‘Veep’ episode 5 recap: Julia Louis-Dreyfus delivers smashing, Emmy-worthy performance in ‘Chicklet’

With her short-lived dream of becoming a Supreme Court Justice thwarted in last week’s episode of “Veep,” Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) refocuses on writing her autobiography with Mike (Matt Walsh). While Gary (Tony Hale) and Amy (Anna Chlumsky) attempt to avoid bad PR for Selina after the unveiling of her Madame Tussauds’ wax statue, Jonah (Timothy Simons) starts sleeping with and taking political advice from Sherman Tanz’s daughter Shawnee (Mary Holland), and Catherine (Sarah Sutherland) and Marjorie (Clea DuVall) find another sperm donor. Below, let’s look at the Top 5 moments from “Veep” Season 6, Episode 5.

Hall of Half-Term Wonders — In a deep depression after her heart attack and losing out on the Supreme Court nomination, Selina gets more upsetting, albeit less significant, news from Gary: her Madame Tussauds’ wax statue has been placed next to Gerald Ford, another half-term President. Demanding more prestigious company for her statue alongside other “game-changing icons,” Gary works to appease Selina, but his request reaps disastrous results. Repositioned in a bowing pose, pictures hit social media of tourists making lewd gestures with Selina. When Amy intervenes to fix Gary’s blunder, she only makes matters worse when another new pose draws an equally profane response from visitors. Once resolved, Selina finds out what happened and seems genuinely flattered by the attention.

Charismatic, Gregarious and Somewhat Peculiar — When Selina and Mike arrive at Catherine’s brownstone for a book-writing session, they’re unexpectedly greeted by Selina’s ex-husband Andrew (David Pasquesi), prompting Selina to rant about the early days of her political career when he used to cheat on her. Unbeknownst to Selina, Mike finds the personal drama fodder for the autobiography, and they wind up working throughout the night reminiscing about her early life and childhood. In a particularly revealing moment, Selina recounts her fond memories of her dad (he used to bring home snow globes for her when he was away on business, and even bought her a horse, Chicklet, that her mother later sold), as well as her memories of the night he died. While “Veep” gave us a glimpse into Selina’s fraught relationship with her mom in the brilliant episode “Mother” last season, the show has rarely discussed her relationship with her father. The scene affords Louis-Dreyfus the opportunity to flex her dramatic muscles and it’s a joy to watch her and Walsh relish the chance to be kind to one another and bond on screen.

Shook the Devil’s Hand — With Dan (Reid Scott) out of the running as a sperm donor for Catherine and Marjorie, they turn to the kindhearted Richard (Sam Richardson). At the doctor’s office to collect a sample, Richard reveals to them that he’s never “shook the Devil’s hand,” as his religious grandmother used to say, euphemistically, and he needs instructions on what to do. Richard’s hilarious, perfectly in-character innocence juxtaposes nicely with Jonah’s sheer depravity, as he’s now taking political advice from donor Sherman Tanz’s daughter Shawnee just because they’ve started sleeping together, much to the chagrin of his strategists Ben (Kevin Dunn) and Kent (Gary Cole).

Say Uncle — After Mike catches some inconsistencies in Selina’s memories of her dad’s death, he suggests they pay a visit to her Uncle George (Brian Doyle-Murray). Although Selina quickly reproaches Mike for even suggesting that her father may not have been the idealized man of her childhood memories, she learns from George that he died while sleeping with his secretary Barbara, that Barbara, not her father, was the one who bought her all of those snow globes, and that her father, not her mother, sold Selina’s beloved horse. Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ look of disillusionment while George reveals all of these family secrets is heartbreaking and chilling, especially on a series that so vehemently eschews sentimentality. Shattered, Selina and Mike quickly dart to her family home to visit Chicklet’s stable, which had been converted by Selina’s mother to a loft where her dad could bed his secretary to avoid being caught at a hotel.

Inside the converted barn, Selina finds a picture of her and her dad, which she smashes to the ground in anger, kicking off an alcohol-fueled demolition derby with Selina and Mike destroying the place with a rowing oar and tennis racket, respectively. The scene, a shocking and hysterical moment that ranks among series highlights like Selina walking through the glass door in “Running” and her and Gary’s laughing fit in the bathroom in “Crate,” culminates with Selina crashing her vintage Mercedes through the barn door. After Mike pulls her out of the wrecked car, Selina finally realizes that her parents’ “toxic marriage” led her to marry a similarly slimy man and become a ruthless politician. Louis-Dreyfus delivers a tour de force performance, seamlessly navigating Selina’s sorrow, rage, and ultimate resilience, all while nailing the physical comedy of Selina farcically wielding that huge oar.

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I Don’t Wanna Catch Anything — In last week’s “Justice,” Dan learns from his “CBS This Morning” producer (Paul Scheer) that the crew thinks he and co-anchor Jane (Margaret Colin) have been sleeping together. In “Chicklet,” those rumors hit the gossip columns with headlines about their supposed May-December romance. When one of the papers catches Dan out with Amy and accuses him of cheating on Jane, he goes to Jane to deny the rumors and check to see if she’s offended. Jane in turn reveals that she’s been feeding the gossip to the papers in order to make herself appear desirable, because as soon as she’s no longer deemed attractive, she’ll be out of a job. While a funny sub-plot in its own right, Jane’s speech to Dan about the value of her appearance continues the series’ shrewd portrayal of gender politics.

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