In the season premiere, the only person in the entire Veep-verse who thought Selina could run for president again was Selina.
Her legacy was all but nonexistent, her glass-shattering status as the first female POTUS shattered by Montez, the first woman president who was actually elected instead of just elevated to the office. Selina spent most of her presidency taking horrible advice from deeply unqualified and/or biased people — her personal trainer, her ex-husband, pretty much every guy she was having sex with, now that I think about it — and making really dicey judgment calls that definitely violated millions of citizens’ right to privacy. Her one sterling accomplishment — freeing Tibet — was attributed to Montez, and with no way of proving the masses wrong, Selina was down and out. Her stint at the “spa” may have renewed her faith, but it couldn’t resuscitate her dead political career.
But that was ten whole episodes ago. Now, Veep is set to launch its seventh season with two presidential candidates pulled from the main cast, only one of whom I saw coming: Selina and Jonah, who I maintain will be the president when Veep’s final credits roll.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, especially when there are so many delicious flashbacks to linger on here. My favorite of the bunch might have been when Selina was giving birth to Catherine, if only for the discovery that Selina and Gary met-cute when he was her overly attentive candy striper crushing ice chips to her liking while she howled in labor pain.
The hint that Selina would be making a comeback is right there in our first flashback: Selina, nearly drowning in balloons as she announces the suspension of her campaign, promises the crowd that in spite of the wishes of a great number of states and also the territory of Guam, “You have not seen the last of Selina Meyer!”
That Selina probably never expected she’d be doing a stint at the Whispering Sands Wellness Center. I don’t know about all of you, but even though we knew “spa” was a euphemism for a stretch in a rehab facility, I didn’t realize the severity of Selina’s psychotic snap until Gary wheeled her out in a robe with her hair doing … that. In case you needed more proof that Selina was really not herself, she tells Catherine, earnestly, that she is “beautiful.”
Also, I like that we started to see a really dark side of Gary this season — they really leaned into how disturbing his codependence on Selina really is — and the Whispering Sands scene brings that to the fore even more: He loves her neediness so much, he happily reports she’s on “the perfect amount” of meds when it is obvious that she’s dosed out of her mind.
Here in the present, Selina is seeing the first model of her library, which in this post-Tibet time, Yale has deigned to build on its campus. Of course Selina’s library looks like a vagina. (There’s precedent! Think of the Washington Monument.) But other than that, plus a terrifically clunky glass-ceiling-metaphor thing happening inside — when are we allowed to retire glass ceilings, just as a thing we talk about for women? Let me know in the comments — everything with the library is fine. Oh, except for how it might be constructed on top of Yale’s former slave quarters. Mike thinks they could own this — “not in a slavey way” — but Selina is not interested: “I’m not going to have my vagi-brary underground-railroaded by this.”
We then get a flashback to Selina’s first day as VP. I thought we would maybe get a glimpse of President Hughes — seemed like a cool stunt-casting opportunity, but maybe they’re saving that for the series finale, or maybe it’ll never happen — but all we see is Selina being quickly evicted from the West Wing and told by Ben to set up shop in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. We were all so much younger then: Amy actually considered Jonah as a prospect.
But this blast to the past has nothing on the one that comes next: Sixteen years ago at a Selina for Senate campaign stop where EVERYONE’S HAIR IS !!!! Gary has so much! But it’s all so wrong! Mike is balding but also has a mullet and a goatee? A-plus to the Veep hair-and-makeup department. Selina walks in on Andrew screwing a donor and her eyes are so Whispering Sands insane. One thing we can always say for Selina: The woman is a pragmatist, so she turns this adulterous scene into a TV ad buy.
