Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Veronica Mars: Professor Landry in the conservatory with the candlestick?

"Veronica Mars" whodunnit spoilers coming right up...

Hmmm... Not as good as the last couple of episodes, but a solid resolution to the Dean O'Dell mystery. I had Tim pegged as a person of interest ever since he showed up in the season premiere, and that was before I realized he was the same actor who'd played Lucky last year, and I think Rob and company played fairly with the resolution. I even bought into Tim being an ineffectual dweeb while "helping" Veronica clear Landry, though the scene where he offered to make her his new TA tipped the writers' hand. (That and the fact that there was too much time left in the episode, and I knew we weren't going to spend it on more Logan and Parker.)

That said, I think this case, even more than the rape story, serves as an object lesson for why mini-arcs probably aren't the best idea for "Veronica Mars." What was already probably going to feel rushed in seven episodes got squeezed into six (UPDATE: check the comments for Rob's explanation of what got cut from the storyline), which wasn't enough time to establish more than a handful of suspects. I'm glad they didn't go the Roberto Portalegre route from "Murder One" and make the killer somebody who had five seconds of screen time in an early episode, but at the same time, the reveal wasn't going to be mind-blowing no matter if it was Landry, Mindy or Tim. If 22 episodes is too long to drag out all but the first season mysteries, than six episodes is far too short on anything that's supposed to have a play-along factor.

Some other thoughts:
  • So Keith is only acting sheriff, huh? In the (sadly unlikely) event of a fourth season, that's clever. Rob can have some fun pitting Veronica and Keith against each other for a few episodes to see how it works, and if it doesn't and they get renewed, Keith can lose the special election come fall.
  • I'd have to say that Wallace is much closer to Rory than Lorelai. What say you?
  • Question for the female readership about The Code: given that Parker is primarily a friend of a friend to Veronica, is it a foul for her to date Logan? And for Logan to date her? My wife, who watches the show off and on, said she couldn't give a ruling on the former without seeing all the episodes where Veronica and Parker hang out.
  • My DVR was being extremely cranky last night, frequently dropping out the sound as Veronica and Tim discussed the plot. One thing I lost entirely was Tim's explanation of how he knew to look in the "Taps" DVD case for the incriminating disc. Was it just that the rest of Grieco's video collection didn't match that, or something else?

What did everybody else think?


Unknown said...

Tim didn't give a reason. He just stood up and looked at the DVDs and pulled that one out.

Anonymous said...

Question for the female readership about The Code: given that Parker is primarily a friend of a friend to Veronica, is it a foul for her to date Logan? And for Logan to date her?

As Parker made clear last night, she considers Veronica her friend, not just Mac's friend. I liked that she backed off from Logan because she valued her friendship with Veronica more. Logan dating her, knowing she's Veronica's friend, is a foul, but since he's a male, well.... ;-) Anyway, since Veronica gave her "blessing," even though it was clear she didn't really mean it, Parker's not committing a true foul (I can't imagine she'd be comfortable with the relationship, even with Veronica's okay).

One thing I lost entirely was Tim's explanation of how he knew to look in the "Taps" DVD case for the incriminating disc. Was it just that the rest of Grieco's video collection didn't match that, or something else?

I just assumed he planted it there.

I wasn't surprised Tim was the real murderer, and I liked the noir ending for Mindy & Landry, even though it was sad (they were guilty of having an affair, but not bumping off her husband). I did like Veronica solving in the case in front of the rest of the class, giving Tim an extra dose of humiliation for being such a loser, too.

electricia said...

Regarding "The Code": I don't think there's been enough Veronica/Parker interaction to really get a sense of their friendship, but I do think it's a little icky. If more time had gone by, that would be different, but it's way too soon.

Tim didn't really mention how he knew to look at "Taps", he just kind of grabbed it and looked and it happened to have the CD. Veronica asked if Grieco had some movie (I don't remember which) and TIm responded "No, but he does have 'Taps'" then he grabbed it and opened it up. My DVR has been cutting out sound occasionally, too, what's up with that? My question is how did Tim, a bumbling idiot, get the CD into the house? And do they realize that nothing on this show that has been stolen could actually be used as evidence?

Aother issue I had: why did Keith get the confession from Landry regarding Mindy's death? It happened in Mexico - shouldn't that be the Federalis' jurisdiction?

I had Tim pegged, too, so this wasn't a shocker for me (or anyone, really), but I'm also glad that it wasn't completely out of the blue and was something the characters never could have figured out, a la Beaver.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Tim wasn't the bumbler he appeared to be. Turns out I was wrong that Mel Stoltz was the biggest victim of the one-episode cut: Rob says they intended to follow up on Veronica getting the password to Tim's computer, with Veronica following Tim's progress trying to "solve" the case, and the reveal at the end that Tim was pushing her in the direction he wanted her to go.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, having too much time left after Landry got picked up was my major beef, but the final confrontation between Veronica and Tim was pretty good.

