Veep, Season 3, Episode 07: “Special Relationship”
Teleplay by Simon Blackwell and Tony Roche, Story by Armando Iannucci, Simon Blackwell, and Tony Roche
Directed by Becky Martin
Airs Sundays at 10:30pm (ET) on HBO
Despite running a campaign to become the next presidential candidate, Selina Meyer remains the current vice-president, requiring her to carry out duties of her position concurrently with her campaign. This can often lead to conflicts that require a competent campaign manager to handle, a position Meyer recently filled with Dan. This week’s episode sees Dan deal with numerous issues facing Meyer’s campaign, in another fantastic episode that sees Meyer’s campaign team undergo some major shakeups.
Dan’s panic attack and subsequent firing by Meyer point at interesting directions for the character. Dan’s inability to deal with the ongoing stress of Meyer’s campaign has been a major aspect of the season, but he’s always managed to teeter on the edge. This week, however, sees Dan suffer the first real consequences of being unable to handle the pressures of the job. It will be intriguing to see how Dan reacts to his demotion once he returns to work. Despite his illness and drop in the quality of his work, Dan remains a very politically ambitious individual, which could spell trouble for Meyer’s campaign. Whether he decides to try and undercut Amy, or jump ship to a rival candidate who gives him a more prominent position will be worth keeping an eye on, as well as how much weight Dan holds with Meyer and the other presidential candidates in light of his actions as campaign manager.
Ray’s arc over the past two episodes has also been fascinating to watch. Having someone in the campaign team who’s not politically inclined has been an eye-opener, both in terms of how starkly the world of politicians differs from non-politicians, and how easily Meyer can be influenced. Despite his somewhat limited intellectual capability, Ray’s suggestions for Meyer’s campaign weren’t politically motivated, and arise simply from the former’s inflated sense of self-importance. However, despite protests from most of the campaign staff, Meyer nonetheless implements them, which does not bode well for her campaign going forward. With the only threats to the campaign to date coming from Jonah, Meyer and her team have been able to successfully subvert them. It won’t be long until someone more accomplished takes a swing at the Vice-President, particularly with Ericsson already set up as an accomplished campaign manager working for a rival. How Meyer and the campaign team deals with that threat when it arises will go a long way towards determining the success of Meyer’s presidential campaign.
Overall, this is another compelling episode. Amy’s selection as campaign manager makes sense in a lot of ways, not the least of which is that she knows Selina better than anyone on the team, save for Gary. In addition, her refusal to even entertain a job offer a few weeks ago shows her loyalty to the Vice-President, a crucial element for a good campaign manager. Her way of using Jonah to get rid of Ray also stands in stark contrast to Dan’s treatment of Jonah earlier in the season, and indicates a level of political shrewdness that is likely to serve Meyer’s campaign well. The ways in which Ray’s suggestions backfire on Meyer, such as the decision to wear an oversized hat, are hilarious to watch as well. It’s interesting to note the UK’s disapproval with the policies of the current administration. As Meyer comes to the UK as a representative of the administration, she becomes, in essence, the face of the unpopular decision, which may mean she’ll have a harder time getting foreign endorsements for her own campaign when the time comes. How she gets around this problem, as well as how Amy and Dan deal with the campaign team shakeup, will be worth watching the show for as the season continues.
– Deepayan Sengupta