Selina arrives to her groundbreaking to discover that Leon broke the story about the slave quarters, so Yale’s gotta put this building on hold — “Yale pulled out without even coming on my tits? Things sure have changed since I was in college” — but even though no ground is breaking, Catherine’s water is breaking, so that’s something Selina can be indifferent about! (“Catherine, slaves have ruined my library so you can stop attacking me.”) Welcome to the world, Little Richard, who is alive for all of seven minutes before he is made useful as a prop in Selina’s face-saving speech outside the hospital to the press assembled outside. Selina introduces herself as the “proud grandmother of an African-American baby” and disavows Yale, the library, and Amy (who technically was in charge, although it seems like an unnecessary knock), and emerges from this PR disaster basically unscathed.
Selina doesn’t need a library, she tells Amy, as she glides into her office where her team (and Mike, because sure) awaits her. “Only former presidents have libraries. And I’m running for president.”
Speaking of people who are running for president: Jonah gets his big idea from bursting into Tanz’s office with “a final solution to restore me to power.” Clearly Jonah’s conversion didn’t take; Jews really aren’t into “final solutions.” Tanz is only backing senators and presidents from now on because “that’s the way to affect meaningful change.” So the next time we see Jonah, he’s wearing suspenders and those weird clear glasses to announce his exploratory committee, a.k.a, his presidential run.
Meanwhile, even though part of me thinks it’s progress to see a woman ditch a problematic boyfriend in the name of career advancement — that’s feminism, right? When women can get away with being as douchey as men? Honestly, I don’t even know anymore — I was sad to see Selina and Jaffar break up. I felt like Selina had finally found a boyfriend who understood and appreciated her formidable intellect and was on her level, moral-depravity-wise. Who else is going to give Selina a blood-diamond bracelet that his great-grandfather bought for his great-grandmother with the money from his first arms deal? Judging by the tears pouring down Selina’s face as she leaves his room after the breakup, she feels the same way. He has so many wonderful attributes, she assured him, “And those are assets everywhere in the world, except for in the United States and most of Europe, except for Germany, because they overcorrect.”
As the season closes, Selina’s team no longer has space for “Muslim baggage,” but miraculously still includes Amy (I thought she was getting fired, but apparently not!) and also Leon, newly minted speechwriter responsible for lines like “I want to feel their feelings and speak their speakings.” Everyone is back except self-proclaimed Ringo, Mike, who is teaching an adult-education class in civics and may, one day, finally learn the names of all three branches of government.
A Few Other Things …
• Richard brought Jonah an empty box “to show you that all you need to be happy is [taps heart] right here.”
• Andrew, visiting Selina at Whispering Sands: “As soon as I heard what a vulnerable state you were in, I got on the first flight.” Veep is full of dirtbags, but is any a bigger dirtbag than this schmuck?
• Of course Mike has a buddy who works at the Washington Post … snack shop.
• Gary doesn’t see how the library looks like a vagina. Selina’s reply: “Well, you don’t have a frame of reference.”
• I laughed out loud when Selina said they should put the men’s room in the library’s clitoris so they’ll never be able to find it. Take those misandrist victories where you can get them, Selina!
• PSA: Presidents really are entombed in crypts at their library sites. Even if Selina “will not be buried in a twat of my own making.”
• Danny Chung comes back for a bit to talk about that heroic rescue that probably didn’t go down quite as he describes it. Best not to interview anyone else about the incident, he says. “I don’t want to retrigger.” Hmm. Maybe he served with Conway from House of Cards?
• Selina, yelling at Andrew while she’s in labor: “I wish I’d let you do anal, it would have hurt less than this.”
• Dan’s super-slow sperm managed to get Amy pregnant? Mazel tov, I guess!
Insult of the Episode
Congressman Furlong to Jonah: “You’re about as welcome here as Jerry Sandusky at an open call for Oliver!”
A close second: Selina looking at newborn Catherine for the first time and saying, “Is that its hair?”
Compliment of the Episode
I know I brought this up before, but it’s so remarkable I’ve got to rank it here: Selina called Catherine beautiful. Yes, she was heavily medicated, but I think Catherine is down to take whatever she can get.
Jonah Shall Henceforth Be Known As
A presidential hopeful. God help us all.