Who would ever do something as dastardly as interfere with another nation’s election? And how can we take advantage of that? This is “South Carolina.”
The episode begins months after “Pledge,” with Selina Meyer actually winning the New Hampshire primary. Yeah, you heard that right. From here, the next victory is South Carolina and then back to the White House! However, when Selina expects balloons to fall from above, they don’t.
Well, we can’t have everything.
Amy was supposedly responsible for the balloons, even though she doesn’t work for the campaign anymore. Gary asks for more responsibility, so Selina wants a waxing. Dan informs Selina that South Carolina will be tough. Selina then brings up how she was told to be the blackest White person. However, she’s running against Talbot, which could hurt. Plus, Selina will be parading Little Richard around.
Gary wants a larger role in the campaign, given his years of service. So he’ll be doing faith-based work. Selina then wants the lights out on the plane so she can get some sleep, so no talking.
Amy officially joins Team Ryan, with Jonah lamenting his sixth place finish in the primary. While Bill and Amy go out for drinks, Lloyd tries to console Jonah, and it turns out that Lloyd asked Jonah’s mother to marry him again.
Then, to rub salt in the wound, Uncle Jeff shows up and reveals that he’s backing a candidate who isn’t Jonah. More than that, he finds the whole relationship between Jonah and Beth hilarious.
In Charleston, South Carolina, Marjorie has taken over Gary’s role and does quite a good job, not to mention laying out Selina’s outfit for the day.
The faith-based initiative kicks off with Gary joining for the meeting. However, for a moment, nothing actually happens because Gary is supposed to be leading the meeting. He finally asks if he can make someone a plate. I suppose Gary isn’t used to being in a position of power or authority.
Amy and Jonah pop by Selina’s motel room for a proposition: they tell Selina that Jonah is willing to step aside in exchange for a comfy cabinet position, or even Vice President. Good luck with that.
Wendy and Mike arrive at the Chinese Embassy to make a case for adopting another child. Mike is asked if he’s still close with Selina Meyer, and since he is, the family just needs to sign some applications. Mike is then asked by one of the officials if he can deliver a message to Selina.
At the Dr. Jordan Thomas Jr. Youth Center in Charleston, Mr. Jordan Thomas, played by Keegan-Michael Key, gives Selina and Marjorie a tour. Selina admires Thomas’ father and wants his endorsement. But with Kemi Talbot running, there’s already race in the race. However, Thomas would love if Selina could speak to his congregation. Marjorie arrives with Little Richard, but Selina tells her to leave instead.
Next up, Jonah and Amy speak with Talbot with the same proposition. Since Jonah’s mind is on his money and his money is on his mind, though, the offer doesn’t go any better than it did with Selina.
At Selina’s South Carolina campaign HQ, Team Selina tries to talk at how they can get the White vote since they have no shot with the Blacks. So how do you appeal to White voters? Leon suggests that Selina turn down an endorsement from a pro-Confederacy group. It’s among the most sensible suggestions. Gary’s laptop, meanwhile, keeps making noise even though it’s closed.
Mike arrives with the message that, turns out, comes out from as high as President Liu. The President has been closely watching the election and hopes to continue a conversation about a particular set of islands.
Selina speaks with Ben and Kent about the islands, as they are important to the Chinese military. But America does not recognize them as an official territory. Selina cannot do so…unless she became President. Since it’s not officially being discussed, Ben brings up that you can’t trust the Chinese. They will sell her out in a Beijing minute. His words, not mine.
Following this, Dan tells Selina that Tom James called, but no reason why yet. Selina just hopes that he’s dropping out.
Marjorie and Catherine speak with Richard, who is adjusting to his role as Mayor, but he’s suddenly distracted when a plane flying overhead suddenly crashes.
That evening, Tom pops by Selina’s hotel room. Selina tells Marjorie to leave, and when she does, Gary is surprised to see that Marjorie left Selina alone with Tom James of all people.
However, Catherine brings Marjorie to check the news. It’s the news of the plane crash- it flew into a 7-11, but Mayor Richard Splett helped save the day.
That evening, Tom and Selina make power plays, with Tom suggesting Secretary of State in exchange for him dropping out. He offers to walk her through his foreign policy ideas and the two make their way into Selina’s hotel bedroom.
