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Veronica Mars - Re-watch Reviews

Puppet

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Hello and welcome to the VM re-watch thread! I hope at least a few of you join in as we count down the days until Hulu puts up the revival S4. Enjoy!

S1E1 - Pilot



"Neptune, California. The town without a middle class."

We start off strong with a great pilot that tells us everything we need to know about Veronica and all the little mysteries dotted throughout the show. Thanks to well-acted voice-overs we get a pretty good way of receiving exposition about the goings on of Neptune, also helped by the numerous flashbacks throughout. Here's what we don't yet know; who killed Lilly Kane, who raped Veronica, where is Veronica's mother, why did Duncan dump Veronica, and, finally, what was Veronica's mother doing in a seedy motel room with Jake Kane?

Being a pilot, we also have many introductions:
  • Veronica Mars - no doubt the strongest of them, she goes right into narrating and letting us know what kind of person she is. The fact that she helps the new kid out by getting two criminals set free also shows that, while she's a good person, she also isn't above dirty tricks. Her flaws will, of course, be one of the most fascinating parts of the show/character.
  • Keith Mars - another character that immediately feels fully formed; he's close with his daughter, good at his job, but has secrets of his own. He also has a sense of humor that his daughter has clearly inherited.
  • Wallace Fennell - his best part in this one is calling Veronica a marshmallow. Also, his determination to be her friend and his reasoning - "Well, I figure I’ve got a choice. I can either go hang out with the punks who laughed at me, took pictures of me while I was taped to that flagpole, or I can hang out with the chick who cut me down." - is fairly sound as well.
  • Duncan Kane - he has yet to be given much personality, but we know that he's Veronica's ex (whom she's clearly still hung up on thanks to well-acted voiceover work by Bell), that he for whatever reason broke up with her quite suddenly before his sister's death, and that he's one of the popular kids.
  • Logan Echolls - "Every school has an obligatory psychotic jackass. He’s ours." It's a brilliant phrase to describe post-Lilly's death Logan and while he starts off very one dimensional 'mean high school guy' he will turn out to be much more than that. For now, he struts around, thinking he's hilarious and taking a crowbar to Veronica's LeBaron.
  • Sheriff Don Lamb - Immediately he shows himself for the absolute ass that he is; he bullies innocent witnesses, makes fun of a rape victim, and is just all-around bad. He is also one of the few characters on the show who, with one lone exception, remains a caricature throughout the show.
  • Eli 'Weevil' Navarro - His tough guy exterior is, unlike other characters, not just a front, but he also almost immediately shows us that he's a lot more than that. His decision to let Veronica have her one week shows that he's not just all about the violence, and his final act of beating up Logan to get him to apologize to Veronica shows that he honors his debts.
  • Lilly Kane - for now, she is only in one, short flashback, mentioning a secret she has. But as almost everything in Veronica's life revolves around Lilly, still, she immediately becomes an important cast member for the show.
When it comes to minor characters, we are introduced to Cliff McCormack, attorney at law, Felix Tombs, member of the PCH'ers (several others, as well, but Felix is one of the few who become memorable over time), Deputy Sacks, V.P. Clemmons, Lianne Mars, also only in flashback, Celeste Kane, and, last but not least, Corny.

What's Good?
Much like the Buffy pilot, these characters already feel mostly fully formed, instead of feeling like they were created for the sole purpose of starting their interactions for our benefits; this is a rare but nice success on TV. Veronica is a tough, no-nonsense lead in a tiny, blonde package (ring any bells?) but through flashbacks, we see that it may not have always been this way - that makes things intriguing and we want to learn more. The same can be said for the majority of the other 'major' players; why is Logan such a jackass, does Duncan still have feelings for his ex, why is Keith being dishonest (something that we're meant to think is rare) with his daughter, is the leader of the local motorcycle gang layered or was this just a one-off, the hits keep coming. We want to know all the little details in between. This is definitely filed under good.

What's Bad?
It's a bit of a cliche to bring in a new transfer student to give Veronica a friend, but I mostly overlook this because 1) it's another unique way to give the viewers exposition by having Veronica tell Wallace (and us) her past, and 2) I know that Wallace and Veronica's friendship will be anything but cliche as the show continues on. My other minor gripe is, again, Lamb and his very caricature, one-dimensional performance. He becomes someone we love to hate, but for now, he's just irritatingly 'evil'.

What's Great?
Already the very best parts of the Pilot are the things that the show will do best; the Mars father/daughter relationship, the mystery-building and the quick-witted language. It does a great job of introducing all of these questions and then answering them one by one, in an agonizing tooth-pulling kind of awesome way!

Quotes
"Life's a bitch until you die." - Veronica Mars

"Well let’s see it. I mean if it’s as big as you say, I’ll be your girlfriend. We could go to prom together." - Veronica Mars

"You need to go see the wizard. And ask him for some guts." - Sheriff Lamb

"Felix, we get it, you’re a badass, okay? But for once don’t be stupid." - Eli Navarro

"I'm no longer that girl." - Veronica Mars

"Who’s your daddy?"
"Ack. I hate it when you say that."
"You know what, this is important. You remember this. I used to be cool!"
"When?"
"’77. Trans Am, Blue Oyster Cult in the 8-track, a foxy stacked blond riding shotgun, racing for pink slips. Now wait a minute, I’m thinking of a Springsteen song. Scratch everything, I was never cool."
"I don’t know which bothers me more, "foxy" or "stacked." - Veronica and Keith Mars

"Plenty of people in this town still love Dad. That comes in handy sometimes." - Veronica Mars

"I’ll tell you what Veronica Mars, why don’t you go see the wizard? Ask for a little backbone." -Sheriff Lamb

"Underneath that angry young women shell, there’s a slightly less angry young woman who’s just dying to bake me something. You’re a marshmallow, Veronica Mars, a twinkie." - Wallace Fennell

"I suddenly feel like I’m in a scene from The Outsiders."
"Be cool, Sodapop." - Wallace and Veronica

"Rub a lamp." - Logan Echolls

"This morning when I woke up, I had one person in the world I could count on. But if there’s something I’ve learned in this business, the people you love let you down." - Veronica Mars

"I used to think I knew what tore our family apart. Now I'm sure I don't. But I promise this. I will find out what really happened and I will bring this family back together again. I'm sorry, is that mushy? Well, you know what they say. Veronica Mars, she's a marshmallow." - Veronica Mars

Final Rating - 8.5/10

I'm going to attempt a ranking at the bottom, we'll see how it goes. For now, it's simple enough.

Ranking
  1. Pilot (1)
 

Living Dead Boy

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One of the greatest pilots I've ever watched. It immediately draws you into this intriguing noir world, and more than a decade later, it still holds together.

First thing I noticed upon my very first watch was the color templates. For a show set in SoCal, it has a very blueish, cold, washed out aesthetic to it that I really liked. In hindsight, the color choice was clearly deliberate and totally neo noir. It was a show that paid really good attention to details, no matter how small. One of the things I also loved about the pilot was how well Veronica juggled many different cases, over the course of 40 odd minutes. This show is extremely busy, and Veronica is always on the phone handling one case while the other case is in her hands, yet you never feel like the show is overloading itself. Above all else, she inspires me to be more freaking productive. 😂 I really don't have much else to say since @Puppet did a brilliant job at recapping everything, but this pilot really knocked it out of the park. It's rare that you see any show's pilot episode in people's top 5 episodes, but this one definitely is in mine. 😁
 

Puppet

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S1E2 - Credit Where Credit's Due



"The trouble with befriending the leader of a motorcycle gang is that at the end of the day, he’s still the leader of a motorcycle gang."

We learn a lot more in this, the second episode of the show, so let's just go through this, shall we?

Wallace and Veronica have already grown a bit closer, joking with one another and talking about possibly going to a party together. However, Wallace still doesn't know her well enough to understand why she's trying to help out Weevil - though, to his credit (see what I did there?) he doesn't say no to helping out, too.

Then it's on to Dog Beach and our very first (but not our last) 09'er shindig. No homeless people fighting one another (something tells me Duncan wasn't at that party), but we do get to meet the woman who guest starred in basically every TV show around this time; Paris Hilton. She does a decent enough job, it could have been a lot worse, however, maybe she should've been given a less integral-to-the-plot part than that of Logan's cheating girlfriend. Her line delivery leaves a lot to be desired, let's not kid ourselves.

