Time for a New Selina. Now. Welcome back for the final season of Veep.
The season begins at 9:17 am in Iowa, as the team, sans Dan and Amy, go over Selina’s upcoming presidential campaign, which is going under the campaign “New Selina. Now.” No. Kent even has an algorithm for predictive computer model for election results, and Selina is apparently ahead in the polls.
So where are Amy and Dan? They’re at the Eastern Iowa Airport, with Amy telling Dan all about the bun in her oven. She hasn’t exactly gotten rid of it because, you know, being part of a presidential campaign kind of takes up just a little bit of your time. Just a bit.
Leon has prepared Selina’s speech, but Selina isn’t sure about being President for all Americans. At the very least, Leon suggests at least real Americans. They can work out the details later. Amy, meanwhile, doesn’t have a copy of said speech, but Leon tells Selina that the voters need to know in her own words why she wants to be President. Okay, but Selina doesn’t want stuff about immigration in her speech. It’s too…issue-y.
Oh for fuc-you know what? Never mind.
However, when Selina arrives at the air strip, she’s at Cedar Falls, not Cedar Rapids, which would explain why the air strip is barren and devoid of people. Well, “New Selina. Now” is off to a fantastic fucking star.
Okay, when the team gathers in Des Moines, Dan informs Selina that they’re tracking a school shooting, with Selina hoping that the shooter was a White guy. After the mix-up today, Amy has prepared an autopsy of the last campaign to identify problems. Amy begins by saying that there was a reluctance on the candidate’s part to accept blame for mistakes, but no, that’s Amy’s fault because she made mistakes.
Selina was unwilling to share ideas, and so on, but Selina shuts down Amy’s autopsy. This won’t be a repeat of the last campaign. She is New Selina (Now), so to shake things up, she’ll hire Keith Quinn as campaign manager, even though Ben is already the campaign manager. Marjorie enters and informs Selina that Buddy Calhoun has announced a presidential run, so that’s one more challenger.
When Selina leaves, Dan and the others talk about how Keith Quinn fired the entire staff when he last worked on a campaign.
Marjorie, meanwhile, informs Selina that the Meyer Fund is wrapped up, but some accounting issues didn’t resolve clean. Leon again presses Selina on why she wants to be President, but she assures him that there’s nothing to worry about- it’s all in her head. Something has to be, I guess.
Selina then asks about Little Richard to use him as a prop, much to Catherine’s chagrin. Neither Catherine nor Marjorie want to say ‘No’ to the baby because they suck at parenting- my words, not the show’s- but Selina hands the baby back. As a now sobbing Catherine leaves, Marjorie reveals that Catherine has been suffering from postpartum depression, and it’s impacted the sex with Marjorie, too.
They still enjoy sex in the mornings, but not in the evening. Nobody needed to know that. Nor did Catherine need to get a new hairdo, but anything to shake things up, right?
Anyway, Gary and Selina go to Amy just so they can get away from Marjorie. Amy informs them that the school shooting has produced six victims so far. When Selina asks why Amy would want to be President, it’s because she would want to nuke America. Of course.
Over in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Jonah holds a rally in Portsmouth and announces that he’s skipping the Iowa Caucus. He then introduces his 7-8-9 tax plan- it’s actually 9-8-7- while Teddy, Richard, and Bill watch from the side.
Jonah then introduces his wife, Beth, played by Emily Pendergast, and step son, Clay, played by Sloane Letourneau. Jonah’s wife promises that if Jonah becomes President, he will sweep the dirt out of Washington.
Bill at least likes that Jonah’s wife humanizes him. The three then stop Jonah from getting rough with a man who turns out to be his step father…and his wife’s father. Yeah, Beth is actually Jonah’s step sister. Teddy and Bill grill each other on how this never came up in research, but in their defense, this specific instance isn’t something you think about it.
As Teddy refers to Jonah as an “80-story sky raper,” Jonah pulls him aside and tells him to lay off the insults. Turns out Teddy is only here because Sherman Tanz said that he was the best…and the court-ordered chemical castration. Teddy, as it turns out, got a chemical castration, because of course he did.
At a mayoral greet and greet in Lurlene, Selina shakes hands with Mayor Biscuit…the dog. One reporter asks Selina how politicians respond to shootings beyond the typical thoughts and prayers. Her heart goes out to the families of the victims, plus she wants to offer her…mindfulness and meditation to the Lord on her behalf.
Then, Mike, now working for Buzzfeed of all places, shows up with a question, but he’s actually looking at a menu. Leon cuts him off and kills the press conference while the team briefly and awkwardly catches up with Mike.
With the meet and greet over and while Selina takes Little Richard out to meet the people, Catherine tells Richard that he can’t work on both campaigns. He just likes both candidates, that’s all. Selina leaves the event when she’s asked when she’ll run for President.
As Selina watches news outlets and citizens speculate on whether she should run, Ben points out that Selina needs to officially announce her candidacy to counter the press. Mike is somehow present and suggests that Selina announce at the Statue of Liberty, which isn’t a bad idea at all, but when he asks for a quote, he’s escorted out.
