Veep Recap: The Punch Heard 'Round the World

The campaign within the campaign has begun to take over the actual campaign on this week’s episode of “Veep.” We open on Selina’s motorcade descending on the blighted urban Thunderdome that is Detroit, and there’s a some kind of economic summit going on. Selina’s limo creeps past protesters straight out of central casting, and she body-snarks them, and she and Gary have a laugh, though she’s really sort of laughing at Gary too.

Catherine is also in the limo, because in this episode, Catherine’s going to be important. But before that happens, we get our first glimpse of handsome Dan Egan gettin’ his campaign manager on. Dan has about a bajillion iPads in his hands, and even though he is very busy, he still finds time to tell Mike that Mike sucks at his job.

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Mike swallows this insult and keeps writing, because this season, Mike’s actually kinda serious about his job.

Amy walks in with a question for Campaign Manager Dan: what’s with this new personal trainer guy? We haven’t met personal trainer guy yet, but we will spoil the things for you now, SELINA’S TRAINER IS CHRISTOPHER MELONI. And he’s basically a perfect half-and-half blend of the cop Meloni played on “Law & Order” and the weirdo cook Meloni played in Wet Hot American Summer. Dan explains to Amy that the trainer is around because trainers release endorphins, and endorphins = good. Does that sound like a bullshit reason to you? Because it should, and it was Dan’s response to a direct question.

Selina walks into the economic forum thingy, and she’s greeting people, and then, boom, her ex-husband Andrew is there. Andrew’s presence in any “Veep” episode means two things: 1) Selina will be given late-breaking information, and 2) Andrew and Selina are going to make sexytimes, eww, gross, Andrew is so gross.

And we also get to see Minna Hakkinen, the former Prime Minister of Finland, whose husband (played by a scarf-clad Dave Foley) groped Selina’s boobs that one time. Hakkinen and Selina are doing their usual forced chit-chat thing, when news arrives that there’s been a shooting in Detroit (gasp!) and a Finnish journalist has been killed. Haakinen remarks that the real problem with America is all the guns on the street, and Selina basically agrees, because Selina has no actual political opinions beyond “I would like to be President.” Selina moves on with her day, confident that she has found a way to agree with the person talking at her, because that is what she thinks campaigning is. And then Jonah swoops in, fresh off a “Do you know who I am?” moment at the credentials table.

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Jonah pumps Haakinen for information, telling her that he’s part of Team Veep. Haakinen buys it because she is incompetent (she is, we’re told, the former Prime Minister of Finland at this point), and she tells Jonah that Selina is a communist who hates guns and America. Jonah is off to go find himself a good WiFi connection, and we in the audience wait for the other shoe to drop.

Before Jonah’s scoop makes news, though, Ben strikes up a conversation with Amy, and we get a glimpse into Amy’s sad life after being passed over as campaign manager. She’s fine! She and Selina are actually really, really good friends! She is very happy! Ben does not buy this, and neither does Amy. Poor Amy, we still love you.

Up in Selina’s hotel room, New Personal Trainer Christopher Meloni is helping Selina stretch, and he’s doing it in ways that, um, stretch the boundaries of the proper client-trainer relationship.

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He’s also editing Mike’s press releases, because Mike is going to spend this episode at the bottom of Shit Mountain, and whoops, there’s been a torrential downpour on Shit Mountain and it’s landslides all over the place, sorry Mike.

BIG REVEAL: Selina and New Personal Trainer are fucking. And guess who’s behind it all? That’s right, Sir Dan Egan, Knight-Errant of the Shit-Eating Grin. Dan understand that Selina has needs, and that she tends to turn to Andrew to fulfill those needs. Dan also understands that Selina is an amoral person who’s just sorta driven by these base urges for power, sex, and power-sex, and that Andrew is pretty bad for Selina. So Dan brings in New Personal Trainer, who helps Selina open up her hips if you know what we mean, and boom, Dan is a genius.

Sue and Kent get shoehorned into this episode, but once again, we get absolutely nothing about their relationship. As far as we can tell, they enjoy one another’s company and competence, and perhaps they are also fucking? We cannot be sure, because they are a thematic afterthought in this episode, even though they play an important role in the action.

