Wow. For the most part, I've been perfectly happy with seasons two and three, but it's episodes like these last two that remind me of what this show looks like when it's really cooking. We got comedy, we got tragedy, we got a pair of mysteries that are actually interesting as both puzzles and as drama. We got it all.
Rest in peace, Don Lamb. I'll miss you for all the goodness that you brought to this show: as an irritant, as a plot device, as comic relief, as a classic noir character, and as one of the most likable jerks in primetime. Trying to find out whether this was entirely plot-related as an excuse to put Keith back in office, or whether Michael Muhney wanted to do a pilot or something else, but the guy gave his all in every limited appearance.
I love that the show didn't try to humanize Lamb in his final appearance. He went down as just as big an ass as the day we met him -- including an appropriate call-back to his "Go see the Wizard" moment with Wallace way back in the pilot. At first, I thought the reddish liquid oozing from underneath him was paint, and that this was going to be a fakeout like Desmond at the start of his flashback on "Lost" last week, but as soon as he said that he smelled bread, Marian (who's worked in lots of hospitals) said, "Oh, he's going to die." Damn.
Keith as sheriff has obvious implications for the conclusion of the O'Dell arc, but I'm curious to see how this will affect the show long-term -- assuming there is a long term. It's one thing for him to skirt the rules and help Veronica do the same when he's a disreputable PI, but now? Veronica just gave him material evidence on a murder case about 30 seconds before he was offered the job; does he sit on that? Can it be a noir world if the heroine's virtuous father is the head cop? Will Veronica and Keith find themselves on opposite sides more often now?
On the O'Dell case, I have to put my money on Tim the TA. He's obviously the one who put the bug in Landry's phone, and the odds of Landry the criminology genius killing a man while wearing a monogrammed shirt -- or, if he did so, not disposing of said evidence in a foolproof manner -- are slim. Tim also graded Veronica's perfect murder paper that was used as the premise for Cyrus' murder, though of course it was also posted on-line. At this point, I feel like it's down to him or Mel Stoltz, who keeps being treated like an ominous figure even though he never does or says anything. But I could be wrong; I was convinced Guttenberg did it last year because I felt like Rob was trying too hard to make us forget he existed.
Other things to love:
- Mac finally gets some sexual satisfaction after the bad hand the writers have dealt her in the past;
- The gang goes on an all-night scavenger hunt that actually feels like fun college hijinks;
- Logan can immediately recognize that they're doing the wrong Kama Sutra pose;
- Veronica goes even butchier than usual while locked up in stir, countered by her incredibly girlish, hilarious, "I do! I do!" at the prospect of release;
- Cliff F'in McCormack getting one killer line after another, from the "Caged Heat" joke to his repeat encounter with Richard Grieco (the second "Don't I know you?" moment of the hour);
- The lighting and photography of the furnace scene with Weevil, which was very noir;
- Keith's takedown of Mrs. Coach;
- Parker and Logan's now inevitable hook-up. I suppose it's preferable to Veronica and Piz, and it's good to see Logan just enjoying himself instead of his recent emo spiral, but it feels like a TV contrivance to delay the inevitable reunion.