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Veep Recap: Old Crone

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and John Slattery filmed their breakup scene at Kramerbooks. Photograph by Lacey Terrell courtesy HBO.

Much like a good Agatha Christie story, the White House scandal with which Sunday night’s episode of Veep shares an unprintable title was everyone’s fault. Except Amy Brookheimer is no Hercule Poirot—she’s as guilty as everyone else on the Selina Meyer Express.

Well, maybe not Gary, who remains so pure as the driven snow that he also confesses to calling Selina the “c-word,” as in the “crone” she’ll look like if she doesn’t wear her sunblock. Poor Gary—between worrying about Selina’s skin condition and watching her eat dinner with Charlie Baird, he’s really got it rough this week.

Except for the fact that the Veep universe’s economy is crashing down, and the solution offered by Selina’s running mate-cum-financial czar Tom James is a massive capital infusion. There are no Bernie Bros to stop these bank bailouts, but Selina can only save two of three banks: one must be an institution in politically vital Illinois, leaving her to choose between Charlie’s firm and a less-solvent one. Selina goes back-and-forth on the decision throughout the episode before deciding against Charlie because, as Ben (Kevin Dunn) says early on, “Nobody understands the economy. Literally, nobody.”

Meanwhile, last week’s pairing of Dan and Tom proved to be short-lived, as Dan escapes assistant life to oversee Jonah’s foundering patsy campaign for a congressional seat in New Hampshire. For more than four years, every scene pitting Timothy Simons against Reid Scott has been a vulgar delight. But when their characters finally bond over a deep-seated—yet totally unsurprising—hatred of Selina, I got chills. These two could do real damage together.

Here are a few other things that turned up in “C—gate”:

Sound Familiar?: Following an interlude with Charlie, Selina walks down to the Oval Office for a late-night cigarette and summons Amy to discuss the C-word investigation. Selina, vexed by Politico’s reporting of someone calling her the worst thing one can call a woman, lays out a bit of analysis that fits the real world pretty well: “A lot of people don’t want me to be president. And you know why? Because fundamentally, people hate women. Right? They’ll just stop at nothing to get me out of here. Everybody’s trying to get me. But I’m not going to let them.”

Selina sinks back into her regular obliviousness a second later, but for a moment, Veep offered up as trenchant an insight as we’ll get in 2016.

Sorry, Charlie: Any suggestion from Charlie that he could separate his bank’s interests from his personal relationship with Selina proved false once he got the news that she would help out the more politically convenient bank. Charlie entered with all of John Slattery‘s Roger Sterling charm; he left as the “CEO of a fucking yard sale.” Another Kramerbooks date gone to hell.

The Race for New Hampshire: Where to begin with Jonah’s campaign? The poorly spliced footage of him chopping wood? The child in the campaign ad who looks to be running from him in fear, not playfulness? The member of the focus group can’t decide if Jonah’s head is too big for his body or if his body is too big for his head? The fact that Jonah busted through the door to fight them all? That he’s running against his second-grade teacher? Bruce Springsteen sent Jonah two pre-emptive cease-and-desist letters. That’s why he’s the Boss.

Read Your Regional Magazine: Only a doofus like Mike McClintock would be trying to use a Groupon deal in 2016, so of course he can’t get anyone to go with him to a “hand-sawn” Korean barbecue restaurant. Dan’s excuse? “It’s in Annandale. No one from DC goes to fucking Annadale.” Which is just wrong. People from DC do go to Annandale for the Korean restaurants. Also, it’s easy to subscribe to the magazine that will tell you why you should go to Annandale.

Sue’s Latest Superpower: Speaking of Korean barbecue, Sue’s excuse as to why she can’t go is telling Mike “I hate you”—in Korean, which she apparently speaks.

Friends Forever: As mentioned above, any scene between Dan and Jonah is wonderful because of those characters’ intense dislike for each other. But when Selina calls in to bash them both, the hatred falls away in that bro-y, can’t-take-a-compliment way. When Jonah praises Dan’s suggestion that he wear glasses, Dan’s reply is the sweetest “Go fuck yourself” in HBO history.

Jonah Ryan Insult Watch: But the Dan-Jonah thaw couldn’t have happened if Dan didn’t first call Jonah “the first mentally-impaired Frankenstein’s monster to ever win an election.” That’s the stuff love is built on.

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Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.