Selina Meyer wanted to be President of the United States. Selina Meyer did not want to “be buried in a twat of my own making.” The nation giveth, the nation taketh away.
Were you all expecting to be emotionally wrecked by this series finale? Because I was not prepared! But Selina, who has never been exactly what you could call a good person, spent this finale morphing into the most cruel, ruthless version of herself. With the presidency this close and Ben hospitalized with his 13th heart attack, Selina became her own hatchet man, destroying everyone who cared about her and surrounding herself with near-strangers, frenemies, scumbags, and literally only one person worth keeping around. (Great to see you again, Sue!)
We meet up with Selina at a deadlocked 2020 convention in North Carolina, which has some transphobic bathroom bill. She thinks she’s found her ideal VP, a governor with an injury from Iraq who is too earnest for this world and you know will not last the episode. Everybody has to start over; all delegates are up for grabs, even though when Jonah adds up his delegates with “Christian math,” he has more than anyone else.
Furlong, who is running this show, tells Selina to offer Kemi the VP slot. He is not the last person to do this. Basically anyone who knows anything tells Selina she needs to team up with Kemi. If Selina weren’t too much of a misogynist to be down with a two-woman ticket—and if she weren’t too proud to just throw her lot in with Kemi—things could have turned out so differently, and for the better. If she and Kemi were working together, Kemi wouldn’t be all over CNN talking about the need for the FBI to re-open its investigation into the Meyer fund. She could have saved Gary and herself. But Selina refuses: “In the words of the great Eleanor Roosevelt, I would rather cheese-grater my clit.”
Selina uses the men’s room because it’s right there and in doing so, briefly becomes a star for trans rights. This accidental statement of solidarity is barely a blip in the news cycle because of a terrorist attack at JFK—which, as Jonah’s luck would have it, is the work of a math teacher. Muslim math strikes again! Amy delivers this news to Selina, who thought she was doing Jonah a massive favor by offering him head of the EPA. (That the EPA was cited as where a person could go to do the least damage is just one of the 10 million moments in this episode that felt a little too real for your world-weary neighborhood recapper.) Amy’s aesthetic is now fully Strip Mall Walk of Shame. She is overjoyed that Jonah’s been denounced by the ACLU, and Uncle Jeff shows up to pretend that he has loved Jonah this whole time, and not to sound like a millennial (I am one, but still) but: this is all very triggering.
Of course, because we have what annoying people on Twitter insist on calling a “crowded field” and the nomination could still go to anyone, a middle-aged white man returns to take what he believes is rightfully his. Welcome back, Tom James. And in the midst of all of this, Ben has a heart attack.
“I honestly think I might be in hell,” Selina says.
Ben might need to go into a medically induced coma. (Tom: “Well, that’s what he always wanted.”) Tom swings by the hospital to check in on Ben and humiliate Selina. She is so desperate and pathetic she actually clasps her hands together to beg him to consider putting her on his ticket. He is unmoved.
Selina is sobbing in Ben’s bed when he wakes up and tells her he can’t do another campaign. He’s tapping out. Selina looks like she wants to curl up in the fetal position and never get up again, but when Ben tells her that she already knows what to do, something clicks inside her. I feel like we saw whatever integrity Selina still had just evaporate in an instant. After giving marching orders to Kent, she turns around and goes right up to Michelle, Tom’s chief of staff and mistress, and like, bites the air in front of her face?! I gasped, it was so perfect, as was this little rant that deserves to be quoted in full: “Trust me: he will never see you as anything other than the T.G.I. Friday’s hostess on Proactiv who lets him bend you over his desk while you close your eyes to avoid coming face-to-face with that framed photo of his family’s trip to Aspen while he drowns your little mermaid back tat in a pool of jizz and admires his own reflection.” (Gary: “Jesus.”)
“I just hate to see smart women throw away their political careers on powerful men who only see them as the gash of least resistance,” Selina adds as she’s walking away. “I mean, you strike me as a smart woman. Are you?”
Never say Selina Meyer never inspired anyone! Because after this bit of, umm, feminism (?) Michelle goes public with sexual misconduct allegations against Tom James, sinking his candidacy and eliminating one of the more formidable obstacles between Selina and the nomination.
From there on in it’s just one sellout move after another. To get Buddy Calhoun’s endorsement, she promises this frustrated, closeted, self-loathing homophobe that she’ll outlaw same-sex marriage. She tells a Montana congressman that she is ready to frack the federal land in his state to pieces. And then, looking and sounding like she is on the verge of vomiting, she announces that she wants to offer Jonah the VP slot. “Do the goddamn Islamic math,” she says, and for probably the first and only time in his life, Kent shouts “FUCK THE NUMBERS” because he actually has a soul and cannot abide putting the fear-mongering psychopath Jonah has become on Selina’s ticket and in a position of power. Amy, whose conscience has suddenly returned to her body, gets on her knees to beg Selina not to pick Jonah. Selina’s argument, based on her own experience, is that being vice president is tantamount to being “declawed, defanged, neutered” and is “a fate worse than death.” Anyway, Selina’s not going to die, “Because I’ve got the heart and the twat of a high school cheerleader who has only done anal.” Jonah accepts just to get everyone to stop yelling at him.