What we do take away from this scene is the dynamic (and writing) between Duncan and his old buddy Troy Vandergraff (he sure knows how to pick his friends, huh?). It's funny, it's the early stages of what we now know as the iconic language that is VM, and it gives us a little insight into the friendship between these two while giving us exposition on Troy being the new kid in school.

The party comes to end when 2 things happen. First, the PCH'ers show up, heckling the guys with Weevil and Logan having a stand-off; it's sort of a sequel to the events of the first episode, which is great continuity. Then, Lamb and Sacks show up and once again it becomes clear just what kind of cop Don Lamb is and it just makes me shake my head.

Moving on to the Navarro home. How much do I love seeing this badass leader of the motorcycle gang playing video games with his cousin? The answer is a lot. Only into the second episode and I'm reminded of how much I love Eli Navarro; probably in my top 3 favorite characters from the show. Anyway, the cops show up to arrest Eli's sweet, innocent grandmother for credit card fraud and the case comes to Mars investigation through returning character Cliff McCormack, attorney at law.

Veronica isn't as quick to jump to conclusions as Cliff and her father, because she recently had a positive encounter with Weevil (and she is very good at reading people, as it will turn out) but she works the case and keeps her mind open to Eli possibly being guilty. This makes her very good at her job. We cut to her at the Navarro home, checking out Eli's bike and being confronted by the man himself. I absolutely love this scene, because we learn a lot more about what kind of person Eli is when he doesn't just automatically forgive Veronica for thinking he might be guilty. He's defensive (a pretty big personality trait for him) and tells her to kick off but still appreciates her later for what she did. He's clearly someone who judges based on what's in front of him and I really like that. (He mentions Veronica's own reputation but seems to be using it to hurt her, not because he believes it to be true.)

Veronica and Keith are dining in a local restaurant when Lamb shows up to hackle them, as he makes a habit out of doing. There's a lot of back-and-forths but I think my favorite is at the very end. Veronica is so mature for her age that whenever we get moments reminding us that she's still just a 'kid' it always makes me smile. In the pilot, it was the knowledge that her favorite film is the South Park movie (not that it isn't great for what it is) and now it's going all Nelson on Sheriff Lamb and saying 'smell you later'. Oh, Veronica, that's such a lame comeback. You gotta try harder next time :)



And it's official, guys, Wallace is now in the office, and has access to whatever he needs to help out his new buddy. He barely questions her request, which just makes me love him even more. Veronica and Troy also share a moment, but since this is a re-watch, the less said about that, the better. Veronica heads to one of the most recognizable classrooms in the show; the school paper. She is assigned to photograph the article that Duncan is writing and that's so much more interesting than Paris Hilton cheating on her boyfriend or Troy being 'different' than the other rich boys. This should've gotten more than five minutes of screentime, imo.

We get a scene of Veronica on the case which is always some of the best parts of the episodes, with witty banter and clever investigation tactics. She also talks it over with Wallace; she seems to work better when she can bounce ideas and thoughts off of someone else as she continues to do this with both Wallace and other characters over the course of the show. Helps with the exposition, too ;)

She returns to her dad's office to excitedly tell him (and Cliff) about Weevil's innocence - only to find out that Eli confessed in order to get his grandmother out of prison. I repeat; I love Eli Navarro :D



On to next day (I assume) and Logan and Caitlin are discussing the firing of Grandma Navarro right near where Veronica is continuing her investigation or doing schoolwork, though it rarely seems to be the latter. We learn a bit more about how the other side feels about Veronica's 'betrayal' from Caitlin, and then the clever blonde finds an inconspicuous way of gathering more information. She is now suspicious of Logan, but quickly turns those suspicions on Caitlin instead, after some thinking and looking over some receipts.

We get a scene that's probably supposed to be cute, where Troy is the 'savior' - Duncan says chivalry is not dead and I want to throw up in my mouth - I am aware that most of this stem from knowing what Troy is really up to, but to be honest he was always a little too good to be true. Duncan may be boring, but at least I believe that he's really a good guy, deep down. I never really trusted Troy. So let's move on from that, and onto the part where Veronica has to get a ride with Duncan. I enjoy her inner voice talking about how it would have been better if she'd just walked there.

We cut to a short flashback of Veronica and Lilly out driving, discussing Lilly and Duncan's mother, Celeste. We're left wondering if maybe she was the reason Duncan dumped Veronica over a year ago. But another of my favorite moments of the episode comes in the following scene when we slow-mo a shot of Eli wearing an orange jumpsuit and cleaning up the highway.

We spend five seconds with some background music at the beach and then suddenly it's night and they're driving back home --- aaand, I'm over it.

They get pulled over because Lilly had some unpaid tickets and her dad comes to pick her up. The tension between Keith and Jake could be cut with a knife and we move on to another flashback, this time of Keith making it clear to Jake that he thinks he's guilty of killing his own daughter. Veronica goes on to explain - more voiceover - that when Keith was stripped of his title, her friends gave her a choice. She definitely made the right one, but it cost her and the viewers finally have more pieces of the puzzle that is Veronica the Outsider.

In the car, as they drive away, there's one moment that I just love so much. Veronica wants her dad's help with Weevil's case and he says why do that when the confessed criminal is already locked up. Veronica gives him this look that I just, ugh, this is why the show is so effin great. She's thinking what we're all thinking, that he's literally describing the Lilly Kane murder case, but because Keith doesn't know that Veronica knows that he's still secretly investigating, all she can do is give him that look. He immediately caves to it, too, which makes the moment even more amazing.

We've got, arguably, the very best scene in the whole episode, as Keith angrily marches Veronica into the Neptune Grand (we'll become a lot more familiar with that hotel in S2) to talk to the manager. They're playing pretend, of course, to get information on Caitlin's stay in the honeymoon suite recently, and the lengths they both go to, to sell it, is just beyond hilarious. And it also shows more of their adorable father-daughter dynamic that is the very best part of the show. I may ship LoVe until I die, but that hasn't got anything on Veronica and Keith!

Some more scenes come, they're fun enough but not hugely important to the plot. This includes Veronica telling Logan that 'she knows' which does make him suspicious, forcing him to later get his hands on Cailin's phone. Then there's Keith at the Sheriff's department, dropping off the escaped convict that he found and basically winning the argument against Lamb, after losing earlier. Nice continuity, again. Followed by a lunch scene with Veronica, Wallace, and Troy. The fact that Troy is basically saying Veronica should just apologize for what she did tells me that he either has no idea what went down, or he did and thinks it's just that simple. This does not warm me to him whatsoever.

We now get the aforementioned (much more interesting) lunch scene where Logan uses his girlfriend's phone to figure out if she's behind the credit card scam. And if so, he seems to know her well enough to know that it would involve another guy. He gets ahold of Chardo and is clever enough to keep quiet so that Chardo will keep talking long enough for Logan to eyeball him.

I'm not sure how she figured it out (I believe that she did, though, and don't consider it a plot hole, she's clever that way) but somehow Veronica knows that Logan knows and she pulls Chardo into the girl's bathroom (hah, this is even funnier on re-watches, our first time in her 'office') and warns him. Chardo is too stupid to listen, believing that Caitlin is in love with him and that they will run away together. He's about to get a harsh look at the truth.



Cut to the Navarro home, where the always clever Veronica finds a way to make Letitia Navarro tell the cops the truth. Her comment about Caitlin not liking her ice cubes made from tap water always gets me going, so funny. What a spoiled little brat. Of course, following this scene, we get another great one when Weevil returns from the station, a free man once more.

Veronica, nice girl that she is, warns Eli that the cops and Logan and his buddies are all out looking for Chardo, but Weevil does not seem worried; we find out why in the following scene.

Chardo is out in front of Caitlin's house, where she appears to have lured him?, and he is confronted by Logan and his buddies - we meet Dick for the first time but he is not yet named - but before he can be seriously injured, the PCH'ers show up. I love that after a quick private talk between Weevil and Logan, the latter lets Chardo go, knowing he'll be punished by his own people, which, in a lot of ways, is worse than anything he and his friends could do to him.

Another sweet moment follows between Veronica and Keith. She's still not ready to confess to knowing about his secret investigation and instead decides to ask him why he went after Jake Kane. She gets no answer, of course, but the very conversation that follows is another great moment in a great episode. Next, we see Veronica at the Sheriff's department, using Lilly's fake ID to get a closer look at the timestamp of that ticket we found out about earlier. This makes the mystery deepen even further, as it turns out that nobody in the Kane family has solid alibis any longer.