So we move forward, and Selina’s going to some thing at the economic summit, and a protester dressed up like the Statue of Liberty comes at her, and CATHERINE PUNCHES THE DUDE STRAIGHT IN THE FACE. The Secret Service jumps into action, and it’s only back in the limo that Catherine realizes what she’s done. Catherine has completely blacked out and has no recollection of the incident.

Catherine: What? No! No, I hate violent!

Selina: Well, honey, that means you’re really good at it and you didn’t even know it.

No you don’t, Catherine: you are exactly like your mother, you are perfectly fine with “violent” when it suits your needs or desires. You are a budding sociopath, and it is right and proper that you are weaseling your way into the very center of Selina’s campaign team.

Like her mother, Catherine has a gift for creating news that eventually rebounds to her benefit, and that’s what this punch turns out to be. But first, Selina gets back to the rest of her team, and as Jonah’s scoop about Selina’s squishiness on guns breaks, Dan almost shits his pants.

You just picked a fight with the jumpiest 100 million people I could possibly think of!

Selina, who has traveled to Detroit for an economic summit, now must deal with guns. Everyone calls it a night, but of course this is a campaign, you do not get to call it a night until the recount is over.

Later that night, Andrew and Catherine arrive at Selina’s hotel room, and Amy and Gary can’t keep their excuses straight. Catherine is whining because she is being used as a surrogate in a way that she doesn’t really like, and Andrew insists that he has some important information to give to Selina. Andrew refuses to give this information to Selina’s chief of staff, Amy, because Andrew is a snake. But he is a snake with feelings, and when Selina opens the door to reveal tousled hair, smeared lipstick, and a shirtless New Personal Trainer Christopher Meloni, Andrew takes his precious information and goes home.

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Former Prime Minister Haakinen also appears in the hallway to apologize to Selina. She is very sorry, but it is not her fault, you see.

There is, on your team, a leaking gentleman? I don’t know his name, but in Central Europe, there is a bad companion for Santa Claus? He comes on Christmas, and if the children are naughty, he takes away the presents. It’s like a man, but it is very tall.

It’s gigantic Jonah, the fork-tongued trickster god of politics blogging! Former Finnish PM Haakinen is truly sorry, she did not expect that Jonah would like about his affiliation with Team Veep.

Haakinen: I am so sorry, but I would like you to understand, in my country, politics is a lot more honest.

Selina: In your country, people fuck snow. And I hope you understand that I say that with the utmost respect.

The next morning, Selina gets up, and Sue has found her an all-women’s gun show nearby (convenient!). And at the show, everyone’s all about Catherine, asking for selfies and wearing shirts celebrating Catherine’s punch heard ’round the world.

Veep Recap: The Punch Heard 'Round the World

This tests the limits of our credulity (less than 24 hours later, and you’ve already got t-shirts printed up?), but this is “Veep,” and they’ve earned some leeway. We’ll allow it. THIS TIME.

So Selina goes to the gun show and gladhands, and poof, no more issue about guns anymore (told you it strained credulity). And then she goes back to the economic summit, where she’s all set to announce 7,000 new jobs in Detroit, except Andrew grabs her right before she walks in. The jobs in Detroit aren’t going to happen: Andrew knows dudes on the board (of course he does), and the company’s defaulting on its loans, and they’ve got six months of solvency, tops. Andrew would have told Selina last night, but his fee-fees were all cuckolded and sad-face. So Selina can’t make the announcement she wants to make; instead, she’s told she’ll be engaging in a bit of Q&A with the panel host, Former Prime Minister of Finland Minna Haakinen!

Haakinen is eager to atone for the trouble she’s caused for Selina. Wouldn’t Selina like to make an important announcement here today? No no, Selina says, I’m really focused on the big picture. NONSENSE, says Haakinen, look, the statement you’re supposed to read is already typed up, right here, on this table.

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And maybe, just maybe, Haakinen was telling the truth that politics are more honest in Finland (pro-tip: politics are not more honest in Finland, are you kidding?), because she goes ahead and makes Selina’s jobs announcement for her. This does not make Selina a happy Veep.

By the end of the episode, Selina and Andrew are fucking again. This is going to be a long campaign.

Catch up in the archives

Veep Season Three Episode One
Veep Season Three Episode Two
Veep Season Three Episode Three
Veep Season Three Episode Four
Veep Season Three Episode Five

TV Show: Veep

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