Let's pretend we are coworkers who barely ever speak and now we're trapped in an elevator together: How about that weather! Seriously, it's warm outside. Summer is the best. But one of my favorite TV watching phenomenons is when the weather outside actually enhances my enjoyment of whatever show I'm watching indoors and Veronica Mars is an excellent summer show. It has a lot to do with how bright and saturated Neptune is, but it's also to do with the freedom Veronica and her peers enjoy. They come and go like they have nowhere to be, and that just adds to the agreeable escapism this show has excelled at so far. And it seems appropriate that I'm heading into the final stretch of Season 2 just as August is about to begin. My Veronica Mars viewing schedule has synced up to the calendar, basically. The Mayans didn't predict THAT, did they?
Okay, anyway, I watched four more episodes. So let's nose around in some of these garage storage cabinets!
Season 2, Episode 13: "Ain't No Magic Mountain High Enough"
Case of the week: During Neptune High's suspiciously warm-looking Winter Carnival, Veronica and the rest of the senior class were attempting to raise funds for their senior trip when the lockbox was stolen on Veronica's watch! Over the next several hours, Veronica searched high and low for it: emptying ball pits, searching Weevil's niece's backpack, checking camcorder footage, but mostly doing some good, old-fashioned questioning of the major suspects. After an initial frame-up implied that Weevil's cohort Thumper had been the one to steal the cash, the real culprit was revealed to be the truly awful Ms. Hauser, a bad teacher if there ever was one. As it turns out, hiding a huge wad of cash in the ceiling isn't the best idea if you leave glittery, high-heeled footprints all over the desk and classroom. In addition to that, Veronica also uncovered an '09er scam to steal test answers AND also managed to take the heat off Jackie, whose father's arrest had made her a dunk tank pariah.
Note to future pariahs: Maybe DON'T volunteer to work the dunk tank if you attend school with the world's worst, dumbest, and most vindictive student body in history.
The plot thickens: A couple other notable plotlines continued to unfold in this episode: First and foremost, Terrence Cook hired Keith Mars to help exonerate him with regard to the bus crash incident. Apparently Sheriff Lamb seemed to think that Cook had been behind the crash and orchestrated it in order to bump off Cook's lover, Mrs. Dumas. Apparently Cook had gotten in deep with loan sharks, had thrown a super important baseball game, and Mrs. Dumas had blackmailed him into not breaking up with him. Or something. Anyway, the point is, Terrence now had motive to cause the bus crash, if not necessarily the means. While Keith remained skeptical of the situation, the entire town had already decided that Terrence had definitely done it. Oh, Neptune.
Meanwhile what appeared to be a delightful little romantic subplot—Logan's flirtation with a cute blonde girl—ended up having major story importance. After working his charms on Hannah at the Winter Carnival, Logan slowly but surely scored a new lady friend. Who just so happened to be the daughter of the corrupt plastic surgeon who'd come forward as a witness in Logan's murder trial. So yeah, very crafty, Logan.
Somewhat cuter of a romance was Mac's new fling with Beaver. Adorable!
Finally, after Veronica discovered that Weevil had framed his own PCH buddy for the crime, she found a wooden paddle in Thumper's locker that had a series of numbers carved into it. But what did it mean??
Don't I know you from somewhere?
Logan's new ladyfriend Hannah was played by Jessy Schram, who fans of Falling Skies might recognize as alien slave girl Karen! (Picture her with more dirt on her face.)
Episode verdict: This episode was jam-packed with plotlines! I liked that it unfolded in more or less the same location and in something closer to real-time than usual. Add to that some surprising twists plus the righteous downfall of Neptune High's most loathsome teacher, and this episode just worked.
Season 2, Episode 14: "Versatile Toppings"
Case of the week: After a spooky cold-open in which a pizza boy was assaulted and robbed, we learned that this was actually just the latest in a string of pizza boy robberies all somehow linked to '09ers who dated Latina students. Meanwhile one of the attacked pizza boys approached Veronica in need of help: He'd been robbed of a list containing the screennames and actual identities of Neptune High's gay students who'd all been posting to this message board:
When the gay students began to find themselves systematically blackmailed into paying huge sums of money to not be outed, Veronica swung into action. Her first revelation: the mugger was not the same person as the blackmailer. While the mugger was more just a typical thug with a chip on his shoulder about rich kids, the blackmailer was none other than the lesbian cheerleader who'd just publicly come out during the home room news cast. As it turned out, this reprehensible girl just wanted to somehow force her secret girlfriend into coming out, while also making some quick cash for college.
