Veep: “Congressional Ball” Season 5 Episode 7 Review

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Tom’s mischievous dealings come to light in another terrific episode of Veep

Veep and House of Cards are worlds apart in terms of tone, but this week’s episode sees Selina Meyer go full Frank Underwood, and it is glorious. Julia Louis-Dreyfus has always proven herself a masterful comedic performer, but nothing compares to seeing her viciously tear down a congresswoman in order to ensure her support, or having an epic confrontation with Tom on his secret meetings with Sydney Purcell. Seeing Selina’s gloves come off is a true delight and a reminder that, although she and her constantly-bickering staff might indicate otherwise, she still knows how to pack a punch.

These events transpire over the course of the titular congressional ball, which sees the staff operating to ensure the support of various congressmen and women in the upcoming vote to determine the presidency. Veep‘s best moments occur when Team Meyer is surrounded by chaos, but it’s also nice to see them operate as a well-oiled machine, which happens throughout much of the ball.

Things come to a head when Selina and her team realize that Tom is trying to derail the whole thing so that the vote is left to The House—an area where he can easily manipulate things in his favor. Selina shrewdly takes matters into her own hands, beginning with a hilariously tense sequence where she asks Tom to dance in front of everyone, and followed by her dragging him into the green room to let him have it.

And let him have it, she does…in more ways than one. As if the sight of Louis-Dreyfus verbally sparring with Hugh Laurie wasn’t already amazing in and of itself, things turn from angry to steamy when Selina calls him out for their almost-hookup years ago. It’s great to see Selina so confident and, although you can see it coming midway through their fight, having a Selina-Tom hookup adds an interesting dynamic to their relationship. Plus, we got the truly fantastic moment of Gary walking in on them and looking like he’s seen a ghost.

Selina returns to the ball post-coitus with a newfound energy, and grabs Congresswoman Knickerson—who recently rescinded her support after speaking with Tom—to tear her a new one. The Meyer staff are no strangers to dirty language, but the scene of the two of them in the green room reaches a new level of visceral madness. As Selina puts it, Knickerson is “playing a very dangerous game of chicken with the head f*cking hen,” and the hen did not come to mess around. Gary is even bewildered by a few of Selina’s comments…but that could also just be the aftershock of seeing her and Tom having sex.

Of course, since this is Veep, Selina’s strong-willed win at the ball is paired with a disaster during Jonah’s campaign event at a bowling alley in New Hampshire. Bill Ericsson proves to be a slick operator by bringing Patton Oswald’s Teddy back into the fray to stir up trouble. Jonah berates him for his past behavior, but the camera angle of the footage sent to the news makes it look like he’s yelling at the bowling alley manager Polly (Lauren Potter), a young woman with Down syndrome. Making matters worse is Richard’s inability to capture the correct footage on-camera, played out through an amusing running joke where he continually shuts off the camera during the most important parts of the shoot. Though this is a serious blow to the Ryan congressional campaign, Richard’s sunny disposition is a constant source of great humor.

With only 3 episodes left in Veep‘s fifth season, things seem to be gearing up for a major finale that will determine if Selina will remain the president. After this week’s episode, there’s a lot left up in the air. How will Tom—who we only saw for a brief moment after his quickie with Selina—take in this new development? Will Jonah’s campaign, and Dan’s career as a political strategist, recover from this scandal? Like Selina after her hate-sex, though, I’m feeling very energized and excited. Veep is on a winning streak, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Grade: A


Some Other Notes:

  • This week in “Poor Mike,” our favorite bumbling Communications Director loses out on a dream job with the NHL. Matt Walsh’ hungover press conference following the ball is hysterical.
  • A great running joke throughout “Congressonal Ball” is the release of the DC “Hot List,” ranking the most attractive staffers on Capitol Hill. Gary ends up on the list and lets it get to his head, until he unfortunately learns that he was put there as a typo. Tony Hale is great both with an inflated ego, and after learning the truth.
  • Selina vs. Tom and Congresswoman Knickerson were clearly the highlights of the episode, but equally as excellent is her scene with Congressman Jaeger, trying to explain the vote to him as if she was one of his many prostitutes.
  • Seriously, Julia Louis-Dreyfus was just outstanding this week. Yes, she’s already won several Emmys for Veep, but another one for this season would not be unwarranted.


By Mike Papirmeister

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