Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): June 2019

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Veronica Mars - "My Mother, the Fiend" (season 2, episode 9)

Welcome to my viewing diary for Veronica Mars. I will cover each TV episode (and eventually the film), several days a week; this will conclude just as the revival (which I will also cover) premieres on Hulu. I have never seen this series before so there will be NO spoilers.

Story (aired on November 30, 2005/written by Phil Klemmer, Dayna Lynne North; directed by Nick Marck): Veronica has a baby! Not really. Her sex ed teacher asks the students to assign themselves a partner and prepare to take home an electronic infant doll; as Veronica chuckles about the prospect with Duncan, he's not quite as into the comedy of it all. Babies, real or otherwise, are all over the episode after she discovers a secret about her mother. While reorganizing permanent records as part of a detention - her infiltration of office records has been belatedly unearthed and weaponized against her - Veronica finds out that Liann Reynolds (the maiden name of the future Mrs. Mars) was suspended for spreading rumors about another student in 1980. Veronica, as much as she'd like to think she's moved past any attachment to her mother, is crushed to think that the woman she considered a good person, at least once upon a time, might never have been very good. This is seemingly confirmed by a deaf cafeteria worker who knew her and signs that she was a "fiend" - of course Veronica's sign language isn't very good, and she missed the "r"). That rumor was about the ostensible pregnancy of Celeste Carnathan, later of the Kane clan, which suspiciously coincides with a baby found in the girls' bathroom on prom night.

What Veronica discovers is that that baby grew up to be...the perfectly-aged housekeeper whose grad school tuition Celeste is paying! Oh no wait, that's not it, because when Veronica contacts the adoption agency she discovers that the girl found in the bathroom was adopted...into the Echolls family! It's Trina, who has conveniently returned to produce a hammy Shakespearean production at Neptune High. So Trina is Celeste's long-lost daughter, and after Veronica initially takes advantage of Trina's hospitalization for a minor injury to set up Celeste, she (sort of) more honestly joins forces with the eager Trina to manipulate Celeste to come forward, revealing the truth. But wait...that's not quite it either: when the fake story about Trina needing bone marrow hits the tabloids, it's Mary who comes forward, weeping and embracing her long-abandoned child. And she didn't leave Trina in the bathroom back in '80, she left her at the father's house and he panicked, staging the prom abandonment to cover himself. That father was now-Principal Alan Moorehead (John Bennett Perry). Veronica's mother is cleared as it becomes clear that this was the scandal she was trying to expose, and Veronica deduces that this entire investigation was the devious brainchild of soon-to-be-promoted (thanks to her) Vice Principal Van Clemmons. He's the one who assigned her apparently arbitrary detention early in the episode, and his smirking replacement of the nameplate on his desk is both a great punchline and a nice visual callback to Veronica at the Mars office.

This story dominates the episode, although Keith also comes clean about the rat he's been keeping in a plastic baggie in the office freezer (apparently it was actually duct-taped to the bottom of a bus seat, not naturally there as I originally thought) and Beaver approaches Mac to help him set up a fake business he'll use to set up his despised stepmother (who's still trying to seduce an uncomfortable Duncan). But the most crucial aside comes in the end when Veronica, at the hospital for other reasons, decides to drop in on Meg's room. Surprised to see two EKGs hooked up to Meg, she pushes aside the tray covering her belly and discovers...that the lone survivor of the bus accident is quite pregnant. Meg has a baby! For real this time. And as if that wasn't enough, after Veronica leaves the room, the patient opens her eyes.

My Response:

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Veronica Mars - "Ahoy, Mateys!" (season 2, episode 8)

Welcome to my viewing diary for Veronica Mars. I will cover each TV episode (and eventually the film), several days a week; this will conclude just as the revival (which I will also cover) premieres on Hulu. I have never seen this series before so there will be NO spoilers.

