A Look at Veep- Season 6 Finale: “Groundbreaking”

So, ex-President Selina Meyer has been on a journey since losing the Presidency.  She’s worked on her book, courted donors, and is on the verge of opening her Presidential Library.  Will everything go according to plan?  Let’s find out in Veep’s sixth season finale- “Groundbreaking.”

The episode begins with a flashback to six years ago in Selina’s concession speech after a third place finish in Iowa.  Despite her best efforts at running for President, the voters have said otherwise.  As a result, Selina decides to suspend her campaign.  Then Jefferson Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” plays as balloons fall from the ceiling because that’s a great juxtaposition.

Richard stops by House Ryan to give a despondent Jonah a empty gift box to prove all he needs to be happy is his heart.  Jonah plans to run against his Ezra in two years, but Richard tells Jonah that he could petition for a recall, except those are unconstitutional. Jonah then invites Richard to stay the night and tells his mom that he doesn’t want waffles for breakfast tomorrow.

Al Jaffar celebrates his six month anniversary with Selina by presenting her with an item from his great-grandmother.  His great-grandfather bought it with the money he made from his first major arms deal.  How sweet.   As the two leave, she’s confronted by a small band of journalists.  Among them is Leon, who asks why Selina never talks about her stay in Arizona.

We flash back to two months after Selina lost the presidency, as Gary wheels her to a spa in Arizona, where she meets up with Catherine and Marjorie.  Catherine is worried that Selina is on too much medication, but hopes that her mother can live with her when she’s better.

For Selina, she feels that losing was the best thing to happen because politics is a sickness.  Selina is too delirious, even when Andrew arrives and comments on her ‘youthful’ look.

Back in the present day, Selina is furious that Leon won’t stop talking about the Arizona spa, but according to Mike’s sources, Leon may be on the outs at the Post because he’s lost all semblance of objectivity.

Amy arrives with a final model of the presidential library, but engineering on the real one is ongoing since the building’s a bit unstable.  Marjorie, though, immediately thinks the library looks like a vagina.  Of course.  When Amy points out the crypt, Selina is surprised to learn that she may be buried at this spot, even though it’s tradition for presidents to be buried at their libraries.

But it gets worse- the team working on the library found that it might be on the spot of Yale’s former slave quarters.  Mike suggests putting up an exhibit to honor the people who suffered, but Selina won’t have her vagi-brary underground railroaded by this.  Okay, that is excellent, Veep writers.

Gary and Selina rush upstairs and find Richard in the middle of building the nursery for Catherine and Marjorie’s baby.  As the third biggest donor of Selina’s library, Catherine tells her mother that she can’t build this library on the oppressed backs of the ancestors of her child.

We flash back to six years ago as Selina and Gary arrive at the White House for Selina’s first day as Vice President.  However, as Ben leaves a room that Selina is approaching, he tells her that, despite Hughes promising Selina an office in the West Wing, she’s to be located in the Eisenhower building across the street.

More than that, Selina is certain this wouldn’t happen if she was a man.  However, the President doesn’t want Selina to do anything other than be a woman, and she’s fine at that.  When Amy and Mike arrive, Selina tells them that the move to the Eisenhower building was her call in order to distance themselves from Hughes’ administration.

Then, West Wing intern Jonah Ryan enters and introduces himself to Selina- her being on the ticket is apparently the reason Jonah even voted for Hughes.  Hell, he even voted for Selina because she was on the ticket.  He then goes to Ben, who wants him to do two things: get and stay the fuck away from him.

In the present, Sherman Tanz proposes to Furlong that the homeless problem be solved with mandatory sentencing laws for vagrancy, thus allowing the homeless to populate Tanz’s prisons.  Then Jonah makes an unannounced visit with a final solution to be restored to power: he’ll do anything for Sherman, who likes Jonah’s tenacity, but right now, he’s only buying Senators and Presidents.  That’s how you bring about change.

We flash back 16 years to Selina’s mayoral run.  Mike informs Selina that all the money has been spent, but there’s a way to mitigate that.  On the campaign bus, Selina finds Andrew finishing up with a donor named Sally Nuefeld, played by Emily Rutherfurd.  You know, Christine from The New Adventures of Old Christine.  Funny how that all worked out.

Anyway, to make up for campaign funds, Selina threatens to expose this affair to Sally’s husband unless she donates $25,000 to the campaign…nah, you know what?  Make it $250,000 because that’s how mayoral candidate Selina Meyer rolls.

