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Review: ‘Veep’ Debuts Catherine’s Documentary, Shocks the World

Catherine's film is finally unveiled in a devastating episode for Selina and a triumphant entry for "Veep."

Julia Louis-Dreyfus & Anna Chlumsky in "Veep" Season 5 Episode 9

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Anna Chlumsky in “Veep.”

Lacey Terrell/HBO

LAST WEEK’S REVIEW: ‘Veep’ Predicts the Apocalypse With a Stunning Twist

Immediate Reaction

Considering how well Season 5 of “Veep” has honored the spirit of its prior years, we really should’ve seen this coming: an episode not only dedicated to Catherine’s oft-mentioned and just as oft-forgotten documentary, but an episode told wholly from her perspective. Season 4 saw the show shift perspective in “Testimony,” as the Meyer camp was depicted via public video from C-SPAN and recorded depositions rather than the typical all-access roaming camera. That was the season’s ninth episode, so again: We should’ve seen this coming.

Of course, even if we did, there was no way to prepare for the flood of information, big — like Mike’s impending dismissal — and small — like meeting Ben’s wife! “Kissing Your Sister” was chockfull of everything that fans have come to love about “Veep,” only told from a fresh perspective. Plus, just to appreciate the diegetic construction of the film, could this video be any more Catherine? That llama…”Marjorine Films”…it’s just…perfect.

Politically Correct Response

After eight episodes of political maneuvering, it all came down to Jonah Ryan. Okay, so maybe there was more to it than that, but oh how fitting it was that Selina Meyer’s emergency parachute — in the form of Bill O’Brien winning so she could run again in four years — was cut to shreds by her arch-nemesis. Contrasted nicely (well, viciously, which is “Veep’s” version of “nice”) by Catherine’s joyful reunion with Marjorie, Selina’s moment of comeuppance came after an episode spotlighting her lifelong quest for power. Not only did it reframe the season via extended highlights (stolen by Catherine’s well-hidden camera), but it aptly chronicled significant moments prior to Season 5, from Selina’s first congressional win to Amy’s infamous speech from Season 4.

More intriguing still is the question posed to these soon-to-be ex-White House staffers: “What’s next?” With a Selina Meyer loss, where does “Veep” go from here? HBO has renewed its awards darling for Season 6, but with so much of the series geared toward her slow climb to the brink of power, what will the focus be, when all reasonable hope of her obtaining the office she backed into is gone? Showrunner David Mandel (as well as this week’s script from Erik Kenward) proved this week he’s willing to pose the question, which — after a year so steeped in the best developments and plot drivers that make “Veep” “Veep” —indicates to us he’s got some great answers waiting — starting with next week’s finale.

Jonah Put-Down of the Week

Veep S508

“You are already dead. What you do now,
you do for your family.” – Selina

It was the conviction in Selina’s voice that sold the above line. As it reads, there’s not a lot there — even if you ascribe it to so many action movies with similar statements of the “this time it’s personal” variety. I mean, there aren’t even any curse words. And this is “Veep”! But Jonah’s massive election day mistake will forever distance him from Selina, if not the entire Meyer administration, and her statement made that very rupture quite clear.

Rhetorical Abuse

“A lot of people don’t like Nixon, but by God, they respect him.
And that’s you, Peanut.”
– Selina’s father, as told to us by Selina

This could not have been the first time Selina told this story, but it sure felt like the first time she realized that it wasn’t 100 percent positive. In fact, it’s downright cruel. Who would tell their daughter that “a lot of people” don’t like her? Papa Meyer, that’s who; the man who married the woman Selina spent her life loathing. But who would go into politics if she thought people didn’t like her? Selina Meyer, that’s who; the woman who had a mini-aneurysm when she found out her nicknames in Season 1, and yet somehow survived “C***gate” this year.

Power Rankings

Hugh Laurie in "Veep" Season 5 Episode 9

1. Tom James
 – We’re staring down the barrel of a Tom James presidency…unless Selina can get his opponent elected.

2. Catherine – I don’t know if “Kissing Your Sister: The Story of a Tie” will run the table at Sundance, but the newest director of films for “people who want to be sad” should get quite the reaction for her debut.

3. Selina
 – While it seems plausible to drop Selina to the bottom of the list — after all, her “political window slams shut the second I can’t wear sleeveless dresses” — the timing of “Kissing Your Sister” leaves a door open for her resurrection, even if what happened in Episode 9 does not.

4. Ben
 – “I guess I’ve got a thing for nurses.”

5. Kent
 – Kent becomes more and more fascinating every season. A motorcycle gang? Kent?

6. Amy
 – Amy, stop going after Dan! Come on! You are so much better than that.

7. Jonah
 – “How am I doing? Eating so much pussy I’m shitting clits.” — possibly the most disgusting line Jonad’s ever uttered, and, yes, I know there are options.

8. Dan
 – “Hey, girl.”

9. Richard
 – Terrified of being racially insensitive with this observation, but I’m 99 percent sure that’s Randall Park, aka Danny Chung, in Richard’s Gilbert and Sullivan annual show.

10. Sue
 – Probably a smart move to keep her face out of a video bound to stir controversy, but we can’t reward Sue for being absent when we always want more of her.

11. Gary
 – At least Alabama voted for Selina. Maybe Gary has more power than we thought.

12. Mike
 – Mike! Why are you so bad with money?! Oh, it hurts so much to watch you redo that room, time and time again, all while your boss plots to fire you. Oh, Mike. Oh, dear, sweet, Mike.

Grade: A

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