Sunday, May 5, 2019

REVIEW: 'Veep' - Selina Faces Consequences for Her Past Actions While Also Trying to Be Celebrated for Her Work in 'Oslo'

HBO's Veep - Episode 7.06 "Oslo"

Selina tries to arrange a meeting via her Finnish contact, Minna. Gary helps Catherine plan a big event. Jonah and Amy push an anti-vax message in Pennsylvania. Mike finds a new home. Richard may have an enemy.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of HBO's Veep.

"Oslo" was written by Steve Hely, Ian Maxtone-Graham, Dan O'Keefe & Dan Mintz and directed by Brad Hall

Freeing Tibet was the only achievement that Selina had during her brief presidency. At the time, she didn't even get the credit for it. The public eventually learned that she had put together that deal with massive socio-economic repercussions. It's enough for her to be given the Nobel Peace Prize. That's a huge deal to her. It's proof that she is still valued by the world and should be given power once more. She wields it so expertly throughout this episode because she believes she deserves it. It doesn't matter that she is spiraling following the death of Andrew and the Chinese wanting her as the nominee just to re-elect Montez as President. She continues asking to be taken seriously in the world. That is a relatable impulse. However, she just asks for that legitimacy by breaking so many of the rules of society and creating more problems for herself. She wants a face-to-face meeting with the head of the Chinese government. She believes she deserves that in order to make her pitch for why she would be the better president when it comes to the relationship between the two countries. In order to get their support though, she promises to give them Tibet back and whatever else they want in the world. That is so dangerous. It's not until later that she realizes the huge impact that will have on the lives of people who live in those regions. She makes that deal at the summit where she's being honored for creating peace. She makes a special trip to pick up the award even though she had to seek asylum at the Finnish embassy after the world learns she committed war crimes. She launched a drone strike against a marriage party in order to take out a terrorist. She did so fully aware of her actions and making the choice anyway. Her team has long known that could be an issue for her. It has stayed quiet until now. The Chinese knew about it and were willing to leverage it to make her an effective puppet in their game. But it's still outed because Selina believes Minna from Finland already knew. It's outrageous to see Selina reckon with what life living out of an embassy could look like. This is the only way to ensure she doesn't get arrested. She is allowed to continue building support and running for president. In fact, this revelation means her numbers surge in support. The show is so cynical in saying that the American people are perfectly fine with war criminals in charge of their government. It may even prove that they are tough when it comes to foreign affairs. That is how Selina is making this pitch. She sees it as the action necessary to protect the citizens of her country. But really, she is willing to say whatever it takes to get back in power. That has been her driving focus for her entire life. It doesn't matter what she missed out on because of it. She is more than willing to use Catherine's wedding as a distraction to sneak out of the embassy. It just means she is back at the summit to make that deal with Lu. She does so as it effectively renders her award meaningless because it shows that she has no values whatsoever.

All of that stands in contrast to Richard and Mike continuing to fail upward. Those have been two fantastic character journeys throughout this season. Richard is elevated to Governor of Iowa here. That's spectacular and unexpected. It shows how honest and decent people can be successful in this cutthroat world. Dan delights in how all of this happens. He wants to get out of Iowa as soon as possible. He doesn't want Richard to just be the governor of the state. He has bold plans for the future. He also sees the value in making connections with the Jonah Ryan campaign. That could represent a way out that would also stick it to Selina. Richard is the willing puppet throughout all of this. He loves spending time with Jonah. He isn't making this a political meeting that talks about the future administration and the role he could play in it. It's just a casual meeting between two friends. Sure, it too is marked with tragedy. Jonah actually grows soft and tender here for a bit after accepting Lloyd as his father. That is such a breakthrough that presents a different side to the character that has never been seen before. It doesn't last. Jonah's hateful rhetoric leads to a massive chicken pox outbreak throughout the country. That's insane. It shows just how silly and dangerous the anti-vax movement really is. It kills Lloyd after he too becomes infected with the disease. It leads to another memorable appearance from Peter MacNicol, who is basically rendered down to nothing more than cackling at this moment in time. That's still an effective use of the character though because it's outrageous to see all of the crazy things happening in the lives of these characters. It's an appropriate response despite how unfortunate the circumstances and setting are. Jonah speaks out against his father at his own funeral. That's harsh. And yet, his father dying and his wife checking into rehab aren't enough to upend his campaign. It truly is becoming a competition between Selina and Jonah once more with Richard as a new superdelegate who will cast a crucial vote at the convention. And Mike will be there to cover it all as a new onscreen correspondent for CBS News. That too is an insane transition. He debuts an entirely new look here at the urging of his new bosses. They tell him he has to change everything about his life because it's actually the intellectual property of his old show. But he's still getting massive scoops and the chance to talk with Selina during this latest crisis she has to navigate. It's because he gets her to explain the video that it becomes clear that animal rights group target her for hate. That could be the thing that ultimately destroys the campaign for her. Or not. The show has gone back and forth a lot this season after all regarding who will get power and its ultimate worth.