Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Veronica Mars: Detectin' ain't easy

Spoilers for "Veronica Mars" coming right up...

As most of you know, after the Dean O'Dell arc wraps up, "Veronica" goes off the air for a couple of months for the CW's "aspirational" reality show about the Pussycat Dolls, then comes back with five self-contained episodes as a test to see if that's the direction the show should go in next year. (Assuming, of course, there is a next year.) And if the last couple of episodes are an indication, maybe done-in-one is the right direction, since the Mysteries of the Week have been by far the best thing about each.

While trying to blackmail a judge was one of the two or three dumbest things Veronica has ever done, the story overall worked very well. Early on, there was just enough ambiguity that I would have buyed either the Twue Wuv or blackmail explanations for Wendy's behavior, and by the time Max bought her freedom, the two characters had been so well-established that the show could get away with several scenes in which all the regulars were either absent or besides the point. I can't remember the last time I invested this much in one of Veronica's clients, and it's a credit to Diane Ruggiero that I cared about both Max and Wendy.

On the other stories, we're now two weeks into the O'Dell mystery and I don't feel like we've learned a whole lot, plus they've played the same note twice in a row about Keith's fame getting in the way of a good undercover op. The 'shipper scenes felt character-consistent, but I'm tired of stories about Veronica's trust issues, and the promos for next week (which, in fairness, are probably as non-representative as all the CW promos have been) looked like we're in for even more angsty dullness.

Some other thoughts:
  • So I guess the mission to smuggle in every line of "Lebowski" one piece at a time has now been overtaken by a quest for "Galactica" references.
  • Am I the only one who absolutely didn't recognize Madison until Veronica identified her? Either a bad wig or a bad hairstyle or something.
  • Favorite scene: Keith saluting Lamb at the stoplight. Diane gives good one-liner, but sometimes the best comedy is silent.
  • Somebody with more free time than me want to go back and do the math on how many episodes each non-Veronica/Keith/Logan regular has been in this season? Rob said in his TWoP interview that the supporting cast (other than Parker) would be featured more heavily in the rest of the season than they were in the rape arc, but Wallace has been MIA for a couple of weeks and Weevil was the only non-Holy Trinity member to show up here.
What did everybody else think?

19 comments:

Katie V said...

The judge blackmail was dumb, but I would say getting in that limo was a close second. As for Madison Sinclair, I also didn't recognize her. They're trying pretty hard to throw obstacles in the way of the "LoVe" ship, and trotting out a character who has had nothing to do with this season is pretty lame.

Mac said...

Yes, Madison was completely unrecognizable.

I think that they're having some trouble with the short arcs. When the central mystery spanned the whole season, you could have it relegated to B-plot status and move it slowly. This time, it has to wrap up quickly, but at the same time there's no emotional investment, because there's no time to establish it.

Jon said...

I generally don't watch previews, but I did happen to catch the one for last night's episode. Can anyone confirm my memory that the preview contained clips from scenes that were not aired last night?

Anonymous said...

I think the wrap up of the rape arc this season lacked the impact it could've had, had it taken at the very least 3-5 more episodes in which we further established both Moe, Mercer, and their '07 counterparts.

I'm big believer that season long stories are more interesting and viewers like to invest in them. Hence, the success of serials such as 24, Heroes, and my favorite case in point, the conclusion to the rape arc had the highest ratings of the season for Veronica Mars.

Turning the show into CSI-lite isn't going to save ratings, it's going to turn away what little fanbase there is.

Devin McCullen said...

There was definitely one scene in the preview with an upset Veronica saying she didn't think she could get past this that wasn't in the episode. (I assume it's in next week's.)

Anyway, I thought this was an outstanding episode. All of the Veronica/Keith scenes were even more awesome than usual. I liked the mystery, even if the conclusion of Max & Wendy's relationship was a little rushed (not necessarily wrong for the chatacters, but they definitely had to cram it in there).

R.A. Porter said...

I don't think they've truly finished with the rape arc. That nagging doubt I had about Mercer and the one rape while he was in Mexico was confirmed last night. Unless the point was that Logan was drugged and something *very bad* happened to him during that time, I think they brought that point up for a reason.

They've definitely hitched their wagon to BSG as a sister show, but I think they're letting Veronica be more knowledgeable about it than she should. It's cute for the crossover fans, but other than saying "frack", I really don't believe she should know much about the show.

Anonymous said...