At BKD Consulting- real original name, guys- Ben, Kent, and Dan talk with Danny Chung about telling Chung’s story related to pulling a Marine from a burning tank.  The three decide to put together an action plan for Chung.  Then Amy arrives in hopes of joining them, but the moment she mentions running this by Selina, the three of them leave.

At the Meyer Library Groundbreaking at Yale, while Al Jaffar talks of his upcoming trip with Selina to Hong Kong, Selina reunites with Quartie Sturges.  While Amy tries to ask Selina for clarity on her role now that the library is done and she has another offer.

But Selina turns her attention to Yale’s President, who mentions that The Washington Post asked for comment in regards to the library site being on former slave quarters.  As such, Yale needs to take time to study this situation, even though the groundbreaking is today. In this current climate, this isn’t the time to put a spotlight on the university’s past association with slavery.  And then, at the worst time possible, Catherine’s water breaks.

And that’s how we transition to 24 years ago with Selina giving birth to Catherine, while candy striper Gary brings Selina some ice chips.  When Selina finally gives birth, she has the nurse, Sandra, played by Camila Greenberg, write down her number in case she and Andrew have any questions.  Selina suddenly thinks that she wants to run for Congress.

At the Mount Sinai Hospital, Selina arrives after Catherine has delivered her baby boy, but at least Andrew was in attendance, with Monica to boot. Catherine and Marjorie haven’t decided on a name yet, but Selina thinks Richard would work because then everyone can call him ‘Little Richard.  Selina shouldn’t be allowed to name children.

After Al Jaffar gives Catherine and Marjorie a wipe warmer as a gift, Selina goes out to tell the press that she would rather not have a library than one built on the backs of slaves.  She proclaims shame on Yale and Amy Brookheimer.

When Leon presses Selina to speak about her stay at Whispering Sounds…she admits that both her daughter and mother have struggled with mental health problems.  She finds it crazy that Montez’s administration would ignore this mental health crisis.  That’s just crazy.

At Selina’s office, Selina tells Amy that she leaked the news to Leon because only former presidents have libraries.  And she, turns out, is running for President.  Yes, as she enters her office with the entire team assembled, Selina plans to ride on the success of Tibet.  The team toasts to Team Meyer getting back together for the fourth time.  Ben has one more thing for Selina to do, but Selina won’t do it.  Sorry, Ben.

Oh, yes she will.  That evening, Selina tells Al Jaffar that she can’t go to Hong Kong with him because she has some new options available.  And the options would be easier without any baggage.  As in Muslim baggage.  That’s fine anywhere except America.  And most of Europe.  With that, Selina returns the gift that Al Jaffar previously gave her.  Selina leaves, but in tears.

So we arrive at Council Bluffs, Iowa for the Madison Monroe Dinner.  Leon, having replaced Mike, gives Selina her speech, while Amy tells Dan to stay behind for a second so she can talk about the night the two of them had after having drinks with Ben.  Well, apparently Amy’s pregnant and it’s Ben’s.  Well, that sucks.  Just when things were looking up for Dan.

And with that, Selina tells the crowd that she will embark upon a feeling tour across America to be with the real folks, feel their feelings, and hear their speakings.

Over at Franklin Pierce High School in New Hampshire, Jonah, now with Bill Ericsson and Teddy Sykes at his side, tells a crowd that he’s establishing an exploratory committee to run for President.

Mike, meanwhile, teaches a course on government.  Well, at least that hopefully pays more than Selina did.

Back in “Omaha,” Ben told Selina that no one wanted to see a Meyer comeback.  More than that, he felt she didn’t have the party or donor support.  This took the wind out of Selina’s sails as she worked on her master plan to run for the Presidency again.  Instead, she’s focused on cementing some semblance of a legacy and keeping herself relevant in the headlines for the right reasons and not because of scandals.

And both she and her team have made progress.  The first draft of the book is out, the Meyer Fund is still ongoing, and Selina’s secured the funding necessary to make this library a reality.  And despite the missteps along the way, she’s had some wins, not the least of which includes the press now on her side because of her work in Tibet.

It’s a new day for Selina Meyer, so despite the low odds, of course she’d run for the presidency again.  She’s already lost several times throughout her career, so she’s well familiar with the pain of loss, especially in close races, but with this momentum, I could see her giving this another shot.  Despite Ben’s warnings, perhaps things could turn in Selina’s favor.

This being Veep, it would be easy to expect a major setback similar to how the previous two seasons ended, but at the moment, Selina has everything going for her.  The team, minus Mike, is back together, Catherine has given birth to her child, and she openly rejects the library- after leaking said story to Leon- to show that she won’t allow something to be built in her name that will cause controversy.

