At the end of Veep’s third season, Selina Meyer’s life went through a major change when she became, not through the will of the people, the President of the United States. Fast-forward two seasons and that political life is on the verge of coming to a close. Can Selina and her team salvage anything when the odds are stacked against them? Let’s see. This is “Inauguration.”
The episode begins with one day until the Senate vote. Mike tells the press that Selina won’t make a statement about the House results and she is not interested in becoming Vice President again. Mike stakes his reputation on that.
In fact, Selina tells Tom James that he may just become an accidental president, as she did. She offers her assistance with the transition of power by joining his administration. He thought the same. She wants Secretary of State, but he thought Vice President was the least he could offer. Selina refuses to be Tom’s Vice President.
She then tells her team about Tom’s terms. Mike is tired at the team meeting. Kent ran polls on Selina, meanwhile: she’s the 43rd most effective president, right ahead of James Buchanan. Selina asks about whether Marjorie and Catherine will be married, but then she turns her attention to Tibet. If anything else, she wants that to happen in order to smoothen out her legacy.
But there’s radio silence from the Chinese. She wants her goddamn Nobel Peace Prize. It’s all about legacy. Legacy meeting adjourned. While Dan receives television offers, Selina tells Ben to help make sure that the Tibet deal happens.
At the Rayburn building, Richard and Jonah settle into the office. Jonah wants to spruce up the place with some fancy female interns. Keep that in mind.
Ambassador Al Jaffar tells Selina that the Chinese are now nervous about the Tibet arrangement since Selina isn’t in power anymore. She counters that she’s not out of power yet. Plus, it’s unannounced as of now, but she’ll be continuing on as Tom James’ Vice President.
This turns out to be of interest to the Chinese after all. However, it turns out that Tom James is at the Senate for the vote. Selina and Ben enter the Vice President’s office. After a moment, Selina decides that she can do this.
She then meets with Tom, who guesses correctly that she’s decided to accept the offer of Vice President. And Selina won’t be any Vice President. She’ll be a partner, but Tom can’t take this seriously and starts laughing. It is quite funny.
So Richard did get some interns, but they’re all dudes. Not exactly fancy ladies, but they do make a damn good latte for Jonah.
Time for the Senate vote to start. Selina, meanwhile, speaks with the Chinese about working together for four more years. The Chinese President looks forward to working with Tom James. Ben reminds Selina that she needs to keep an eye on what’s happening in the Senate.
The Senate vote is tighter than expected and Montez ends up overtaking Tom James. Eventually, the vote ends in another tie. As such, a tie in the Senate is broken by the President of the Senate: the Vice President. Since Tom James never technically became the Vice President, the deciding vote goes to Andrew Doyle, who declares his vote for Laura Montez.
It’s official: Laura Montez is the next President of the United States, as the team realizes that Doyle has masterminded this entire affair in exchanging for becoming the next Secretary of State.
As Selina leaves with heavy hatred for her country, Gary damns the team for letting down their leader. He goes on a profanity laced rant and attacks everyone while Dan records. Gary at least did his job. He cared. Well, okay. Later, Selina destroys her coffee machine and tells Gary to get her some fruit.
One day until the inauguration, Mike shows Amy a photo of his baby, Ellen- who looks large for her age- while Selina goes through the rooms to take down various paintings. Ben and Kent, meanwhile, both arrive at Robert Richards and Associates. Following this, Mike briefs the press on Selina’s final plans before the inauguration: she’ll be meeting with Montez for coffee in the Red Room.
Charlie Baird will be nominated for Treasury Secretary. Well, that’s a payoff. Selina finds Richard packing up Jonah’s old office. She invites him into the Oval Office, saying he was one of the good ones and could have been relied upon much more. Selina is in disarray. She doesn’t even remember how to drive. Selina wishes that she won. She lays down on the carpet for a nap and asks Richard to stay.
Inauguration Day arrives. Gary finds Selina looking like a fucking wreck. Luckily, it doesn’t look like she fucked Richard. Catherine arrives in a fancy-ass dress and new hairdo, but she’s looking for a hard drive of her film. Gary reminds a despondent Selina that everything can be taken away from her except her beauty.
Furlong breaks up the party in Jonah’s office and tells him that interns need to be less attractive than the politician. He rips into Jonah and his team, but Jonah remains unaffected. He is affected when he takes a hit to the nuts.
Buddy and Amy talk, but they’re interrupted by the arrival of Candi Caruso, who just got a new job as Montez’s Chief of Staff.
Mike and Wendy introduce Kent to their surrogate and Ellen, who is three, but Kent believes she that her head has the circumference of a six year old. Ellen confirms this when she says that, yes, she’s six.
Laura Montez meets with Doyle, Selina, and other representatives, and talk about the weather, which could drop low for tonight’s inaugural ball. Selina ruins the moment by bringing up Laura’s heritage, which is questionable, to say the least. The team, meanwhile, turns in their White House badges, but Mike can’t find his. Shocker.
As Laura Montez is inaugurated, Selina asks Doyle why he did what he did. Sure, Selina offered him Secretary of State, yes, but she did the same for a lot of people. Montez takes the Oath of Office and gives her Inaugural Address, telling the American people that this is the dawn of a new era.
Meanwhile, we learn that President Montez has freed Tibet as the baby lamas are released. This sort of announcement would put her in line for the Nobel Peace Prize. Oh, how could this get any worse?
Later, Tom James speaks with Selina about the speech, but Selina just noticed the size of Montez’s tits. Tom speaks about his future of running a multibillion-dollar hedge fund and then compliments Selina on her shoes. Of course.
