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Veep, Ep 3.08: “Debate” pits the candidates against each other

Veep, Ep 3.08: “Debate” pits the candidates against each other
Paul Fitzgerald, Randall Park, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Glenn Wrage

Paul Fitzgerald, Randall Park, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Glenn Wrage

Veep, Season 3, Episode 08: “Debate”
Teleplay by David Quantick and Tony Roche, Story by Armando Iannucci, David Quantick, and Tony Roche
Directed by Armando Iannucci
Airs Sundays at 10:30pm (ET) on HBO

Following a near-disastrous trip to the UK last episode that resulted in a nervous breakdown for atleast one person, Meyer shuffled some things around in her staff, firing Ray and Dan, and appointing Amy the campaign manager, a position the latter had long coveted. Amy gets her first real test on the job as Meyer prepares for a debate with the other candidates in this week’s episode, in an entertaining outing that continues the strong run of Veep’s third season.

Watching Mike and Wendy’s marriage nearly fall apart over the course of the episode is fascinating. While the possibility of their marriage lasting has always been in doubt, it’s interesting to note how the pressure created by Meyer’s campaign adds a level of strain to the relationship that would have otherwise manifested much more slowly. This is a great example of the damage the campaign team continues to take, with the added sting that Meyer herself did not attend Mike’s marriage in person, which means she will be even less concerned with the subsequent friction. Coming on the heels of Dan’s nervous breakdown, it will be intriguing to see how the group continues to handle the pressure, especially if Meyer slips in the polls. While she ends up in second place by the end of the debate this week, the proceedings make it clear this is entirely by fluke, which can just as easily go against her.

The debate in this week’s episode also does a great job of not only illustrating the differences amongst the potential presidential candidates, but also the point their campaign is defined by. It’s worth noting that while candidates such as Thornhill and Chung choose a point to define their campaign by, candidates such as Maddox and Meyer get their defining point chosen by the media, who picks up on “Holes” and “Repel” respectively. This fact has the potential to define how the campaign goes for Meyer and the other candidates in the ensuing weeks. It will be worth keeping an eye on Meyer and her staff to see how they work around these issues as the campaign progresses. While Meyer’s “repel” raised her popularity, she could just as easily have shared the bottom spot with Maddox, which is likely to make her team nervous. Whether or not she does end up in a position like that will be worth keeping an eye on, if only to see how the team fares.

Overall, this is another fine episode. It’s fun to see Dan return from his hospital stay, and how his demeanour changes over the course of the episode until he’s back to his old form at the end. It’s similarly entertaining to see how Dan’s new state of being unnerves Jonah just in time for the former to revert back to his old state, enacting some revenge for the way Jonah treated Dan during his hospital stay. Watching Amy as campaign manager provides a stark contrast to Dan’s managerial style, as Amy allows others to take on their share of the work and fosters a team environment. Gary’s constant concern over Meyer’s new haircut is also hilarious to watch, as it’s perfectly in line with the character to get worked up over something that is ultimately a negligible issue. Whether or not Amy’s run as campaign manager is more effective than Dan’s, and how Meyer and co. manage to leverage her good showing in the debate will be worth tuning in to see as the season continues.

– Deepayan Sengupta