We round out the episode with Troy asking Veronica why she didn't show at the party - barf - and Veronica, Wallace, and Troy watching as Caitlin is frozen out of her group. Logan, we already know, is not really the nicest guy; his choice to dump her by being with a new girl and giving her the cold shoulder is about one of the worst ways you can break up with someone. Even if she deserves it, it's still horrid treatment. But, since this is a re-watch, it just makes me want to hug Logan because I know he keeps up walls for a reason :D

Quotes
"What about you, Wallace? Your life still a non-stop Nelly video?"
"Hey, at least I want my life to be a non-stop Nelly video." - Veronica & Wallace

This whole exchange is brilliantly funny, so I'm copy+pasting the whole damn thing!
"What do you say, dog? You ready to get this party started? You ready to burn this mother down. Up, jump… the boogie."
"My plan? And I haven’t worked this out entirely yet so bear with me, was to... Raise the roof."
"See that is so you, man, Mr. Old School."
"Me Old School? You’re the one who wanted to come down and get jiggy wid’ it."
"Yeah."
"So, uh, wanna go meet the locals or what?"
"As long as they’re humble, god-fearing, salt of the earth types."
"Every last one." - Troy & Duncan

"Look around you, man. It ain’t fifteen on four tonight." - Logan (to Weevil)

"You hear that, honey? That’s leadership. Way to stand up on your own two feet, Lamb and say, 'hey, the buck stops...there.'" - Keith Mars

"Do I look like James Bond to you?"
"Am I asking you to retrieve a nuclear warhead?" - Wallace & Veronica

"Tell the truth, Veronica. Did you just sign up for newspaper so you could be around Duncan?"
"No. I’m here so I can be closer to you." - Logan & Veronica (in retrospect this exchange is even funnier)

"Flat?"
"Just as God made me." - Troy & Veronica

"Veronica, I suffer from too much pep. I needed a pep outlet. Plus Sassy says girls who join the clubs really get the fellas." - Lilly Kane

"They gave me a choice. I could stand by my dad…or stand by Duncan and my dead best friend’s family. I chose Dad. It’s a decision I live with every day." - Veronica Voice-Over

Lamb glares, silently turns and walks back to his office.
"Should I follow you?" - Keith Mars

"Moron says what?"
"What?" - Veronica & Chardo

"Veronica Mars, I hear you’re to thank for this Kodak moment." - Eli Navarro

Final rating - 7.5/10
This was another good episode, though it got pulled down from Paris Hilton's lack of acting skills and focusing on the wrong stuff. But the things we learned and the character stuff was very good, so it kinda makes up for the rest of it.

Ranking
  • Pilot (1)
  • Credit Where Credit's Due (2)
 

Living Dead Boy

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And here's my two cents, since you have provided the rest of the 98 percent, brilliantly again:

I liked this episode a lot. Not one of my favorites, but it gets the job of establishing the world we know a bit more and broadening its horizons. One of the things I've always loved and respected about this show was the fact that it was willing to have these characters that you normally wouldn't see humanized (especially back in '04) like a Mexican gang leader and adding layers to them. I also really appreciated the fact that Veronica had a black male best friend. These things are a lot more commonplace in today's entertainment, but for someone who's only seen shallow and stereotypical representation growing up, it meant a lot to me. Now the show isn't perfect, but it definitely tried, which was more than I could say for a lot of shows back in those days.

I also loved the fact that Veronica could cross barriers and mingle with people of virtually every socioeconomic status. It also speaks volumes as to how she's able to get away with the things she does during this show. Its ultimately a show about the haves vs the have nots. Veronica doesn't have a lot as person of the "lower middle class", but she has more than a lot of people in that town. And she uses what she has to seek justice for those who have even less privilege than she. She could've easily dismissed Weevil as another thug, but she knows what it's like to be dismissed as a woman. Yet her heart is pure, and he's shown her in the pilot that he's worthy of respect, so they form a bond. Somewhat. 😂 It's one of the most fascinating relationships in the entire series, and I wish they had more time together to grow and learn from each other.

And what could I say about Paris? I honestly didn't mind her performance that much because she was playing a spoiled rich girl: aka herself. 🤷‍♂️😂
 
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I've never watched Veronica Mars but so many people recommend it and I love Kristen Bell, I'll give it a try! Will try to catch up with your reviews too! :)
 
Living Dead Boy
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Do it! Do it! Do it!
genghiskhan
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Give it a try, I didn't really like it but a lot of people see something in it that they love.

Puppet

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I've never watched Veronica Mars but so many people recommend it and I love Kristen Bell, I'll give it a try! Will try to catch up with your reviews too! :)
You should absolutely watch this, but remember that these are re-watch reviews and I'm not being careful about spoilers.
 

Puppet

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S1E3 - Meet John Smith



"What's wrong with you, Veronica? What are you waiting for?"

Some people probably cry out...I don't know? Misogyny! Anti-Feministic! Bologna! Whatever, but I quite enjoy the opening scene for exactly what it is; a trio of immature, 14-year-old boys ranking the older female student body during lunch. They're not being mean, they're not being vulgar; they're just being boys.



I wouldn't personally rate Kristen Bell a 9 (or even an 8.5, sorry) but it's nice that she's got some fans. And Justin's right, her being a PI does up her hotness, even for me.

The camera pans away from the boys and over to Veronica and Troy. In retrospect, I always hate their interactions, because they're so freaking adorable and full of great zingers that I feel like they're wasted on a character that we're all going to end up hating in a few episodes, anyway. I totally can't wait for Logan to get some more screentime because their conversations (regardless of if they're enemies, friends, lovers, exes, etc.) are always some of the best material the show gives us when it comes to great language and fun laughs.

Anyway, Troy and Veronica talk about a sailing date, he walks off and she has an 'encounter' (however awkward) with Duncan. My favorite part of this whole thing has got to be the fact that Logan watches Veronica watch Duncan; it's subtle but there and shows that he's got his eye on things, even while acting like he doesn't care on the outside. The best we ever got from Duncan, imo, was always where it concerned his bromance with Logan.



Speaking of Duncan, this episode gives us a very deep look into his home life and why he is the way he is, but it does so in a very Mars fashion - by leaving us with more questions than answers by the time the episode ends. As I was saying, Duncan is floating in his pool, listening to music, when his father comes up to him to discuss his future. Duncan stops listening pretty quickly and we get the sense that he's heard all of this before. Or he just doesn't care. Or both. It's probably both.

Here is, quite possibly, my favorite part of this episode (that doesn't concern guest characters). First, we blend from a scene of Jake Kane practically telling his son how things are going to be, to one where Keith asks Veronica what the reason may be for the counselor calling him in. But, more importantly, we then blend from a very personal scene of a father and daughter eating around a tiny table to a cold dinner scene where Jake, Celeste, and Duncan couldn't be sitting further apart if they tried. The juxtaposition of these two very different families just always makes me feel something; it's a real strength the show will continue to have when it comes to showing us class differences and also highlighting that just because you're rich that doesn't make you better than the less fortunate.

--- VS ---


Speaking of those scenes; Veronica finally brings up her mother (possibly) hooking up with Jake Kane at the Camelot motel that we learned about in the pilot and Keith's reaction is to be expected - he shuts down, refusing to discuss it. No doubt wishing to protect his daughter from the harsh truth for as long as he can, if the rest of the episode is anything to go by. Meanwhile, in another show of difference to the family dynamic, Jake and Celeste discuss Duncan as if he wasn't in the room with them; no wonder he made the decisions he did later in the same episode.

Veronica tells her dad she's heading out to the library - Duncan mentions going to Shelley's for a bit. We cut to a somewhat steamy scene of the two of them making out in the back of (what I'm assuming is) Duncan's car. This is, of course, a dream that Veronica is having, but at the end of the day, it doesn't matter who was fantasizing about whom, because this episode makes it clear that they are both pining after one another (barf).



She wakes up in a sweat and then the credits roll.

Moving on to one of the guest sets of the week; the local video store. Veronica and Keith are able to have a good time together despite the argument they're having, which is a nice touch, and they are having a very funny, very Mars discussion about movies. In the meantime, Justin is back, clearly more than just the boy from the first scene. In a re-watch, the constant view of his dad coming to rent videos is beyond sweet and heartbreaking at the same time. Also, it's not super obvious, the way other shows would make it, so kudos to the show for that bit of subtlety.



