Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): Veronica Mars - "Ahoy, Mateys!" (season 2, episode 8)

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:
I accept that Veronica Mars likes to tease us - many of this season's episodes have contained surprises or tangents that vanish for several hours - but the next episode better reveal Duncan's discovery! In fact, "Ahoy, Mateys!" plants a lot of treasures that will have to be dug up sooner rather than later. Logan's intensified battle with Weevil seems to call not just for retaliation but for Veronica to be involved. So far this season, despite being thoroughly identified with the 09er crowd thanks to her two most recent boyfriends, Veronica hasn't really had to choose sides. This may be changing. And Logan's backseat role for much of the early season, which already shifted in recent entries, is now completely abandoned. I can't imagine his desire for revenge will simmer for very long. On the other hand, for the first time in a while Veronica's personal investigation (which is also the first genuinely dual Mars case since season one) really is a one-off even while topically related to the bus crash - a demonstration of just how bountiful the premiere's premise has been, beyond simply establishing a season-long mystery arc.

The violence of the episode is striking in both its opening and closing sequences. This is unusual for Veronica Mars, in which the threat of murder is often present but the depiction of physical carnage is kept to a minimum. The bikers' willingness to viciously assault a teenage girl is jarring, but the psychological brutality of the PCHers is no less unsettling. While Logan may be a dick (and in Weevil's eyes, a possible murderer) his treatment establishes once and for all how far the likable gang leader is willing to go if he needs something. The series has often carefully toed a line with this character, never wanting to diminish his street cred while keeping him honest and honorable. He's still essentially both (indeed, his action is spurred precisely by his desire to get to the truth) but he's also a torturer now whether or not that gun was actually loaded. I'm very curious to know how Veronica takes to this development. Is it something she can reach a certain understanding with or has Weevil crossed a line that will permanently hinder their mutual, grudging admiration?

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