Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Veronica Mars: Shave and a haircut

Another day, another column about a show that blatantly steals from other material, in this case "Groundhog Taye," aka "Day Break."

"Veronica Mars" spoilers coming up just as soon as I finish printing out a Missing Persons poster for Tina Majorino...

Remind me to stop watching CW promos, okay? Because the parking garage sequence would have been about 10 times scarier if I hadn't seen so much of it last week. Given that Logan didn't call out until he was really close to Veronica's car, did the rapist really get scared off or was he just sending Veronica a message? Either way, bad move on his part and good move on the writers' part: as if Veronica didn't already have enough motivation to find this loser (guilt over Parker, her own issues from Shelly Pomeroy's party, etc.), now he's gone and touched her. And nobody touches Veronica without some serious payback.

Well, nobody except Liam Fitzpatrick, I suppose. His little wrestling match with her wasn't nearly as intense as last year's attempt at involuntary tattooing, but I suppose they had to save the real feeling of peril for the episode's climax. Completely unexpected and nice use of Vinnie to save the day, as I thought for sure that Veronica had called either Keith or Lamb before going in. Looks like the Fitzes are going to be more trouble for Keith, maybe even the subject of arc number two, but exactly how Liam not know that Kendall is dead?

I've been trying to put my finger on why the intermittent appearances by the non-Veronica/Keith/Logan members of the cast have seemed so much more obvious this year. Obviously, in the first season, we didn't know them as well and their presence wasn't as important as we got to know Veronica and see her at work. In season two, Logan had been promoted to every episode status, Mac wasn't even a regular character yet, and Veronica was hanging with Duncan for the entire patch of the season when Wallace was missing. But this year, there's no buffer of a character the writers know they can use up by mid-season, and there have been more episodes whose subject matters made certain absences more glaring. (Piz, for instance, was obviously missed in the episode about Wallace's academic struggles.)

For once, I thought the absence of Wallace and Mac felt appropriate, as it made Veronica feel more alone as she tried to deal with feeling betrayed by her dad, her boyfriend and her mentor, but at the same time, the amount of time she spent hanging out with her sorta-client felt off. It was never really established that she was taking this on as a case for a fee, as opposed to just helping out some random girlfriend of a guy she didn't even know. So while the story worked as a parallel to Veronica's problems with Logan, with all the other stuff going on and so many friends missing, I kept wondering why both Veronica and the show itself were spending so much time on this Mystery of the Week. The better we get to know the supporting characters and the closer each arc gets to its conclusion, the harder it gets to care about stories that don't have a really personal connection for Veronica.

That said, I thought all of the personal stuff was spot on. Veronica has been betrayed plenty of times in the past (good callback to her mom and Jake Kane), but she also holds certain people to impossible standards, and I liked that the episode acknowledged both sides of that. I didn't see Logan's Tijuana story coming as the thing he couldn't tell Veronica about, and I look forward to even more ugliness in the Keith/Harmony story, because that woman does not seem done with him, not by a long shot.

What did everybody else think? And, other than Mercer apparently being cleared and Moe having keys to everyone's dorm room, do you feel like we get any closer to identifying the rapist?

20 comments:

Ben said...

If we assume that Veronica was specifically targeted by the rapist because she is on the case, then that means the rapist must be someone who knows she is investigating the case. This seemingly clears Moe and Landry, and shines more light on Tim.

Unless, of course, whoever attacked her is not the actual rapist, but one of the Lilith girls or Nish, seeking revenge.

Anonymous said...

I'm aware that these thoughts are mutually exclusive but everytime I see Mercer it makes me wonder why Ryan Devlin is getting more screentime than Tina Majorino. Ryan Devlin?!

Anyway, last night's episode brought about the angst and surprise reminiscint of Season 1, so no complaints here!

Alan Sepinwall said...

I think Tina may have some scheduling conflicts with "Big Love," but beyond that, Rob has said that he tries to be really judicious in how he uses the supporting actors so he can save them for when they're really needed. (This doesn't explain Wallace's random cameo a few weeks ago, but I have to assume that more of his scenes wound up getting unexpectedly cut.) So hopefully, there are big plans afoot for Mac and Wallace and Weevil for the second two arcs -- assuming that the show gets the back nine order, of course.

DonBoy said...

Moe having keys to everyone's dorm room

And here I was so proud I caught that, especially since they took care to distract us with all those girly posters.

So I'll move on the next point, which is that the line is "all the RA's have masters". So maybe somebody else is an RA and we haven't been told that yet.

Jennifer J. said...

