Veep, Season 3, Episode 02: “The Choice”
Teleplay by Roger Drew and Ian Martin, Story by Armando Iannucci, Roger Drew, and Ian Martin
Directed by Becky Martin
Airs Sundays at 10:30pm (ET) on HBO
The presidential campaign trail always brings about a number of hot-button issues that candidates find themselves unable to take a stance on, for fear of alienating certain voter demographics. With Meyer already in pre-campaign mode from last week’s episode, and Maddox already in the fray, it was only a matter of time before such an issue became part of this campaign as well, regardless of whether it is formally launched or not. This week’s episode brings such an issue to the forefront in the form of abortion, in another fantastic outing from the show that pushes a member of Meyer’s staff to the edge.
Gary’s emerging professional crisis this week is an interesting storyline. Despite being an obviously valuable member of Meyer’s staff, Gary has often found himself short on appreciation. Given Gary’s penchant for seeking external validation, this issue is more potent with regards to him. With the way his ideas are dismissed this week, and the suggestion from Mike (as well as Planned Parenthood’s Rachel) that Gary move on from Selina, the Veep’s bodyman now finds himself at a crossroads. It’s undeniable that Gary is an integral part of the team, and his absence would leave a hole. At the same time, he remains an underappreciated member of the group, and may be seen as redundant with Richard now on the scene as well. Where Gary goes from here will be worth keeping an eye on.
Meyer’s struggles in coming up with an acceptable position on abortion also work well to highlight her position as a woman in politics. As Meyer herself points out, the fact that she is a woman adds an extra layer to the decision she makes on this issue, forcing an additional consideration from her that the other candidates don’t have to deal with. This is likely to be the first of many such hurdles Meyer and her group will have to jump over during the campaign, and it will be interesting to see how Selina and her group handle other issues without drawing attention to Meyer’s gender, while also ensuring it doesn’t get neglected in the process.
Overall, this is another great episode from the show, and very effectively highlights the stresses of running an unofficial campaign. Watching Jonah try to be an independent blogger is amusing, particularly as it ties intricately with his character. Watching Jonah, it’s clear that someone with a different personality could have made a somewhat successful career in his position, yet it’s his off-putting nature that is likely to be his undoing. Dan’s outburst at Selina’s inability to decide her stance on abortion is a great illustration of the stress he’s putting himself in, and it will be worth keeping an eye on him to see if this issue rears its head during the campaign as well. Meyer and her staff forcing the Coast Guard to turn around instead of arresting the weapons dealer is a solid little joke on how Selina is more concerned about her campaign over the country’s safety. How the group continues to deal with the campaign, and what other major issues come their way, will be worth tuning in for as the season continues.
– Deepayan Sengupta