Story (aired on November 23, 2005/written by John Enbom, Cathy Belben; directed by Steve Gomer): Marcos Oliveres is the main subject of this episode, but he's a name (and uncredited voice) without a face - he died in the bus crash, and ever since then his parents have been harassed. Carlos (David Barrera) and Maria (Norma Maldono) come to Keith for help; they're suing the school district and they suspect the toy buses, cologne sprays, and calls with recordings of Marco's voice are coming from officials who are trying to intimidate them into dropping the lawsuit. Keith realizes that the only evidence he can confirm was planted by them, so he doesn't want to make a deposition and encourages them to settle. Despite their desperate eleventh hour hoax they were being harassed before that, and it's the younger Mars who finds the actual culprit. It turns out Marcos, a quiet presence in school, was the co-host of a pirate radio show that mocked Neptune High. Veronica enlists Mac for tech assistance and eventually determines that the Oliveres harasser was Ryan (Bradford Anderson), a student who was in love with Marcos and whose flirtation with him led to the boy being sent to a conversion therapy camp.

Veronica's other mission is to help Logan figure out why Dr. Griffith is setting him up. This leads them to the secret bar of the Fighting Fitzpatricks, a surly Irish gang led by Liam Fitzpatrick (Rod Rowland) that nearly tattoos Veronica's face before Logan bursts in with a gun to save her. Later, Logan isn't so lucky, kidnapped by masked assailants who play Russian roulette with his hands and then his genitals. Thrown into a ditch after this torture, he manages to snatch one of the kidnapper's cell phones and dial the person they were calling: Weevil. Weevil has been investigating his PCH underlings all episode; when Veronica confronts him after her Fitzpatrick encounter, he realizes that someone in his gang is dealing drugs on the side and may have even killed Felix Toombs (Bradly Joseph) on that bridge. The cover story, that several gang members witnessed Felix's stabbings, is proven false so Weevil wants to confirm Logan's innocence. Logan is none too pleased to be let off the hook in this style and swears to Weevil that their war is only just beginning. With all this drama unfolding, Duncan doesn't have as much to do as other characters; however, he ends the episode dramatically. After several dreams in which Meg pleads with him to save her, he decides to open up the envelope he found in her house (and hid from Veronica) in the previous episode. When he discovers its contents he gasps, and the episode ends.

My Response:

Monday, June 17, 2019

Veronica Mars - "Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner" (season 2, episode 7)

Welcome to my viewing diary for Veronica Mars. I will cover each TV episode (and eventually the film), several days a week; this will conclude just as the revival (which I will also cover) premieres on Hulu. I have never seen this series before so there will be NO spoilers.

Story (aired on November 16, 2005/written by Diane Ruggiero; directed by Nick Marck): Veronica has several cases to juggle, literally ricocheting between her ex-boyfriend and current boyfriend within a few seconds. Logan pleads for her to look into the plastic surgeon Dr. Griffith (Rick Peters), who has come forward as a witness in the supposed murder he committed, and then Duncan admits to stealing some files from Meg's laptop and asks Veronica to get to the bottom of the emails Meg sent to Child Protective Services. Meg was a prolific babysitter so Veronica spends the week hopping amongst the various demented spawns of the either psychopathically controlling or criminally negligent 09er social set, but nobody's handwriting matches the journal found when Veronica and Duncan break into Meg's home. Then it dawns on them: Meg wasn't actually reporting one of the families she babysat for. She was reporting her own. Sure enough, when the black-clad duo sneak into Meg's little sister's room, they discover dozens of journals all filled with the same horrific sentence - "That path to God is paved with righteousness" - and even worse, Meg's little sister herself locked into a closet. The parents arrive with a baseball bat and call Sheriff Lamb to arrest Veronica and Duncan, but after putting them in handcuffs, he returns to the home to confirm Veronica's claim about the room in the closet, lets the culprits out of the car around the corner, and then hovers outside the Manning house as a watchful presence.

Elsewhere, Veronica follows the surgeon into a cigar shop which Keith later reveals as a notorious drug den (is Logan being set up by a rogue element within the PCH gang?) and the Casablancas stepmother tries to figure out what her role in this family and community (and show) can be after her sugar daddy fled the country and had his assets frozen. Dick, Beaver, and their actual mother Betina (Kate McNeil) all have access to trust funds but Kendall has nothing - other than her wits. ("Why don't you get a job?" Logan sneers, to which she responds, "This is my job.") Disconcertingly, she exposes herself to Duncan in the hotel room that she, Logan, and Duncan all share now, and when Logan confronts him about this he's evasive. What is he hiding not just from Logan, but from Veronica? We cut away before we see how he reacts to his overtures, but he's already made it clear to Veronica that he finds his friend's girlfriend highly attractive. Finally, in a scene that qualifies less as a subplot than the seed for one, Keith golfs with the town's new (quasi-)mayor Woody, who proposes a plan to incorporate the wealthiest sliver of Neptune into an independent city, and invites Keith to become its new police chief. But when Veronica visits the Goodman household, ostensibly for a sleepover with airheaded Gia but actually to keep an eye on her little brother Rodney (Ian Ward), she detects a domineering, abusive strain in their mother (GiGi Erneta). Sure, the Mannings turn out to be the big bads but her - and our - eyes are still on the Goodmans as well.

