Warning! Spoilers for Veep below.
The story so far: Selina’s obsession with winning the Presidency leads to a grave mistake. Catherine and Marjorie decide they are ready to take the next step. After being unceremoniously fired from Team Meyer, Dan decides to attach himself to the ascending Richard. Jonah receives his own Secret Service detail and learns something about himself. Foreign interference in American elections is shown to be a deeper problem than anyone realized.
While Selina’s run for the Democratic nomination has been the story of the final season of Veep, the second biggest has been Jonah’s attempt to win the same bid. Early in the season, it was clear that the outspoken New Hampshire politician did not have a shot at winning. This was humorously portrayed in an early episode when he was relegated to the first debate’s undercard for those polling low.
Jonah’s incoherent rhetoric has endeared him to a certain segment of the population. From his stance against vaccines to his claims that math was created by Muslims and should not be taught in schools, Jonah has been able to win over various demographics. Much of Veep’s strengths lies in its character development and it is interesting to see how the former White House intern is a serious contender to win the Presidential nomination.
(This is more a commentary how modern society has changed. When the show first began seven years ago, some of the views Jonah speaks for would lead to a campaign killing controversy. Credit to the writers to noticing this change and believably incorporating it while somehow still making it all seem ridiculous.)
Jonah has been a punchline for the entire run of Veep. Where last episode was an emotional roller coaster for Selina, ‘Oslo’ takes a deeper look into the life of one of her opponents. Jonah’s relationship with his father has been a constant source of strife for him the entire season. Though it is dealt with suddenly and will little fanfare (this has been a problem with the show since its first season), it does add depth the character. Seeing what happens over the course of the episode also gives further insight into one of the Veep’s most popular characters.
Which is not to say that Selina is not the star of the episode. After the heart wrenching events of the previous episode, Selina is thrown right into another problem. As is the status quo for any Meyer election, things are going great until they become absolutely horrible. This is also one of the bigger issues with the episode.
The return of Selian’s self professed best friend Minna is always welcome. In a show filled with mean spirited insults that are admittedly funny, the Finnish politician brings a lighthearted innocence. Some of the barbs she throws can be just as brutal, but they are done without any malice. She may not be as profane, but she is just as funny as any of the foul mouthed American politicians.
Unfortunately, she is treated as more of a device than an important character. Minna’s role has always been to play the comedic folly to Selina while advancing the plot, but here it is very transparent she is not there for anything else. Selina’s arc also suffers from its fast pace. So much happens in the thirty minuet episode that it is hard to digest any of it. By the time Selina thinks she sees a familiar face, it has no impact on the viewer. ‘Oslo’ is the penultimate episode of the entire series, but it does not come off as anything special.
Veep’s strength has always been in its writing. The storytelling and character development are well crafted while the jokes are hard hitting. The balance makes for a near perfect show. While the moments with Jonah are very well done, the rest of the episode almost relies too heavily on its humor. The episode is still very enjoyable, but heading into the series finale it should have been much more powerful.