Now don’t get me wrong.  This doesn’t make Selina Meyer a good person overnight. She’s still awful to her core- she now embraces Marjorie and Catherine’s lesbian relationship like she’s been on board with it the entire time.  And she throws Amy of all people under the bus for the library because, hey, someone has to be the scapegoat. Mike’s already on his way out, so it might as well be Amy.

My point is that, for all the progress Selina’s made from her mayoral run to now, she hasn’t changed that much as a person.  She’s developed, but not in a positive way, though we’ve known from the start that Selina was a horrible person, so this is nothing new.  And I don’t expect her to do a 180 as she begins her presidential run.

The same applies to the flashbacks.  They’re great for filling in the blanks, but also show that Selina was as horrible back then as she is now.  Hell, she walked in on Andrew reaming Sally, and rather than consider divorce, she gets a hefty check instead.  When she dropped out in Iowa, she has Jefferson Starship playing, as if she expected a victory. And after giving birth, the first thing she talks of doing is running for Congress.

This was an interesting look through time as we saw Team Selina in its infancy.  Seeing Gary’s first interaction with Selina was a treat, as were the various wigs for the characters in their younger years, Hughes marginalizing Selina on her first day, and getting another look at Jonah back in his days as a White House liaison.  Oh, how far we’ve come.

But in between the humor and flashbacks, we see the quieter, more reflective Selena. One constant throughout the season has been the development of her relationship with Al Jaffar- an actual positive in the shitstorm that is Selina’s life.  But when she jettisons it to remove any baggage, it doesn’t feel like a purely political move.

There’s actual sadness when Selina walks away from Al Jaffar, who has been nothing but kind and caring to Selina.  For her to end that relationship because of what many in the country might think is a tad ridiculous because not like Selina’s faced backlash before, but she’s not taking any chances here.  It’s a huge sacrifice and watching the two part ways does feel like a major loss for the both of them.  Here’s hoping we see Al Jaffar again.

It’s also interesting to see how the rest of the team has changed and what’s led them to this reunion.  When it seemed like Ben, Kent, and Dan were ready to make it on their own, they’re all in for Selina giving it another run for the presidency.  Now, I’d hope they’re just consultants or something similar instead of leaving their company, but hey, if they’re on board, maybe they believe there’s even a one percent chance Selina can win.

Dan was on a steady upswing this season with learning that he can’t conceive and his nice gig at CBS, but he’s not only out at CBS, but Amy is pregnant.  There’s a chance Amy is just fucking with Dan, but either way, it’s a bump in the road for the guy who started off on such a high note this season.

As for Amy, it’s like despite her desire to get away from Selina, she’s pulled back into the game.  And not like there’s anything keeping Amy, so if she’s staying, after Selina threw her under the bus, my hope is she becomes more of use.  Most of this season, she’s been trying to stand out, but ended up shouldering blame for other people’s missteps or her own goofs.  We’ll see come next season if she’s still of worth to the team.

I’ve also appreciated how much prominence Catherine and Marjorie have gotten over the season.  Catherine is becoming more outspoken and standing up to her mother, which I like because it shows how she’s grown from the meek daughter we’ve known her as from seasons prior.  And now she’s got a child with a woman she loves.  With that in mind, I’m certain she’ll keep Little Richard from receiving the same treatment she got from Selina.

Oh, Jonah.  The complete opposite of Selina.  What started out as a promising Congressman who gave the bird to the government when he led a shutdown has now led to him now clawing his way back up the hill through not even a Senate race, but going straight for the Presidency.  And with Teddy Sykes of all people in his corner.

It’s been a hell of a run ride watching Jonah maneuver his way around Washington, make more enemies, and continue to be a thorn in everyone’s sides.  I assume Sherman Tanz will be in Jonah’s corner since Tanz seems to like him, so he may a great money resource at his disposal at the very least.

And Selina replacing Mike with Leon?  Makes sense from a strategic point of view, but also could stop any negative news coming towards her from the Post and, let’s face it, it never hurts to upgrade.  Unless Leon turns out to be just as much of a screw-up as the rest of the team, which isn’t impossible.

In a season filled of stumbles, redemption, and Selina Meyer trying to rise from the ashes a she built out her legacy, she is born anew as Team Meyer makes another run at the Presidency.  But going up against Jonah?  I thought Clinton versus Trump was already entertaining, but here we are.  Despite some quibbles, it was a refreshing change of pace traveling with Selina outside of Washington as she attempted to rebuild herself.

And now that she’s ready to aim for the White House again, we’ll see how well Team Meyer’s chances are when we return for Veep, Season Seven.  See you then.

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