We're in the Kane kitchen and Celeste goes on and on, including telling Duncan to take his meds. When the pill accidentally falls down the drain, he makes the decision not to tell his mother, not to get a new one from the bottle. This is the first of many choices that Duncan makes in this episode which, btw, has one of the best Duncan-centered storylines of the show. Did I forget to mention that? Whoops.

Cut to the school hallway where, much like the first scene, Duncan and Logan talk about girls in a less than favorable way. But again, they're silly boys and not everyone can be a paragon of virtue, y'know? What this episode is doing, though, is making me realize why some people watching it for the first time now don't like it; the influence of SJW and their kin have made everyone forget how to enjoy what came before. It's sad, really.

Again Logan proves to be a good friend, if a bit of a jackass (that's a constant personality trait, though, so I've decided to forgive it), by pointing out that Duncan's friend (Troy) is seemingly hanging all over his ex (Veronica, if that wasn't already clear). Duncan, not on any calming medication, has a tiny freak-out that passes quickly, which is all part and parcel of going cold turkey on your meds, of course. Mood swings AF:



Logan and Duncan witness this little moment and I just love it, especially Logan's words, which you'll find in the Quotes section below.

Veronica and Justin are in the girls' bathroom (as I said last episode, her unofficial office; I'm just gonna call it that from now on) and he's telling her about his desire to find his dad. I don't know if it's retrospect or whatever, but no part of me feels upset with him for hoodwinking Vee like this. It's not just knowing where it all ends up, but the fact that this poor kid actually thinks that this will give him a shot with the pretty blonde. I mean, even if she hadn't been so good at her job that she figured out the truth, she's both older and cooler than him, which I'm sure he'd agree with. I just pity the poor child.

Veronica sets out on the daunting task of locating John Smith and Keith shows up at school to have a meeting with the counselor, Rebecca James. A character I wish we could've seen more of, especially post-breakup. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Rebecca tries to talk to Keith about Veronica's troubles, as of late, the key word here is 'try'; Keith gets defensive and immediately shuts her down, and attitude he thankfully apologizes for later (he wouldn't be Keith if he hadn't).



Duncan continues his downward spiral when he stands up to make a speech about a dog that was apparently given away because it had the nerve to whiz on Celeste's precious flowers. Somehow I'm not that surprised. Anyway, the fact that his parents seem to not even blink an eye, or wonder what's up, says a lot about what they've been dealing with from Duncan before they got him medicated. This we, of course, find out about later when his actual condition is revealed.

It's the next day and Justin walks into school with his buddy; this is where we learn the truth, that his father actually died seven years ago. I think it was a smart choice by the writers to have the audience find out the truth before Veronica did because it adds something to the story. Even if what it adds is not me hating the poor dude.

TBC...
 

Puppet

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Black Thorn
Part 2 commencing



Another personal favorite scene of mine as we head into the offices of Mars Investigations where Wallace is helping Veronica with Justin's case. This marks the first time that Wallace and Keith meet, btw. While Veronica's witty words (depicted above) may be funny, they also let us know that she and Keith have the kind of relationship where they share most things, as he clearly told her what Rebecca said in their brief meeting.

We also get a great exchange (that continues a few more times before the episode ends) between Wallace and Veronica about him doing favors for her since he has access to the school main office. She wants to see her own personal file because Veronica Mars is not good at being out of the loop. A core characteristic of hers, which will become more and more obvious as the season (and show) unfolds, is her need to know everything that's going on around her, whether it's her business or not.

Another morning in the Kane kitchen, another pill down the drain. I do appreciate them showing us this, despite how brief of a scene it is.

We're back at school and Wallace has, of course, got his hands on Veronica's file and is using its contents to make fun of her. It's another great scene with the two of them and we really see how their friendship is growing. While they are not close to being my favorite duo on the show, I do appreciate how deep and real their friendship remains throughout the show. I mean, I was pretty upset when I thought that Wallace wasn't in the revival, because it just wouldn't have made any sense. Thankfully my fellow VM fan (you know who you are) let me know the truth and I can't wait to see a continuation of their dynamic in S4.

Anyway, Justin hands Veronica a mixtape and she's instantly suspicious (another core part of her personality, though), asking Wallace to get his hands on Justin's personnel file. Wallace makes a comment about it, but also immediately complies, which is again part of why I love those two together.

I very much don't wish to discuss anything that is Troy-related, so I'm gonna skip quickly over the date. They eat out, they have witty banter (as always) and when he tries to go in for a goodnight kiss - she reacts, um, unfavorably?



Veronica is clearly (I said it before but now I'm saying it again) pining after her boring ex and she is very hard on herself while going over this date later on in her room. Meanwhile, in another part of town, the fantasy of backseat making out is coming true, only the mood swinging, hallucinating Duncan mistake (I'm guessing) Shelley Pomroy (though if it is, it's a different actress from the pilot) for Veronica.

Might I add; Duncan appears to be wearing an identical (or very similar) sweater to what Troy was wearing in the previous date scene. That can't be a coincidence, right?



Once again it's the next day and at school, where a very serious Wallace lets Veronica know that she needs to take a good look at Justin's file; they now know the truth that we've known for several scenes. She confronts Justin and demands answers. Before she can storm off, a woman shows up (who gets mail at school?) and hands Justin the very envelope that Wallace and Veronica had been folding and mailing just a few days ago.

Evidence that his father is still alive. Here is where the break-my-heart-why-dontcha parts begin as the young actor does a great job in showing us how hurt and confused he is by this letter that he's holding. Veronica, for her part, also shelves her anger at his lies and the look on her face is of someone with a great deal of sympathy for what Justin is dealing with at that moment.



That same night (again, just guessing) Justin shows up at Veronica's door with news of what his mother told him; that's not the most important part of this scene, though. No, what we get out of this is that Keith is finally coming to realize that his daughter is not as put-together as he's tried to tell himself (and Rebecca James). He realizes that she blames her mother, perhaps for more than what she should (though that's hard to say knowing what a terrible parent she'll turn out to be later on), and he feels the need to do something to change this. This leads to his confrontation with her where she admits that she blames her mother and that the parent that stays is the 'good guy' in this type of scenario.

We also learn that Veronica knows exactly where her mother is but hasn't gotten up the courage to go see her yet. She learns a lesson in waiting too long at the end of the episode, but for now, we learn a few more important things about Veronica, as a person and as a daughter.

And as a PI.



I feel like I keep saying this but, once again it's the next day at school, and Veronica is catching up to Troy and trying to act as nothing happened. In the meantime, Duncan, Logan, and some more (nameless) buddies are hanging out on the bleachers during what I'm guessing is lunch (maybe a free period?) watching practice and the mere mention that Troy may be off somewhere with Veronica sends the mood-swinging Duncan into a silly state where he begins to sing Grease songs and jumps off the tall bleachers. Unlike his buddy, though, he's not quite as lucky with his landing.

The reason for his out-of-character crazy jump?



When Veronica takes Duncan to the hospital, she is so worried about him that she completely dismissed Troy - him being hurt by that makes little sense on a re-watch but as usual I try to just ignore him and move on.

On the drive to the emergency room, Duncan (I cannot stress it enough; he's off his meds) makes a comment to Veronica that only serves to piss her off even more than she already is - rightfully so - and it seems clear that she has figured out exactly why he jumped off those bleachers. It wasn't just bad timing on his part.



In the hospital, we get yet another awkward encounter between Veronica and a surprised Jake Kane who wasn't expecting to see her with his son. However, she quickly leaves them alone (also, Jake is clearly a much nicer person than his wife, even if this was the first time watching it) and we get a scene of Duncan speaking to his doctor alone. I'm not entirely sure what the laws are regarding all of this, but I just can't imagine him being allowed to make his own decisions about medication when he's still a minor and his illness is so severe (which we, of course, don't know yet). Maybe someone American can shed some light on this?

Keith returns to the counselor office at Neptune High to apologize to Rebecca James and they have a really great exchange after she clumsily knocks over her coffee cup. She makes it clear that she was against the decision to remove him from office and he eyeballs the name of her coffee place so he can 'bump' into her there later. Totally adorable, those two.