It’s time for Selina to accept the nomination, which we know means winning the White House (h/t the Chinese). In her best red dress of the series, she rushes to the stage as Furlong reminds her that someone will need to take the fall for the Meyer fund. And then she finds Gary, who is carrying that discontinued Dubonnet lipstick Selina only wears for the most special occasions. He picks a chia seed out of her teeth and gets a real, genuine hug from Selina, who can’t bring herself to tell him what she needs him to do, and God, he is never going to see her again because she is so not going to visit him in prison.
Two episodes ago, Selina was saying Gary couldn’t be her fall guy because no one would believe that someone so dopey could be a criminal mastermind. But when Selina was bunking up at the Finnish embassy, Minna was warning her that she’d need to be more self-sufficient should her crimes catch up to her because Gary wouldn’t be with her in prison. Gary had said, almost to himself, “Oh, I’ll be there.” And… he was right. While Selina gives her speech—a hilariously barely-doctored version of the speech the veteran was going to give—and gets to a section about sacrifice, the FBI arrive to take Gary away.
We skip ahead six months. Sue is back! In a very satisfying callback to the earliest days of the show, VP Jonah and his chief of staff, Amy, cannot get in to see the president. (They’re penciled in for “half past go fuck yourself.”) Richard is off somewhere being the Secretary of Agriculture, without Dan, who was fired after the convention. Selina’s got Keith Quinn and Michelle with her in the Oval. She calls out for Gary even though he is definitely never coming back. “The level of incompetence in this office is…” she says, to no one, as she sits in the Oval Office, looking haunted and so alone.
Twenty-four years later (!), Mike is the host of the CBS evening news and he is reporting on Selina Meyer’s funeral. Good thing she put together that guest list! We learn Selina served just one full term, while Kemi eventually served two. And I guess Veep wanted to preserve some sliver of optimism about the future, because in this timeline, President Richard Splett just won re-election and a Nobel Peace Prize for his three-state solution for the Middle East. Selina’s legacy is that she very briefly freed what was once known as the nation of Tibet, plus she outlawed same-sex marriage. Amy married Bill Ericcson, with whom she has a bunch of greyhounds. Dan does real estate and is married to someone who was born the year Selina was elected; Kent is… in denim. Also—that was Andrew, right? He was there and extremely alive!
And then there’s Gary. What can you even SAY about Tony Hale’s delivery of “You’d hate the flowers. I brought the Dubonnet”? It totally gutted me. Not just because I am writing this recap at 1 in the morning. (Game of Thrones continuing to do right by women everywhere.) Gary is probably the only person who ever loved Selina, and the only person besides Selina who thought she truly deserved to be president. She thanked him for his unrequited love and constant devotion by ruining his life, which was already all about her.
To save us from really just collapsing under all those feelings, Veep very kindly ends the series with a shot of all these soldiers struggling to get the vagina-shaped crypt open, and struggling even more to get the casket inside.
A Few Other Things…
• Selina, to Kemi: “Stealing South Carolina is the bedrock of our political system… If you can’t figure out how to steal South Carolina, you have no business being president.”
• Mike mocking Dan for wearing a Hugo Boss suit is such a good moment. Also loved Mike saying to Richard, “Let’s talk turkey,” and Richard replying, “Wonderful pets.”
• Selina: “I have been to Buffalo six times and I’m not even a serial killer.”
• The way Selina screams “NOOOO” so hard that Gary falls over in response to him asking, “Do you want six almonds?”
• Ben asks Selina not to tell his family he’s in the hospital. Her reply: “Yeah, I’ve never met them.”
• “The story about the Meyer fund is a distraction,” Selina explains. “The way a magician does tricks to distract you from how depressing his life is.”
• Did you catch the North Carolina delegate saying they represented “historically white Duke University”?
• Selina, explaining to Catherine that it’s no big deal to say she’s against same-sex marriage in the party platform: “It’s like a to-do list of things we’re not gonna do. ‘Restore faith in democracy?’ We couldn’t do that even if we wanted to.”
• The Selina quote chiseled into the wall at the library: “Someone needs to do something about this.”
• Dan finally quit politics! Well, technically he was fired so Selina could say sorry for yelling at Amy earlier, “for feminism or whatever.” But this time it really took.
Insult of the episode
That coverage of Selina’s funeral is interrupted by news of Tom Hanks’ death. (Which is a reference to something Mike said in the very first episode of the series. How could a Selina gaffe could be bumped out of the news cycle? “What if Tom Hanks dies?” Mike offers. “I’m not wishing that. I’m saying anything could happen.”)
Compliment of the episode
Selina, to all her former staffers: “Why does everybody get good at their job after I fire them?”
Jonah Shall Henceforth Be Known As
Ugh, I guess I have to say it: Vice President Ryan. But also: “a monument to vaginal dryness” (Amy), “Hep-C Kevin McHale” (Furlong), “a gum-recessed face-anus” (Uncle Jeff), “a cockless cockroach” (Selina).