VEEP Review: “Camp David”

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In this week’s episode , Selina heads to Camp David for those promised secret indirect talks with the Chinese, bringing along her family for a little pre-Christmas getaway as a cover story. The talks are moderated by none other than Finnish Prime Minister Minna Häkkinen (Sally Phillips). Selina’s Nordic frenemy. It’s a decently funny episode, but failed to reach the heights of last week’s “Congressional Ball”.

Minna is the anti-Selina. She’s on friendly terms on her fellow world leaders—she and the Prime Minister of Kuwait even follow each other on Instagram. She’s honest to the point of bluntness sometimes, while Selina lies regularly, which gets her into trouble this episode. She tells Andrew, Monica, Katherine, and Marjorie that the visiting Chinese are the kitchen wait staff, prompting Katherine to explain her new raw vegan diet to the Chinese President.

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But that’s not the only misunderstanding this episode. Selina’s striking similarities to Marjorie finally pay off in a pretty hilarious way. The Chinese gifted Selina with an antique kimono, which she gives to Marjorie as Christmas present, attempting to one-up the sleazy Andrew who somehow managed to buy her a first edition Gertrude Stein. Minna and the Chinese later walk past Katherine making out with Marjorie, who’s wearing the kimono. They think it’s Selina, and get so offended they threaten to call off the talks.

Selina thinks they’re upset about Katherine treating them like kitchen staff, so she attempts to defend her to the horrified Minna. When Selina finally does sit down with the Chinese, she storms off—a power move Minna advised her on turned into a real angry exit, as she sees Andrew cozying up to Katherine. When Katherine inherited Selina’s mother’s estate, she came into a ton of money, and Andrew wants to use it for his Brazilian resort scheme. Even though Selina may ignore and belittle Katherine, she really does care about her deep down.

The Chinese, so shaken by her powerful exit, decide to offer up something bigger than the factories in Ohio and North Carolina they were originally negotiating in exchange for lifting the sanctions. They’re willing to talk about Tibet. Selina sees this as an opportunity to win a Nobel Peace Prize and leave behind a man on the moon caliber legacy, so of course she’s ecstatic. Minna repeatedly reminds her they aren’t actually talking about freeing Tibet and expresses concern for the unemployed workers in Ohio and North Carolina, but whatever! According to Selina, they should have gone to college.

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In New Hampshire, Jonah wins the election! How did this “shaved Sasquatch” pull it off? He shot himself in the foot during a campaign stop. He literally shot himself, ending up in the hospital. However, when the widow Sherman joked on TV that guns are dangerous, the NRA threw their considerable support behind Jonah, blanketing the state with anti-Judy Sherman ads. Jonah wins, and promptly turns his victory speech into an attack on all those who’ve hated on him in the past.

Congrats, Jonah! However, I had a few issues with this conclusion to the special election storyline. First, it felt a bit rushed. I wish we could have seen him debate Mrs. Sherman—we just see a clip of him violently shoving an apple in her face, an attempt at Richard Splett-like humor gone horribly wrong. Next, I wish Jonah would have won through some efforts from his campaign team. Dan and Amy do nothing this episode except occasionally yell at him. They’re saved by the deus ex machina of the NRA.

But I suppose with only two episodes left, the writers needed to wrap it up. Now that Jonah has won, he’s promised to personally deliver the vote that will make Selina President, but he did campaign by attacking her. There’s three ways this season could end: Selina becomes President, Tom James becomes President and Selina is once again Veep (which would be deliciously ironic), or O’Brien wins and next season focuses on her life after politics. I have no idea which ending the show’s heading towards, but I can’t wait to find out.

TB-TV-Grade-B+
Season 5, Episode 8 (S05E08)
Veep airs Sundays at 10:30PM on HBO

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lives for two things: spreading the “Superstore” gospel and themed “Law & Order: SVU” marathons on USA.

Twitter: @jtrof

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