The team spots Keith Quinn, played by the one and only Andrew Daly, but Selina says that’s apparently not him. She thought that Keith Quinn was someone else. Quinn enters, shocked to get a call from Selina, but he’s glad to be the campaign manager. Selina wants him to whip everyone into shape, and Quinn is thankful for the opportunity, as this is a big step up for him.
Selina at first wants Keith Quinn fired, but the press can’t know that the campaign made another mistake. Officially, since Amy hired the wrong guy and Selina hasn’t seen him before, Keith will run things. However, everyone will secretly answer to Ben, as he’ll be the secret campaign manager.
Over in Manchester, New Hampshire, Jonah speaks at a fire station about the shooting, delivering the standards ‘thoughts and prayers’ to the victims. However, the reporters badger Jonah with questions about whether his wife will join him and, ultimately, ask if he married his step-sister.
Amy’s brief conversation with Sophie about motherhood is swiftly interrupted when Kent grabs and brings her into a room to discuss the announcement. Amy suggests the spot where he first announced her run for president nine years ago, at the birthplace of Susan B. Anthony. This, in turn, would bring things full circle. Oh, and there’s been another shooting- this time at a Home Depot. The interstate has been closed.
Keith, however, doesn’t get to go with the team. He’s still waiting on the wi-fi password.
The press, Mike included, asks Selina for her thoughts on the latest shooting. Selina gets frank, saying that something has to be done about the shootings because she’s sick of them. Well, at least it’s not ‘thoughts and prayers.’
The team assembles at a Hampton Inn in Adams, Massachusetts, Dan points out to Amy that they have connecting rooms, but she interrupts him, saying that she wants to have the baby and isn’t asking anything of Dan. She wants the baby to know its father, but Amy won’t take Dan’s last name. she doesn’t want the baby to have Dan’s last name.
Selina goes over her speech and laments to Gary why she shouldn’t have to justify why she wants to be President. However, Gary points out that Amy has been hovering over Dan for quite some time. Selina doesn’t see the connection, but she has noticed that Amy has gotten fatter. Your future President, ladies and gentle-ladies.
Why would Gary want to be President, by the way? To give it to Selina, of course. She knows what she wants to say, but she can’t find the words, so Gary will type. The gist of it is that it’s Selina’s goddamn turn. Hughes’ tenure as President do her any favors, but as far as Selina is concerned, America owes her this. She then just tells Gary to put in something about giving America a better deal.
Amy’s book reading is interrupted when Dan tells her that she’s going to fuck Mike’s boss. His Spidey-sense tells him that she’ll yelp like a seagull in a bread factory.
As Gary leaves Selina’s room, he realizes that he’s forgotten his key. He knocks on the door and asks for Dan, but gets no response. He ends up sleeping outside Selina’s door and wakes up the next morning, when Selina puts him right to work.
Amy, meanwhile, meets up with Dan, who says that he’s not ready to be a father. But if she wants to go Dutch on the abortion, she just has to hit him up on Venmo. Oh, and make it public, so it shows that Dan is a gentleman.
At the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Memorial, Team Selina assembles to find that there’s no stage. Team Selina did not pay the bill for the previous announcement in 2008. Selina asks tent company owner Nick Spooner, played by Jimmy Tingle, to set up the stage, and Nick wants to help, but he’s tired of politicians like Selina prancing in and disregarding the working class people. Remember the specifics of that sentiment.
Selina just wants the fee paid, but it’s too late to do that because the press has already assembled. Selina could really use a miracle, and she gets it in the form of a mass shooting at a mall in Phoenix: 27 dead.They couldn’t possibly announce out of respect to the victims.
Jonah, Beth, and Nancy, meanwhile, speak to CBS to discuss the details of Jonah’s relationship with Beth. Like every Jonah misadventure, this can only end badly, especially when he compares himself to Woody Allen.
Selina, meanwhile, offers thoughts and prayers to the victims, even though she realizes that those aren’t enough. She realizes that this isn’t the right time, but she loves America, damn it. She’s sick and tired of politicians disregarding the rights of working class Americans. That is why she wants to be President of the United States, and her candidacy begins right now.
Amy brings Selina the bill, but obviously she’s not going to pay it. Of course.
Back to CBS, the reporter brings out Jonah’s stepfather, Lloyd, played by John Carroll Lynch, who tells Jonah that he’s tried to be there for him. Since the kids got together, Lloyd has missed being with Nancy. The interview is an absolute disaster, and Selina laughs at this, but it turns out that this has boosted Jonah’s poll numbers.
More than that, it turns out that Tom James is also running for President…and he’s making his announcement at the Statue of Liberty! And he’s brought in the Keith Quinn that Selina wanted. Well, who wouldn’t want to live in a world where Hugh Laurie is the President of the United States?