My Response:

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Veronica Mars - "Rat Saw God" (season 2, episode 6)

Welcome to my viewing diary for Veronica Mars. I will cover each TV episode (and eventually the film), several days a week; this will conclude just as the revival (which I will also cover) premieres on Hulu. I have never seen this series before so there will be NO spoilers.

Story (aired on November 9, 2005/written by John Enbom, Phil Klemmer; directed by Kevin Bray): In a dramatic, unforeseen gear shift, "Rat Saw God" races past the sheriff's election (Keith gets 49% of the vote but there are no prizes for second place) and postpones Wallace's paternal denouement (Veronica sends unanswered emails keeping him in the loop of Neptune's events). There are currently bigger fish to fry. Logan is re-arrested when a new witness comes forward to claim he stood over the dead PCH gang member's body with a bloody knife, screaming racial epithets and swearing his father's money would save him. Never passing up an opportunity to play the churlish, caustic jester, he makes a mockery of the line-up and will only accept a public defender (the marvelous Cliff McCormack who gets some of the best lines in an already very well-written episode). But he can't ride this out: his cellmate turns out to be his father, who insists - despite the obvious facts that he slept with Lilly and tried to kill the Mars family - that he didn't actually murder his lover, and when he finally makes bail he returns home to a burning mansion.

Aaron also gets a visit from Keith, who threatens him less with his words than the realization that he can get access to him whenever he wants (Aaron encounters him in an interrogation room, escorted by a deputy who will swear that Keith was never there). Keith is fuming because Lamb has informed him about Veronica's name appearing on a corpse's hand, and Veronica is forced to tell him about the whole (possible) Echolls conspiracy to kill her by destroying the bus. But if Veronica comes clean on this, she's keeping him in the dark about everything else going on - at the exact moment he calls her up. She's in a small Californian town, at a dingy motel (clerked by the fantastically grungy Tracey Walter in one of my favorite Mars cameos ever) trying to find where Amelia DeLongpre currently resides - yes, that Amelia DeLongpre, paid-off Abel Koontz's daughter whom Veronica tried to leverage in the first season. As it turns out, this is her final resting place - Veronica traces her phone (and body) to a nearby ice box - and it looks like a Spanish boyfriend (as yet uncredited) might be the culprit. Abel hired Veronica to trace her and bring her to his deathbed, but she kindly lies to him instead. "Rat Saw God" ends with Keith hiding inside the decrepit school bus, dredged up from its watery grave thanks to the evidence his daughter brought forward, shining his flashlight on the titular rodent encased on the bottom of a seat. I have no idea what it means yet, but it's a vivid visual to end one of the strongest episodes of the entire series, and easily the most exciting of this season.

My Response:

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Veronica Mars - "Blast from the Past" (season 2, episode 5)

Welcome to my viewing diary for Veronica Mars. I will cover each TV episode (and eventually the film), several days a week; this will conclude just as the revival (which I will also cover) premieres on Hulu. I have never seen this series before so there will be NO spoilers.

