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Review: ‘Veep’ Season 4 Episode 3, ‘Data,’ Cans a White House Staffer

Review: 'Veep' Season 4 Episode 3, 'Data,' Cans a White House Staffer

LAST WEEK’S REVIEW: ‘Veep’ Season 4 Episode 2, ‘East Wing,’ Starts a Guessing Game

Immediate Reaction: 

Not Dan! Not again! I mean, anyone getting the axe is better than Ben going down, but to see Dan put out of commission once more (last year he was put on leave after blowing up about abortion) was hard to watch. Of course, it would be hard to watch anyone be bested by Jonad of all idiots, but at least we know Dan has the lack of morals to get a new job no matter what. Plus, with the cyclical nature of politics, I bet he’s back in Selina’s camp by the end of the year (even if Selina’s out of the White House, as the Onion so hilariously predicted). 

Politically-Correct Reaction:

“Data” built from nothing to a category five hurricane faster than Ben can run in heels. What started as an innocent, PR-building interview on CBS This Morning quickly spun into a little girl’s ruined life, an “investigation” into a medical data leak, the firing of an innocent Kent-like staffer, the discovery of another, separate, bigger leak and finally the slaughtering of Big Goat/Head Dan. Though clearly we haven’t seen the end of the scandal’s effects (on Dan, at the very least), the whopping impact of the episode was only matched by the speed in which its events came about. “Veep” has always been constructed of fast decisions made by faster mouths, but it’s usually a lot of work for little or no substantial change (which is often the point of this vicious satire). Here, there’s the actual tragedy of what happened to the HIV-positive girl scaled against the political tragedy of what happens to Dan (and Lee). Writers Simon Blackwell, Rob Gibbons and Neil Gibbons as well as episode director Becky Martin and showrunner Armando Iannucci all deserve accolades for making the usual huffing and puffing carry real weight.

Jonah Put-Down of the Week

“He’s got that whole inherently guilty look: the surprise masturbator face.”
“Yeah, he does. Do it. Get rid of him. Throw him under the bus, if you can find one long enough.”

With apologies to Patton Oswalt’s Teddy, whose “I am Groot” crack was also top tier, Dan needs a win against Jonah right now. His facial impersonation is one to be savored, as well, and Selina’s piling on in the Jonah bashing only helped solidify the best insult to Jonad yet this year.

Simile of the Season

“They loved it, Ma’am. You were like a rock star.
Not Sting, um, Kurt Cobain. Well, not him.”

“It was my rally, okay? My supporters.
It’s like getting a Valentine from your own mom.”

Mike did not have a good week. Between being taken to task by Sue and repeatedly corrected in public by the President (first when he claimed to try to warn her about the HIV story and then soon after the above quote when he questioned her immediate decision with a rhetorical question), his day-to-day was more embarrassing than when his dyed mustache bled on live TV. Still, his blunders lead to a simile that topped last week’s Facetime take-down, making it the No. 1 comparison of the young season.

Rhetorical Abuse

“Don’t give me that bunker shit. Hitler went into a bunker and when he came out he wasn’t Chancellor anymore, was he? Plus, he was dead! And I’ll tell you something, if he were alive right now he’d be very anxious to distance himself from me!”

In “Data,” President Meyer compared herself to Hitler and “Rodney Fucking King,” two men’s names you may not have expected to hear before the episode began. With the former example, Selina illustrated just how passionate she was about holding power (in case there was any doubt before). In her mind, losing the presidency is worse than death, as outlined by her fear of a “bunker” mentality above. What will she do if she loses this election? How will she cope? Can she? It’s bad enough how she’s treating Catherine while in the White House — “Are you bullying me into getting me to drop an anti-bullying charity?” — but imagining what would happen to her poor daughter if Selina thinks to blame her for being kicked out of office is downright terrifying. 

Power Rankings

1) Ben Cafferty
– Ben may have nearly gotten sacked, but it was his decision to do so. What’s really troublesome is that he’s now next on the chopping block after Bill suggested he be kept around should something else go wrong — and something else always goes wrong. 

2) Amy Brookheimer
– When it was time to fire someone, only Ben and Amy were kept in the room with the President. Clearly, they’re her top two people, even if Bill Ericsson has her ear, as well.

3) Bill Ericsson
– Bill very nearly ascended to the top of the charts this week, but instead fought to keep Ben around. Why? Because he wasn’t Ben’s immediate successor. It’s better to keep the Chief of Staff around until Bill is next-in-line for the job than try to knock off two CoS’s to get there.

4) Sue Wilson
– Sue is on a serious upswing. She gave Mike a dressing down and continues to run an efficient, effective office. She may be the only person around who could ask for a raise and get one.

5) Kent Davison
– Apparently Kent’s praises aren’t enough to save even an unimportant junior staffer. That can’t speak highly of his influence.

6) Mike McClintock
“Where did HIV come from?”
“I think some guy fucked a monkey.”
(Mike had a bad week.)

7) Gary Walsh
– After a near disaster last week, Gary got back to business-as-usual in “Data.” Other than talking over Dan, he asserted himself humbly as Selina’s loyal assistant, picking out her clothes and fetching her a midday treat with vigor. 

8) Jonah Ryan
– It’s worth noting Jonah was borderline eager to be fired after Dan witnessed Teddy groping his balls. “So, you were firing me…” Jonah said after the incident, attempting to change the topic to one preferable to a discussion of sexual harassment. 

9) Dan Egan
– The impossible has happened. Someone has dropped below Jonah on the totem pole. If Dan gets a job next week — even if it’s as Teddy’s personal sex puppet — expect him to be at least one notch higher here. It hurts too much to see Jonah on the upswing.

Grade: A

READ MORE: 8 Things You Never Knew About the Supporting Cast of ‘Veep’

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