Veep 4.05: “Convention” Review

House

A Television Review by Akash Singh

NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!

Convention more than anything felt conventional in a way that Veep episodes rarely do. There were key moments that serve to drive this episode forward, but this episode more than anything felt defined by everything that it ultimately lacked. Veep is no stranger to sudden plot developments or character entrances and exits (Selina’s pregnancy and then sudden miscarriage in season one comes to mind), but it rarely felt as awkward as it does here. Perhaps that is because what was lacking, what wasn’t properly developed to insert into the story made this episode feel like the necessary half-hour shuffling that it needed to be but little more than that. Characters come in, characters go, but there’s for the first time this season a real feeling of being scattered. The episode manages to tidy things up by the time it ends but the road that it took over half an hour felt even more oddly stifled as a result.

The key scene in the episode arrives at its climax and that is Amy’s wonderful outburst at the absolute incompetency in the President’s team as she finally embraces the reality that she simply is the most competent person in the entire f***ing room. Karen, who is quite possibly the most incompetent individual in the Veep universe, finally lights the fuse under Amy’s nose. Doyle announces that he is leaving the ticket with some help from Ben’s skullduggery and the search for a replacement candidate is on. Selina’s primary opponent picked Laura Montez, who immediately becomes a threat to the Meyer team. She’s smart, good-looking, a woman, and fucking ethnic, the last of which is the true blow if Selina’s tempo is to be believed. Everyone immediately jumps to Chung as a choice because America isn’t ready to have two women on the same ticket yet. Chung says no because of him disagreeing with how Selina runs things and then Selina out of desperation turns to Maddox, which goes about as well as anyone would expect it to.

Selina’s moments of indecision have often been frustrating, but the decision or rather, the lack thereof, surrounding the pick of the vice presidential candidacy is one of the most grating. Amy keeps on pushing Tom James, who suddenly becomes an integral character whereupon to my knowledge he’s never been on the show or even talked about. Sure, Hugh Laurie’s schedule I’m sure is beyond hectic but there was little reason that he couldn’t have at least been mentioned throughout this season before he became the catch of the day in quite the literal manner. Selina keeps on tiptoeing around for whatever reason, complaining about how hard it is to make a choice (in that case, you might want to rethink your job) and Amy explodes. Her tirade is a  thing of absolute beauty and Anna Chlumsky does some of her best work as she unleashes all of her pent-up anger at the sheer stupidity and callousness that surrounds her. She leaves and the door’s open for her to hopefully stir up some serious storms in Washington.

Ben firing Karen was a great little moment, even though it did leave a fairly annoying impression that Karen was simply a fulcrum to get Amy to burst and little else. Kent as the new campaign manager is a great place for him to be, considering that his future at the end of last season was very much up in the air, with Selina’s callous “We’ll see” remaining one of my favorite moments in this entire series. Teddy getting fired makes logical sense, but it puts a ridiculously abrupt end to one of the most grounded, dark storylines the show has ever pursued. Jonah’s sexual abuse at Teddy’s hands was imbued with a dark poignancy about a topic that is essentially never broached in television. For it to be used as a way to get the VP search underway undercuts some of the intelligence that had gone into building that storyline to begin with. At the very least, there’s moments of dark humor and just pure darkness there, which is more than I can say for Dan. Zucchini lobbying for now is just about as interesting and eye-opening as you’d expect it to be.

Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:

+Furlong quoting the Bible

+“It’s been weeks and she’s yet to say a declarative sentence.”

+“All sciences are precise. That is what science means.”

+Selina trying not to laugh at Doyle’s announcement

+VP’s office of sexual abuse: “Who are you, the pope?”

+“Minority retort.”

+“It’s like Christmas except happy.”

+“Well, you take as many of the 15 minutes available as you need to make this decision.”

+“To deep regret.”

Good

7.5/10

Title: Convention

Story By: Armando Iannucci & Sean Gray & David Quantick

Teleplay By: Sean Gray & David Quantick

Directed By: Stephanie Laing

Image Courtesy: HBO

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