Back in school (wow this is gonna get repetitious, quick!) Veronica shows Justin surveillance photos of the 3 John Smith's that she suspects might be his dad. He rules out two due to blue eyes, but the final one never took off his sunglasses. Being in California, that's not super shocking, tbh. Wallace wanting Veronica to 'give the kid a break' is another great moment from a terribly underused (at times) character.

Later that same day, Veronica and Justin tail the 3rd guy for a bit before the kid insists on confronting the could-be dangerous man. He is very quickly convinced that it's not his dad (very true) but at the same time, Veronica discovers that the handwriting she found on a piece of paper in the guy's car matches that of the letter sent to Justin earlier. Something is very fishy here, clearly.

Another of the best parts of the episode (and why Duncan is something other than just boring to me) is when the grieving brother hallucinates his dead sister while on the couch in his home. She makes mysterious comments about how her death makes no sense (comments that are very cool on a re-watch as Duncan clearly knows more than we do) and also forces him to realize that maybe going cold turkey on his pills is not something he's ready for just yet.



The sun is getting low and Veronica and Justin have tailed John Smith #3 to his home. Convinced that he's lying and out to prove it, Veronica leaves Justin in the car with a taser and breaks into the garage to find the smoking gun - or, in this case, the classic car - but instead is caught by the man who it turns out is not a criminal but a parole officer (which also explains his visits to shady places). While she is confronting/confronted by him inside the garage, a classic car arrives in the driveway.

In a (very sweet) attempt to protect Veronica from this unknown threat, Justin grabs the taser and heads for the car. Quickly recognizing the female driver in it as the very same father he's been looking for, for a few days now.



Here's where I want to take a moment to commend the show for what it did. In its 3rd episode (remember also that this is from 2006, 13 years ago) it dealt with a very important but also polarizing topic, and it did it in a very respectful manner. Today the role would've been played by an actual transgender, but this isn't today, so deal with it. Anyway, by respectful I mean that they don't appear to be pandering to any one audience. Julia is a real human being with feelings, but Justin is also very hurt and a little bit disgusted by what he discovers of his dad; none of this makes either of them bad people. Julie is not a bad parent, Justin is not a bad son, they are however very human and prone to making mistakes and saying things they'll regret later.

I cannot put into words how much this scene and the entire episode means to me, for including something so important and yet still making it about the story and not doing it just to please their political viewership. Having Veronica clearly not care and barely be shocked by it was also another smart move and, in hindsight knowing her character, also makes perfect sense.

Okay, I've said my piece, we can move on with the episode now.



As they drive back to Neptune, Veronica makes it very clear where she stands on this issue, which also highlights why we've been hearing about her mother for parts of the episode; Veronica compares the two situations and, being very emotional, can't see how different they are. All she can see is her own pain at being abandoned by someone who should love her enough to do what Julia did for Justin.

(Here we go again) it's the following day and we're (surprise, surprise) at school! Veronica walks up to Duncan (and Logan) and sweetly asks him how he is. His reply makes it clear (to us) that he's back on his meds (plus there's the whole scene of him taking it, but who cares about details, sheesh). And once again my favorite part of the scene is Logan's reaction, as he looks at Duncan with exactly as much worry as Veronica has in her face.

As Veronica's closing voice-over continues, we see Keith showing up at Rebecca's regular coffee place, and Justin's co-worker unknowingly forcing his hand at making a decision regarding his now-female father. He does wind up making the first move and this is another story I wish we'd seen a tiny bit more of in the future, even if it was just a passing line from Veronica.



Finally, we have what could amount to a post-credits scene, with the way the episode is structured. Veronica decides to go confront her mother but finds that she's been gone for a few weeks. Her short conversation with an old friend of Lianne's tells us that she still isn't ready to give up on the idea that the one that leaves is the bad guy; she probably needs to spend some time hating her mother, whether that's healthy or not.



The less said about the actual final scene, the better :p

Quotes

"Guess what I'm doing this weekend."
"I'm guessing it involves autoeroticism."
"Close. I will be cruising the marina in my dad's Sabre 386. That's a luxury sailboat. You know, wind through my hair, Strokes blasting through the speakers, and, with any luck, a wide-eyed, impressionable vixen by my side."
"Impressionable, me? Ha."
"Wo-wo-wo-whoa. I said "impressionable." Not-not you. You know, you might want to check your ego at the door there, missy." - Troy & Veronica

"Okay, nowhere man, you be the fool on the hill. See if I care." - Logan Echolls

"That girl is seriously whack." - Logan Echolls

"Wallace is a friend of mine. Take that, high school guidance counselor." - Veronica Mars

"Part of me is proud...and let's just leave it at that." - Keith Mars

"So how did she rope you into this?"
"She promised me all the answer keys to-...she promised to be my friend."
"I'd of held out for a better offer." - Wallace & Keith

"Hey, would you do me a favor?"
"Why did all the hair on the back of my neck just stick up?" - Wallace & Veronica

"Hey, do me a favor."
"Please be kidding." - Wallace & Veronica

"I would have expected sex had that worked."
"Had that worked, you would have gotten it." - Troy & Veronica

"How was your date?"
"Oh, you know. Lousy conversation but the sex was fantastic."
"That's not funny."
"I don't know. I'm pretty sure it was." - Keith and Veronica

"Brain? Check. Dead sexy? Check. Devilish charm? Check. Formidable Scrabble opponent? Who cares?" - Veronica Voiceover

"Someone to see you."
"Describe this someone."
"White male, pint-sized, desperate and not having a good day." - Keith & Veronica

"The hero is the one that stays and the villain is the one that splits." - Veronica Mars

"Don't run, Veronica, people might think that you're desperate."
"That would be a step up, reputation-wise." - Troy & Veronica

"What was that, a triple klutz?" - Logan Echolls

"Sheriff Mars? You always had my vote." - Rebecca James

"Clue in, Donut. It doesn't add up. You know that deep down inside. I wish you'd just admit it to yourself. Break out of your stupor. Wake up." - Halluci-Lilly

"I went to see you. Can you understand that? I wanted to see for myself that you were all right." - Julia

"Ninety miles."
"What's ninety miles?"
"It's the distance your dad travels every week to see you for a few seconds." - Justin & Veronica

"Tragedy blows through your life like a tornado, uprooting everything, creating chaos. You wait for the dust to settle and then you choose. You can live in the wreckage and pretend it's still the mansion you remember. Or you can crawl from the rubble and slowly rebuild. Because after disaster strikes, the important thing is that you move on. But if you're like me, you just keep chasing the storm. The problem with chasing the storm is that it wears you down, breaks your spirit. Even the experts agree. A girl needs closure." - Veronica Voiceover

Final rating - 8/10
I really wish I could give it more, but between the Troy Vandergraff parts and the lack of Weevil, it stays below the pilot. But, let's face it, 8 is still a pretty high rating :D

Ranking
  • Pilot (1)
  • Meet John Smith (3)
  • Credit Where Credit's Due (2)
 

Living Dead Boy

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Black Thorn
A few thoughts: I don't know how you do it @Puppet. This clearly takes time and effort to do these reviews, so I applaud you for your dedication and your patience. Do you have some to spare, perhaps? 😂

I liked this way better than the second episode for sure, specifically because of the way they handled the transgender issue. This is one of the many ways that this show was way ahead of it's time. It handled it with care and attention, not for shock factor. I kinda thought something was suspicious about the woman who kept walking into the video store where Justin worked. They made a point to have an entire small scene devoted to the woman in question showing up at the store just to request a movie. It's little moments like that that makes me love the show so much. It pays attention to details and doesn't treat us like we're idiots. All of the cards are laid out on the table, and it's up to us to figure out the situation.

I also kinda wanna say shout out to Justin for being the worst actor on the show. I'm sorry, but he sucks booty. o_O But he also looked like he was extremely young and inexperienced as an actor, so I'll cut him a tad bit of slack. Hehe.

Troy, Troy, Troy. I'm also a fan of him and their relationship if that's what you want to call it. It just was too damn short! He was there, made a huge impression, and then he was gone! I loved the episode when his evilness got exposed, but all of it felt a bit rushed. We definitely should've had more buildup. But as a certain character once said, "If ifs and buts were candies and nuts we'd all have a merry Christmas". *Guess who said that* ;)

I also want to point out the music choices. I really loved the scene where Veronica and Troy had dinner, but the scene at the car while that particular song was playing was an great choice. I wanted to say that during the pilot, which had excellent and diverse song selections. Come on, Air, Pete Yorn, Death In Vegas, The Streets, Blue Oyster Cult? I live for all of it!

