Veep Recap: Selina's Big Speech

Veep Recap: Selina's Big Speech

It’s Selina’s big special day! Watch as our heroine goes full Bridezilla! And hey look, it’s Jonah, now with improved character arc! All that and more in this week’s big shiny recap of “Veep,” oh boy!

The episode opens with Jonah peepin’ and he creepin’ and he creepin’. Jonah rolls up in his fly Nissan Cube and harasses a woman who is putting up flyers in southeast D.C. The flyers announce a march on the White House in support of universal child care, and the woman is named Alicia Bryce. She will feature prominently in this episode, on account of the episode is named “Alicia” and that is also her name, too. Jonah identifies himself as a reporter, and he exits his “giant clown car” to ask Alicia about her campaign.

Just as Jonah gets Alicia to start talking, Amy approaches. She’s already spoken with Alicia, and Alicia jumps at the opportunity to get away from creep-show Jonah. Whitest Man in the World Jonah walks away, waving to a group of black men and saying the word “corner” like “coh-nah,” which prompts the men on the coh-nah to ask if they’d heard him correctly, prompting Jonah to do that white guy thing where they (we) sort of half-run across an intersection.

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Inside Alicia’s home, Amy is introduced to Alicia’s daughter, and we are re-introduced to Amy’s inability to connect with children. Amy calls Selina’s office, where Sue alerts the Veep to some tension in Amy’s voice, a telltale sign that Amy has “got one of the normals here.” Selina fake-smiles her way through a phone call, confirming that Alicia will appear with Selina when the Veep announces her run for President, and bam, smash cut to two weeks later when we’re rehearsing for the actual announcement.

Mike escorts Alicia into the rehearsal, where WaPo reporter Leon West pressures Mike for a copy of the work-in-progress announcement speech. Mike hems and haws, but Selina is still going over the speech with Dan, and she claims likes it: “This rewrite kicks balls and ass!” She loves it! Says it’s locked. And then she points Dan to her rewrites. Just some small edits, a couple tweaks, no big deal. Couple pages of notes, yeah, just some wording to tighten up, k?

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Strap in, dear Wonketarians, because you are about to feel a touch of professional sympathy for Dan! Yes, arrogant, amoral Dan Egan finds himself on a very visible campaign doing something he finds very important: making sure the world can hear his words. Dan has been working on this speech for two weeks, and he really thinks he’s got it down, but Selina tells him to keep working. After last week’s Selina-on-Dan beatdown, he’s in no position to complain.

And now Selina’s campaign takes its first broadside from the S.S. Political Satire, as “Saturday Night Live” has just aired a sketch making fun of Selina’s privileged upbringing.

Oh those shitstains. So what, I had a horse as a kid, who didn’t? I mean, have a pet, is what I meant?

This sheds a bit of light on Selina’s earlier statement that she’s “independently wealthy.” GOOD TO BE BORN A MEYER, PEOPLE. As the national media gives Selina the Rafalca treatment, Dan tries to get back on the campaign-management horse, which is too a real thing, shut up. He suggests “owning it” by going on “Saturday Night Live” and laughing at herself. As in last week’s episode, Selina rejects Dan’s advice out of hand. As in last week’s episode, Selina ends up doing exactly what Dan suggested during the closing credits. But before she gets there, Selina makes sure to belittle Dan, and young Master Egan grins and bears it.

The substance of Selina’s childhood horse-having means more changes to Dan’s precious speech. Kent points out that “Disabled Farmer” can no longer feature in the tableau of Americans serving as the literal backdrop for Selina’s speech. If the farmer can’t be there, that means Dan can’t appeal to other, less Real American sections of the country, and Kent has been hinting that Alicia shouldn’t be up there either. Kent also takes this opportunity to shit down Dan’s neck, and this is really shaping up to be a bad episode for Dan, huh guys?

Meanwhile, Sue flirts with Kent, saying “Sue Casa es su casa,” which Kent finds literally knee-slappingly hilarious. And then the camera lingers on the two of them for a second, and Sue TOTALLY CHECKS KENT OUT.

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Oh snap this is going to be a real thing this season.

Back in speech world, Selina puts her foot down, insisting that they’re not changing anything. This is her first chance to speak her mind in four years, and she’s going to capitalize:

For the first time in four years, I can say what I really think. You start picking this thing apart, what am I left as? Some sort of optimistic war-monger with a soft spot for educated gays?

Yeah, basically, shrugs Kent. But Selina is totally going to follow through on her principles this time. We’ve got a good feeling about it, really, we do.

Shortly after a mini-bit in which Mike gets the press bros to call Jonah “Jonad,” Alicia gets a warts-and-all view of the way Selina’s staff talks about members of the public. She is mildly horrified, because she is an activist, not a monster.