Jonah meets with Buddy Calhoun in an empty parking lot to talk about a cabinet position in exchange for Jonah’s endorsement. However, Buddy wants the same thing, as he’s also thinking about dropping out. Oh, and Amy is here as well. Well, this is certainly no All the President’s Men, I’ll tell you that much.
The next day, Team Selina watches Tom James’ press conference. James announces that he will be suspending his presidential campaign, but he will not be making an endorsement because the strongest candidate, in his mind, has yet to emerge. Looks like Tom just fucked Selina in the ass…and refused to endorse her!
Leon suggests giving up on South Carolina, but that would mean letting Kemi Talbot win. Selina wants to speak before Dr. Thomas’ congregation, even though she needs White voters, not black ones. To balance that out, she will speak in favor of stronger law enforcement.
At Jonah’s campaign office, Jonah, Teddy, and Amy speak with Sherman Tanz, who comes clean and admits that he never thought Jonah had a chance of winning. Even though Jonah is behind, he’s racking up delegates. This, in turn, could lead to Tanz influencing the party platform and enforcing stricter marijuana laws.
So Selina arrives at Thomas’ church with a weird-ass hat. Thomas introduces Selina, who tells the congregation that a church is a special place. It’s a place for truth, and what happened in the community was a real tragedy. But here’s the hard truth: there are many victims and the people might not want to hear this. The real victims are the police.
That obviously doesn’t go over well, so Selina changes her tune and says that she’s referring to the policing done in the South China sea. As such, it’s time for America to recognize Chinese sovereignty. Well, can I get an Amen?
Mike, meanwhile, hosts the first episode of his McLinTALK podcast and speaks with Mayor Splett about his heroic rescue. Mike, by the way, could’ve found a better use of his green screen.
Keith Quinn tells Selina that, based on word from his consulting clients in Asia, many people in the Chinese sphere of influence were pleased with her speech.
Coincidentally, in enters Gary, who tells Selina that the faith-based initiative raised $25 million out of nowhere. Well, ain’t that a coincidence?
Polls close in eight hours. At a campaign rally, Jonah rails against his own damn campaign staff for stopping him from becoming President. He even throws out Amy’s recent abortion. Tanz even finds it hilarious that Jonah is running against his own campaign. Jonah then rails against math, as it was apparently created by Muslims. As President, Jonah will ban Sharia Math. Even Amy joins in the campaign against math.
With three hours until the polls close, Mike tries to do a quick podcast with Selina, but then he gets a call. Turns out that he’s getting another Chinese baby!
Selina pulls Ben aside and tells her that she sold her soul to the Chinese for $25 million. Then Leon brings her out to see that thousands of African Americans were turned away from the polls due to power outages in mostly Black communities. It’s a total and literal blackout. Selina realizes that the Chinese may have delivered on their word to help with her campaign…
Indeed, Selina Meyer has won the South Carolina primary. Dan manages to get the balloons working, even.
Later that night, Selina, in bed with Dan, promises that she will now start doing whatever she wants, whenever she wants. With that, she wants to watch her victory speech again, so I’m left wondering how many times she’s watched it.
The next morning, Selina reinstates Gary as her bag man, but he’s still running the faith-based initiative as well, with Keith Quinn helping him. Marjorie congratulates Gary for the better woman winning. She even managed to reorganize his bag of items and he’s very impressed by her handiwork.
Also, Keith Quinn then reports to Dan that he’s fired from the campaign. If he says a word to anyone, Keith will kill him.
Jonah, meanwhile, managed to squeak out a third place victory in the primary. Amy, now doing her best Kellyanne Conway, speaks with Gren on Jonah’s behalf, insisting that Jonah Ryan will indeed be the next president. Greg finds Jonah’s potential win scary. Well, he’s not the only one.
Veep has never shied away from its real-life parallels and counterparts, but with this week’s “South Carolina,” the final season hits home a lot of similarities between what’s happening in Selina’s world and how these events mirror our own.
