Like a jacuzzi sabotaged by a poltergeist, things are really heating up! (Huh?) Well, we're at the halfway point of Season 2 and the plotlines have just begun to gel. Someone died! Someone returned! Someone left, possibly forever! And the characters are finally getting around to cracking open one of the town's central mysteries, that awful bus crash. I know Neptune isn't a real place, but in what world would people be so disinterested in the highly mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of a dozen students? That thing would've made national news for weeks! Oh, Neptune. Anyway, yeah, four more episodes, four more things that made my brain tingle this week.
Okay, let's figure out what smells so weird in the back row!
Case of the week: This episode was baby madness! Just tons of baby plotlines piled to the rafters. The main baby plot involved some parental backstory: Under threat of suspension, Veronica was tasked with manually organizing the high school's personnel files when she stumbled across her own mother's records. It turned out the future Lianne Mars had been suspended for spreading "malicious" rumors, so Veronica took it upon herself to figure out what exactly happened (especially once she'd discovered that Celeste Kane had been involved somehow). As it turned out, the drama revolved around a secret pregnancy and an abandoned baby (in the school bathroom during prom!) back in the day. Whereas Veronica initially suspected her mother had been a rumor-mongering mean girl in school, she made a heartwarming discovery instead: Lianne had only admitted to falsifying a rumor in order to protect her deaf friend who actually did have a baby with a teacher. That teacher? The current principal. Oh, and that baby? Trina Echolls!
In a pretty amusing twist, Trina wholeheartedly agreed to help Veronica uncover her birth parents, which led to the scandalous outing of the principal as a baby-abandoner. In a final twist it was revealed that the vice principal had put Veronica up to this whole thing intentionally so that he'd usurp his boss's title, thus earning him Veronica's (and our) respect.
The plot thickens: The episode began with Logan getting revenge on Weevil and the PCHers for having him abducted and mentally tortured: Weevil got jumped and then duct-taped to the flagpole (i.e. the most popular pastime at Neptune High). Anyway, surprisingly enough, Weevil kind of forgave Logan and admitted that he no longer believed Logan had murdered Felix, and they struck up an alliance to work together and find the real killer. In other news, Cassidy set up a fake business with Kendall—a not terribly interesting turn of events, but the time devoted to this particular scene suggested it'll be pretty important later. Also—and I guess I missed this when we first learned there was something taped underneath the bus seat—it was a DEAD RAT. One more reason for Veronica to suspect she'd been targeted.
Finally, the BIG reveal capitalized on the previous episode's cliffhanger. What exactly in Meg's intercepted letter had shocked Duncan so bad? As Veronica herself discovered after sneaking into Meg's hospital room and finding dual heart monitors... Meg was pregnant!
Oh, and then Meg woke up. Dang!
Episode verdict: Loved this episode. That reveal was simultaneously shocking and heartbreaking. Plus it took one of the show's most annoying characters (Trina) and made her both sympathetic and sort of amazing. I mean, her hilarious verbal showdown with Kendall was truly something special. I also loved learning about the various sordid lives of the Neptune faculty. But it was nice that Veronica got to see a better side of her mother than we usually do, and in the process learned that Veronica knows a bit of sign language to boot. Heartwarming! All that, plus the repeated joke about Veronica's casual neglect of her animatronic baby and this episode was just a major winner.
Case of the week: Just as Veronica readied herself for a much-needed holiday vacation, Keith broke the news to her that she'd been called in for jury duty. When her 11 jaded peers decided that the young'un should be the foreman, Veronica soon found herself presiding over a case where two rich kids had been accused of beating up a hooker. In a pretty fun spin on 12 Angry Men, a single holdout managed to change the minds of the rest of her peers (along with Veronica's help) by systematically poking holes in the boys' seemingly airtight defense. As a reward for her valiant leadership skills, a fellow jury member took Veronica aside and strongly hinted that she could get Veronica a full-ride scholarship to the local private university if she wanted it.
The plot thickens: The main case of this episode involved the theft and sale of the sex tapes Aaron Echolls made of himself and Lilly Kane. Putting aside the fact that they were essentially child porn, apparently every tabloid in town wanted to buy them! After Mayor Woody tasked Keith with figuring out which member of the Sheriff's department had leaked them, Keith eventually discovered that Deputy Leo had done it in order to raise funds for his disabled sister. The eventual buyer? None other than Logan Echolls, who proceeded to erase every last tape. Claiming he'd still testify in court against his father, Logan most likely put the entire case against Aaron Echolls in jeopardy.
Meanwhile Veronica discovered that the letter to Meg that Duncan had intercepted had been an invitation to Meg from her aunt to come stay with her and raise the baby. Unfortunately the crash had changed things. (Her pregnancy also explained Meg's parents' inexplicable refusal to let Duncan visit her.) In a fairly devastating (yet low-key) scene, we learned that Meg had died suddenly while in the hospital and her baby was saved, which put extra importance on Meg's earlier plea to Veronica that, should anything happen to her, Veronica had to make sure Meg's parents didn't get to raise the baby. Veronica, of course, agreed.
Oh, and Wallace came back. So. Welcome back, Wallace.
Episode verdict: Man do I hate it when people tamper with justice, so I'm pretty livid at Deputy Leo and Logan right now. Still, the episode was surprising (and surprisingly heartbreaking!). Also I'm an absolute sucker for Christmas episodes of any show. I don't know what it is about Christmas episodes. Wrap colored lights around a bush and suddenly it's my favorite episode. Have you ever noticed how in holiday episodes the entire holiday season is compressed into three days' time? Instead of the full month of decorations and parties and sobbing in mall parking lots and whatnot, characters on TV seem to decorate their trees on Christmas Eve and then the next day is New Year's Eve? TV is weird!
