Second episode of the series finds Selina and her staff attempting to build bridges on her clean jobs bill, spend some time normalizing (ie. talking to regular people in photo ops) and step up when the President suddenly suffers from severe chest pains. This one is better than the first episode. Louis-Dreyfus remains the show’s best asset. Her reaction upon being informed that she is needed in the West Wing because the President is incapacitated is a ten second master class in comedy. In absolute silence, she lets just a myriad of emotions play across her face: fake concern, barely suppressed joy, absolute terror. Phil Reeves makes a big impression in just two short scenes as the folksy, steely Senator Doyle, an erstwhile political ally of Selina’s, willing to sponsor the clean jobs bill if Selina backs his push for filibuster reform. The scenes of Reeves and Selena haggling with each other are really brilliant and seem to capture the insincere bluffing and bullying that probably really takes place in Washington backrooms, albeit with more awkward comedy than probably typically happens in real life. The final sequence finds Selina stricken with a stomach bug at the precise moment she is attending a photo op at a local yogurt shop. It’s a cheap gag, but Louis-Dreyfus knocks it out of the park in the episode’s closing scene as she attempts to down a boatload of frozen yogurt, smile for the camera and keep from vomiting all at the same time. It’s not subtle, but her comic precision is just amazing. This episode is a definite step up from the pilot, which is a good thing. This episode, much more than the pilot, really makes me interested to keep watching the show. Really good episode of television. Recommended. 3 ½ stars.
tl;dr – the show is markedly improved from the pilot episode; the Washingtonian deal-making is rendered perfectly and Louis-Dreyfus’ comic performance is precise, masterful and perfect. 3 ½ stars.