Warning! This is a spoiler free review of the episode, however there will be mentions of previous seasons.
The story so far: After controversially losing another bid for Presidency, Selina Meyer spends time reflecting on her life. This includes writing her memoirs, attempting to have a library built in her name, and dealing with scandals from her time in Washington. Selina’s daughter Catherine is pregnant, much of her former staff have moved on with their lives, and other politicians consider her a joke. Despite it all, Selina longs to be President of the United States. Just when it seemed like everything was falling down around her and things could not get worse, Selina lucks into a chance that may take back to the White House.
The final season of Veep starts with Selina and the new Team Meyer weighing the options they have in front of them. One thing is clear; the goal is to win Selina the Presidency. There is an immediate difference with this season of the show. From the very first episode, Selina has always been an underdog. Whether dealing with the incompetence of her staff, ill advised decisions of her own, or just normal political back stabbing, the former Vice President has always fought an uphill battle. Part of the charm in Veep is seeing what sort of situation the cast have gotten themselves into.
In season seven, Selina seems to be in a position of control. The episode starts with the type of mistake that viewers have come to expect from Team Meyer, but the issue is handled surprisingly well and with little backlash. Selina encounters many problems during the episode, but her new staff are able to navigate the difficult waters. It is rare for an episode to end with Selina genuinely happy with the way things have turned out.
It is a drastic change that would make little sense in most shows. But in Veep, the writing makes sure this is not the case. It is easy to accept that Selina now has the upper hand since this is the result of great storytelling. It is not about the show needing a change of direction or characters being written out of context. The episode is the result of a years long character arc. Selina is where she currently is thanks to hard work and a lot of luck. The writing never holds its audiences’ hand and rewards long time watchers.
One of the trademarks of Veep are the rapid fire jokes. The start of the last season is no different. The jokes are as fast, furious, and offensive as they ever have been. It is impossible not too laugh while also thinking how they got away with a joke. ‘Iowa’ has retorts that reference mass shootings, abortion, and incest. What separates Veep from a subreddit that revolves around being as offensive as possible is the jokes are actually funny. The jokes are not just made for they sake of inciting a groan. The jokes may be in poor taste, but they will definitely illicit laughter.
Another reason the jokes are able to work is the strong work of the cast. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is amazing in her role as Selina. While she has never been a particularly nice person, season six saw Selina at her absolute worst. She was incredibly mean to her daughter and staff and was a very unlikable person. She was also coming off a close loss in the Presidential elections so a person could understand why. (Another testament to the wonderful writing on the show.)
Selina is back to being her normal mean self and Louis-Dreyfus continues to make her one of the most watchable characters on television. Anna Chlumsky, Tony Hale, Reid Scott, and Timothy Simons are all great in their roles. Over the years, the audience has come to learn that politicians are a different breed of human. They say and do things that no normal person would. Everyone in Veep manages to get this across effortlessly and draws viewers into their distorted world.
The final season of Veep looks like it will focus on Selina Meyer’s eternal quest to become the President of the United States. Episode one gets everything off to a great start. The writing continues to shine while the performances are simply magnificent. HBO is home to many great shows making it easy to forget some. Veep succeeds in standing out.