This episode of VEEP had its moments, but suffered from a plot with story beats so familiar, it’s hard to really invest in what’s going on. Selina goes to a crown prince’s funeral in Qatar, where she runs into her old Ambassador Al Jaffar, who once again offers to help her with an international deal, only to have it once again fall apart spectacularly. A comedy can overcome familiar story beats if the jokes remain fresh, but the jokes weren’t exactly firing on all cylinders. The ensemble was largely sidelined—Amy, Mike, and Gary are on the trip, but aren’t given much to do.
Selina attends the funeral, where things go off the rails right away. She deftly avoids shaking hands with a Sudanese warlord, only to have him photo bomb her. The media runs that picture, causing Selina to ask her entourage to find her the opposite of warlord—Richard offers up “peace lady”, so Amy finds a Sudanese dissident who speaks out against civil rights abuses by the very same warlord. Unfortunately, this crisis strikes when Katherine and Marjorie are trying to announce that they’re pregnant over Skype. Selina doesn’t seem to be aware (or perhaps just doesn’t care) that she’s going to be a grandmother, but Richard’s happy he can stop masturbating.
Selina speaks to the dissident, a female who’s clearly seen some shit and really shouldn’t be putting up with Selina—Selina comments on her on her curtains. She responds that they’re made from her husband’s death shroud. Selina calls it a touching tribute, she tells her “it was a purposeful desecration of the man who beat and raped me.” Selina, always needing the last word, tells her “well, they go with everything.” Selina’s plane is delayed, but luckily Jaffar is there to send a private plane to pick her up, so they can discuss an international deal.
Sudan has mineral deposits that would be useful to China, so Jaffar needs Selina to broker the deal. The two also sleep together—completely approve of this by the way, after the way Andrew treated her, she deserves a rich boy toy. And this subplot is worth is just to see Gary’s face when Selina asks him for the Qatari equivalent of the morning after pill is—she thinks it’s probably stoning. President Lu stops by Jaffar’s yacht to negotiate the deal. He conveniently can speak English now, after pretending to only speak Chinese to brush Selina off previously. Selina tells him that in order for the deal to go through, he’s going to have include her on the Tibet-China negotiations, the prize Montez stole for her.
Selina has it all—the international clout, the hot guy, and Tibet. But of course, it can’t last for long. She’s ready to give a speech about human rights, denouncing the Sudanese warlord, because Montez wouldn’t do it in her visit. But Jaffar tells her last minute that the warlord is in the audience of the speech and if she attacks him too harshly, he’ll call off the deal. Selina changes her speech on the fly, brushing off the country’s practice of forced female circumcision by saying that she’s sure they have their reasons, but the deal still falls through. Her international reputation, which she said was the only thing she had left, is now in ruins.
This would be funnier if it wasn’t so predictable. The show wouldn’t be funny if Selina and her team were competent, scoring wins and beloved by all. But at this point, it would be nice to see her succeed at something, if only to mix things up narratively. However, once again, things are going great for Jonah and Dan. Jonah’s now engaged, invited Furlong’s dinner, and the head of a caucus of congressmen. Dan’s now the main host of CBS This Morning, as he gets Jane fired by talking to HR about her sexual harassment. It’s amusing stuff, but how long they can stay on top remains to be seen.
Season 6, Episode 06 (S06E06)
Veep airs Sundays at 1030PM on HBO
Jennifer Trofa | Contributor