Julia Louis-Dreyfus' HBO comedy used to "find joy more in Selina’s monstrous behavior, perhaps because viewers could more easily defend her as the byproduct of a toxic environment," says Bobby Finger, who adds: "Veep’s finale wasn’t an indictment of the American people per se, but it was hard to watch without a nagging feeling that maybe viewers shouldn’t have been laughing so much from, oh, let’s say 2012 to late 2016. I’ve chatted with people who are disappointed in the show’s sudden turn from broad satire of American politics to ripped-from-the-headlines commentary on current events–specifically the rise of populism, complete with direct analogues for several prominent figures in the Trump administration–but I can’t imagine another way for the show to have ended that wouldn’t have resembled the scorched earth (and precedents) David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have brought to Game of Thrones. How could Veep ignore our political reality in good faith, especially when we all know where that sort of ignorance tends to lead? This is the final season we deserved—a dark and dizzyingly hilarious indictment of, yes, our embarrassing political system, the Trump presidency, and the 2016/2020 campaigns, but also of the show as it once was."
Veep ended on an undeserving weirdly upbeat note: "The weirdest thing about that Veep finale was the touching faith it registered in the resilience of America," says Lili Loofbourow. "The HBO comedy ended as it began—wittily rehashing the premise that all politicos are terrible in a claustrophobic universe that treats politics as a game—but enough has changed in the interim that the series’ conclusion inverts the cynicism that used to drive it. The conventional wisdom, when the show started as a vague and profane riff on a Clintonesque figure starring the great Julia Louis-Dreyfus, was that they’re all hacks: all bad, mostly the same. You might have expected a change when the 2016 election here in the real world exposed some sizable differences in the style and substance of the two major parties—differences the show incorporated into its scripts as Selina Meyer evolved from a Clinton figure into a Trump type. But no: The show with the most imaginative invective on TV turned out to have a startlingly idealistic vision about the durability of American institutions—and a surprisingly limited and sentimental sense of the damage its characters could inflict."
Veep did what Game of Thrones couldn't: "The brilliance of this final season is that Veep’s twist—its amoral center—was inside the show all along," says Sonia Soraiya. "We always knew these characters had no principles, but up until the final few seasons, they were kept far enough away from power that they mostly chased their own tails. By Season 7, their reach has gotten so long—and their cynicism so staggering—that the show has to kneecap its own dire stakes just to keep the proceedings from getting too dark... (Julia) Louis-Dreyfus fabulously nudges Selina’s worst impulses to the edge; her need to be seen as presidential, whatever that means, turns her into a gaping maw that consumes everything in her path. In many ways, Sunday night’s Game of Thrones tried to pull off the same trick—but where Veep succeeded, the drama failed, spectacularly."
Veep's series finale was darker and way more satisfying than Game of Thrones: "Series finales, especially for comedy series, are supposed to be bittersweet and nostalgic," says Kevin Fallon. "Had Veep not so fastidiously set up its universe and characters over the course of the last seven seasons, a final episode as callous, sinister, and savage as Sunday night’s would disorient, if not enrage viewers. But the episode was perfectly pitched, with a first half defined by deranged wackiness giving way to a final act that practically shivered, it was so cold."
Veep was able to evolve into a harsher, bigger and bleaker show: "Sunday’s eponymous series finale completed Selina’s journey from frustrated, if self-interested, idealist to a monster of American politics’ own making, not so much broken bad as simply broken," says Alison Herman. "The woman who once betrayed her pro-choice beliefs with a waffling, nonsensical statement now has no beliefs at all."
Showrunner David Mandel on the Daenerys Targaryen Game of Thrones comparisons: "There’s so many weird Veep coincidences—I don’t know if 'coincidence' is the right word, but these things where we do something on the show and it happens in real life, or it happens the same week. The fact that the finale aired on Mother’s Day, and Selina’s the worst mother on Earth. I know people have been constantly making these jokes about 'Who’s going to get the Iron Throne,' but I guess it’s just fitting that they both had their moments of destroying as much as they could."