A lot has happened since the Season Six finale of Veep almost two years ago. What once felt like biting satire feels all too familiar with our ever changing political atmosphere. No matter where you lean on the political spectrum, Veep isn’t about taking sides as much as it is about simply taking potshots. When you’re six seasons in and going into your seventh and final, you might think the formula would grow stale.
That’s not the case here at all with Veep, as the series returns from its brief hiatus and hits the ground running strong. What I’ve enjoyed about Veep is that, within its half-hour runtime, it manages to balance so many characters across different locations, deliver rapid-fire jokes and insults, and be a satisfying watch from start to finish, like any great program on FX.
We get the biting satire that’s helped make the series what it is and it continues in spades here with Selina deciding that she wants to be President. Again. Like anything else on Veep, the odds are never in Selina’s favor, not helped at all by her fuck-up of a team. But at this point, in the final season, what does she have to lose? Literally.
She’s already spent an entire season not being the President when she lost the election. Selina has clawed her way from, well, not necessarily irrelevance, but damn near isolation as she fought to keep herself relevant and rebuild her political empire. Now that she’s got a bit of goodwill built up from last season, she’s ready to make another play for the White House.
As with most occasions on Veep, they blow up in her face, but Selina doesn’t walk away with scars. She manages to work a tragedy in her favor and it’s a good way for Veep to comment on the abundance of mass shootings and how commonplace they’ve become. Admittedly, South Park beat them to the punch, and did so more frequently from week to week, but Veep manages to make it feel fresh.
That’s both an accomplishment on the show’s part, but also a tragic look at reality and how shootings really have become commonplace. It’s all about thoughts, prayers, the typical sort of talk you get from political or well-known public figures. People want actions and change, not talking points and empty platitudes. Yet Selina is perfectly fine with Leon using that as her statement for the first shooting.
The odds are preferable if it’s a White guy instead of a Muslim, and she manages to use the momentum of the latest and deadliest shooting to catapult her Presidential campaign. Not to mention she uses Mr. Spooner’s words to help show how she will work hard for the common man and woman. Never mind that she doesn’t even want to be a President for all Americans and can’t even accept blame for past mistakes.
But that leads into the ongoing question of the premiere: why does Selina want to be President? What are her actual goals and political aspirations besides just wanting the title? At this point in her career, being a joke of a Vice President and President, she feels that she’s owed this, despite her rampant distaste of the American people. Again, right now, she has nothing left to lose.
If she’s going to go all out, she may as well do so in a blaze of glory and hopefully not peter out by the time we get to the series finale. Perhaps she can look to the Lord for mindfulness, as she puts it, but I’m glad that Selina Meyer hasn’t skipped a beat since we last saw her. She may have been out of the spotlight, but that hasn’t changed her one bit. At least, it hasn’t made her a better person.
No, this is the same angry politician that we’ve come to love and if there’s one thing Veep does well, it’s give her and everyone else some great lines. From Kent praising the rational equivalent of Jesus to Selina referring to Marjorie as “Blue is the Most Annoying Color,” which I didn’t catch on my first viewing, Veep fired on all cylinders this week.
Not just limited to Selina, either. It’s nice to get some follow-up on Dan and Amy and I’m genuinely interested to see just where the hell life takes these two. Dan would still rather spread his seed around while he still has the chance, while Amy can’t seem to make up her mind on whether she wants to keep the baby. Or rather, she wants to keep it, but would prefer to keep Dan at a distance.
That’s perfectly fine and well within her right, but Selina isn’t about to give her time off to deal with pregnancy. Hell, Selina doesn’t even seem to notice or care that Dan and Amy might actually be an item.
Mike working for Buzzfeed is a good way to keep him in the journalism world, but also close to Selina’s inner circle. He’s at every press event so far and I wouldn’t be surprised, with his rare good ideas, if he slowly worked his way back into Selina’s good graces. Whatever good graces she has. That said, Mike accidentally reading from a menu might have given me the biggest laugh in this episode.
I could drag Mike across the coals for working at a bottom feeding site like Buzzfeed, but hey, the man’s gotta eat.
Then there’s Jonah who must have the same luck as Selina to remain in politics as long as he has. I still have to wonder if the endgame for Veep is he becomes President, but until then, I enjoyed the utter shock on Bill and Teddy’s faces when they realized that yes, Jonah is in a relationship with his step-sister. The CBS interview did not help at all, but as Ben and Kent revealed, Jonah taps into something. Other than his step-sister.
Oh, and Richard working for both Jonah and Selina’s campaigns? Not unlikely for such a nice guy like him. Catherine’s right, yes, he can’t keep playing both sides, but I welcome the opportunity to see him in both camps if it means we get more comedy from Sam Richardson.
So Veep has returned and Team Selina is, in typical fashion, stumbling out of the gate. We wouldn’t have it any other way as we return for the final season. This will no doubt be one hell of a presidential race with Selina, Buddy Calhoun, Jonah, and Tom James in the race, just to name a few. How much better will this be than Selina’s last attempts?
Probably not great, but hey, we’re just along for the ride. Welcome back to Veep.