Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): Veronica Mars - "Weevils Wobble But They Don't Go Down" (season 3, episode 19)

Monday, July 22, 2019

Veronica Mars - "Weevils Wobble But They Don't Go Down" (season 3, episode 19)


Welcome to my viewing diary for Veronica Mars. I will cover each TV episode (and eventually the film), several days a week, concluding with the Hulu revival. I have never seen this series before so there will be NO spoilers.

Story (aired on May 22, 2007/written by Phil Klemmer; directed by Jason Bloom): Weevil is in trouble again; several students allege that he was the one who sold them mock-student IDs with fake credit on them. This time even Keith believes he's being set up but in his role as Sheriff Mars he has to recognize the case against him is pretty strong. Veronica quickly determines that Weevil could not have programmed the machine that produces student IDs. When she discovers that a number of students associated with the charges against him are part of an Aspen ski club, she records them offering her a deal and then reveals the recording, demanding that they let Weevil go. They do but Keith - listening carefully to the conversation - tells Veronica they haven't really confessed to anything. She agrees, but got what she wanted out of the situation, mostly, since Weevil has been freed. He calls her to say he couldn't find the additional machine they claimed to have stashed away but we, and only we, see that he's lying: in his lap as he chats with Veronica is one of the machines. Could the Mars clan be wrong about the ex-con's reformed ways? Keith of course has much more going on than Weevil's case. The sheriff's race is drawing closer, in both senses, and Piz invites him on his live radio show to rebut Vinnie. It doesn't go well; a slick Vinnie hammers him particularly hard on the bar-busting issue and Keith is stiff and uncomfortable in the debate.

Aside from these storylines, Wallace is trailed by a mysterious stranger (Nathanael Johnson) who claims to be offering him membership in an exclusive society called The Castle. But the biggest drama is saved until the end. Veronica's romance with Piz has blossomed into something more serious than she originally intended, and she wants to let him know she'll miss him in Virginia this summer. They kid around in his dorm room before hooking up. Then, somehow, a video of this encounter circulates on an email chain. Dick, who has been struggling all episode with his familial demons and even goofily tries to make amends with Mac, pops up next to Logan with a laptop and casually wonders if Veronica knows she's all over the internet this way. Logan's eyes narrow; he already didn't like Piz, sarcastically clashing with him at the beach earlier, but now he has a real reason to hate him. As Piz records his show, Logan storms into Piz's booth to attack him. Punches are thrown - and this is no scrappy tussle but an all-out brutal brawl as Logan connects repeatedly to Piz's face, bloodying himself in the process. Piz gets off a few defensive shots but is mostly battered. A bruised Logan appears at the Mars Investigations office, prepared to inform Veronica about...something. And there, presumably for the last time (until 2019), an episode of Veronica Mars leaves us with a cliffhanger.

My Response:
After momentarily slipping as far as it's ever slipped, Veronica Mars appears to be back. There's no season-long mystery left to unravel but after all his ups and downs Keith may lose face again with his community, Weevil is testing Veronica's - and our - trust, Logan has gotten himself into potentially serious trouble (again by fighting), and Piz may be a scumbag. I expect the finale will be devoted in part to Veronica figuring out who planted a camera in her room but I'm also hoping it will go further than that. When Logan tells Veronica there's something she needs to know, he could simply mean the video. But he's never liked Piz and this may be more deeply rooted than plain jealousy. Does he know a secret he couldn't share until now, because it implicates him somehow? Does it have something to do with Mercer's alibi story, which always felt strangely hollow? Does it relate back to Dick's tearful appearance at the end of the premiere? Even as I type this out I'm beginning to assume that the final moment is more straightforward than this, but something about the way Dohring delivers the line and Bloom underscores the moment just felt, intuitively, more ominous. Despite the mostly low stakes season three has left us with, this was one of the hardest times to press pause and refrain from watching a follow-up. Even if Logan is just going to tell her about the video, this is a pretty stark moment for Veronica - a budding private eye whose own privacy has just been egregiously violated. As for Weevil...was he lying all along? Has he decided to take advantage of the new machine, since he lost his job at Hearst over the controversy? Is this even a Robin Hood-type deal (the student-ID cabal points out that a fake ID could help a scholarship student like Veronica cheat the system)? Having stubbornly stuck with Weevil through three seasons, is the show going to give up on him now?

Tomorrow I will review the season finale, but I'm also going to finally unleash my curiosity about the production process and research the history of the show. This season in particular seems like it was shaped by behind-the-scenes factors so I look forward to discussing that in my final entry...on the network series. The feature film remains and, after that, material that will be new to all of us this time.

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