President Selina Meyer is riding high from a successful convention, during which she named Senator Tom James (Hugh Laurie) as her brand new running mate as veep. Roughly a week or so later, she’s making campaign stops across the country for her newly energized campaign, but to Selina’s ultimate dismay, she’s realizing she’s no longer the star of her own story.
Tom James Superstar
Selina’s one strong suit in politics is her ability to spin a crowd to be in her favor. She’s had some stumbles in Washington circles, of course, but she always finds a way to bullshit her way right into the electorate’s heart. Last season, she riffed a eulogy for a deceased congressman and roused applause from the mourning crowd. At a barbecue that same season, she made favorable impressions on the locals when she was courting them one-on-one. It was only when the television cameras got involved that she and her hapless team lost control of the visual narrative. That’s why coming into this new partnership with Senator James, she finds herself in very unfamiliar territory. As it turns out, Tom James’ memory is a steel trap for personal details, so his schmoozing with voters steals her thunder. At a pancake brunch, she’s one-upped by her new running mate when he remembers the gastrointestinal woes from one of the attendees and has preemptively prepared a lactose-alternative batter with which to make pancakes. Even Encyclopedia Gary could not have given Selina the edge in that situation. Realizing she is being outshone by her campaign’s new star, she does what any self-preservationist would do: insists on making the narrative is about her by touting the fact that SHE chose him. The only problem? She wants Mike to make that happen. Translation: it ain’t gonna happen. To add insult to injury, Tom doesn’t even remember the time that he and Selina almost did the deed. They never did the deed, mind you, but he doesn’t remember the fact that there was even tension between the two of them one night twelve years ago. Then again, Selina only sees the world through Selina-tinted glasses, so who’s to say Selina’s memory has any resemblance to reality?
Vice President Doyle’s former Chief of Staff Teddy (Patton Oswalt) and his repetitive scrotal-grabbing of Jonah is the story that just won’t die. It turns out, Teddy sexually harassed other D.C. staffers besides Mr. Ryan, and when the other victims are all in one room together it’s clear that Teddy had a victim type. Tall, dark, lanky, and with the exception of Jonah, female. The recipients of Teddy’s unwanted advances are hoping that Jonah will join their class-action lawsuit and testify for the case. Needless to say, Jonah has tried very hard to put the whole issue behind him and being the only male to testify in a class-action lawsuit is decidedly not the way he wants to go about accomplishing that task. Fortunately for the audience, his hand-me-down assistant Richard (surname Splett) is forever in tow and as oblivious as ever. He does give key insight as to what may have drawn Teddy to Jonah in the first place though: a purple shirt that reads a little “blousey.”
After her epic exit from Selina’s campaign last week (giving what was one of the best “I quit” monologues in recent memory), Amy has indeed partnered up with her best frenemy Dan Egan, just as I suspected she might. Dan brings her in to meet with Sidney Purcell about joining his lobbying firm. Sidney notes that he’s beginning to accrue more White House staff than the White House itself, and his offices are actually chromatically whiter. In a power play in front of a prospective client, Amy dials up Selina’s Chief of Staff Ben (because, unlike Dan, she is still mostly well-liked among the remaning original members of Team Selina) and then promptly hangs up on him. This impresses the both the client and Sidney, who quickly offers Amy not only a job, but Dan’s parking space and desk. Poor Dan. Though, considering his resume is mostly just smoke and mirrors with plenty of good ideas, but no tangible accomplishments, this is a fate of his own making.
Ben and Sue, Only The Lonely
While Selina and Tom are flying on Air Force One to visit the soon-to-be hurricane-ravaged North Carolina, Ben finds himself without a verbal sparring partner at the White House. Sue is a woman of very few words, and those words are often stinging truths. Chatty Cathy she is not. Despite this, Ben still wanders aimlessly by her desk on occasion hoping to rouse some kind of conversation out of her. This eventually leads to a very funny moment that sees Sue actually hiding from Ben solely in the hopes that she’ll be uninterrupted so that she can continue to work and refine the President’s schedule. Speaking of the President’s schedule, that hurricane that was supposed to make landfall in North Carolina actually veered south in the Atlantic and made a course towards Florida. Florida just happened to be where Selina’s Republican nominee counterpart happened to be, leaving the GOP poised to soak up (har har) the disaster relief photo-ops she had been banking on to boost her own campaign. Picking Tom James might very well be the boost she needs to retain the Oval Office, but his advice for oncoming storms is not something she’ll be seeking again any time soon. Turns out Catherine was right about one thing back in season one though: Selina may try but she’ll never control the weather.
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