Story (aired on October 26, 2005/written by Phil Klemmer, Cathy Belben; directed by Harry Winer): Picking up where we left off, Wallace goes straight to his mother to tell her he met Hank and wants answers. The answers she provides are initially reassuring, at least as reassuring as they can be in context. No, he's not lying, but he is misleading; a narc who went in way too far, he was not a reliable person to have in their lives and she considers Wallace's stepfather - the man he grew up thinking was his biological father - to be the real parent. But then Wallace is whipped back again when Hank comes to his workplace and delivers a huge stack of letters, written over many years but always returned to sender. Here Wallace and Alicia reach an impasse; he's deeply hurt that she lied to him and prevented any possibility of a relationship with this man and she's furious that he is disobeying her demand not to talk to him. Wallace tries to share this crisis with Veronica, but her mind is mostly elsewhere, and it seems like he's not ready to include Jackie into his circle of secrets, much to her annoyance. Surprisingly, though, Jackie and Veronica begin to bond when Jackie's credit card is "kidnapped" and racks up mysterious expenses; after Jackie reluctantly comes to her for help, Veronica proves it wasn't Jackie's pal Cora (Dana Davis) - whose recent income influx is due to a weekend job in a giant chicken suit - and traces the charges to the psychic Madame Sophie (Christine Estabrook), a palm reader who also runs a popular live show on a local access channel. Disgusted with Madame Sophie's exploitation of grieving classmate Michelle Thompson (Samantha Klein), Veronica conspires with Jackie to cause the charlatan's comeuppance.

Meanwhile her dad goes from heavily favored frontrunner to neck-in-neck in the sheriff's race, when Lamb pulls up an old bungled DUI stop from 1989 in which the then-Officer Mars ruined a chance to keep the future school bus driver off the road. Determined to get some dirt on the no-doubt corrupt current sheriff, Veronica plants a literal bug in Lamb's office in the guise of an encased beetle that's ostensibly a gift from Duncan's out-of-town father (it's a cheeky reference not just to surveillance but to Lamb's frequent campaign trail rhetoric about an infestation of crime in Neptune). And get dirt she does, in a development that begins to draw the various subplots together. She discovers that Jackie's dad, a retired baseball star and compulsive gambler, has bet on baseball; Lamb blackmails him in order to secure a massive campaign contribution and endorsement. At first, Veronica is hesitant to use this juicy evidence for Jackie's sake, but that changes when she goes on Madame Sophie's show and the table is turned: the psychic reveals an embarrassing personal secret that she confessed only to Jackie and it becomes clear that this entire investigation was an elaborate prank Jackie designed to humiliate someone she considers a rival for Wallace's affections. The stunt backfires when Wallace - who has been nominated for homecoming king thanks to Veronica's attempt at at a pick-him-up - refuses to take Jackie to the dance. Meanwhile Veronica, not knowing they didn't go together, yells at Jackie when she catches her drunkenly dancing with Logan and only makes things worse.

Wallace is just as mad at Veronica as he is at Jackie, accusing her of not caring about his own personal needs and desires; he's sick of being her second fiddle, always offering her emotional support she doesn't reciprocate, and so he begs her not to take whatever revenge she's planning to take on Jackie. As a result, she leaves a CD - featuring the burned audio of Lamb exposing Jackie's dad - on the kitchen table instead of taking it to the DJ at homecoming. Will Keith discover the "music mix" and blow the whistle? He's demonstrated reticence on another front already; when Veronica speaks to Michelle about the psychic show she discovers the girl has a voicemail from her deceased friend moments before the bus went off the cliff, revealing that there was an explosion before the bus hit the guardrail. Keith doesn't want to exploit this for his own gain so he takes the recording to Lamb instead of the press (and almost immediately regrets his dutifulness). Anyway, Keith and his daughter soon have another problem on their hands: Alicia calls up, frantically looking for Wallace, and Veronica knows it's because he watched her make a scene with Jackie at the dance. "Blast from the Past" (multitude of meanings in that title) ends with Wallace's dad driving him into the desert as he refuses to pick up his best friend's call.

My Response:

Friday, June 14, 2019

Veronica Mars - "Green-Eyed Monster" (season 2, episode 4)

Welcome to my viewing diary for Veronica Mars. I will cover each TV episode (and eventually the film), several days a week; this will conclude just as the revival (which I will also cover) premieres on Hulu. I have never seen this series before so there will be NO spoilers.

