As promised, I used up pretty much every spare moment I had over this weekend taking in the complete first season of Veronica Mars. After watching the first DVD (first four episodes of the season), I have to admit that I wasn’t that crazy about how things started, or at least I wasn’t nearly as into it as I was the second season. Some of that may be because I already knew what happened, but by the time I had finished the third DVD, I was hooked and couldn’t get enough. Even though I knew what was coming towards the end (spoiler alert: Aaron Echolls killed Lily), the final episode was very exciting. But why am I telling you guys (and girls) everything you already know? As we continue along this season with the yellow school bus that turned into a yellow submarine, we also must deal with Logan’s trial looming, and the possibility that the two of them may be connected.Veronica Mars may be the smartest soap opera ever created. Now before you all post on your Veronica Mars message boards and tell everybody there I suck and how dare I say such a thing, please at least finish this paragraph. Of course the show is much more than a soap opera, and I only compare it to one because of the way it has been able to handle the often conflicting love interests of so many of the main characters, work them in as determining factors in the story lines, build romances and breakups that break our hearts, yet still not have to depend on the status of any two individuals on the show being “together” to keep the fans happy. Bravo, writers, bravo.
Even though Lilly Kane was deceased, her interest in boys trumped all other discussions of love interests. That is not to say that what happened to the others wasn’t important, but since Veronica’s existence was often defined by the aftermath of Lilly’s death, and by extension the aftermath of Lilly’s promiscuity (although we obviously have to lay the blame on Aaron Echolls for most of it), I just don’t think it’s that big of a discussion. With Lilly at peace, Veronica takes center stage, and it’s her relationship with Duncan that is causing lots of problems. Although Duncan had Meg and Veronica had Logan, I don’t think you can blame Duncan and Veronica for getting back together. Their entire breakup was based largely on the fact that Duncan thought Veronica was his sister. When the paternity tests came back saying otherwise, how could people not understand why they wouldn’t want to try again? It’s like when your favorite sports team gets rid of the veteran because he badmouthed you, but you know you were always made for each other and they keep coming back. It hurts to see them with somebody else, that’s why everybody hated Jerry Reinsdorf until about a month ago.
Despite all of this, there are still lingering feelings of guilt over the whole thing, especially concerning Meg, the sole survivor of the bus crash and the girl who seemed a perfect fit for Duncan as Veronica fell for bad boy Logan. Ironically, it was Meg’s jealousy over the entire thing that kept Veronica from possibly falling to her death along with the other kids, but that doesn’t mean Duncan and Veronica don’t feel guilty about the whole thing. Duncan spent many days visiting Meg before Veronica ever found out, and now he is having dreams about Meg and Veronica. In the opening sequence, it is Meg the angel vs. Veronica the bad girl, and only Duncan can save Meg. From what, we don’t know, but she says only Duncan can do it. This leads Duncan to go to his room, where he is debating whether or not to open a letter addressed to Meg from Chris Talley of Seattle. Does he knowingly open a letter intended for somebody else (even though Meg’s sister gave him a bunch of her personal things), or does he open it and try to heal this subconscious wound? Duncan opts for the non mail fraud, Susanne Sommers method of healing and just leaves it alone.
As much fun as all that sounds, and despite devoting 500 words to it, Duncan’s dream was not really the main focus of the episode. But with all my newfound Mars knowledge, I’ll have to pontificate every now and then. No, the real issue with this episode was another part of the bus crash. The parents of one of the victims, Marcos Oliveres, were being harassed by somebody, and not in the funny, leaving bags of flaming dog shit on the porch type of harassment. This was real torturous stuff like leaving small toy buses around their house as well as leaving fake messages on their answering machine. While the Oliveres family isn’t sure who is doing it, they happen to be the only family of bus crash victims who are suing the school district instead of taking a settlement. They believe the school district is harassing them and wants Keith Mars to get the proof.
While her father was busy with that case, Veronica was busy helping Logan. He had asked her to investigate the man who said he witnessed what happened on the bridge when Logan was found beaten and Felix was found dead. Veronica discovered that the doctor had once been reprimanded for performing an illegal procedure on somebody, and although we can’t quite be sure if the investigation into this illicit tummy tuck or rogue face-lift would lead anywhere, Veronica and Logan decide to find out.
When Veronica and Logan get to the home of one Danny Boyd, they are kind of surprised at what they see. It’s not, in fact, the home of some guy who decided to throw a Botox party for his wife on the cheap, but instead a run-down bungalow, and the biggest surprise was that there was no car resting on cinder blocks in the front lawn. The place looks like it may be trouble, but Veronica tells Logan to stay behind anyway. As she gets to the door, Danny Boyd answers and Veronica says she just wants to ask a few questions because she is thinking of plastic surgery herself. Danny agrees to answer her questions about the doctor, but not before telling Veronica that she doesn’t need any plastic surgery, except for maybe the obvious, which is a boob job. Man, the producers like making Veronica has small boobs joke almost as much as I like comparing Logan’s head to a penis. Why do you think that is?
