Veep, Ep 2.08: “First Response” forces Selina to face the media, and take drastic actions to try to pull attention away from her numerous scandals

Allison Janney, Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Allison Janney, Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Veep, Season 2, Episode 8: “First Response”
Written by Roger Drew and Armando Iannucci
Directed by Armando Iannucci
Airs Sundays at 10pm (ET) on HBO

With Selina’s growing political issues in the second season of Veep, from the CIA operative hostage situation, to the scandals involving her ex-husband, a rough meeting between the Vice president and the press seemed inevitable. While Meyer was able to avoid the press in Finland, despite Dan’s bumbling efforts, such reprieve could not go on for long. This episode sees Meyer face the press, in an episode that illustrates how Meyer’s recent political actions are being viewed by those in the public eye, while still managing to be comedically top-notch.

Watching Selina’s interview with Janet Ryland served to drive home just how many political scandals the Vice President has found herself embroiled in since the election. The first season of Veep worked well in illustrating just how politically powerless the Vice President’s office really is, and the second season has expanded on that theme by showing how the powerlessness is exploited by others, be it the President, who let Meyer take the fall for the congress shutdown despite Selina working through her daughter’s party to hammer out a deal, or Selina’s own ex-husband Andrew, who tries to leverage his rekindled relationship with his daughter’s mother to get in a lobbyist’s good graces.

Reid Scott, Anna Chlumsky
Reid Scott, Anna Chlumsky

Watching the continuing deterioration of Amy’s mental state, which comes forward this episode once again, has also been fascinating. There’s very little doubt that Amy is the most trusted member of Meyer’s inner circle, and when this responsibility is coupled with Amy’s lack of a steady private life, something that Sue explicitly pointed out to her this season, it’s easy to see the correlation between Selina’s declining political career and Amy’s increasing instability. Dan, at this point, may be the only person who’s knowledgeable about both Amy’s true capabilities and the sinking ship nature of Meyer in DC, and whether or not he extends a lifeline to Amy as he himself jumps ship, or whether Amy herself recognises the situation she is in and takes due measures to prevent herself from spiralling out of control, is something worth keeping an eye on.

Overall, this was another great episode of a season that has already managed to surpass its predecessor. Allison Janney is another great addition to the secondary characters on the show, and hopefully Janet makes a return appearance, and interacts with other members of government outside of the Vice-President’s office. Sarah Sutherland continues to shine in the role of Catherine, and whether or not her realisation that an idol of hers saw her as nothing more than a pawn to be used against her mother changes Catherine’s outlook going forward is something to look out for. Selina taking responsibility for knowing about the CIA operative in the hostage crisis is a big step that is bound to have ramifications that, with the serialised nature of the show this season, are sure to get explored, and how this affects Meyer’s political career is worth tuning in to see next week.

– Deepayan Sengupta

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