‘Veep’ Review: “Election Night”

Veep
Season 4, Episode 10 “Election Night”
Air date: June 14, 2015

Of course Veep wouldn’t have settled for something as simple as winning or losing an election. This season has been a relentless gauntlet of setbacks and controversy for Selina Meyer–political quagmires over which members of her team have variously quit, been fired, or offered up as a scapegoat.  It seems only fitting that the election outcome be mired in the same disarray and uncertainty that defines the series as a whole, but seemed particularly pervasive this past season. “Election Night” is the culmination of two entire season’s worth of Selina’s election campaign, and doesn’t buckle under the pressure. It’s a wonderfully tense, hilarious finale that provides some great character moments amidst the usual chaos of Veep.

Much of the episode takes place in the hotel suite “war room” as Selina and her team await the results of the election, while Dan and Amy have secured appearances covering the election as talking heads on CNN. Though the finale is largely focused on Selina and the election, all of the characters were still great tonight in their slightly smaller roles, from Jonah finally getting his fifteen minutes of fame as the face of workplace bullying and genital health, to Bill’s resentment and anxiety about his probable imprisonment. As for members of the core team, Gary and Mike offer up some amusing moments of physical comedy while Ben and Kent remain their usual bastion of delightful deadpan.

What really makes “Election Night” so great, however, is its emotion. Veep is as masterful with its quiet character moments as it is with explosive, profanity-laced meltdowns, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus runs the entire gamut as she reacts to every new twist and development. Her aloof, distracted introspection in the beginning of the episode gives way to a rollercoaster of elation and defeat as the results come trickling in, before exploding into the frustration and fury we know and love.

The heart of episode is the closure it provides for two of Selina’s closest relationships: Catherine and Amy. After spending much of the past two seasons (and her entire life, really) at the service of Selina’s career, Catherine made one of her biggest sacrifices yet by breaking off her engagement to her lobbyist fiancé last episode. In a brief reprieve from election results, the two get a quiet twenty minutes alone for what passes in the Meyer household as mother-daughter bonding (“It always feels so much longer with Catherine”), and Selina manages a sincere apology before returning to her usual self.

Amy’s loyalty, meanwhile, compels her to leave the talk show and see the election through at Selina’s side. Their reunion is beautifully understated and human–neither are really sure how to react initially, but Amy is the first person Selina turns to when the possibility of an electoral tie dawns on them. Finally unable to keep it together any longer, Selina breaks down sobbing into Amy’s arms. Veep is best known for its incredible dialogue and comedy, but these small, nearly wordless moments are the beating heart that makes it one of the best series on television.

  • We’ll have to wait until next season to see whether the house elects Selina as president, loses to O’Brien, or whether through a loophole in the voting process, Tom James becomes president.
  • “That whole scrotum situation is really working out for you, sir!”
  • I loved all the little one liners as the various results came in: “Okay settle down. A bowl of hair could win those states.”
  • “O’Brien can’t be president. He’s still contracted to be the KFC logo.”
  • Selina knows exactly who’s interrupting her “quality time” with Catherine, another great moment that speaks to how tightly knit the team is: “Get the fuck out of here, Kent!” “… Apologies.”
Will Fan
Movies, television, games, food, coffee, vague lists, naps. Twitter: @will_fan

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