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Review: ‘Veep’ Predicts the Apocalypse With a Stunning Twist

The end is nigh. Jonah Ryan is... We can't even say it.

Lacey Terrell/HBO

LAST WEEK’S REVIEW: ‘Veep’ Season 5, Episode 7, ‘Congressional Ball’ Embraces Hate Sex

Immediate Reaction

My God, the Jolly Green Jizz Face is a Congressman. For weeks, we’ve been dreading this exact moment, and showrunner David Mandel fooled us brilliantly by knocking Jonah so far down in the polls only a Christmas miracle could save him. And then one did, in the form of the NRA.

While the harsh reality of the organization’s political power carries an even more infuriating weight considering today’s tragedy in Orlando, the series’ spot-on connection between evil’s support of stupidity (a pro-gun lobby supporting a man who literally shot himself in the foot) should be respected, even if it’s a bit too raw right now.

Beyond that, Selina’s abandonment of the factories, and thus the states housing them, will undoubtedly come back to bite her — even if she does win a “Nobel fucking Peace Prize.” It’s starting to feel as though the season-long question as to whether or not she’ll remain President will be answered in the negative, especially after an episode that showed how much “Veep” enjoys building us up for one thing only to swoop in at the end with Option B (or J, if we’re going by order of predictability). I mean, going into this season, did you ever expect to see Congressman Jonah Ryan?

Politically Correct Response

A delicate balancing act we knew better than to think could succeed failed in an unpredictable fashion, and one man we never expected to find power became frighteningly strong at episode’s end. After inviting Catherine and her Secret Service agent-turned-girlfriend Marjorie to an intimate family gathering at Camp David, President Meyer was secretly hard at work making the Chinese government happy in order to lock down her election. Jonah’s Congressional campaign appeared doomed, meaning she needed to procure votes in other states by building factories to support Chinese distribution deals.

And while that wasn’t exactly the most admirable legislative plan to begin with, it’s also not what happened. Selina’s coached blow-up turned legitimate convinced the delegates she was serious; so serious they agreed to “free Tibet” (though Swedish thorn Minna demanded that wasn’t the case) instead. Combine that with a surprise win for Jonah, and suddenly the thousands of factory worker jobs weren’t all that important. She can wrap up the Presidency with Jonah’s help, which, while an assumed slam dunk, will undoubtedly prove tricky (especially considering his campaign against her, and his disapproving uncle).

Yet what stood out about this mysterious episode was its ability to nimbly navigate both worlds while finding relevant ways to incorporate them. The running gag of Selina and Marjorie looking alike from behind served as a nice callback, but it had an immediate effect on the relationships at Camp David. Jonah’s campaign seemed like a write-off for Selina until he found a way to win and changed her priorities with the Chinese. Even Catherine’s pen, a gift to Selina that she re-gifted to the Chinese (Elaine would know better) was more important than merely a marker of the President and First Daughter’s fractured relationship. Camp David may be where some Presidents go to relax, but “Camp David” was an efficient piece of work for “Veep.”

Jonah Put-Down of the Week

Veep S508
“Back to the natural habitat your nitwit mother
found you in, you fucking shaved Sasquatch.”

“I could elect the Muslim AIDS virus.”
– Jonah’s Uncle

The first choice — in response to Dan saying Jonah should stand next to some trees as to have something as tall as he is close by — is primarily enjoyable for its construction (though remembering how many times Jonad has been compared to Bigfoot is a bonus). The latter comment, though, made as Jonah takes the stage for his victory speech, notes just how little Jonah’s uncle thinks of his nephew just as much as it denotes his own power. Jonah was unelectable, and he probably is unelectable in any other scenario than this.

But that’s exactly in line with “Veep’s” view of America’s political system: our elected officials are the worst, and how they end up in office is often inexplicable. Having Johnny Appledick in power may seem like the most terrifying idea imaginable, but realizing we already have dozens of Jonahs in Congress is far worse.

Simile of the Season

Rhetorical Abuse

“Jesus, those are your pajamas? That’s the outfit
I imagine when I’m trying not to cum.”
– Dan

Frankly, we only bring this up because a) yes, it’s incredibly rude, but more so that b) it lends some legitimacy to the outfit Amy wore in front of the congressional committee last year (“Testimony”), in what appeared to be an attempt at innocence perceived through clothing.

Power Rankings

Veep S508
1. Selina
 – All signs are pointing up (other than Catherine’s beach house rescue farm), but that likely means Selina’s in for a rude awakening these next two weeks. Enjoy it while it lasts, President Meyer.

2. Tom James
 – Unseen but certainly still present, Tom James’ is far from out of the game.

3. Catherine
 – “Not just goats: ducks…lame horses…emus…peacocks…llamas…”

4. Ben
 – “Delayed on the road ma’am. Presumably driving slowly and not using their signals.”

5. Kent
 – “Actually, the Chinese created the islands by piling sediment out of the sea…”

6. Amy
 – Amy clings to her spot above Jonah if only because she doesn’t have to deal with the moral fallout Dan does for being primarily responsible in electing him — and, yes, we know Dan has no morals. He’s still going to struggle.

7. Jonah
 – Congressman Ryan not only defeated an innocent widow, but also the imposing, mysterious Jon H. Ryan. (Bravo, Richard, for again slipping in a truly tremendous, if easily missed, aside.)

8. Dan
 – “Oh my God. I did this.” (no exclamation points)

9. Sue
 – I only assume Sue planned out every piece of this elaborate human puzzle at Camp David.

10. Richard
 – Will Richard actually be elevated to a position of power in the Ryan administration? He’s the ray of hope in the thunderstorm that is Jonah.

11. Gary
 – Gary’s face when Catherine asked why he was on the trip said it all.

12. Mike
 – Between the gum and the three babies on the way, this is not a good time to be Mike. Plus, you know, he’s not good with money.

Grade: A

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