And the missing episode probably would have helped with my main problem with Tim as the murderer - for somebody whose whole point was framing Landry, he didn't do a whole lot to pin the blame on him. I mean, for six weeks it was assumed to be a suicide, and then an investigation gets started by Mindy O'Dell. I guess he was confident on the bloody clothes being discovered at some point, but it still seems weak.

On the other hand, after watching how subtly Tim manipulated Veronica and the investigation in this episode, I think there's a good strong irony in what happened to Landry. He clearly underestimated Tim, and that set off the events that led to their dual downfall.

And although they didn't make it clear, it looked like the Pepperdine call was earlier on the day of the murder, which, if Tim heard it then, would help explain why he was acting like such a lunatic at the frat house. It doesn't explain why he (IMO) went to great lengths to see that Veronica knew who his girlfriend was, but I guess that could be simple jealousy.

Overall, I didn't like it as much as the end of the rape arc, but it was still OK.

Anonymous said...

re: the Taps DVD

They were looking for something related to the phoneTAP/BUG. Veronica asked if he had "A BUGs Life" and Tim said he didn't but did have "TAPs".

Anonymous said...

Re: Tim and Taps.

Veronica asked if Botando happened to have a copy of "A Bug's Life" (the phone was "bugged"), and Tim responded "No, but he does have 'Taps'." Tim probably thought it was fairly clever to hide the recordings from a "tapped" phone in the case for the movie "Taps".

Anonymous said...

Overall, I'd say I liked the arc though I think it was always going to be anti-climactic as Alan stated. I knew for a long time that it would be Tim, I just didn't know why. I think the Pepperdine call being the same day was a bit obvious, but I do like that he was motivated most by the betrayal of Landry as well as being thought of as not clever/creative. I did like that Veronica figured it all out at the end, humiliating him in front of all those students, but I just can't buy that he would be able to manipulate her so thoroughly.

Did anyone else catch this: when we see Landry's memory of the convenience store/cigarette giving the woman we see from behind is an ashy blonde (also a bob, not long hair), not brunette. When he mentioned brunette it was immediately following, hence why I picked up on it. It made me more aware that he'd be up to something, though I never thought he killed Cyrus.

I thought it was a shame that Landry and Mindy had to be played so much against one another that it led to such a tragic ending for both.

As for Parker and Logan, I say just don't go there. If they do, I want to see Parker talk with Veronica and not just taking Logan's word for it with his prior conversation with Veronica. I thought the last names bit between V and L was sad.

Jason Fisher said...

In the scene where Keith goes out to Papa's Cabin, am I the only viewer who thought he looked more like an exterminator than a sheriff in that uniform?

velvetcannibal said...

You know, it's partly to do with the fact that the last two episodes were so great, but I was underwhelmed. Everything made sense... but then it doesn't, really.

I just have a hard time comprehending the Dean being an innocent bystander in his own death. Particularly, I have a hard time buying that Tim's plan of revenge would be to KILL someone, particularly someone who has nothing to do with Landry giving the bad recommendation. That's a pretty big leap to take, committing a murder, and I'm not sure I buy that.

Tim says he "took advantage of the situation." My theory had involved just that, in that I thought Mindy may have killed the Dean and then Tim stumbled across the body and saw an opportunity to set up Landry. Even now, I just don't buy that Tim decided to kill this innocent person, who to our knowledge, did no harm to him directly.

It's too much of a character problem for me to overcome, and I was hoping there would be more to it than that.

electricia said...

Oh, yeah, my finace and I noticed that too, the blonde/brunette discrepancy, and also that her hair was short and not long.

I totally missed the Bug/Tap reference - nice! I was very proud of myself, however, for immediately noticing the photo of Hemingway over Landry's shoulder in the bar photo and realizing that he was the Papa in question. Maybe I've gotten too familiar with the tactics of the writers!

I also really liked that Keith quietly told Landry what was up and let him dismiss the class, in stark contrast to what Lamb would have done - he so enjoyed making a spectacle.

Matty said...

Too much time remaining confirmed for me that Tim was the killer, but the thing that had me thinking that throughout the episode was that they never figured out who put the bug in Landry's phone. That was too big of a plot point to leave hanging and had to lead to Tim.

I agree with Alan that the episode didn't quite hold up with the last 2 or 3, but it was a solid conclusion to the arc.

Anonymous said...

I didn't buy the final twist, but I liked having an arc-ending episode that didn't feature Veronica fleeing from a psycho, or accusing everyone in sight until someone tried to kill her - it was a nice change of pace.