Story (aired on October 19, 2005/written by Dayna Lynne North; directed by Jason Bloom): Although I don't think we've seen her (maybe a quick glimpse?) since before her fateful bus ride, Meg continues to hover in critical condition at the hospital. Veronica visits only to receive two rude awakenings. Meg's parents (Geoff Pierson and Katie Mitchell) and sister Lizzie (Anastasia Baranova) apparently hate her almost as much as Meg did, merciless not only in their accusations of man-stealing but, more directly (and even more unfairly), of forcing Meg to take the doomed bus. That's maybe not too surprising, but a bigger shocker is the other visitor waiting by Meg's room, who also gets an earful from Meg's family: Duncan. This causes Veronica some anxiety: who is her boyfriend really in love with? Her personal bout of ambiguous jealousy is complemented by the episodic case, in which the fanatical but secretive rich girl Julie (Laura Bell Bundy) wants to dig up every possible detail on her supposedly humble fiance Collin Nevin (Michael E. Rodgers). Is he cheating? Is he a gold-digger? As it turns out, after several wacky escapades including a teasing Veronica trying to hit on him at Julie's request, Collin is both a devoted boyfriend and, himself, secretly wealthy but due to crossed information Julie thinks he's poor and breaks off the engagement (much to Collin's benefit, we're sure). Bundy and director Bloom play this comedy very broadly to offset Veronica's more lowkey emotional strife.

Ultimately, Veronica is able to help her estranged frenemy; Lizzie comes to her with a hard drive full of Meg's personal information that needs to be transferred without her parents getting a look at it and the detective enlists good old Mac to help her hack in and bail out. And if this gesture of good will wasn't enough, she also denies her urges to sneak a look at Meg's digital diary herself - having seen what "the green eye" did to Julie. Elsewhere in the episode, Veronica links the dead Curly with both Weevil (whose earring was found in a related evidence bag at the police station and who received a call dropping a tip about Curly's involvement with the crash) and Logan (whose house the call came from on the night after the crash, while he was throwing a party that Weevil invited himself to). And in the storyline that pays off the most in episode 4, Alicia enlists Keith in an effort to frighten off the man they ran into on vacation: Carl Morgan, an ex who appears to be stalking her. Keith even tries to involve his political opponent, Sheriff Lamb, but is told that "Carl Morgan" is in fact Nathan Woods, a Chicago cop with a great reputation. As Keith registers that Alicia has been lying to him, we learn Nathan's motivation for coming to Neptune. He introduces himself to Wallace not just by his real name, but his real relation to him: he is the boy's long-lost father.

My Response:

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Veronica Mars - "Cheatty Cheatty Bang Bang" (season 2, episode 3)

Welcome to my viewing diary for Veronica Mars. I will cover each TV episode (and eventually the film), several days a week; this will conclude just as the revival (which I will also cover) premieres on Hulu. I have never seen this series before so there will be NO spoilers.

Story (aired on October 12, 2005/written by Phil Klemmer & John Enbom; directed by John Kretchmer): Once again, Veronica's "minor" high school investigation spills out into other storylines, with implications for her as well as other major characters. Beaver Casablancas hires her to find out who his new stepmother is having an affair with; Veronica's surveillance reveals not only that Logan is the culprit (revealed to Beaver before she has a chance to find out herself) but that Dick Casablancas, Sr. is engaging in real estate fraud. While Veronica ensnares her classmates' parent in an SEC raid (the episode ends with Dick racing through the office and shredding files before leaping into a rooftop helicopter), her dad heads out of town for a relaxing weekend with Alicia. However, as they attempt to enjoy their vacation a strange man (Cress Williams), whom Alicia acts as if she doesn't recognize, follows them around. He flashes a badge at the hotel concierge and later makes a phone call, confirming that he's located Alicia. Back in Neptune, another Mars has her eye on another Fennell; Veronica is not taking to Wallace's new girlfriend Jackie and suffers through several viewings of Pride and Prejudice in which the showoff-y new girl boasts about all of her adventures.

The real drama of the episode is elsewhere, hinted at the end of episode 2. That corpse that washed up on shore wasn't the bus driver after all - although the dead man is (at first just loosely) connected to the bus accident. After being told that her name was written on his palm, and shown a photo of the late Curly Moran (Adam Bitterman), Veronica recognizes him as someone she encountered at the makeshift memorial on that cliff. When she gathers his belongings from the mechanic shop where he worked, she discovers a photo signed by Aaron Echolls and at Logan's house - we'll get to why she's there in a moment - she spots a poster with Moran's name on it: he was the stunt coordinator on an Echolls action classic from the eighties in which he helped set up a legendary sequence...featuring a school bus. With horror, Veronica realizes that she was the intended target of a mass murder; Aaron must have hired Curly from prison to kill Veronica.

