, he doesn’t show his emotions.” This causes a reaction from Selina, who remembers how they used to be involved romantically, and she replies, “not even then.” Awkward!

— After coming back to the office Sue exclaims “I didn’t realize how good I was at this job until someone else did it so badly.” A jab at Gary who had been covering for her while she was away…ouch.

— Kent: “Were you laughing at the violent death of a young man?” In fact the staff did seem to be joking about how a man was killed by a bear…this seems awfully unprofessional.

— Selina: “I love that kind of misogyny. I love misogyny like that.” It certainly is out of place for Selina to say something like this, given her position as female VP. Normally, she would have been able to defend herself and it was sad to see that she could not in this instance.

— Still commenting on Dan’s lack of emotion, Amy mentions that she “saw him laugh once really hard when a security guard fell off his segway. Is laughter an emotion?”

— Selina: “Now I’m to blame because some goober got eaten up by a bear.” After finding out about the bear incident, Selina realizes that it may have been due to the government shut down, and she does not want to believe that she can somehow be blamed for someone having been killed by a bear. This is certainly understandable and I can see her point. 

Rating
8.4

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