‘Veep’ episode 9 recap: Selina’s legacy destroyed and restored in ‘A Woman First’

In “A Woman First,” the penultimate episode of the sixth season of “Veep,” Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) anxiously awaits the publication of her memoir, which unfortunately coincides with a new, largely unflattering report about her presidency that threatens to undermine her legacy. Below, read our recap of the Top 5 moments from “Veep” Season 6, Episode 9.

Great Walrus Judas — Although the episode begins with Selina eagerly anticipating the advanced copy of her book, her mood quickly sours when Washington Post journalist Leon West (Brian Huskey) publishes an exposé on the Meyer presidency using Mike’s (Matt Walsh) diary, which he mistakenly left in Leon’s possession in last week’s episode. In an attempt at damage control, Selina calls Leon to her office for a late night, secret meeting where she hopes to leverage his personal feelings toward Amy (Anna Chlumsky) to her advantage, but a combination of Amy’s hysterically awful knack for flirting and Leon’s ethics lead nowhere. While the first diary dump contained embarrassing information about Meyer’s personal poor judgment, the second unearths legally damaging information, for which Selina and her staff could go to jail. The plot not only smartly references numerous incidents and characters from earlier seasons of the series, but also draws inspiration from last year’s WikiLeaks of Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails, lending the episode additional gravitas.

The Meyersketeers — Commiserating over what the diary leaks will do to their careers, Amy, Dan (Reid Scott), who just got fired as the anchor of “CBS This Morning,” and Ben (Kevin Dunn), now a free agent after happily losing his job working for Congressman Jonah Ryan (Timothy Simons), discuss their strategy for handling the fallout.  Days later, at the same bar, Dan, Ben, and Kent (Gary Cole) talk about banding together and taking their strategic counsel on the road. Although they’re both short scenes, it’s such a treat to see these ensemble members together again after a season in which they’ve been mostly off in their own story arcs. The scenes may also suggest a new direction for these characters in the show’s upcoming seventh season.

A Heroine for Our Times — Following two days of diary dumps, Selina plans on taking an extended vacation with current beau Jaffar (Usman Ally) when she sees Jane McCabe (Margaret Colin) break the news on air that the diary leaks reveals that Selina, not President Montez, brokered the deal with China to free Tibet. Selina and her staff celebrate her overdue recognition and its effect of drowning out all of her recent negative press. Immediately after the news breaks, Yale University contacts Selina about housing her presidential library, originally her first choice of venue. The characters on “Veep” rarely have an opportunity to celebrate an accomplishment, so this scene stands out as an enjoyable, well-deserved, and unexpected triumph.

Hello, Jonie! — Fresh off the government shutdown he orchestrated, Jonah learns that the stunt has jeopardized his re-election as he now trails Selectman Di Vicentis in the polls. While the setback causes Sherman Tanz (Jonathan Hadary) to pull all of his financial support for Jonah, Shawnee (Mary Holland) decides to stand by her fiancé and expedite their wedding as long as he finishes his conversion to Judaism. In the hospital recovering from his adult circumcision, Jonah gets a surprise visit from his powerful Uncle Jeff (Peter MacNicol), who bears news that Jonah’s poll numbers have lead him to withdraw Jonah’s name from the New Hampshire Congressional ballot and replace him with his cousin Ezra, which in turn causes Shawnee to break off the engagement. In his first appearance this season, MacNicol delivers a staggeringly hilarious, tour-de-force performance, savoring his gloriously profane tirade in which he browbeats Jonah, mocks Shawnee, and uncontrollably cackles at Jonah’s marital misfortune. After last year’s Emmy snafu, in which the Emmys revoked MacNicol’s Guest Actor in a Comedy Series nomination due to his appearing in too many episodes of the season, MacNicol will certainly return to the Emmy derby with this performance and could be a frontrunner for the trophy.

Kids Read the Darndest Things Off of Cue Cards — As a result of the diary scandal, Selina repeatedly cancels an appearance on “The Tonight Show” intended to plug her memoir. When she finally reschedules, she sits down with the openly passive-aggressive host, played by Adam Scott, who feigns forgiveness for her absences, but seeks to embarrass her on the air. At first, he takes light jabs at the title of her book, “A Woman First: First Woman,” and its blurry cover photo, but later trots out a group of young kids to read scathing reviews. It’s a funny capper to the episode that also emphasizes that all of Selina Meyer’s victories, however rare, never last for very long.

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