My Response:

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Veronica Mars - "Driver Ed" (season 2, episode 2)

Welcome to my viewing diary for Veronica Mars. I will cover each TV episode (and eventually the film), several days a week; this will conclude just as the revival (which I will also cover) premieres on Hulu. I have never seen this series before so there will be NO spoilers.

Story (aired on October 5, 2005/written by Diane Ruggiero; directed by Nick Marck): In the aftermath of the bus tragedy, the show doesn't have much room for a light-hearted Veronica-helps-a-student B story. Instead, Wallace takes over that role for an episode, assisting the tough-as-nails Jackie Cook (Tessa Thompson) - on whom he develops an instant, proudly proclaimed crush - as she tries to figure out who scratched her wealthy father Terence Cook's (Jeffrey Sams') car in the school parking lot. Even there the resolution has a connection to the larger tragedy: the culprit is a reporter posing as a student, part of the rabid media presence that has descended on Neptune recently. One of the most grotesque news stories involves Ed Doyle (no actor listed), the bus driver whose last day on earth becomes the focus of a police investigation and social gossip as well as press smears. Convenience store clerk Duane Anders (Kevin Smith, yes that Kevin Smith - very much playing to type) shows up on a broadcast to pontificate about what Ed bought at the store, and then begins selling "angel bus" merch (T-shirts and hats featuring the school bus decked with halo and angel wings) to exploit his proximity to tragedy.

The glum but pugnacious Jessie Doyle (Ari Graynor) hires Veronica to salvage her dead father's name, but the prospects don't look good. Not only does Sheriff Lamb haughtily announce Ed's past mental problems, but the cops found what appears to be a suicide note on his hard drive. Plus Ed bought a St. Christopher's medallion from Duane only to toss it in the trash before taking his last ride. Case closed? Not quite. Veronica's sleuthing, perceptive as always, builds a counter-case from numerous little details. The medallion was purchased to make change for a phone call, and Veronica traces that call to Carla Cotter (Kristin Dattilo)...Ed's mistress. That note, it turns out, wasn't written because Ed was going to kill himself but because he was going to leave his family for Carla. A distressed Jessie pleads with Sheriff Lamb to re-open the case and he refuses, inspiring a previously reluctant Keith to run against Lamb in the upcoming election (a nice tie-in for what seemed to be a minor subplot throughout the episode). But "Driver Ed" has one more surprise in store: Veronica's name, scrawled on the palm of a corpse (the driver's?) as it is pulled onto shore.

My Response:

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Veronica Mars - "Normal Is the Watchword" (season 2, episode 1)

Welcome to my viewing diary for Veronica Mars. I will cover each TV episode (and eventually the film), several days a week; this will conclude just as the revival (which I will also cover) premieres on Hulu. I have never seen this series before so there will be NO spoilers.

Story (aired on September 28, 2005/written by Rob Thomas; directed by John Kretchmer): The tension in Veronica's life has been released. Well, mostly. When we met her at the outset of season one, her fire burned brightly: resourceful, traumatized, lonely, loyal, and observant, she'd been cast out of the town's elite circles alongside her beloved father. Despite intersecting with many different social spheres, she did not have a firm place in any of them and this outsider status endeared her to us. Throughout that season, her family life consisted of broken ties and terrifying secrets, her professional life was submerged her in the community's dirty business, her school life grappled with social stigma, and her romantic life endured frequent betrayals and disappointments. Now? At the start of her senior year, Veronica's mother is long-gone and not missed (her father has moved on and continues to date Wallace's mother); meanwhile, her dad is her dad and Duncan is, thankfully, very much not her brother. She is working at a restaurant instead of as a private eye (while her father reluctantly banked on the Echolls bust to publicize a true-crime bestseller), she's been accepted back into the company of the upper-class "09" zip code, and after breaking up with the moody-as-ever Logan Echolls (whose star has fallen as much as hers has risen) she is back with kind, quiet Duncan Kane.

