Veep Recap: You Never Know When You'll Need A Secret Spare Phone
Hey there, Wonketariat! I’m here to recap season three of HBO’s “Veep” because the Editrix can’t do everything around here. Her loss is my gain! Let’s pop a recap in yo ass, shall we?
When last we met Selina and the gang, the times they were a-changin’. HBO helpfully reminds us of this in a “Previously” segment, right after the remodeled theme song, which is the old theme song but in a slightly more triumphant key. The mysterious POTUS has decided to pull an LBJ and not run for another term in office, even though he is able to do so under the 22nd Amendment. While “Veep” seeks to keep its characters free of party affiliation, this little tell means that POTUS is totally a Democrat, because only Democrats step down after scandals (well, there was that one Republican).
Season Three opens with Selina at a book-signing event in Iowa. The book, Some New Beginnings: Our Next American Journey, is Selina’s most public signal that she is running for President. That and the fact that she is in Iowa, where she asks Hapless Iowa Advance Man to identify caucus-goers among the great unwashed masses lining up for her autograph.
Meanwhile, in an undisclosed location presumably outside Flyover Country, we see Dan, Gary, and a totally preggers Amy at Mike’s wedding. Is Amy pulling off this form-fitting-dress-while-embarrassado thing? She is! Because Amy is the best, and we are all in love with her.
Amy says that Selina has “never been away so long without us before,” and Dan cracks wise that “this is what it will be like when our kids go to college too, huh sweetie?” and Amy says “dream the fuck on, Dan,” but it’s not very convincing. WILL THEY OR WON’T THEY!? (They already have.) Then Dan and Amy introduce us to this week’s B plot, wherein they both reveal that they would like to be Selina’s campaign manager.
Mike is marrying a reporter named Wendy who we had totally forgotten existed, but Wendy is played by Kathy Najimy, aaaahhhhhh! Peggy Hill/the funny nun from Sister Act in the hizzouse, y’all! Kathy Najimy is like ranch dressing: she is good on everything.
Wendy insists that everyone put their phones in a bowl for the duration of the wedding, because she is not a monster (yet). Amy and Dan reluctantly give up their phones, but when Wendy moves away, Dan pulls out his spare phone to track a hot rumor about Secretary of Defense Clay Davis Maddox. Dan snarks to Amy that a good campaign manager is always one step ahead, and Amy shout-talks that she is VERY DISAPPOINTED ABOUT YOUR SPARE PHONE, DAN, because a good campaign manager also knows how to shine a spotlight on her opponent’s missteps.
Back in Iowa, Selina is tracking the same rumor as Dan while trying to hide her disdain for the American people. She calls Mike, who puts her on the phone with Wendy. Selina is super-dismissive to Wendy, who manages the phone call with help from Gary.
Cut to the West Wing, where number-cruncher Kent is out of the loop about the Maddox rumor and feeling sadface. Sidebar: can we talk about Gary Cole’s hair? Outstanding hair, Gary Cole.
Selina is asked to sign a book with the message, “To Alice: this is to get you back,” and that’s just about all of We the People that the Veep can handle today. She asks Hapless Iowa Advance Man to make up a story about why she has to leave the book signing, and he manages to do a worse job than Gary and Mike usually do, which is not easy if you think about it. Selina heads back to her hotel and tries to call her team for info on the Maddox rumor.
Selina’s call goes to Gary, who is right in the middle of the standard First Corinthians reading at Mike’s wedding and does not pick up. Mike and Wendy recite their odd vows as Selina kills time in her hotel room, out of the Beltway and out of the loop. Foul-mouthed White House Chief of Staff Ben arrives at Selina’s hotel room, all swears and threats like a good Chief of Staff should be. Ben reveals that he’s in Iowa to attend the funeral of a Congressman, and he and Selina share a larf about how short the Congressman was. BONDING!
In the men’s room at Mike’s wedding, Dan is washing his hands when Jonah walks in. Jonah clumsily admits that he is behind a new DC gossip site, then says that he has to get back out to the wedding because women at weddings are like ripe fruit and he is a “sex wasp.” Jonah declines to wash his hands after peeing, because we are supposed to hate Jonah. NOT GONNA DO IT, I LOVE JONAH.
Meanwhile, Ben and Selina are signing copies of her book and more BONDING occurs. Ben tells Selina to be herself while simultaneously positioning himself as “a pretty good strategy guy” for her campaign. He also advances the B plot by suggesting a veteran campaign manager who is neither Dan nor Amy, and wouldn’t you know it, the magic campaign manager will also be at the Congressman’s funeral! To the death ceremony!
Mike’s wedding has progressed to the point where the bride and groom are taking photos with friends, who do not include Jonah, but Jonah totally tries to get in the photo anyway. Jonah snarks on the photographer’s Canon 5D when Amy’s secret spare phone goes off. She had stashed it in her stockings, which totally turns Dan on. US TOO, DAN. And Amy’s secret phone has big news: Secretary Clay Davis Maddox has just resigned. As everyone dives for their confiscated phones, Jonah snaps a photo and posts it to his gossip site.
Ben and Selina ride to the funeral and yell at Hapless Iowa Advance Man for being so hapless. Meanwhile, Amy is “Hendrix texting” behind her back, which further impresses and turns on Dan. Amy remarks that this is something a good campaign manager can do, so now Dan does what Amy did earlier in the episode by figuring out a non-phone-based way to show his mad campaign manager skillz. The writing on this show is pretty good, no?
Dan confronts Jonah about the photo he just took. Jonah slowly, slooooowwwwwllllyyyy realizes the mistake he has made — that posting a photo of the Veep’s staff diving for their phones about the Maddox announcement has forced POTUS’s hand. Jonah’s eyes widen and asks Dan, “What’s Google’s number?” Dan replies, “I don’t know, ask Jeeves.”
Selina arrives at the funeral where she meets Blake Stewart, our second hint in this episode that Selina is a Democrat. Blake Stewart is a former Presidential nominee who lost 49 of 50 states and “the bubonic fuckin’ plague” of Selina’s party, according to Ben. Blake even sorta looks like Fritz Mondale, and he tells Selina that the real reason he lost was because he “just didn’t have it.” Hapless Iowa Advance Man gets Selina out of the conversation with Blake by telling her that the Prime Minister of Scotland is on the line.
In the West Wing, Jonah’s uppance hath come. Kent tells him that he knows Jonah is behind WestWingman.net, and that because of Jonah’s photo at Mike’s wedding, POTUS will announce today that he is not running for reelection. Jonah puts up a fight and has an Officer and a Gentleman moment.
Jonah’s got nowhere else to go! Kent is sorry, but he is fresh out of fucks to give.
Selina steals the show at the funeral by improvising some schlock about a man she barely knew. Combined with her performance in the Iowa bookstore, we now know what Selina on the campaign trail will probably look like: basically the same as she looked at Roger Furlong’s endorsement event in Ohio at the end of Season One.
The really fun part of the end of the episode is Jonah’s ignominious exit from his beloved West Wing. The men around him — and we’re pretty sure they’re all men — slap the box out of his hands and laugh in his face. Jonah promises a fiery vengeance that will be visited upon all of them. You’ll pay, Jonah says, don’t think you bums won’t pay!
Dan calls Selina to claim victory in the firing of Jonah. Dan asks Selina straight-up if he can manage her campaign, because you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take or whatever. Selina hangs up on him.
And that’s about it! Jonah’s out and on to something new, Mike is (happily?) married, Selina’s hitting the campaign trail, and Dan and Amy are totally going to bone, right? See you next week.