No Weevil in an episode always sucks, but it prepares us for a common theme that I've always resented: the underuse of the other main characters. Weevil, Wallace, and Mac are all integral to the Mars universe, so the fact that we could go whole stretches of episodes without seeing some of them always rubbed me the wrong way. But it made their appearances all the more special because of it so hey, you win some, you lose some.

All in all, a very good episode that made me want more. That's all you can ask for from a show.
 

Puppet

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Black Thorn
Okay, so it took me nearly 3 hours to write the last review, much longer than it took to watch it, so I'm gonna try something a little bit different this time around.

S1E4 - The Wrath of Con



"I've already lived the dream. Everything else seems like a cheap reminder."

Troy and Veronica are having a heavy makeout session in front of her apartment (and I'm trying not to throw up in my mouth), while Keith waits inside, counting the minutes and getting ready to pretend not to be waiting up for his daughter.

It's time for another episode of Veronica Mars.



"So, what did you think of him?"
"Oh, hey, you're home early."
"Oh hey, did you run his license plate? Or did you get fingerprints?"
"Sorry, honey, what?"
"You know you're not fooling me."
"Okay." Pause. "Veronica, I have no idea what you're talking about." Pause. "Oh, hey, I forgot to tell ya. If he's gonna be kissing my daughter on my porch for eight and a half minutes, I'll need to meet him. Sweet dreams, honey."
"Is that really necessary?"
"He's taking up a lot of daddy/daughter time. I hardly get to see you."
"I see you constantly."
"Oh sure. You see me but we don't do anything."
- Veronica & Keith Mars

I love that she knows him so well she won't be falling for his bull anytime soon. He knows it, too, and soon gives up, but in a funny way, of course. Of course.

When Veronica falls back onto her bed, all happy and giddy, I just want to punch Troy in the throat. Right on his stupid Adam's Apple!

Thankfully, the best way to calm me down is with a Lilly Flashback and this episode is chock full of them!



"Why do you insist on suppressing your hotness? The world is ready for you, Veronica Mars. You don't have to blend in." - Lilly Kane

Lilly is so full of life, so exactly what every high school girl should be; carefree and grabbing life by the balls. And she won't stand for Veronica being some introvert who hides all the best parts of herself. I love her so much and part of me feels cheated that she was only ever around in dreamy flashback sequences, because while already a strong character, casting Amanda Seyfried only made her even better.

And she's right, Veronica is not yellow cotton - she is definitely strapless, red satin!

Wallace is in the administration's office with a cute but clumsy girl whom he's clearly crushing on - hard. As adorable as this is, and as cute as the two of them are together, I feel like it's not important because we never see this girl ever again. They could've dated for a few episodes - even if just in the background - and then she could have vanished and we would've assumed they'd broken up. I hate these passing 1-episode characters that don't feel like they should only be around for 1 episode.

However, kudos to Wallace for getting us back into Veronica's office, to explain things to the feisty PI. Wallace immediately offering his help to Georgia through Veronica is pretty adorable, but also somewhat foreshadowing to S2, when he bypasses Veronica and instead uses what she's taught him to help out new girl, Jackie, himself. Very cool (though probably not a purposeful foreshadowing).

Also, can I just say how much I love Veronica changing her voicemail? She thinks of everything, doesn't she? And she reminds me of Jessica Jones.



Kicking off the homecoming festivities, the dedication of the Lilly Kane Memorial Fountain. The Kane family would like to invite all students and faculty to attend the tribute and celebrate the memory of one of Neptune High's most beloved students.

While working in the newspaper office/computer lab (I'm convinced those two are the same damn room!), the news catches the attention of both Logan and Veronica, as it speaks of the upcoming memorial fountain they're installing in Lilly's name. When the announcement is over, Logan and Veronica share a fully loaded look and it just reminds me that, long before they became lovers, they were two friends who had been torn apart by a loss. Excuse me while I go cry in a corner now :(

Then we get a terribly confusing scene with Troy, with him continuing to act like such an upstanding, nice guy (not the TM version) that a re-watch just always serves to make me go 'huh'? It makes no sense, in hindsight, for him to not only be so invested in getting Veronica to agree to go out with him, but then treat her so romantically once together. Not when she's just someone he passes the time with until he can get back to Shauna. Super weird. And I can't figure out if it's bad writing or if, like Oz in S4, they had more plans with Troy but then the actor had to leave suddenly and so we got what we got instead.



"I believe Keanu Reeves said it best when he said: 'Whoa!'" - Logan Echolls

This is such a great flashback moment. Not only do we once more see what a fun, wonderful girl Lilly Kane was (and how strange her relationship with her mother was) but as with the rest of the flashbacks in this episode we get so many hints of what a different relationship Logan and Veronica had before their falling out (it's tough to say if they would've stayed friendly had Lilly not died after the whole cheating thing).

Logan offering to do the memorial video for Lilly so that her brother won't have to is just beyond sweet; especially as there are clearly no ulterior motives for it. His choice to alter the video comes much later, inspired by Veronica's video of the limo party. Instead, he makes this offer because he understands what it would mean for Duncan to have to sit through all of these childhood memories and it's another crack we're seeing in him, that maybe he's more than the 'psychotic jackass' we've seen so far.



Veronica going 'undercover' is always entertaining to watch because she has such extreme ideas of what makes up these type of people. For example, in her mind a co-ed who falls for this kind of scam (not to be mean to Georgia, of course) dresses in all red, with bouncy curls and all the frills - not to mention blonde jokes. At the same time, her idea of a gamer girl...well, I guess she didn't really have an idea and had to make it up as she went, which turned into some kind of Anime cosplay school girl o_O

Here's my only complaint, and it's really more the fact that it's 2006, more than it's the show itself. Things just used to be different. Anyway, when Veronica 'Gamer' Mars walks into that dark game bar (or whatever you call it), half the guys in the room are stunned; it's just so ridiculous, this idea that only guys game. Sure, soceity have become more open to it today, but that doesn't mean that girls weren't gaming in 2006, too. In public, even! I'm personally offended, as a former game girl!

However, I do, as always, appreciate Veronica's methods; getting Grant to show himself by pissing him off in-game is pretty damn clever. So is her subtle yet effective way of getting her hands on his ID.

Veronica and Wallace getting ready in her room is a favorite scene of mine from the episode (one of them, mind you) because, again, they just have such a great back-and-forth chemistry type thing (I'm forgetting so many words today, sorry!)



We feel endlessly beyond all gravity
Who are we, what we see I can't comprehend
Who are we, what we see I can't comprehend -
All That We Perceive by Thievery Corporation

Veronica didn't move to Neptune until she was 12 (this never comes up again, unfortunately) which might explain why Lilly was her only truly close friend and thus why she had no one until Wallace moved to town. She also used to play soccer and isn't that a fun exchange, particularly for this LoVe shipper! I can't but wonder, though, as I watch this adorable foursome in the limo, which came first; Veronica's friendship with Lilly or her relationship with Duncan?

Moving on to present day as Veronica and Wallace head off to their very first college party. Watching our young PI at work is, like, 75% of the fun that is this show. The way she gets her hands on the keys to Grant and Liam, taping that headshot to the wall, immediately putting on her best drunk act when she gets caught, it's just so much fun! "I don't feel so good, Papa bear."

The next day at school, we get another small moment that just sticks with me long after the credits roll; the look on Veronica's face as she watches Wallace watching Georgia. She is so happy for him and his cute crush and it just makes me all warm inside. I really do love these two so much!



"Memories both misty and water-coloured." - Logan Echolls

Logan tries to get Veronica to stay away the same way he usually does; through words, but she is too intent on the screen to even notice. They have a nice moment, despite his attitude, and it, of course, leads to her returning later with some videos of her own. Being in that room brings on another flashback and it might be my favorite of the episode.



Our foursome play the popular drinking game Never Have I Ever (I always get toasted playing this cause there's so much I haven't done!) and we learn that Veronica has never gone skinny dipping (just wait), that Lilly has seen her (and Duncan's) parents having sex and that Veronica and Duncan are both virgins (which means Lilly and Logan are not, and pretty sure Logan is only, like, 15 here). Once again my LoVe heart beats faster at Logan's adorable reaction to finding out Veronica is a virgin, he manages to sound both surprised and totally unsurprised at the same time, all coated in a layer of laughter.



