When we last left our heroine, she was in danger of going from prickly to, well, something without the "ly" (or the feminine equivalent). And there were plenty of times last night where I still wanted Veronica to cool it with the cold, judgemental act. Seriously, I was on the verge of buying her one of Tom Smykowski's Jump To Conclusions mats, especially after we saw what she did to poor, semi-innocent Ratner. (That's assuming that Ratner wasn't in on the scam with Tim the TA, but that scene with Tim and Veronica suggested the Rat was just an unwitting dupe.) There comes a point where all of this j'accuse!ing doesn't just make Veronica less appealing, but less bright. She's a flawed character, always has been, but even at her lowest moments, she and we could rely on the belief that she was a smart cookie.
But this episode did a much better job of balancing Veronica's baser instincts -- also including the worst of her green-eyed monster in that scene with the hotel desk clerk, who would have been totally justified in blowing off Veronica, pal of Logan or no -- with showing her friendlier, more generous side. A lot of that comes from the most interaction she's had with Wallace since the season premiere, as their friendship has always shown Veronica at her best. But we also got to see her reaching out to Parker, treating Piz with something resembling humanity, torn about what to do for Dean O'Dell and about getting that girl expelled from Hearst, being vaguely cordial with Lamb (and vice versa), etc. Again, I don't ask for Veronica to be perfect, and as long as Rob and Co. can balance Evil Veronica with Normal Veronica (to paraphrase Wallace), I can deal better with the Evil moments.
Keith's car crash brought back uncomfortable memories of My Worst Day Ever So Far, By Julio (and he had much more of a fun, sexy time of it after the accident than I did, lucky SOB), but I liked the symmetry Keith and Harmony bonding over noir movies followed by Keith getting embroiled in a very noir situation with a married lady who seems a hop, skip and a martini away from asking Keith to take care of her husband, permanent-like.
We're two-thirds of the way through the rape story, and after a sluggish beginning to the arc, I've been really pleased with the last few episodes, particularly the cliffhangers on the last two. So who are our suspects to date?
- The Pi Sigs, who certainly wouldn't be above this -- and wouldn't it be ironic (dontcha think) if the feminists' faux-rape with Claire helped keep the Pi Sig rapist or rapists free and clear long enough to attack a few more women?
- Mercer, who had the suspicious cologne, the clippers and the GHB -- but who also has an alleged alibi from Logan. And remember the last time Veronica suspected Logan and his buddies of using GHB for some raping, things didn't turn out quite as she assumed.
- Tim the TA, though I think they're going more in an "unlikely allies" direction for him and Veronica.
- Professor Landry, though philandering and adultery don't automatically lead to serial rape. Still, Tim seemed troubled by more than just the catting around.
- Dean O'Dell, who I put here only because it's always fair to suspect the most famous guest star. 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.
- Nish and/or one of the feminists. There'd be some really messed-up psychology involved, and I think the faked rape was designed to make them into red herrings, but you never know.
- The college humor magazine guys. Not likely, since we only saw them in the one episode, but if they pop up again in the next one or two, I'm going to raise an eyebrow.
So what did everybody else think? Have I left out an obvious suspect? Should we start a contest to see who can come up with the most contrived in-story excuse why Mac or Weevil or whomever can't appear in the latest episode?