Veep Season 2 Review “Andrew; Shutdown”

It feels appropriate to be reviewing these two episodes of Veep together. Though they didn’t make a two-parter, “Andrew” and “Shutdown” both served to further damage Selina’s public image and put her in a bad place. It also featured a notable exclusion, one that makes it clear how much stronger Veep is when it focuses on Selina and her inner circle.

In the first episode, Selina’s ex-husband Andrew finally made an appearance at Catherine’s birthday party. Overall, Andrew was an enjoyable new character, one of the few that this season has had to offer. In one episode, he made it clear why Selina ever fell for him, as well as why she was eventually driven away.

Though it’s always nice to have Catherine back, she had far less to do in this episode than in previous appearances. That said, she remained the one character the easiest to empathize with. Seeing your parents get divorced is a hard experience to go through, but it’s clearly worse when you have to watch them pretend to be friends and throw veiled insults at one another during your birthday dinner. The last shot, of Catherine on the verge of tears as Selina and Andrew set off to have angry sex, was genuinely heartbreaking.

Of course, while these scenes were sad, there was still a lot of great humor to be found in the situations. At times, Veep plays out like classic episodes of The Office, with the awkward situations both painful and hypnotizing to watch. Such was the case at Catherine’s birthday dinner.

Andrew’s influence also carried into tonight’s episode. Instead of just a one-night stand, Selina has continued seeing Andrew. Coupled with her erratic behavior and the president blaming her for the government shutdown, it wasn’t a surprise to see some of her staff questioning her mental state.
I haven’t touched on the other characters too much, but Dan’s summation of his co-workers at his lunch meeting more or less says why. Though they started the season strong with individual story arcs, they’ve all stalled in the middle of the season.

If anything, some of the best laughs have come from the tertiary characters. Since their first appearance at the end of last season, Congressman Furlong and his browbeaten assistant Will have had a number of fun run-ins with the veep’s staff. There’s not much in the way of a story arc for them, but they do a great job of dropping funny lines when they show up.

Ultimately, these episodes put the focus on Selina again, which made it clear that one of this season’s biggest problems has been the character Kent. Aside from a brief scene in “Shutdown,” he didn’t appear at all, and it was for the better. Gary Cole is a fantastic actor, but he feels miscast as Kent, who demands a more low-key performance than Cole seems comfortable giving.

What did you think of the past two episodes of Veep? Let me know in the comments!