Selina bids farewell to her team. She boards Air Force One, but then takes Amy with her for some reason. However, the copter is forced to land due to engine troubles. Still no word on Catherine’s hard drive, too. As Selina overhears the festivities from the parade, she waits and waits until it starts to rain.
So where does everyone else end up?
Dan, now on CNN, may be in line for a full time gig to cover the State Department, but he turns it down once he receives an offer from CBS News.
At George Washington Hospital, Jonah heals up and tries to pawn off his second ticket to the Inaugural Ball. Also, there’s a lump on his left testicle, so the doctor will run a biopsy to check. Bob “The Eagle,” meanwhile, tells Montez that, in light of the missing ballots, Selina won Nevada.
Sue, for whatever reason, is still at the White House. Well, at least life for her remains the same as the fifth season of Veep comes to a close.
Well, here we are at the end of Veep’s fifth season and the end, right now, it seems, of Selina Meyer’s time in the White House. To say the ride was unpredictable would undercut the twists and turns that Selina and her team experienced up until the point where they realized the Presidency was lost.
Like “Kissing Your Sister,” there’s time devoted to Team Selina standing around and awaiting their fates, but the stakes are higher here because even though the Presidency is beyond them, there’s the chance that they could all remain involved in a Tom James administration. And given James’ popularity and likability with voters and politicians alike, this seemed an ideal route.
The key word being ideal. We would expect Selina to step back into that thankless Vice Presidential position. She’d have to swallow her pride and embrace the job she despised, but she’d still be a somewhat key player in Washington politics and she would still have her team. More than that, though it’d be a step down from being President, Selina would have something at the end of the day.
This is Veep, though, where anything is possible. I’ll commend the writing staff for not taking the easy way out and just putting Selina back where she started. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a regression for the show to make Selina someone else’s Vice President, but it would feel like familiar territory that could still garner great, comedic moments. Veep could make a Vice President Meyer Redux work.
So it was to my absolute surprise when it turned out that Tom James’ plan to usurp power from Selina ended up failing. And with that, Selina’s political career came to a screeching halt. And it comes after she fought to maintain her power and integrity. She refused to serve as second to Tom James, but realized that if she wanted to keep her legacy, she needed to swallow her pride and return to that Vice President slot she so loathed.
But now, she doesn’t even get that. It’s a ballsy move to remove Selina from power altogether, given the nature and title of the show, but it’s a welcome one that puts her in an interesting position come next season. Does Selina just reenter civilian life? As someone who has gotten by with others doing what she wants, it’s hard for her to accept normalcy. She’s not used to things like driving or caring for herself.
Yes, Selina is a vain asshole and her incompetency should bar her from being in Washington altogether, but through the writing and Dreyfus’ performance, you sympathize with Selina when she leaves the White House. Her telling Tom after the Senate vote that he now knew what it felt like felt honest. He’s now in the same rut as her and it’s a stinging feeling to have your aspirations and career snatched away from you.
If she can’t be President, can she at least secure Tibet as a final victory? Nope! And this is a tad unfair, but hilarious all the same to watch Montez, the first elected female President of the United States, get credit for Selina’s deal with China. It’s funny, yet sad at the same time because even Selina’s attempt at carving out her legacy goes to someone else. Now that is pouring salt in the wound and kicking a character when they’re down.
There are several moments where you can see a sadness in Selina’s eyes and I’ll admit, it hurt to watch her world crumble around her. Selina is great when she’s ranting and raving, but it’s the quieter moments that let us see the person who does care about doing a good job and wants some validation for her work. When Selina tells Richard that she wishes she had won, it felt real and not just her wanting to claim victory.
In fact, it makes me curious what a Selina Meyer administration would look like if she had a more competent staff. Richard is bumbling, yes, but he was pivotal when it came to the Nevada recount and can be both useful and knowledgeable. Put him on Team Selina and there would still be errors, but those moments where he showcases how much he knows about politics could have made for an almost better team.
I kind of see Selina as a less-competent Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation. She has political aspirations in her future and wants to serve her country, but has many missteps along the way. And given how far Selina has come from becoming an accidental President, it’s a stinging blow that she never really won the Presidency. She walked into this position, but also had to fight to keep it.
In the end, she lost, and some television shows would just stick with Selina’s reactions, but the greatness of Veep comes not just from Selina, but her staff’s antics. We watch them grow agitated and then despondent when most of them realize that they’re out of work. There are some bright spots: Mike gets to be a father, Dan is on the road to becoming a media personality, and Sue at least gets to stay on at the White House.
But nowhere was the reaction more visceral than Gary chewing out his team. Not since “East Wing” have we seen him tear into another character, but it felt earned. For five seasons, Gary has been Selina’s right man and taken more than his fair share of criticism from damn near everyone. But despite a short flirtation with Charlie Baird due to his kindness, Gary has remained loyal to Selina.
To see her in such a low position hurts him. As if her failure makes it his failure by proxy. But again, Gary has remained committed to Selina. Others on the team, not so much. Or, at least, not as devoted as he has been. For him to blame Selina’s loss on them was extreme, but very satisfying to watch nonetheless. As great as Tony Hale is as the mild-mannered Gary, it was fun to watch him let loose.
In a season of errors, backroom deals, political sex scandals, and all the mismanagement that makes Veep what it is, this was a very good finale that makes me anxious to see where Veep goes next now that Selina has been shown the door. Does Selina go on to write a book about her life in Washington? Will she ever return to politics in any capacity? Will President Laura Montez really usher in a new era?
So many questions and possibilities, and too much time between now and Season Six. Either way, even if some of the stuff in Nevada fell flat at times, this was another great season of Veep that definitely has me hooked for the next chapter in Selina Meyer’s life. See you then.