The plot thickens: Logan and Hannah's relationship progressed to the next stage: Hannah discovered that Logan was possibly using her to get at her father. Except that Logan successfully made the case that he actually DID like her and he encouraged her to snoop around in her dad's stuff, where she found cocaine and direct ties to the Fitzpatrick gang. So, you know, score one for Logan.
Elsewhere Keith semi-successfully disproved the theory that Terrence Cook had detonated a bomb in the school bus via cell phone when he got Terrence to admit that at the time of the crash he'd been slinking around a casino that used cell phone signal blockers. Unfortunately there was still a four-minute gap in Terrence's alibi and Lamb refused to drop the charges. Terrence's case got significantly worse when Veronica came across some C4 and detonators in Terrence's sports car hangar. Whoops!
Don't I know you from somewhere?
The lesbian cheerleader and culprit behind the blackmailings was played by none other than Kristin Cavallari, who, in case you forgot about the state of entertainment in the mid-2000s, was a castmember of reality-dramas Laguna Beach and The Hills.
Episode verdict: The gay subplots of this show continue to trouble me a bit, specifically in this one-step-forward, two-steps-back episode. While it was nice that Veronica seemed to treat gay people like normal humans this time and not weirdos with demented secrets, it was a major bummer to learn that the episode's most positive representation—a popular girl who came out on her school's closed-circuit news broadcast!—was just a despicable monster. Oh well. Anyway, the surprising saving grace of this episode was Logan and Hannah's developing relationship. It was nice to learn that maybe he did actually like her, and that Hannah wasn't quite as dim as she might've originally seemed.
Season 2, Episode 15: "The Quick and the Wed"
Case of the week: When Wallace's girlfriend Jane's sister went missing following a booze-soaked bachelorette party, it was up to Veronica to find out if the woman had merely turned into a runaway bride or if there was foul-play involved. After uncovering the bride-to-be's possibly not-so-finished former relationship with a rock star, Veronica tracked her down on his tour bus where it was discovered that the bride-to-be was totally on the level and had only been visiting the ex because he was dealing with some family issues. Meanwhile her fiance had been the orchestrator of the supposed runaway bride business, sending her false texts and phone calls to somehow make it look like she'd left him at the altar and therefore obligated to return his expensive engagement ring. Or something. Guys, I'm not sure I totally understood the plotline here. I know she showed up at the wedding anyway, and the groom decided NOT to marry her, so she didn't give the ring back, because that is apparently a thing that people do? Whatever, sandwich time.
The plot thickens: In more important news, Keith and Veronica looked into the C4 that was discovered in Terrence Cook's garage. According to the dude who detailed Terrence's cars, those devices were not there the day prior and so it looked like somebody was trying to frame Terrence for the bus thing. Whatever happened, it was clear Terrence was kind of a mess... We learned that it most likely wasn't true that his dead lover Ms. Dumas was a crazy blackmailer, since Terrence was the one caught trying to sneak into her house one time and got shot for it.
Meanwhile, Aaron Echolls returned! Well, he was still in prison, but when Kendall paid him a visit to discuss getting him involved in her and Beaver's weird Land Trust scam, he agreed under one condition: She had to somehow retrieve some of Duncan's DNA from his hotel room shower, which I guess would be used somehow to make it look like Duncan had been Lilly's murderer. Ugh. As for Logan, his tactics of infiltrating the plastic surgeon's life ended up paying off when the doctor agreed to recant his earlier allegations that he'd seen Logan murdering the PCHer. All Logan had to do was stop seeing Hannah, which he claimed he'd do, but it was pretty clear he wouldn't.
Don't I know you from somewhere?
The sorta-runaway bride was played by Virginia Williams, who I will always remember as playing one of Jerri Blank's mean-girl nemeses on my favorite show Strangers With Candy.
And here's one for you Vampire Diaries fans: The bride's best friend was played by Dawn Olivieri who also played Damon's dearly departed Andie Starr.