Activist Alicia soon meets monster Selina in the flesh, and Alicia wants to talk policy. Selina might agree with Alicia’s early childcare initiative in principle, but it’s obvious that once again, she doesn’t have a clue what the actual policy looks like. Senator Doyle shows up to hammer this point home. He’s gotten wind of Selina’s plan to talk about guaranteed child care, and he tells Amy he needs to see Selina: “I have a meeting scheduled with the Vice President right now, and it is right now right now.”

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Selina is going through the minutiae of Dan’s speech, and she’s telling him to do things that contradict what she’s already told him to do, and oh how we sympathize with Dan. Doyle bursts with what will become further edits to Dan’s speech, telling Selina that she can’t appear with Alicia and thereby endorse her cause:

Universal child care is a bottomless money pit. You pledge this, you can forget about having a Navy.

Selina’s not budging; this is a priority for her, and she is going to keep it in the speech. Probably. Doyle grabs his phone and says that Selina’s got a real nice announcement speech planned here, be a shame if something were to happen to it. Bad things happen to presidential announcement speeches all the time, who’s to say, you know? Exit Doyle [scheming].

Catherine arrives, and she’s wearing the exact same dress as Selina. Selina tells Catherine to change outfits. Catherine says, “Well why don’t you change?” And oooooooooh, gurl, you did not just say that to Selina today. Selina gets in Catherine’s face and asks if that’s a joke. IT IS HER DAY, Selina tells her daughter, but Selina does not scream this, she only says it.

Catherine leaves and Doyle re-enters. He has made good on his threat and reports that the rest of Selina’s party’s leadership has gotten caught in a convenient traffic jam en route to Selina’s announcement speech. Selina’s not having it, says she’s not going to let the party dictate to her. Doyle shrugs and leaves, and now Selina can lose her shit in peace.

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Which she does in spectacular fashion. Selina flails her arms at some balloons for a couple seconds, then immediately caves to Doyle’s pressure. She makes it very clear to the people in the room, however, that this is her decision to cave, not theirs. She is letting them do this to her, because she chooses to let them do this to her, do you got that? Does everyone understand that, that they do not own her? As Selina’s eye involuntarily twitches, Amy officially takes Alicia off the board and child care out of the speech.

On the actual announcement stage, Sue is arranging the ever-changing roster of symbolic Americans, and absolutely wearing the hell out of an animal-print top, GO SUE. Unfortunately, our time with Sue’s fashionable outfits is cut short by Amy telling Mike that he has to “stand you down, Alicia, from this event.” This upsets Alicia and her friend D, and things get heated, and Mike actually says,

I’m just trying to help you, you stupid cow!

And Jonah sees EVERYTHING. Not even Leon West was in the room, and Ryantology just might have its first juicy scoop. Mike retreats to the “room of regret,” where Ben tells him that he needs to beg Jonah to stay quiet.

Selina is unaware of all of this. She’s catatonic at the thought of continuing to live in the thrall of something other than her own boundless ego. Catherine knows that it’s up to her to snap Selina back to life, and she goes right at the Veep’s Bad Mother Guilt Complex. Catherine says that the only thing that could possibly redeem her “hard, lonely, miserable life[…] is if I become the daughter of the next President of the United States.” Selina comes to her senses, channeling Lucille Bluth and dismissing her daughter. Catherine leaves, saying

It’s okay. I fixed her.

Cut to the best scene of the episode, where we get to see what looks like improvisation from Jonah and Mike. Mike says he’s begging Jonah to spike the story, and Jonah reminds Mike that begging usually involves getting on your knees. So Mike gets on his knees and sings an old Civil War song to placate Jonah.

Mike does not, however, tell Jonah that any of this is off the record. Jonah laughs in his face and tells Mike that he is going to run the story, what are you, stupid? (Ha ha, yes, Mike is stupid).

It’s finally go time for the announcement speech: Doyle reports that the Beltway traffic has cleared up, Alicia is nowhere to be seen, and Selina speaks to a mysterious “Lorne” at Saturday Night Live. She says she’s going to “embrace” going on the show, which puts another couple ticks on Dan’s aneurysm clock.

But Selina’s not going to just fold up like some…cheap…folding thing. She picks up Alicia’s child and holds her in front of Senator Doyle, asking if it wouldn’t be very, very nice to hold her up as the face of America’s future? Doyle smile-lies his way to agreement, and Alicia loves it.

Cue outro music and credits as Selina’s platitudes play in voice over: And what does U.S.A. start with? That’s right, it starts with U! Here I stand! There you are! Here we go! Jonah approaches Alicia looking for her to go on record confirming Mike’s insult, but Alicia is now back on Selina’s side, and Jonah is stonewalled. Selina closes the episode in character on Saturday Night Live, smiling and smiling and smiling.

Catch up in the archives.

Veep Season Three Episode One
Veep Season Three Episode Two

TV Show: Veep

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  • Annie Towne

    I believe this episodes sums up nicely why no one ever gets anywhere in Washington. And it does it in 30 minutes, many, many hours less than, what, seven seasons of The West Wing? Brilliant.