I was binging the earlier seasons today, and Selina seems almost human in them- like when she asks Amy to go visit her dad or when she trusts Amy with relationship advice. Her treatment of Amy has been deplorable this season I hope it improves!!
You know, I watched some of the first episodes over the weekend, and you’re absolutely right.
And not just as regards to Amy. There’s a scene where Selina negotiates with Doyle on filibuster reform and she is genuinely startled when he makes a joke about someone fisting themselves. Not only, but she lets him roll right over her with barely even a fight. She even asks him not to swear in front of Catherine, and attempts not to herself.
It’s very hard to imagine the Selina of later seasons behaving like that.
There’s a big one regarding Amy at the start of season 2, when she sends her to see her ‘dying’ father, instead of keeping her to assist with Selina’s relaunch. I mean, can you imagine Selina in any of the later seasons doing that?
At the same time, I’m hesitant to call it bad writing, necessarily. I think we see Selina develop in multiple ways over the show – she becomes far more willing to throw her wait around and demand respect for her office, and I also think…that she burns out. Her having a breakdown between seasons 5 and 6 seems one of the more natural character developments to me. She was under inhuman amounts of pressure almost as soon as she took over the Presidency, and she really didn’t have anything close to a real support system.
One of the things that I think comes across really strongly, especially in season 5, is how important it is for the President to have someone in her life with whom she doesn’t have to BE the President. Generally that person would be a spouse or partner, but I’m fairly sure that trusted children or friends have served that role in the past. However, Selina doesn’t have ANYONE like that in her life. Amy and Ben are her most trusted staffers (which shows good judgement on Selina’s part), but those relationships are always mediated by the fact that they “serve at the pleasure of the President.” Gary’s worshipfulness might make Selina feel good, but it’s not going to be emotionally satisfying long term, and Catherine is far too self-involved to provide real support (in fairness, she’s what…twenty-three? It’s to be expected).
But it’s why that moment in Mother where Tom James shows that he understands and even to some extent shares Selina’s feelings was so important to her. It was the first time in who knows how long that someone had taken the time to relate to Selina as a human being in pain, rather than their boss.
The saddest aspect of Selina’s life, to my mind, is that it seems no one has ever loved her in an adult, selfless way, accepting her flaws and yet insisting on decent treatment (much like with Dan, a big part of loving Selina involves INSISTING that she behave like a decent human being, insisting on the legitimacy of the other person’s needs). Andrew certainly didn’t – her parents didn’t – and it seems clear that Catherine doesn’t. I don’t know about Jaffar. Maybe he did – but given that his default response to every problem was to tell Selina to run away from it, I have my doubts.
I hated the way she treated Amy, and Gary, and Mike (did she EVER pay him?) in season 6 – and I thought attempting to pimp Amy out was a new low for the character. But I don’t know if it will change in season 7. Selina doesn’t seem to have really grappled with the problems that were causing her to lash out so much – in other words, Ben may rue the day he convinced her to dump Jaffar, because if she’d had at least some support during the campaign she would have been better equipped for the inevitable disappointments that will arise.