Also TV Line's Michael Ausiello somehow snagged a cameo appearance as a dude sitting on a couch in a coffee shop who apparently gave his boxers to a bachelorette party. I don't know.
Episode verdict: As I mentioned earlier, I kind of lost the thread on the whole runaway bride stuff. Not a particularly thrilling plotline, but the rest of the main plot moved along enough to keep things interesting.
Season 2, Episode 16: "The Rapes of Graff"
Case of the week: Yikes, this was an ugly plotline. During a multi-day tour of Hearst College, Veronica had an unpleasant reunion with her ex-boyfriend Troy who was last seen speeding out of town to carry on with whatever drug-related cons he'd pull next. But after he made his case to Veronica that he'd changed and was super sorry for being so scummy to her, he proved that he still had honor by stepping in when a particularly douchey frat guy didn't like Veronica's sassmouth. Unfortunately the next day Troy was implicated in a rape (the victim had been roofied and had her head shaved) and needed Veronica's help in exonerating him. Her investigation led her to a frat house where it was clear the bros were using some kind of point system and at least one of them seemed to have gotten rapey with the local female population (though it should be noted that we never found out who). On her last day of the tour Veronica successfully shut down the frat by exposing their sleazy ways to the dean, and she also offered moral support to at least two of the assault victims because OH YEAH Veronica had been raped. That was a thread that didn't come up very much anymore, huh?
The plot thickens: Elsewhere, Keith's lawyer/friend Cliff had his briefcase stolen in what had to have been a pre-planned scheme involving an escort handcuffing Cliff to the bed. As it turned out, the briefcase contained important files related to the Logan Echolls murder case. Oh and guess who was likely behind the robbery? Aaron Echolls, obviously.
Meanwhile, just as we expected, Logan did not stop seeing Hannah, so her enraged father had her sent away to boarding school. Parents! Oh, and there was more gossip: Sheriff Lamb was apparently dating Madison! Good decision-making, Sheriff.
In the final stinger of a reveal, it turned out that Danny, the local deadbeat Veronica had linked to the Fitzpatricks, worked in construction and had full access to the type of C4 that was found in Terrence Cook's hangar. Hold on, let me do some quick math... OH it seemed like maybe the Fitzpatricks were involved in the bus crash situation somehow? Lotta possibilities going on.
Don't I know you from somewhere?
Hey Michael Cera! It was pretty easy to buy him as a college tour guide.
Hey Alia Shawkat! This episode was a real Arrested Development-fest. Unfortunately Shawkat's character ended up getting raped and having her head shaved, so that was definitely very :(
Episode verdict: My pervasive need for justice left me feeling pretty disappointed when we never found out who the utterly repulsive villain had been behind these sex crimes. Obviously everything about these incidents were awful, but the head shaving particularly unsettled me. So terrible. Other than lack of closure, though, this was a solid, well-written episode and it was nice seeing the (supposed) redemption of Troy. Also I'm feeling pretty confident that Veronica will be going to Hearst next season, so this episode did a good job of easing us into the new location. As it turned out, the student body of Hearst was just effed up as Neptune's! Veronica's gonna get so many cases!
I'm still enjoying how organically the various cases rise up and settle back into the main mythology. While nobody can deny that this show is pretty great, it's definitely becoming clear that my issues with certain aspects of the show probably aren't ever going away. I just hope that the season is wrapped up in a satisfying way and I'll forget all about the things that bugged me. You know? But I mostly wish this show had more than three seasons; the knowledge that I'm more than halfway through its entire run is making me really savor the experience.
... Did it make you sad or happy when Jackie kept getting dunked?
... Did you start missing Duncan by now or had you forgotten all about him?
... Should elected Sheriffs date high school students?
... Do you miss Kristin Cavallari?
– The Veronica Mars Season 1 Dossier: Episodes 1-8
– The Veronica Mars Season 1 Dossier: Episodes 9-16
– The Veronica Mars Season 1 Dossier: Episodes 17-22
– The Veronica Mars Season 2 Dossier: Episodes 1-4
– The Veronica Mars Season 2 Dossier: Episodes 5-8
– The Veronica Mars Season 2 Dossier: Episodes 9-12