"I don't think this really constitutes quality time."
"I've never loved you more."
- Keith & Veronica Mars

For the second episode in a row, one Mars helps out another (this is a frequent thing, of course) as Keith dons a fake DEA agent outfit and gets a bug into the dorm room of Grant and Liam. Veronica figuring out the alarm code just by listening to it and then using her phone is beyond awesome. Also, I've seen that in a movie once but I can't remember the movie...



"So you won't mind then that I cancelled your reservation at the Four Seasons?" - Keith Mars

I just love the look on Troy's face as he realizes that this former Sheriff knows about his plans to potentially bed his daughter the night of the dance. It's like a total deer-in-headlights thing and it's a thing of effin' beauty, man!

We're soon back at Mars Investigations as Keith continues to help Veronica with her case by calling Grant and fake-inviting him and Liam to some game opening with Wallace the fake student so that Veronica can break into their dorm room and find whatever she needs to help Georgia get her money back. But I'm getting ahead of myself, really.



"It's very Wonder Years." - Logan Echolls

Veronica heads back into the newspaper office/computer lab (still convinced!) and hands Logan her own Lilly shootings (that sounds so wrong) and the moment is quick and the tension is thick. But it's still a great scene.

Veronica heads off to the local college (it's not the one from S3, right? Or do we not get a name, I can't remember now) to do a little B&E and when she goes to get the bug back, just in case (good girl), she notices something very strange. That's when she finds the locked, nearly impenetrable, safe in the closet. I really like the fact that they cut away from her and when we return to the safe, she's somehow found a way to open it (we learn this when Liam opens it and finds what's inside); it shows that we don't need to see how she does everything, because we trust that she can 'clever' her way out of pretty much any situation.

However, watching her dismantle all those computers makes my inner nerd cringe!



Anyway, we move on to the park (again) and Grant and Liam finally getting their comeuppance, especially in the form of a small sentence by Veronica about the authorities being very interested in the information she had about the Silicone Mafia.

Back to the best parts of the episode; flashback!!!



We have another clear (yet subtle) show of difference in parenting, when Celeste yells at her daughter (and only her daughter) right there, in front of everybody, while Keith quietly tells Veronica that they will speak when they get home. It's sweet of Duncan to try and take on all the blame himself but something tells me that it didn't work. At all.

Also, did Keith give Logan a ride home? He was walking towards the cruiser last we saw him. Again, adorable! I want more pre-dating pre-Lilly's death friendship LoVe!!!

Okay, guys, it's time. Not counting the flashback sequences, we've now come to my favorite scene in the whole episode; it's time to turn on the memorial fountain!

I can't even express my truly honest reaction when I, for the first time ever!, noticed what song that school orchestra was playing. Freakin' Barbara Streisand, just as Logan foreshadowed earlier on. How have I never noticed this before? Oh, right, cause up until a few years ago I never paid attention to stuff like the music playing. That's gotta be it :D

Celeste gives this pathetic, ridiculous speech that is clearly more about her than it is about Lilly. "I know if Lilly were here, she would have been moved by that rendition. Lilly really loved this place. So, it's only fitting that as long as this fountain remains here, a part of Lilly will always be here. And you, her peers, will always be reminded what a generous, kind… Sweet girl she was and how she embodied… Pirate pride and the school motto, service, loyalty, honour." Yeah, sure *rolls eyes*

Here's where, once again, we see a clear difference in Celeste and Jake as parents. Jake breaking down when he sees his real daughter in that video is just destructive to my very soul. In that moment, I feel for him so badly that it's impossible for me to ever hate him or even dislike him later on, regardless of what happens or how he acts. Jake reminds me so much of my uncle. My aunt (my father's sister) is this horrible human being, a total homphobe, racist, just general bad person who emotionally abused my cousins when raising them. However, her husband is such a nice man, if a bit quiet (no surprise there) and I always wondered why he stayed with her. My guess is she emotionally abuses him, too, and he can't leave.

Let's get some LoVe to distract me from these misty and watercolored memories! When the video ends and Logan turns around and shares this deep look with Veronica I just want to scream. It's so beautiful! There's no animosity, no anger, no hurt, just two old friends sharing a look and remembering the girl they both loved sooo much.

We also get Weevil - though only for 30 SECONDS! - and the mystery deepens as he wipes away a tear. Was he the guy Lilly spoke of in Veronica's flashback? Why was he upset? I know this answer, of course, but it's fun to think of how it would have been on a first watch.

Finally we get a limo ride that's actually present day, as Veronica, Troy, Wallace, and Georgia head off to the dance. They stop at the beach but only Veronica gets out, as it's finally time for her to cross one item off of her bucket list. (Question, though; isn't Troy and Wallace going to see her buck naked?)



Final rating - 9/10
This is definitely a favorite of mine, though I didn't remember how much I loved it until I saw it. Not even Troy can drag this one down, especially since he's barely in it. This is all about three phenomenal characters; Veronica, Lilly and Logan.

Ranking
  • The Wrath of Con (4)
  • Pilot (1)
  • Meet John Smith (3)
  • Credit Where Credit's Due (2)
 
Taake
Taake
These are great!

Puppet

You rocks think you're so smart.
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Black Thorn
S1E5 - You Think You Know Somebody



"You know those people who can predict when change is coming in their life? I'm not one of them. Change has a way of just walking up and punching me in the face."

It's time, everybody. We're finally getting rid of Troy Vandergraff!!! :D

But not before we get a Troy-heavy (but not centric, thankfully) episode.



"Well, maybe it's like Brigadoon. If you come back in a hundred years, it'll be right back in this spot." - Logan Echolls

Logan, Troy, and newcomer Luke have spent the weekend (or one day, I'm not sure) in Tijuana, Mexico. Logan is either drunk, hungover, or both, while Luke has just picked up a pinata full of steroids. Troy is very much acting ignorant of it all, but we re-watchers know better, don't we? Anyway, when they cross back over the border, they deal with the most ridiculous dude who actually thinks that a tactic like straight-up asking them if they have contraband would ever work. Whatever.

First Caitlin Ford, then whoever her replacement was, now Esmeralda; Logan's been getting busy since Lilly died, hasn't he? He's exactly the type of guy who only gets serious with girls he truly loves, but will otherwise mess around for a short while with many different chicks.

It may just be me, but I find it very telling that Duncan is not along for the ride; not only is he the classic good guy, but he knows Troy well enough that he may have seen through his charade. What do you think?



"Dude! Where's your car?" - Veronica Mars

Troy calls on his girlfriend and what we get out of this is more greatness between our LoVe connection (see what I did there?). I had a hard time picking the quote above and I'm really just gonna add the others before we move on from this scene. Anyway, it shows more of Veronica's good side that she drives all the way to the Mexico border in the middle of the night to pick up 3 guys of which she only likes 1 of them. She is also quick to offer her help to Troy who, I feel, underestimates her technique, or he never would've agreed to it.

"Your monkey's gonna have to ride in the back." - Veronica Mars

"God, it must've been a huge cereal box." - Logan Echolls

"Thanks for the ride. Does this mean you're gonna play nice now?"
"Walk in front of the car, we'll see."
- Logan & Veronica

Her then revving the engine as he walks in front of her car is hilarious. Also, it's telling that Logan asks if she's gonna play nice; in his head, does he think Veronica is to blame for the animosity between them and he's just defending himself? Whereas Veronica feels that he became a jackass first. I wonder if the truth isn't somewhere in between and they're both equally guilty.

Wallace will make this point himself later in the episode, but what is it with TV show characters being sent to catholic school far away just because they did some bad shit? The same thing will happen in S2 with Hannah Forgotlastname.

I love Veronica and Wallace discussing which Scooby Doo characters they'd be. I get total SPN vibes from it...wonder why? Also, Veronica and Keith's back-and-forth about his birthday present and the way she makes him laugh as he walks into his office? Beyond adorable. Too bad it's somewhat ruined when she returns home and finds out about his secret girlfriend. Also, it's just bad timing that Veronica sees her dad pack up her mom's stuff right when she finds out about Rebecca. I can't imagine what she's initially thinking.

Cue passive-aggressive Veronica!