First, I thought the episode was really good; the parking garage stuff scared me senseless, but then again I hadn't been really spoiled. I loved her final VO thought about those who love her being there for her when she didn't love them enough. Perfect. The stuff between her and her Dad broke my heart. My father and I have a very similar relationship minus all detective activity. ;)

Here's my question for you guys with regard to the supporting actors (I wish we could see so much more of them!): did anyone else really miss Mac when Veronica had to get her computer needs met by the I have all tests/answers guy? Seriously, that was a Mac moment if there ever was one!

Also, Alan, do you know when this rapist arc ends? Is it next week or later? Thanks! :)

Alan Sepinwall said...

Two episodes to go in the rape storyline.

jim treacher said...

Macwatch!

"Looks like the Fitzes are going to be more trouble for Keith, maybe even the subject of arc number two, but exactly how Liam not know that Kendall is dead?"

Is she? There was no body...

Moe: Access to dorm rooms, nobody gives him a second look (making it easier to, say, dose somebody's drink in the food court), creepy "you're a slut but I'm not judging" vibe... Which means it's probably not him, right, Thomas? I hate Rob Thomas. Hey, if Landry's such a big shot, how come he hasn't tried to figure it out himself?

Lindy said...

I was seriously confused about the Kendall/Liam plot point as well. When Vinnie came to see him, Keith acted as if he thinks Kendall's alive ... I was under the impression that she's dead, or at least believed to be dead. What gives? Is Keith pretending she's still among the living to hide the fact that he gave her millions to the Neptune food bank? And, again, why would Liam think she's alive?

Otherwise an awesome episode -- the personal stuff and the mystery of the week, in my view, worked perfectly together. Veronica, feeling betrayed by all of the men in her life, set out to help a girl whose boyfriend has also "betrayed" her. I thought it was reminiscent of Season 1, when Veronica solved mysteries not just for the cash, but also for the challenge and because of her strong sense of justice.

I agree that Moe the RA is looking increasingly suspicious -- but didn't he have an alibi for Parker's rape?

anon said...

It's not really clear that Liam and Cormac talk (or even like each other), and the police never found a body. So on the whole, there's no particular reason for Vinnie or Liam to believe that Kendall's dead.

Also, since the show's aiming to be less convoluted this season, I'd say Moe's a good candidate. Two episodes is not much time for a double cross.

And forget Veronica getting angry -- I hope _Keith_ finally realizes that his daughter's after a serial rapist and, you know, decides to help out a little. I mean, it must have been in _some_ local paper, right?

Anon

Anonymous said...

great episode. love logan. i mean if i'm counting right this would be the 4th time he saved her right?! aww.. .

the last 10 mins was so intense. i was screaming "logan run!!!"

i really dont like piz now

Ceej said...

Awww...I kinda like Piz. I think he's very cute in his interactions with Veronica. It's my first season as a regular viewer and I love it except for that nasty jumping to the wrong conclusion habit Veronica has....

Anonymous said...

oh, jeez,oh christ. oh jeez:
IT'S PIZ! IT'S PIZ! IT'S PIZ!
Never been investigated. So no need for an alibi. In the poisition to drug Veronica. Knows what she's doing.
Moe is too obvious. As is the TA. And we haven't seen Dick for a while. Piz. Piz. The clean cut little Piz.

R.A. Porter said...

Piz is a freshman and wasn't there the weekend Maeby was raped.

That, and he's a regular cast member which would make him a very expensive rapist.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I guess you're right, but... how could would it be if it was him. I mean - no one would see that coming.

jim treacher said...

"That, and he's a regular cast member which would make him a very expensive rapist."

Cassidy was a regular cast member... But yeah, Piz wasn't there the year before. Landry's TA seems to have some issues with women, doesn't he? Or just Veronica, maybe.

jim treacher said...

Oh, because we know they're solving it in the next couple of episodes. Good point, good point.

R.A. Porter said...

There is the possibility that Rob could "wrap-up" the rape story arc but keep the rapist around for the rest of the season for B-stories, too. Then Piz would make more sense. Knowing how unpredictable he can be, I guess I shouldn't be so quick to discount anyone.

My money's still on someone from Lilith house. Those chicks really do have *no* sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

Also, Piz was in his dorm room when Veronica was roofied.

alexarae71 said...

Here is something to think about. what if the second mystery. A murder arc as we have been lead to belive is in fact kendell's murder.... She has been mentioned several times. Even more sudden;y recently. WE are asking questions. Her death was the source of a whole episode and suddenly we get the ftiz's back to cause trouble.. Either that or the murder arc is harmony's Husband and kieth is a suspect. WOW wouldn't veronica be hot on the trail of that monster?

addicted said...

Are Veronica and Logan breaking up again???? I hope not. Why was she so upset with him??