Veep recap: “Tehran”

Things get off to a surprisingly good start in the fourth episode of this season, with Selina knocking it out of the park on her Middle Eastern peace tour.

Her ratings are through the roof, while recently fired Dan watches her success glumly from his couch as he continues the job hunt and throws back beers.

Though it does seem that Dan isn’t the only one suffering at the hands of Selina’s success. Ben is basically the walking dead – forced to act swiftly as the President’s right hand man, though it’s been days since he’s slept.

“I’m so tired I could sleep a horse… or whatever that word thing is,” he says, as he pops Ambien like m&ms. Gary, not surprisingly, is in full mom mode, as Selina has yet to sleep either, although for her it seems to be due to excitement.

She refuses to rest and even makes me antsy as I watch her dance around the cabin of Air Force One as if she’s hopped up on something.

via HBO

via HBO

Back at home the B team is put into action while Selina and her crew are away, and all appear to be struggling under the pressure. Bill steps in for Mike, standing before the press. And he comes off defensive as he cuts off a reporter, finishing her sentence in order to discredit a claim.

However, this does pave the way for a quintessential Sue one-liner, one she epically cuts off Kent to make. As he notes: “The finishing sentences thing is…” she quickly remarks: “Irritating? Very. But sometimes necessary when people are being slow or dull.” Slow clap.

The Veep steps up in Selina’s absence, giving a speech alongside NBA star Freddy Wallace (LaMonica Garrett) for the Rainbow Jersey event – to promote all sexualities in sports.

However, the staff didn’t even attempt to rewrite the equality speech, which was tailored to the President. He clearly struggled to change details to fit himself – such as when he awkwardly credited his college gay friends with teaching him how to dance to Madonna.

The most cringe-worthy moment came when he is corrected by the NBA guest, who notifies him of the more inclusive “LGBTQ,” which catches the VP off-guard, because he clearly doesn’t know what the Q stands for.

via HBO

via HBO

Selina’s still riding high through all of this though… as she toasts champagne (or “sparkling water” so as not to offend the host country of Iran she’s waiting in) at her high ratings while waiting for the release of a detained journalist – Leon West (Brian Huskey) – who happens to be a big thorn in the side of the White House.

However, she was excited to end her successful trip on a high note with a lovely photo op assisting the release of the American journalist after he had been detained in Iran. However, everything begins to fall apart as Leon does a bit of math once finally aboard Air Force One.

He realizes that his release being delayed a day coincides with Selina’s trip to Iran being delayed a day, meaning she kept an American journalist detained in a foreign country simply for the photo op.

While she launches into panic mode over this slip-up, it’s revealed back at home that despite POTUS promising the exact opposite, Kent has been polling Doyle’s popularity with voters. Of course Jonah finds out and leaks it to the press by order of Teddy – as he now lives in constant fear of the man and his powerful grip.

via HBO

via HBO

There’s also quite the brutal scene wherein Kent and Bill – via an almost Mean Girls-style speaker phone setup – try to get Jonah to confess that he leaked the story about Veep. However, he misunderstands, and thinks they want him to report Teddy’s sexual harassment, which he does while riding in a cab with Richard and Leon’s mother… and over a speaker phone to the two of them, as well as Sue who was taking notes.

And at this point we’ve fully reverted to flustered Selina, who orders Air Force One to take off, so that she can keep the recently released detainee-journalist onboard in order to prevent him from leaking his negative story – aka she detains him again.

In the process, she leaves behind Gary and Mike who had stepped off of the plane to check on the press – and who now find themselves stranded in Iran. They make an attempt to gain the journalists’ favor with miniature bottles of alcohol, so they could join their flight… but drop the bags of illegal paraphernalia on the way and end up sufficiently grounded.

To cover up Kent’s screw up, he and Bill decide to reveal details of the data breach to the vice president, sucking him into the scandal. Selina – initially furious – eventually gives in to the plan to turn her attention back on Leon.

However, Amy is not quite as pleased with the decision when Sue informs her later in the night, as she vents to Dan: “I feel like I’m on a life support machine and they keep pulling the plug to charge their phones,” before the pair order tequila shots at a bar.

They spent the day together following Dan landing a new gig, as a smarmy “consultant,” who immediately went head to head with his former teammate – Amy – on TV that same night. “I’m sorry you got fired,” Amy says before the two go on air. “You were almost good at your job… which really made you stand out.”

Everything comes together somehow – Ben assures the President he’d take care of Leon, noting: “I’m gonna treat him like my own brother, who I had murdered in ’86.” But immediately following the landing and subsequent press conference Selina is bombarded by everyone who was left in DC and is now desperate to speak with her – including daughter Catherine who just became engaged to older boyfriend Jason (Michael Torpey).

via HBO

via HBO

But everyone is thrown off once again, as they are introduced to Selina’s newest staff member – and old lawyer colleague Karen Collins (Lennon Parham) – who ‘specializes in common sense.’ Of course no one on the ground – Amy, Bill, Mike – knew she was hired, but all act as if they did to save face — though to be fair Amy then went “outside to scream into the night.”

POTUS is not having ANY of this engagement news, and brushes right past that to get to her old friend Karen. She looks relieved to see the new staffer – and old friend – and ready to put her life in her hands, which is troubling as we’ve seen her lose her focus in such a way before, such as with Ray (Christopher Meloni) – although as a viewer, that was a delight.

Sound bites:

“In my family, basketball is religion, also – catholicism. That’s actually the main one.” – Richard, expressing excitement over the event with NBA star Freddy Wallace

“I could not be more likable if I had given both of my kidneys to some sick kid.” – Selina, on her high polls following peace trip

“I’m supposed to have my finger on the button, but for all I know, it’s been rewired, and I’m just operating some sort of light in a closet somewhere.” – Selina, after she finds out about the Veep drama… and Bill and Kent’s plan to “fix” it

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