Veep, Season 2, Episode 2: “Signals”
Written by Simon Blackwell and Armando Iannucci
Directed by Chris Addison
Airs Sundays at 10pm (ET) on HBO
One of the major concerns with Selina Meyer in the first season was how her position affected her personal life. Her inability to even have a fight with her partner without worrying about finding a private place was one of the poignant highlights of the first season, and with Meyer’s pursuit of more responsibility in the second season was bound to clash with her personal responsibilities at some point. This episode addresses that conflict head-on, displaying the inherent difficulties in balancing these two aspects from the perspective of several characters, without compromising the wit that sets this show apart.
It was fascinating to see the show revisit the idea of how Selina’s position has an effect not just on her, but on everyone around her. Watching both Meyer and her staff deal with the fallout from Catherine’s essay, while being hilarious, also drives home the point about how the Vice President’s job is something that doesn’t affect just her. In order to retain her job, not only must Selina police her actions, but so must everyone who can be associated with her. This also interestingly ties in to the reveal that Gary’s girlfriend Dana was responsible for leaking the information about the Veep’s hand signals; while many people can talk to their spouses about their work, this is a luxury not afforded to even someone as relatively inconsequential in the show’s political sphere as Gary. How he chooses to deal with this issue, as well as whether Meyer will have to step in at some point, is something to keep an eye on, as the casting of Jessica St. Clair as Dana is proof that the audience hasn’t seen or heard the last of her yet.
The intersection of personal and professional lives among the rest of the staff was also an interesting aspect of the episode. Watching both Mike and Amy struggle with trying to balance their personal problems with their professional duties was a compelling juxtaposition. The illness of Amy’s father, and the financial woes of Mike are both problems that are here to stay, and how the two keep these issues from infringing, particularly as Meyer has proven, in this episode and in prior ones, that she is not overly concerned with the issues her staff faces, particularly when it gets in the way of finishing work that she wants done.
Overall, this was another great episode of the show. The image of Jonah trying to hide the pig while Selina spoke about the Israel-Palestine conflict got funnier the longer it went on. It was good to see that the election loss hasn’t prevented Congressman Furlong and his underling from making a return appearance, and hopefully this is not the last the audience has seen of him. Sue continues to be the best kept secret of the show, making the most of her brief appearances, and Gary Cole has seamlessly integrated into the show as Kent. How Selina deals with Kent’s increasing saddling of her office with meaningless but time-consuming assignments, and how Dana factors into the rest of the season are both storylines worth tuning in for next week.
– Deepayan Sengupta