Case of the week: This episode's case of the week was also integral to the show's overall mythology. After a fairly public break-up in which Veronica disapproved of Duncan's relationships with Meg and Kendall respectively, Duncan absconded with Meg's baby and Veronica was arrested for being an accessory. It seemed everyone in town wanted Duncan found and pretty soon the FBI was called in to step on Sheriff Lamb's toes a ton. After a number of misdirections (both to the cops and to us the viewers), we came to find out that Veronica and Duncan had merely staged their break-up and Veronica was indeed helping him flee the country.
Ultimately their efforts worked: After bribing Vinnie Van Lowe into helping—and tricking Sheriff Lamb into crossing the border with Duncan in his trunk—Duncan was last seen in a pickup truck heading further and further away from the States. Meanwhile, for her part, Veronica was devastated to have lost her boyfriend forever (seemingly). Veronica's fortune-cookie fortune—in addition to ridiculously including the numbers from Lost—was absolutely heartbreaking:
Adding to the heartbreak: Keith Mars discovered what Veronica had done and, in a pretty brutal father-daughter moment, told her he'd never be able to trust her again. Sad!
Slightly less devastating: We learned that Wallace returned to Neptune because he'd been involved in a DUI-related accident back in Chicago. Just when he thought he'd be rid of that drama, a Chicago reporter showed up to question him!
The plot thickens: In addition to all that business with Duncan's infant child (whom he named Lilly!), Logan and Weevil learned more about Neptune's various drug-dealing circles. Their main suspicion involved rogue PCHers being in league with the local gang of Irish scuzzballs, the Fitzpatricks. But a second quasi-motive came to light: Felix had been dating Molly Fitzpatrick! Uh-oh, was his murder related to some kind of Romeo and Juliet-type situation?
Don't I know you from somewhere?
Hey, Lucy Lawless! While it's true that Lucy Lawless plays awesome characters only 100 percent of the time, her FBI agent character was especially crowd-pleasing when she verbally manhandled Sheriff Lamb right off the bat. THE BEST.
Episode verdict: Man, the baby abduction drama was stressful! I don't mean to brag, but this was probably the first episode where I correctly guessed the twist: That Veronica and Duncan hadn't broken up and she was actually helping him. But even knowing that was the case didn't take away from this episode's effectiveness. His secret next-door lair was a fun reveal, plus that emotional final moment on a Mexican highway. Just a great episode. And a fitting send-off for Duncan too. I was aware that the character wouldn't be around for the entire season, so I'm guessing this was it for him. It makes sense, too... as much as he and Veronica were a good match, there's only so much you can do dramatically with a happy relationship, you know? I'm kind of glad she's back to being a free agent again. Great episode.
Case of the week: This episode's case was all about Wallace's "incident" in Chicago. After deciding that telling the truth was doing the right thing, Wallace found everything blowing up in his face after the star athlete who'd been driving that night started paying off witnesses to say that Wallace had been the one behind the wheel. So when that athlete (and his conniving uncle) visited UCLA for a recruitment meeting, Wallace, Veronica, and (in a surprise twist!) Jackie successfully plotted to steal the uncle's phone and were able to blackmail him into retracting the false allegations.
The plot thickens: This week Keith delved full-throttle into the bus-crash case, even illegally obtaining sealed evidence from the sheriff's station (cool hypocrisy, dad!). In a series of flashbacks we got to see the original interviews of people in the know: Dick Casablancas revealed that he'd ordered the limo because of a stench on the bus, and Gia Goodman dropped the nugget that her father had personally told her not to get on the bus. So while Veronica still believed that the dead rat had been a warning to not testify against Aaron Echolls, Keith now believed that the dead rat was actually a way to get all the rich kids off the bus. But then a new possibility opened up: Apparently the dangerously in-debt Terrence Cook (Jackie's dad) had been dating the Top Model journalism teacher in secret! And the episode ended in a rare display of Sheriff Lamb being on top of things: Local news reports stated that Lamb had arrested Cook already.
Meanwhile in the Felix murder situation, Veronica verified that the PCHers had been working with the Fitzpatricks after she placed a hidden camera in Father Fitzpatrick's confessional booth at the church both gangs attended. As it turned out, they'd been passing drugs back and forth via hollowed-out hymnals. Things also took a bad turn for Weevil when he confronted his cohort Thumper over working with the Fitzpatricks and it turned out the ENTIRE gang was going behind Weevil's back. Then they kicked the crap out of him and Thumper strongly hinted he'd been the one to kill Felix (or something).
Don't I know you from somewhere?
Oh, so this is a thing now! Britt Daniel, the lead singer of Spoon, got to take a turn on the karaoke stage, singing Elvis Costello's "Veronica." He definitely did a better job than that Dandy Warhols dude. Yeah, I was into it.
Episode verdict: You know, I'm not totally riveted by the Felix murder plotline. I'm just not. It's nowhere near as exciting as the bus-crash case, so I found myself getting kind of bored or impatient every time we cut back to Weevil's shenanigans. But other than that, it was a solid effort if not the most memorable case of the week (Wallace has that effect on me).
I'm definitely liking where things are headed now. I did NOT see that Duncan exit coming, so for a show to ceremoniously dismiss a MAIN character like that means that anything is possible from here on out. Stakes: raised. My interest: piqued!
... Is the hotel penthouse Logan lives in still under Duncan's name?
... Were you bummed about Deputy Leo's downfall?
... Did Veronica do the right thing in helping Duncan abduct Lil' Lilly?
... Do YOU listen to The Virgin Suicides soundtrack on a loop when YOU'RE going through a fake break-up?
– 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