Now that isn’t to say that Veep has never done that before. Nor am I saying that the decisions made by characters here would not be made if not for real-life parallels. But the similarities are very noticeable and out in the open. However, what’s most surprising- and a bit damning- is where this episode has taken Selina as far as her potential journey back to the White House.
As luck would have it, the “Man up” remark at the debate is still working in her favor and she has momentum on her side. I’d have expected her to hit a brick wall by episode’s end, but no, she ends up with not one, but two victories. It would be easy and quite presumptuous to think that this could end with Selina back in the Oval Office, but right now, the odds do appear to be in her favor.
Selina isn’t one to look down on corrupt or questionable practices to further her aspirations. That or trying to bump out the competition. Kemi Talbot is her greatest obstacle, but obviously she won’t be dropping out anytime soon. She and Tom James are often on a similar wavelength, so perhaps she could talk him into dropping out. That or just taking another opportunity to sleep with him.
That tactic doesn’t completely work in her favor, though. Tom James suspends his campaign, but he doesn’t endorse her. So he’s still a wild card in this presidential race because his name carries a lot of influence. He wouldn’t have been introduced as Selina’s potential running mate if he was just some nobody.
But because Mike once again proved himself useful because of his connections, Selina scored another victory thanks to the Chinese. They aren’t the Russians, but as Ben warned Selina, she had every reason to not trust them. $25 million out of nowhere and power cut in the Black communities result in Selina winning the South Carolina primary.
While some may find it questionable that Selina is in favor of the Chinese secretly helping her campaign, this isn’t exactly out of character for her. We’ve known for years that Selina isn’t what you’d call a good person, and at this point, what option is there for her but to accept this sort of foreign assistance? Provided this doesn’t come back to bite her in the ass like the Meyer Fund, this could be the support that Selina needs to win.
Like the county fair, this episode showed the lengths that Selina will sink to in order to expand her base. It’s hard to tell just who would vote for this person. But in this case, she needs the Black vote, which is what brings her to Richards. We don’t spend much time here, but we understand the gist of it: Selina needs to broaden her voter base and hopes a local superstar like Richards can help.
It’s also a great reason for us to see Keegan-Michael Key. Wish he’d been in the episode more because he’s fun as hell, but if this is the only time we see him, his appearance was well-utilized.
On the other side, you have Jonah, who looks like he may also be on the verge of dropping out. Or so it seems. While I’ve speculated before that Jonah could stumble his way into the Oval Office, one thing I’ve noticed is his endurance. He comes in sixth place and considers dropping out, but doubling down on his anger at society and his own team catapults him into a third place finish in South Carolina.
Though he’s still not the frontrunner. Sherman Tanz’s reveal that this was never about Jonah winning shows that this is more about party influence. I find that interesting because again, going to real-life politics, many delegates and followers often believe that winning delegates is more important than winning primaries.
That’s a much longer conversation, but I have heard many on occasion say that their objective is to win as many delegates as possible during the selection process, never mind winning the primary. While I don’t see how that could provide Jonah with a come-from-behind victory, I won’t rule it out as of yet. After all, he still has some level of support if he could go from sixth place in New Hampshire to third in South Carolina.
If this leads to some sort of commotion on the convention floor, though, I would find that hilarious.
Sticking with real-life parallels for a moment…come on. Do we really need to talk about Amy having the Kellyanne Conway look? Whether intentional or by accident, the look is representative of how Amy is digging deep and going along with Jonah’s approach. It’s destructive and should automatically cause his campaign to implode, but it hasn’t. At least not yet.
It’s an interesting direction to take Amy’s character in at this point. Since she’s not with Selina’s campaign anymore and she’s already had the abortion, I’m curious where the character can even go between now and the series finale.
Still a lot of great character moments peppered throughout the episode. Marjorie taking over as Gary, Richard already succeeding as Mayor, and Andrew Daly coming into his own as Keith Quinn helped the episode shine more than it already was. But as we look forward, I’m curious how more the characters will shift.
After all, Dan is officially off the campaign, Gary is still working the faith-based initiative, Amy is all in for Jonah, Mike and Wendy are adopting another child, and Selina Meyer has a nice new check from the Chinese in her pocket. Who will ultimately win the White House? We’ll find out as we continue onward to the series finale.