She's not going to win this campaign, is she? Credit: Paul Schiraldi. She's not going to win this campaign, is she?
Credit: Paul Schiraldi

Last week’s episode of “Veep” ended on a cliffhanger, with the gang about to throw Mike’s in vitro treatments at Jonah’s apartment door. This week’s opens in Detroit, where Selina is about to speak at an employment conference. It’s not entirely clear as to why the Jonah apartment story was abandoned, but considering the havoc that Jonah wreaks for Selina this episode, that must have been one awkward confrontation.

Dan, in case you forgot, is now Selina’s campaign manager, and he’s not particularly good at it. To avoid any further entanglements between Selina and her ex-husband, Andrew (David Pasquesi), Dan has hired a personal trainer named Ray (Christopher Meloni) to distract Selina. Avoiding Andrew, though, isn’t entirely in her best interest, because it turns out that the 7,000 new jobs she’s arranged and planned to announce during a speech at the summit will be disappearing in six months – and if Selina hadn’t been with Ray, she probably would have learned that inconvenient fact a little earlier.

Misunderstandings and bad timing fuel most of the action this episode, from the former Finnish Prime Minister Minna Hakkinen’s (Sally Phillips, reprising her role from last season) unfortunately placed bedroom (right next to Selina’s so, she assures them, she has been forced to buy earplugs) to Catherine’s accidental punching of a jobs protester she’s afraid will attack her mother (the protester, of course, is dressed as the Statue of Liberty). After that last spate of violence and a Second Amendment joke that Minna accidentally leaks to Jonah, Selina visits a women’s gun rally to prove that she’s, as Dan puts it, “conservative and liberal – so look at guns, but don’t touch guns.”

 

At the gun show, it turns out that Catherine’s the hero, not Selina. Punching the Statue of Liberty has made Catherine a big hit with that crowd, and so Catherine, not Selina, poses for several photo ops, surrounded by fans wearing T-shirts with her face on them. For Catherine, this is an improvement over all the radio station interviews and music awards show appearances Dan has been scheduling her for. (Her requisite millennial moment: “Nobody watches MTV anymore. … I’m starting to feel like you’re trying to hide me.”)

Kent and Sue, back in D.C., are still flirting with each other, and I can’t tell where the writers are going with this one, but luckily everyone else is confused by it so I’m not alone. Kent, thinking he’s doing Selina a favor, switches her speech to a “friendly” question-and-answer session with the host of the keynote chair … who happens to be Minna Hakkinen. Who also happens to be, in addition to former prime minister of Finland, author of the recent "The Finnish Wolf" and possibly the most deadpan human alive.

The Pride of Finland

“Yes, we have met twice,” Minna lilts when Selina publicly calls her “my good friend.” Phillips plays Minna so straight-faced that it’s impossible to tell if she knows she’s about to throw Selina under the bus; but, considering some of the insults Selina shouted at her in the hallway earlier – “In your country, people f— snow,” being the best – it’s likely that she senses that Selina doesn’t want to talk about the 7,000 jobs. So she prods anyway.

“I’ve been asked – uh, no, told is more accurate – that I must mention that you have a very exciting announcement to make.” Selina tries to brush past this, instead praising American entrepreneurs for their ingenuity, but Minna continues.

“It’s written there, what you wish to say,” she smiles, waving a cue card towards Selina. “I don’t understand, do you want me to make the announcement about Tervill Industries?” Selina relents, and for a split second, Minna purses her mouth in a kind of grimace-smile and jauntily spins her chair. She knew!

Afterwards, Selina yells at Dan and invites Andrew onto her campaign team. Considering their rather colorful past, this doesn’t seem like the best idea, but Dan, at this point, has to recede into the background and let the political family do their thing. Which for Selina and Andrew apparently means hooking up in her hotel room while Amy is forced to distract Ray by asking for a neck massage. After all, as everyone has pointed out, she's been looking tense all day.

Grade: B