Anonymous said...

Tim was such a likeable, seemingly-semi-competent doofus in this one, it's really a shame to lose him. By the way, I think you'll find legally that Veronica is now in charge of her criminology class. You could look it up.

More seriously: Keith can't accept or act on any evidence from his own daughter breaking and entering, especially using keys she swiped from the police! (There may be a grey area in that the resident of the apartment was dead, and not the target of the investigation.)

Finally, I found Mindy's death gratuitous, and it belongs in a movie like Blood Simple, where nobody involved knows the whole truth, and not in this show. Landry just happened to knock her over the side? Feh. (I understand that it was needed to provide a false resolution at the 50-minute mark.)

Anonymous said...

By the way, I think you'll find legally that Veronica is now in charge of her criminology class. You could look it up.

Criminology class? I think Veronica is now the Dean of Students.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

I'm not sure if Veronica would be in charge of the class -- Landry didn't do anything criminal on campus, so his tenure is probably OK.

That was one of the weak points of the episode for me -- O'Dell's drunken threats to Landry's career made no sense. Given Landry's age and what we're told about his standing in his field, it's unlikely he doesn't already have tenure. O'Dell could have made Landry's life difficult, certainly, but not to the extent of blackballing him from academia. O'Dell's drinking and state of mind might explain why he'd make those threats, but not why Landry or Missy O'Dell would take them seriously.

Anonymous said...

re: Girl Code -- Parker dating Logan is a foul if she wants to stay friends with Veronica. Even if Veronica says it's OK, Parker is well-versed enough in Girl Code to know that she doesn't mean it. It's too hard to hang out with the person dating the guy who broke your heart. I hope they stick with Parker's refusal to date Logan; it seems more in character for her. Besides, I don't really want to see a rehashing of Duncan-Meg from Season 1. Been there, done that.

For Logan, it's definitely a foul. An ex's friends are off-limits, especially if the relationship is as long and intense as Logan-Veronica.

I thought it was a pretty good resolution to the Dean O'Dell mystery. It clearly came down to Mindy-Landry-Tim, but the episode kept me guessing about which one of the three did it (right up until I saw Tim writing "motive" and "opportunity" on the whiteboard, then I knew it was him). One thing I liked is that the solution respected Veronica and Keith's intelligence. They were wrong at various points, but they never looked clueless just for the sake of the plot.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, could this be the end? Or are we going to see at least a few more episodes this season?

I never really liked Tim as the killer from the beginning, especially because he never had any direct motive to kill the Dean, but very early in this episode it became apparent that it was him and then it was a done deal when we heard Landry bash him on the recording. I suppose that Tim justified killing the dean because he felt that "Everyone hated the Dean." Tim never seemed that sociopathic before but, I guess, neither did Beaver. I liked how Tim wasn't a total fool also and he would have gotten away with it if he hadn't had done what he claimed Landry did - improvise. Tim was all prepared to continue with the criminology course's curriculum until his ego got in the way and he began to improvise. And it wasn't just mentioning the kids in London that tipped Veronica off, it was his whole lecture about motive and opportunity, of which he had both, that made it so very clear. If he had just kept his mouth shut no one would have ever suspected him. In that sense I felt that the scene in the classroom was rather brilliant and compensated for what was a lack luster episode, at least compared to awesomeness of the previous two.

However, the highlight for me was the "meat and potatoes" exchange in the Mars' kitchen. One of the best Veronica and Kieth sarcasm-off in a long time and good note to go out on (if that's the case) too.

Alan Sepinwall said...

There are five more episodes, all with self-contained mysteries, set to air after that Pussycat Dolls reality show wraps up in a month and a half.

Anonymous said...

The government (i.e. the cops) can't break into a house to find evidence without a warrant, but private citizens can (though they may still be guilty of breaking and entering).

Generic private citizens, yes; but (and here we need an actual lawyer, but I persist) after enough instances of the sheriff's daughter operating outside the law, on cases that the sheriff is investigating, the defense would have a good case that she's not operating independently of the police.

Anonymous said...

The pacing for this episode seemed a bit off for me. I know they had to condense a lot of information into fewer episodes, but they've been able to do that and still pull it off in the past. (A Trip to the Dentist, anyone?

In theory, I don't really mind the Logan/Parker pairing. Yeah, it's gonna be awkward to stay friends with Veronica while dating Logan, even if she gave her blessing, but I really need a LoVe break. In practice, I don't know if I can stomach Parker & Logan getting affectionate and whatnot. Last night's episode kind of skeeved me out.

Anonymous said...

I didn't get why Landry stopped to buy cigarettes when he said he didn't smoke. It was like he was giving himself an alibi....that was a red flag to me, but I didn't get it.

