When I saw the title for this week’s Veep, I assumed (having not read the description) that “Special Relationship” was how Selina would classify her controversial affiliation with Ray. I pictured the Veep hounded by press re: her muscly “wellness consultant”—the former finally paying the latter to return to one of his gyms to lunge and lift and sip his shakes in quiet, and not add a tell-all memoir to his esteemed bibliography (which includes titles like The 60-Day Shred and Get a Bod Like God).
Instead (or additionally), “Special Relationship” refers to the U.S. and U.K.’s unique dynamic, and proves an ironic title indeed given how hard Selina gets “Brit-fucked” in London. The trip is a catastrophe; the fallout, significant. As with Veep’s Silicon Valley jaunt in “Clovis,” the jokes here work like a telegraphed pass to a wide-open shooter—predictable but effective.
Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister is (wonderfully) condescending and snide, telling Selina at a pub that she looks like “a bitter [beer] person.” The red-faced natives pound pints and slur their words, shouting “Down in one!” (which sounds like “Danny Wa!”) as Selina slugs her beer. The press is as brutal as it is swift. There are no guns, and the plugs (according to Selina) “are bigger than the things they power.” These aren’t wildly original wisecracks, but credit the Veep writers for steering clear of teeth, food, and weather—the most well-trodden comedic terrain in London.
And hey, credit them for making shit happen after a slow week in “Detroit”—namely, two deep cuts to the Veep’s entourage. The biggest loss is Dan, whose reign on the top was shorter than Joffrey Baratheon’s. (Dan also goes nearly purple-faced choking on his fate.) Dan’s Achilles’ heel has always been not his lack of morals—the District is riddled with the (successful) ethically questionable, lest we forget politics’ root words—but his lack of empathy.
Two episodes ago when Selina made him campaign manager, Dan told her he’d once offed a stray dog on a dare. That he’d killed a dog wasn’t especially telling (though it did fortify the theory that Dan’s an actual sociopath); it was telling that Dan volunteered the story with a cat-who-ate-the-canary gleam in his eye, no clue how horrified Selina (or anyone else) would be. Likewise, Dan never considered how disgusted and hurt Selina might be to learn she’d been pimped out to Ray. If he had, Dan probably wouldn’t have risked his job just to draw her eye (among other parts) away from her ex.
The Iceman might be dead to the Veep, but his professional prospects haven’t altogether melted. Dan will likely make an overture to Chung next week. If that fails, he’ll move on down the line: Maddox, Baseball Joe. My money’s on Maddox taking him in, as Dan and Jonah working together could be a goldmine, conflict and comedy-wise.
On the other hand, Ray—who believes fat is sin manifested, and proves weirder and dumber than anyone thought possible—will fade back into political oblivion, at once saving and threatening Gary’s job. (Ray was on the verge of making Gary obsolete, but he’s also the one who fixed Gary’s shoulder.) Christopher Meloni has been a fun addition, but Ray is a small-doses kind of character, and a two-week stint feels right.
If it wasn’t Dan’s truncated tenure as campaign manager, the biggest surprise this week is what Amy has to do to seize the position—which, ironically, is to think and act and manipulate like Dan. Capitalizing on a sexy English accent/persona, she leaks the Ray story to Jonah, who passes it on to a local pressman too jaded and drunk not to run with it.
It will be interesting to see whether Amy thinks of this as a one-time ethical concession to grab the job that (in her mind) was rightfully hers, or whether it signals a curve in her moral backbone. Given the way being Dan worked out for Dan, let’s all hope for the former.
- BEN (on Ray talking to smart people): It’s like watching a goat try to use an ATM.
- RAY: I try to learn a word a day. I love words very … ardently.
- MIKE: Siri, how many horses died in the First World War?
- MIKE: The thing about German is that it stays with you. It’s like riding ein bike.
- RAY: You know, the brain is a muscle.
KENT: No it isn’t.
- MIKE: Dan had a nervous collapse. Amy’s taking him to the hospital. Ben went back to D.C. Kent’s firing Ray. And I’m in charge.
MIKE: I know, right?
- SELINA: Fat people don’t even vote. They can’t even be bothered to leave the house. There’s no food in the voting booth!
- SELINA (on Ray): I just got Brit-fucked by that balloon animal.