Sunday, June 23, 2013

'Veep' Finale Review - 2.10 D.C.

        On the second season finale of HBO's Veep, Selina and her staff try to cope when the administration goes into full crisis mode.

        I loved the first season of HBO's Veep. It was hysterical and used all of its characters very well. Julia Louis-Dreyfus was amazing as the Vice President of the United States. And the cursing. Oh, the cursing was phenomenal. But the first season, in retrospect, was small and quaint - similar to Selina's role in the overall political state of the country. Plus, Selina could never win no matter what the situation. Season two took all of those fantastic elements and threw them up on a much larger stage. And the cursing was more colorful than ever. Selina was inserted into the important decisions of politics and the stakes and stress of the job weighed very heavily on her. Season one Selina was just a face in the party that no one really allowed to do anything of much importance. Season two Selina was a different beast altogether. She stood her ground and made some smart and calculated moves.
        But her decisions have weighed very heavily on her. The mission to rescue the American hostages was a success but a soldier lost his leg. This loss hit Selina especially hard and it was just the beginning of the downfall the current presidency would experience. They had to deal with the conspiracy behind whether or not and who knew that one of the hostages was a spy, the coverup of Selina and her marriage with Andrew and his role in things, and the government shutdown. The pressure got to Selina and she implode in marvelous ways in the final three episodes of the season. During her interview with Janet Ryland (Alison Janney), she finally let go and told the American public a version of truth in her knowledge of rescuing the American hostages and the spy. And then, she ran into the glass door. A physical symbol of the walls she had been running into all season. She persevered through the pain and finished the run with blood pouring out of her face. She openly cited support for the President and his decisions. But in the end, she confided in Amy that she's done with all of this crap and doesn't want to run with the President again for his second term. She thought that rest would be good for her before deciding to run again in six years.
        Walking into the finale, Selina tells her staff of her decision and they go out to console in their various plots that have been treading along all season. The characters personal lives are interesting but tonight I realized just how little I care about Gary's or Amy's relationships. They had to be touched on just to give some thematic closure to those stories as a whole for the season. But they were pretty insignificant in the overall map of season two.
        Additionally, an interesting facet from the first season was the investigation launched by Congressmen Furlong into the VP and her staff. But it was such an afterthought throughout the entire season. It was as if the show didn't quite know where to go with that. They knew how to write jokes at the expense of the Nelson Franklin character but not how to integrate them into the major stakes of the season. So they figured to just let it dim out quietly. Their return appearance in the finale was a bit unnecessary but at least it allowed for one reversal of what would happen in two years and who was dropping from ticket. But I'm also glad that the show dropped this thread because they were busier telling much better stories that had actual stakes and followed a great serial arc for Selina.
        So, I was much more amused by Sue getting a job for Kent because there wasn't setup there but it was a wonderful and realistic moment. And then, there was opportunistic Dan, straddling the line of supporting both Selina and Danny Chung. As the twists keep coming, he didn't know which side to land on but he did and apparently it will pay off for him by staying with Selina. As Selina learns of the President's decision not to run, suddenly, all the weight and despaired that had plagued her all season was lifted off of her. She was smiling so hugely in a way that we never see from her. Her job won't get any easier by becoming President - in fact it should become even harder when faced with these tough choices. But Selina doesn't care because she is going to be the freaking President of the United States.
        And so in conclusion, this was a great finale to an overall stronger second season. It is the comedic highpoint of HBO's current lineup and I am eager to see where the series will go with Selina running for President when it returns for ten more episodes in Spring 2014.

So what did everyone think of the finale? Will Selina be able to win the election next year? What was your favorite Jonah "Fuck off" line from the season? Or what was your favorite joke of gag from the finale? Share your thoughts in the comments.