Veep, Season 4, Episode 3: “Data”
Teleplay by Simon Blackwell, Neil Gibbons, and Rob Gibbons, Story by Armando Iannucci, Simon Blackwell, Neil Gibbons, and Rob Gibbons
Directed by Becky Martin
Airs Sundays at 10:30pm (ET) on HBO
Throughout her time as Vice-president, Selina Meyer and her staff have had to deal with a number of crises. Meyer’s ascension to Presidency, however, meant that the crises she’d have to deal with were weightier, even if they appeared frivolous, as the issue with the Native American painting last week demonstrated. This week, however, Meyer is faced with an issue that doesn’t get resolved simply by replacing a painting, resulting in a major shakeup in her administration in another solid episode.
The firing of Dan opens up some intriguing possibilities for the rest of the season. Unlike last season, when Dan’s firing as the campaign manager meant he still had a place on Meyer’s staff, this week’s firing appears to be a thorough one, with Dan’s reputation suffering to the point where he can’t get people to take his calls. Like Jonah last season, politics is the one thing Dan has seemingly spent his entire career in. Unlike Jonah, however, Dan doesn’t have a relative who can get him back into politics, and the blow Dan takes is much more severe and in the public eye. As someone who has proven himself capable of weaselling out deals for himself, how Dan deals with this setback will be promising to watch, particularly in how he gets himself back on Meyer’s staff without the latter facing questions from the media.
Katherine’s storyline also continues to be fascinating to watch. Her discomfort at being in the spotlight all the time is a nice continuation to her concerns last week about her public image. Much of Katherine’s issues over the past few seasons have revolved around how her mother’s political career seems to control her life, whether it’s determining who she dates, or forcing her into awkward family meals. While the improvement of Katherine’s public image is also something that would help Meyer’s campaign, it was also something Katherine felt compelled to do herself. Meyer’s insistence on her daughter only doing approved activities, however, serves to reinforce the idea of Katherine not being her own entity. Katherine has rebelled against this in small ways throughout her mother’s vice-presidency, so how she deals with it now will be interesting to see, especially with more eyes on her.
Overall, this is another entertaining episode. The storyline involving the data breach and illegal usage of it is wonderfully handled, and the show’s ability to display the evils of modern data gathering and internet investigation without a blanket condemnation is refreshing to see. Dan’s notice of Jonah’s sexual harassment by Teddy also opens up an intriguing storyline, especially with Dan now gone from the White House. Dan has never been one to do the right thing for morality’s sake, but his knowledge of Teddy’s actions now present Dan with an opportunity that he can exploit to get back into the political circle. How Dan copes with his firing, as well as what hurdle the Families First bill has to overcome next, will be worth tuning in to see next week.
– Deepayan Sengupta