And so we've come to the end of our first "Veronica" mini-mystery, and I'm mostly happy. There were the usual scares as Veronica faced the big bad, but not in a way that copied either "Leave It to Beaver" or "Not Pictured." All but one castmember (Lamb) appeared, and all but one of the rest (Weevil) played a significant role. Rob and company played as fair as they could with the identity of rapist(s), though with only nine episodes to play with instead of 22, they had to toss out some very crucial information very quickly.
In particular, the relationship between Mercer and Moe and how it was forged during their own stint in Professor Homer's Stanford Prison Experiment had only one hint prior to this episode, way back in "My Big Fat Greek Rush Week." I quote Couch Baron's TWoP recap of the scene:
Wallace tells Moe that he can't be there because of the experiment, and Moe replies that he did it the year before [...] and says that it's pretty intense. He gets an odd look on his face as he adds, "It's, like... life-changing." He pauses long enough before leaving to prompt "Buh?" looks from Wallace and Veronica.Maybe it wouldn't have felt so out of left field if we had been able to see more of Horshack and Rafe, the freshman class's equivalent of Mercer and Moe (albeit without all the rape-y badness), but the bit about Horshack helping Rafe cheat happened off-camera, and as far as I know, the first time we knew Mercer did the Experiment was when Veronica saw the picture of him and Moe in their respective costumes. (And even there, it had been so long since I saw the episode that all I noticed was Mercer and Moe and not their costumes; the backstory didn't click in my head until Mercer slapped Moe and said, "Stop blubbering, prisoner!")
That aside, there were a couple of other nagging issues, but nothing that troubled me overly. First, how could it not have occurred to Veronica sooner (like back in the episode where she exonerated Mercer) that it's possible to pre-tape a radio call-in show, how could it have not occurred to the cops to ask (Lamb's a smug ass, but not an idiot), and how could no one at the radio station have noticed that Mercer often wasn't in the studio when his show was airing? Second, if Moe was too squeamish to do anything but bait and shave Veronica's head, who committed the rape when Mercer and Logan were having their Light My Fire trip south of the border? Did Mercer order Moe to do it to give him an alibi (which turned out to be useless after the motel fire), or was that one of the Lilith House women doing a copycat fake? As Veronica asked last week, exactly how many of the rapes were real?
I like the role that Parker played in rescuing Veronica this time. Given the nature of the plot, Veronica almost had to get drugged at some point, which also meant she needed some saving (unless she has a mutant healing factor we haven't been told about), and it felt appropriate that it was a former victim -- and that Veronica managed to get her licks in with both Mercer and Moe before the GHB completely got to her.
We'd been heading towards the Veronica/Logan split practically since the season started. Good as Jason Dohring is at the puppy dog eyes, I hope he doesn't have to keep at it for too long. The thing is, Veronica does let people help her, as we saw when she recruited Wallace, Piz, Mac and even Moe (whoops) to assist at the Pi Sig party. It just has to be on her terms, and she has to clearly be in charge, and Logan's not having that. He wants to be Veronica's savior, not her sidekick. Nice closing touch with him getting himself thrown into a locked room with Veronica's attackers, though at what point is he nearing his third strike?
Meanwhile, Rob quite cleverly threw the start of the new mystery into the tail end of the first one. A few weeks ago, I dismissed Dean O'Dell as a serious rape suspect because "I think it'd be a waste of Begley and a good character who could be around for several years to dispense with him in nine episodes." Show's what I know: they find a way to get rid of the guy without making him the rapist, or even seriously discussed as a suspect. Sigh... I liked the guy, but now it's on to guessing whodunnthis. I think the Lilith women were busy throwing eggs outside, so that leaves his wife, Dr. Landry and the influential (and mobbed-up?) alumnus who bullied him into reinstating the Greek system.
So what did everybody else think? Satisfying conclusion or not?