Veep: “Groundbreaking” Season 6 Finale Review

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Veep makes several leaps and bounds to get where it wants to be for season 7.

Veep‘s exploration of post-presidential life has been entertaining at best, and completely listless at worst, and this is something the writers seemed to have picked up on. For their final entry in the season, they’ve decided to go back to what made this show such a success in the first place. Selina is running for President again, and Team Meyer is finally getting back together…well, sort of.

“Groundbreaking” is exciting in the potential it leaves for season 7, but it asks the audience to greatly suspend their disbelief in order to get there. Veep is a comedic satire, so having all of Selina’s recently revealed scandals be so quickly swept under the rug is one thing. It’s another to see Ben so eagerly endorsing Selina’s run, when he was so adamantly against it in the premiere. Additionally, Mike has been fired from Team Meyer and Leon—who hates her—is now her communications officer? That’s a huge stretch to make.

Still, after a season of aimlessness, it’s so great to see (most of) the band back together again. Veep lacked its usual frenetic energy this season as Selina’s biggest issue was where she was going to put her library. Now, she’s going to be on the campaign trail again, which is what the show knows how to do best. One of the most exciting things about this development arrives at the end of the episode when we find out Jonah is also running for President. Seeing as how he ruined her shot at the presidency the last time, it should be a thrill to watch them go head-to-head.

“Groundbreaking” shifts between the present day and Selina’s past in politics. We don’t really glean any new info from the several flashbacks we’re shown—except the genius bit of having Gary be a candy striper during Catherine’s birth—but they’re fun to watch nonetheless. The reason for them is clear. Selina has had a rough go of it in politics from the start, but it’s the only world she knows. She was lousy in her first year out of office because she didn’t really know what to do with herself. Now, she’ll have a purpose again.

After Selina brings her team back together to announce the news, Ben tells her there’s one last thing she has to do before they go to Iowa. The next scene shows her reluctantly breaking things off with Al Jaffar, as their relationship unfortunately doesn’t play well with the American public. It’s a sobering scene to watch, and it’s played completely straightforward, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Usman Ally doing some great work. Selina would rather be in politics and unhappy, than outside of it and in a loving relationship, it seems.

Veep‘s finale works as a way to get us pumped up for season 7. I’m certainly excited that the show is going back to its roots. Yet, as an ender to this season, however, it’s a bit uninspired. Tacking on this restructuring of the show at the end makes it seem like the writers realized that their post-presidential plotlines weren’t working, and so they decided to scrap them altogether. I’m glad the show has realized what works for it and what doesn’t, but I can’t help but feel like the past 9 episode were a waste of time if this is the conclusion we’re left with. Perhaps Veep should have always stuck to what it’s known best, and Selina should never have left the White House to begin with. Episode Grade: B- / Season 6 Grade: B

 

Some Other Notes:

  • Thank you all for sticking with me through my reviews of Veep‘s sixth season! It’s been an interesting year for the show, as its new setting made for very middling arc for most of the characters. Still, this cast is so comfortable in their roles that almost every episode had some sort of entertainment value. There were even some truly great gems like “Georgia” and “Blurb.” The show was at its best when the characters were forced into tense situations with each other, and as its worst when they were scattered about in meaningless subplots. Now that everyone will be working together on the campaign trail, I’m excited to see what’s next.
  • Ana Chlumsky was criminally underused this season, but her reveal that she’s pregnant with Dan’s baby is an exciting change of pace for season 7.
  • Speaking of babies, Catherine gave birth to her child, and Selina decides to use it for personal gain in order to put the kabosh on her library once and for all. Between her and Andrew’s continued sliminess throughout the flashbacks, it’s a wonder Catherine isn’t in a mental institution herself.
  • I loved how excited Marjorie got when Al Jaffar gave her wet wipes for the baby.
  • Jonah running for President is exciting, but another suspension of disbelief that the show asks us to make is that he’d have Teddy aka his former abuser on his ticket. Seems a little insane to me.

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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