But if Veronica's life has returned to normal (and a "normal" with heavy class connotations), Neptune has only plunged further into a kind of cold civil war with occasional hot flashes. The night Aaron Echolls was arrested for Lilly Kane's murder, a knife-wielding Logan was found passed out next to a dead biker. He claims innocence, and Veronica believes him; so does the justice system - but at least half the town does not. Instead, no doubt due in part to the shocking revelations about his celebrity father, Logan becomes the poster boy for unjust privilege in a town already simmering with class (and, as Weevil reminds us, racial) tensions. Veronica sticks with him through this trauma, which earns her the enmity of Neptune's have-nots (except the ever-loyal Wallace), but their relationship doesn't last once Logan, Dick, and Beaver vandalize the community swimming pool (knowing all the rich kids have pools in their backyards) as revenge for Weevil's gang firing a shotgun at the car of Logan and Veronica. Logan confronts Veronica about the break-up (she accuses him of partially enjoying the drama) and an angry Keith storms inside, throws the ex-boyfriend against the wall, and warns him never to come by again. Duncan, who has been showing up at the cafe where Veronica works all summer, is the beneficiary of this break-up which sours Duncan's own ex, the once-sunny Meg Manning (Alona Tal), on her former buddy. Logan, on the other hand, moves on by sleeping with with the Casablancas' boys new stepmom, the scintillating young Kendall (Charisma Carpenter), a former Lakers cheerleader.

On a lighter note, Veronica offers her long-dormant services to Wallace and several other athletes kicked off their teams for failing drug tests (even goody two shoes Meg fell victim). She quickly disposes with a red herring, the bullied Vincent "Butters" Clemmons (Adam Hendershott), who had access to the test results because his dad is the principal, before settling on the real conspirators: a group of wealthy parents whose children stood to benefit if the top stars on each team were dispatched. There is pleasure in revisiting these gumshoe antics, but most of the premiere's energy is focused on these more long-term crises and they come together in the episode's last act. Following a field trip to a baseball stadium, where the town's wealthy mayor (Steve Guttenberg, natch) introduces his daughter Gia Goodman (Krysten Ritter) to her new classmates, Veronica is invited to take a limousine ride with Gia, Duncan, and the Casablancas brothers. She initially accepts, which leads Meg to refuse; a guilty Veronica decides to get back on the school bus that took her there so she can make up with Meg. It doesn't work, and then at a rest stop along the way Veronica runs into another friend-turned-enemy; she and Weevil hurl accusations back and forth (she thinks the biker was killed by one of his own gang while Weevil too was out cold, and he thinks she abandoned all of them because inside she's an 09er too).

They argue so fiercely that Veronica misses her bus and Weevil, softening, offers her a ride on his bike. In fact, this argument appears to have saved Veronica's life. Along a coastal highway, the motorcyle slows to park alongside the limo on cliff's edge. Gia stands shocked, staring down below, and Duncan races to Veronica's side, embracing her. Strewn among the rocks below, floating in the stormy surf, is what's left of the bus. Coming after a year of shocking violence and simmering tension, this accident is just the thing to spark an all-out war amongst the hostile members of the fraying community. All the more so since, as Veronica's ominous narration reminds us, nothing in Neptune happens by accident.

My Response:

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Veronica Mars viewing diary

In 2018, fourteen years after the pilot episode on UPN, I began publishing my episode-by-episode of Veronica Mars. I had never watched the show before, so this was a first-time journey into its story - there are no spoilers and I offer an in-the-moment take including my speculation about where the series would go. That spring I reviewed the first season and in 2019 I learned that Hulu would be streaming a limited series revival, so I carried on with seasons two and three, followed by the feature film and - in a marathon over several days as I caught up with the new episodes - season four.

Here is my full episode coverage of Veronica Mars...

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Veronica Mars every day, leading up to the Hulu premiere on July 26

I started watching Veronica Mars in 2016, although it took me a while to really get going on the first season viewing diary that I published in 2018. This year turned out to be the perfect opportunity to follow up on the rest of the series because Hulu announced a return as a limited series. Eight episodes will drop all at once on July 26, 2019, and the timing worked out for me to run the diary for seasons two and three and the feature film right up to that date. Aside from a round-up page which will go up tomorrow and an announcement just before season four, every day will see a new post. I'm also threading not just these upcoming entries but my viewing diary from last year on Twitter, along with a countdown to the Hulu premiere.

On July 26, I will review the episodes as quickly as I am able over a "live marathon" weekend. I will be stopping after each entry to write my response, so future viewers won't get spoilers and those who watch it all at once can have at least suspense, waiting for my replies!

Here are a whole lot of images from the original series and film, gathered for my viewing diary but unused until now. See you in Neptune on Tuesday...