"All this time, I've been thinking Mom bolted because she couldn't handle losing everything. Maybe she just couldn't handle losing me."

I can only imagine how painful it would've been for her to sit there, making a fake death certificate for her mother, while not knowing if she was even alive or okay out there in the world somewhere. But it is another clever way for her to get to the bottom of her newest mystery, which only leads another one; who took those scary photos of her with a bullseye aimed right at her head?

Rebecca shows up in the PI office and what follows is a truly awkward moment between the three characters. It's kind of cringey, and kind of hilarious at the same time.

The scene where Veronica is supposedly 'a master at work' is a favorite of mine from the episode. She's so confident - and so are we, 5 episodes in of how clever she is - and then she just falls flat on her face, completely. It's a nice way of showing that she doesn't always get her way. Her wink (used at the very top) is also beyond adorable.



"Wow, you suck at this Nancy Drew stuff. You should get a new hobby." - Logan Echolls

Another great LoVe moment! (By now you should know that if you despise this pairing, these are not the reviews for you ;)) I'm not gonna put the whole convo in here, you really should just go see it for yourself, but know that it's subtle, short and funny as hell. Especially the great acting from Bell and Dohring that makes it so much more three dimensional than just some funny jokes.

Also, how much do I love Logan walking between Vee and Troy, instead of simply going around. It's the little things that make this show so great :)

More passive-aggressive Veronica.



"We're Mars women. Shouldn't we play to our strengths?" - Veronica Mars

On a first viewing, this scene is just another piece of the puzzle. But on a re-watch? Lianne is against Veronica dating Duncan Kane, because she doesn't even know for sure if they're related or not. That's just...amazing. She's clearly not as curious as me cause I woulda DNA'ed that mother ASAP, myself.



"Will you buy me a piñata full of steroids?" - Veronica Mars

Weevil's back! And for a full 2 scenes! Yay! :D

I love that moment when Veronica reveals, casually, that she understood the conversation perfectly. Like, she kept quiet so as not to interrupt the flow and because she knew Eli's uncle wouldn't trust her as much if he knew she could 'hear' him. Also, why that uncle automatically assumes - in California - that this white girl won't understand him, I will never know.

Am I the only one who finds it hard to buy Eli Navarro as a 17-year-old? You can't even argue that he was held back, because we're told (in a previous episode) that he really is under 18. It's not an issue or anything, just something I noticed this go around.

When Veronica sees that pinata bust open and all the candy fall out, is that when her spider sense first pings? Does she become suspicious of Troy or does that come later? I mean, we know that Veronica is naturally paranoid and all, but maybe what Troy did here was part of making her the super paranoid chica we know from now on.

We have another visit to Veronica's office and I wonder, briefly, how many non-09'ers hang out with Logan, Duncan and the rest. Luke clearly isn't one of the rich kids, after all, and they did let Vee in (though that was mostly due to her dad, I think) in the past.



"People rarely cut all their ties, even when they try. If she's out there and these untraceable, disposable cell phones I'm sending to Mom's closest friends and family reach her, maybe she'll realise it's safe for her to call me. It's my version of a message in a bottle." - Veronica Voiceover

Quickie flashback as Lianne shows up at Neptune High to gather Veronica from school, clearly frightened that something will happen to her and aware that she's planning on leaving; she wants to spend some final time with her before she's gone. And yet, somehow, I still don't like her. She's a terrible parent and it doesn't help that we can compare her to Keith; most people would come up short with him around.

Back in present day, Veronica is packaging up disposable cells and sending them to anyone she can think of that may be hiding her mother. Again, very clever. Then Keith returns home from a date and we get the idea that it's quite late at night. Maybe he expected that she would be in bed by then? Anyway, Veronica promises to be good and try harder to accept Rebecca - she's not as good at keeping promises as her father, is she?



I'm not gonna paste the whole scene, but just to be forewarned, there is sooo much goodness to unwrap here!

"Did you know she was still married?"
"I did. I'm still married, Veronica."
- Keith & Veronica Mars

"What were you thinking, Veronica? I'm your father. What made you think you had the right to do something like this?"
"What are you talking about, have the right? This-this is what we do. This is how we survive. I was trying to protect you."
"Protect me? I'm an adult, Veronica!"
"You…have let her into our life like it's no big deal!"
"Oh, it's a big deal. It's a huge deal. Makes me feel good about myself. Wanted in a way that I haven't in a long time. It makes me wake up with a smile on my face. And we didn't ignore your feelings. We tried to make you feel comfortable, but you chose to be snotty."
"Mom is still out there somewhere. Do you even care if she ever comes back?"
"You didn't care until I started dating. You've been hard on your mom for months."
"You can find anybody! If she were a criminal, you'd make a couple grand tracking her down and you'd have her back in a week."
"Well, maybe I don't care to find her. Have you ever considered that?"
- Keith & Veronica Mars

Also, shout out to Bell and Colantoni for making this fight so believable that it made me feel it in my very bones. Just incredible.

Quick two cents (I know I haven't spoken much about the Troy/car plot but you can't be that surprised at this point), Troy putting that thingymagig on the dog's collar was VM level clever, good for him!

Earlier I've spoken of the differences in how the Kanes and Mars' parent their children - here we see a difference in the teenage Veronica and the mature adult Keith, when he gives her a choice on whether to read Troy's file or not. Especially since he's clearly read it himself and must have fought against his fatherly instincts to go after the drug dealing asshat.



"Your being a good father isn't really something I can bitch about to my girlfriends over margaritas." - Rebecca James

He really is a great dad, isn't he? But at the same time without being too 'TV' and perfect. Like, he has his flaws and he feels real, but still he's the dad most viewers wishes they had. Don't get me wrong, I love my dad, but I would've given a lot to have the kind of relationship Veronica has with Keith with my dad. While you could argue that them being alone for the past year made them closer, I'm quite certain they always were. However the only evidence of that I have is Veronica's dreamy dream from Not Pictured :D

Anyway, Keith gives up a woman that he said earlier in the episode made him really happy (get your mind out of the gutter, that's not what I meant!) just because his daughter isn't ready for the change; that's pretty amazing. We get a bit of payoff for this sacrifice later, when Veronica acts much more mature when Keith starts dating Alicia Fennell.



"I'm just glad we weren't dating when you were kicked out of those two schools for drug possession and trafficking. My lips would've fallen off." - Veronica Mars

And the final penny drops. FINALLY (if you're me). Veronica confronts Troy with the information from the file Keith gave her, but he doesn't back down easily. Here's my question; based on the look on her face right after he walks away, do you think she felt slightly bad (before discovering the truth in a scene we didn't see) or do you think she held on to her belief. Had she already spoken with Shauna at this point or was that also in the scene they didn't show us? Bell's acting is always great, of course, but I just have a hard time reading exactly what she's saying in that moment - guilt or just being upset that she was hoodwinked by some boy?

Again, Veronica shelves her personal issues in order to work the case as she heads to the gym to trick the trainer dude. That is another clever scene, with her stealthily taking his photo and getting it to the border patrol.



"Ever notice how everything you make just…tends to lean a little to the left?" - Keith Mars

This is such a nice, quiet, wholesome moment to take the edge off the loud fight from earlier. There is practically no need for words - not that many, at least - as Veronica makes it clear that she understands her role in all this and she gets across that, while she's sorry for hurting him, she's also not all that sorry that Rebecca is gone. When it comes to subtetly, the Mars do it very well, throughout the show.



Troy Vandergraff is gone! Good riddance, dude! :D

Unfortunately, as clever as Vee's plan with the phones was, it won't do nothing if she can't pick up her damn phone! Poor girl is not gonna be happy when she finally listens to that voicemail and realizes what she missed out on. However, it's still a favorite scene of mine.

I've never felt more kinship with Vee than seeing her just lying on her bed, not sleeping but listening to music. I do that, like, 2 hours every other night just before I go to bed myself. It's a nice place for this to end :)



Final rating - 8/10
It's not a bad episode but it suffers from too much Vandergraff, unfortunately. The rest of it is great though!

Ranking
  • The Wrath of Con - 9
  • Pilot - 8.5
  • Meet John Smith - 8
  • You Think You Know Somebody - 8
  • Credit Where Credit's Due - 7.5
 
Taake
Taake
So... you love Troy? Crazy TroVee shipper? Am I getting that right? :p good use of an N*sync GIF
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