Kind of wish the Keith/Veronica scenes would leave out at least one or two hammy jokes. I kind of felt like they were trying to push too many one-liners at a time.

Although I loved the "Amuse me, amuse me damn it!" line and the "bourgeois hangups".

dez said...

The scene with Veronica doing the pelvic thrust in Keith's direction was a bit squicky, but otherwise, I really liked the ep, although I never want to see another variation on that particular hooker storyline.

I couldn't believe that was Madison. Was it really the same actress?

peyton said...

There was one notable coment in the previews last night that didn't air. "I don't think I can ever get past this" was from several episodes ago. I think it was the line v used to break up with L last time (or maybe the time before that or the time before that)

Lindy said...

I thought that Nancy was one of the fake victims, like Claire, but now it looks like there's something else going on. What if Logan lied for Mercer -- say, if they split up after the hotel fire, or Logan wasn't at the hotel at all but believed Mercer's story and wanted to shore up his alibi? That would be a compelling reason to break up Logan and Veronica.

The Mystery of the Week veered a little too close to the earlier episode about the girl searching for her missing boyfriend: cynical Veronica vs. the lovestruck innocent. And the judge blackmail was *incredibly* dumb -- no, Veronica, they can't trace Max's phone to you, but they can trace it to HIM. Overall not my favorite episode.

The Evacuee said...

I'm not certain I'm looking forward to Veronica Mars as a purely procedural show, which is essentially what it would become without the long, or short, story arcs. Sure, we'll get some token pop culture references and sarcastic banter, but you get that on some of the pure procedurals, too.

Of late, there have been three Veronicas: (1) the icily mean one, who hasn't made an appearance in a few episodes (2) the lovelorn for Logan one, who showed up on Logan's doorstep last week and (3) the always-on, never-off sarcastic, banterful, ironic, pop-culture-referencing wit of a girl. She is the third incarnation most of all, which is one reason why the show's partisans are fans, but of late, they've been laying it on a little thick. Moderation in all things, particularly irony, is a good thing. Shifting between those three personas, and no others, Veronica is less of a person, which is a shame. Alas.

Kristin said...

My biggest problem with this episode is that when Madison showed up at Logan's place, there was no look of recognition from either her or him that anything sexual ever took place between them. Considering how little Madison and Veronica like each other, I would think Madison would have taken the opportunity to let Veronica know right there and then something had happened between her and Logan.

I also think the blackmailing moment (it was a JUDGE for goodness sake, not the captain of the football team) was outrageous. Unless they are trying to show Veronica turning into the one that makes extremely poor decisions (a la Logan) or something. And why would they get in the limo? Would have been better for the bruiser guy to be waiting right behind them as they opened the locker. If I got a note like that, I would have made a run for it...

BUT it was a good mystery this week. They did keep me guessing whether or not Wendy was good or bad.

Anonymous said...

I actually noticed Logan acting weird when Madison was at the door. It was like he was trying too hard to be non chalant. Anyway, it was enough to tip me off that she was the one he hooked up with when he admitted to it.
(Which in real life you don't want to know)

I did love the BSG stuff, but I can see that if you weren't a fan of that show you would be completely lost with that whole first conversation with Max.

sm said...

I thought the whole point of the rapist being both Mercer and Moe was that each could have an alibi. Mercer goes to Mexico, Moe commits a rape, Mercer can say "See, it couldn't be me."

Anonymous said...

I loved the episode. My husband is not addicted to the show and barely watches it with me, but when we watched it last night he was hooked and said, "Did they get a new writer? This episode is excellent." Loved the bits of humor and of course the BSG refs.

Anonymous said...

What the hell is BSG?

dez said...

BSG = Battlestar Galactica

Eve said...

Now I am totally confused about the state of the rapes. It is in fact weird that Veronica brought it up again since she must have considered the rape that night had to be a) a fake one or b) faked by Moe to have an alibi for Mercer while the latter was in Mexico.

However Veronica does seem to believe that Mercer actually raped someone: So Mercer drives to Mexico, enjoys a party, then drives back to Neptune, rapes a girl and then drives back again to Mexico in order to burn down a hotel? English is not my first language so I thought it was me misunderstanding that question but now that you guys mention it...

Seriously, what the frack--sorry;)

Maybe Lindy was right and Logan in fact never went to Mexico.

jim treacher said...

It stinks that O'Dell got shot, but on the bright side, it has drastically reduced his carbon footprint.