'VEEP' Recap: From 'Bluff Puff' to 'Rough Puff'

Selina makes a bold statement to turn around an interview.

(HBO)

"First Response" pits Allison Janney as Janet Ryland (left) against Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selena Meyer (right).

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As the scandals keep mounting, Vice President Selina Meyer and her staff decide to film a TV interview for the show "First Response" to regain control of the narrative. On Sunday's episode of "VEEP" — also called "First Response" — Selina sits down with reporter Janet Ryland (played by the always wonderful Allison Janney) in what she assumes to be a "puff piece" interview. Unfortunately for Selina, Janet matches the vice president in her cunning, ruthlessness and vanity.

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Janet and her producer conspire to hit Selina with some "gotcha questions," lulling the vice president with the "bluff puff" and swooping in for the "rough puff."

Where Selina and Janet differ is that Janet and her team are also competent at their jobs. The vice president doesn't stand a chance.

"All of your worst fears about how this day could have possibly gone have come true," Dan, one of Selina's aides, tells the vice president towards the end of the interview.

First the vice president floundered at Janet's questions about the CIA's connection to the recent hostage crisis. Then, just as Selina's ex-husband Andrew is set to arrive for a family sit down, a blog posts an email he had sent to a lobbyist bragging about his political influence with Selina. He tries to dodge the question by comparing the scandal to the controversy over the raid mission. It's an analogy that looks good for no one.

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As the cameras film a family lunch, tension swells over the menu – roasted chicken. Catherine, Selina's daughter, is a vegetarian, which is news to Selina, who insists she eat it.

"I'm not going to sacrifice my morals for her career anymore," Catherine tells Amy, the vice president's chief of staff.

"I've done it, it's not that bad," Amy assures her.

She doesn't eat the chicken. But Catherine, the good sport that she is, tells Janet she is no longer dating her boyfriend – the son of Iranian immigrants, which would not play well with the Jewish vote – essentially dumping him on camera. But that alone can't save the interview.

With Dan's urging, Selina decides she has to go bold to turn things around. Selina looks completely out of the loop when news breaks during the interview that the government shutdown is over. So she takes ownership of the other controversy on her plate — the spy scandal — to make herself look more relevant.

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She offers an impassioned, if not confusing, apology for the CIA agent's connection to the hostage crisis, a cover-up she herself was in the dark about. Selina, it appears, has decided it's better to be a liar who is in-the-know than to be honest about being clueless.

The moment makes for good television, even if it is actually digging Selina into a deeper hole.

"I spewed out so much bullsh-t, I'm going to need a mint," she says when the interview wraps.

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