Parker and Logan is definetly a violation of girl code. From what we've seen Parker has gone beyond friend of a friend to just friend. Plus, it could put Mac in the middle.

Unknown said...

Question for the female readership about The Code: given that Parker is primarily a friend of a friend to Veronica, is it a foul for her to date Logan? And for Logan to date her?

Re: The Code, considering that Veronica found Parker's rapist (at some personal cost), I think it's perfectly logical that Parker wouldn't want to do anything to their friendship.

Jeremy said...

I believe the DVD was not the Gregory Hines movie Taps but the horrendous comedy B*A*P*S, which might have been more conspicuously out of place.

At least thats what I heard.

Anonymous said...

There's less wiggle room in Girl Code when it comes to "epic" relationships like Veronica and Logan's; Parker should play it safe and not get involved with him. Also, I agree it feels too similar to Meg and Duncan getting together, especially when Parker's characterization has been limited to "Meg, but taller."

Anonymous said...

definitely TAPS. (which I recall as somewhat miliatary with kids, as opposed to dancers -- although I never saw it)
Also, you can see the case, if you pause.
(If that was TAPS, what was Red Dawn? (guess I should look))

Pam (a day late, which is sooner than usual)

Anonymous said...

"One thing I lost entirely was Tim's explanation of how he knew to look in the 'Taps' DVD case for the incriminating disc. Was it just that the rest of Grieco's video collection didn't match that, or something else?"

Phone taps. That's why Veronica asked if Grieco had "A Bug's Life." Bugs? Taps? Eh?

Anonymous said...

Just want to point out that I called it being Tim several episodes when Veronica discovered Tim was investigating.

I found the episode thoroughly disappointing as it was clear within the first 15 minutes exactly who and what had been done.

By comparison, even if Veronica seemed stupid at the conclusion of the rape arc, that was an exciting episode, and this is the first murder reveal where I felt the whole episode was a let down.

That being said, I still hope the show gets renewed for a 4th season because Rob and company when they're on are untouchable.

Anonymous said...

...Pussycat Dolls?

Anonymous said...

I wasn't thrilled with the episode. First, if you are going to write a show where Keith is back as the sheriff, he needs to act like a sheriff. The jurisdictional questions someone raised are on point, but also, how is it that he can accept illegally acquired evidence from Veronica (the result of a break in)? Wouldn't this taint any later acquired evidence? Sure, Veronica is a private citizen, but it seems like any clever defense attorney could argue that Veronica is the instrument of the sheriff's daughter. This is the problem of shows that are written by writers who only know about criminal procedure by watching other shows written by writers who know nothing about criminal procedure.

Anonymous said...

Tim confessed. All the jurisdiction, illegal evidence aren't really that relevant anymore.

Little problems with real-world inconsistencies are rather unnecessary when discussing the finer points of a television drama. It's TV and it's expected that some poetic liberties will be taken in the name of a better story. I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade and I know that (most) of the comments here are about having some quality discourse (compared to the overwhelming majority of ignorance and illiteracy currently occupying message boards and blogs' comments) but sometime you just have to suspend your disbelief - or go watch Court TV if you want to see exacting legal procedures, but what's the fun in that?

Anonymous said...

'Taps' with Mr. Tom Cruise's mug on the cover! Also, I liked that Parker chose Veronica over Logan. I assumed that we are supposed to assume that Veronica and Parker have interacted as friends off screen. Hey! Maybe it will come back sooner if America doesn't love 'The Dolls'as much as The CW does?

The CineManiac said...

I'm a law student and this is my stance.
First as to the Jurisdictional issues, the Mexican Gov't and the US Gov't and law enforcement officials do act in tandem on occasion. I assume since Kieth was after Landry for a Murder in good old Cali, they worked with him to find Landry, and since he technically killed her in the ocean, jurisdiction could be up in the air. Likely the Mexican gov't just didn't care to get involved and let him take care of it.
As for the evidence issue, while the defense could bring up Veronica being his daughter, since he's only been Sheriff for a short time there's not a lot of evidence of her doing this.
And since Tim confessed they won't need the evidence anyways. If he wants to plead not guilty the main issue will be based on some violation of his rights in getting the confession, and not on the other evidence, so if I was a lawyer I'd inform Keith to go ahead and taker it at this point, but to be careful in the future.
Also if you think about it Tim, the killer, broke in with Veronica and gave her the damning evidence. To me this sounds like a huge hole in the defenses' case and would likely come out worse for them in the end, it I was the defense, I might try to underplay it as much as possible.

Isabel said...

I called it being Tim from the start. It was his wig that gave it away. Just too creepy.

As for "the code", Logan is too hot to worry about some damn "code". I lose my freinds for him ANY DAY OF THE WEEK!

(dude, I sound lame.)