Danny decides to take her in the back, and at this point, you know there is going to be trouble. Veronica is a tough girl and has her taser and everything, but shouldn’t she have been tipped off when she goes in the back, navigates through a maze of doors and pit bulls, and finds herself in an underground bar? I mean, let’s be honest, as soon as the guy said that he didn’t care if she was eighteen or not, she probably should have left, right? We already know that the doctor is known to frequent a cigar store that is supposedly a front for illegal activity. Just exactly what is she hoping to find that would be so worthwhile? Whatever Veronica was hoping to find back there, it probably wasn’t the River Styx, the bar of the Fitzpatricks, Neptune’s first family of crime.
Show me yours, I’ll show you mine.
Right away, things begin to go south. Veronica used a fake name, but one of the girls there recognized her from school, and mentioned that she was the daughter of Keith Mars, current PI, former sheriff, and somebody who probably wasn’t on the same side as the Fitzpatricks in many instances. Veronica does discover that the Dr. Griffith is like a “friend of the family” to the Fitzpatricks, which probably means that he owes them a gambling debt of some sort, and is paying them off with favors, like sewing together Danny Boyd with 45 stitches when he was nearly gutted in a bar fight. That’s really all the information that she needs, but the Fitzpatricks want to know the real reason why she was there, and even though the answer is really “I want to know about plastic surgery,” that isn’t going to be good enough.
At these moments, we are used to Veronica using her stun gun on her assailant. She tries to do that, but when she is running away, Liam Fitzpatrick is able to trip her up. He slams her on the top of a pool table, and is about to tattoo a clover to her face, because, you know, he’s Irish and you wouldn’t want him to confuse anybody with purple horseshoes or yellow moons. Since trying to talk her way out of things didn’t work, it was going to take a miracle for her to be saved. That miracle, as it turns out, was Logan. Logan is a tough guy, but not even he would be able to take down a bunch of Fitzpatricks. With that one dude who was willing to be stitched up 45 times and not think twice about the hospital (wouldn’t they just use staples at that point?), it’s not likely that Logan and his frosted hair were going to put the fear of god into them. Logan did have a gun, however, and that seemed to do the trick and Logan and Veronica made their great escape.
My, what big eyes you have!
As you can imagine, Veronica was pretty shook up about the whole ordeal. She’s used to life threatening experiences more often than 99% of the rest of the population, but other than being locked up in a refrigerator and set on fire by Aaron Echolls, she hasn’t been through much worse. And as upsetting as almost getting a tattoo of a clover on her face was, it was even worse thinking that Logan had a gun. He said it wasn’t loaded, and perhaps that would make a difference if you weren’t pointing it at criminals, but having a gun is only worth anything if you are willing to use it, and that scares the shit out of Veronica. To complicate matters, she can’t really talk to her boyfriend about it, and she definitely can’t talk to her dad, who has already had enough problems with her getting into trouble working on cases. No, the only thing she can do is pretend like nothing happened and agree to help him out with the Oliveres case by interviewing some students at school.
Veronica is prone to conspiracy theories, and this one fits the bill. The easy story is that the intimidation is coming from the school district, and recently, they found an MP3 player with a recording of Marcos’ voice attached to his mother’s car, set to repeat and play through the radio. As it turns out the MP3 player was bought on a school district account. Plus, if the suit goes through, there will be nothing left to do except cut back on school programs. Things like sports, band, the theater may all get cut, which would seem to mean there would be lots of people who wanted to intimidate the Oliveres family, but the problem with that is that there doesn’t seem to be anybody that remembers that Marcos even existed. It isn’t until Veronica asks Mac, her resident computer expert and go-to girl for questions surrounding everything from suspicious purity test scores to encrypted files on your comatose friend’s laptop, for help determining the origin of the recordings on the MP3 player before Veronica gets anywhere.
Almost immediately, Mac recognizes the voice as Captain Crunk. While that may sound like a member of Little John’s posse, or the name of Ludacris’ new breakfast cereal, it is actually the name of one half of a pirate radio show run by Neptune students. Captain Crunk and Imitation Crab (my favorite salad topping at Gelsons!) broadcast “Ahoy Mateys” (get it, it’s like Pirate Radio, recursively) every Thursday, where they spend their time making fun of other Neptune High Students. PCH or 09er, Captain Crunk lets everybody have it. In order to get answers, Veronica decides to track down the signal later that night.
Even though Veronica risked her life for Logan, young master Echolls is growing a little impatient. You can that Logan is serious because his own safety is in danger. It’s one thing to play the bad ass when you are the richest kid in school, and the worst thing that can happen to you is you lose your parking space. It’s another thing entirely when you’re at the county lockup and you have the bottom bunk in a cell with Fisty McRapesalot. Logan needs help and he is desperate saying “Help me Mars Kanobi, you’re my only hope.” Veronica says she will get to work, but wouldn’t it have been much funnier if she said something like “May the soap on a rope be with you.Ã¢â‚¬? I know the point of the show is that Veronica is a bad ass, but since Logan has been saving her more often than she has been saving him, don’t you think he would eventually just get some expensive lawyers and hire some big Samoan to watch his back? If he goes to jail, it will be all his fault. You know, I can’t take pity on men of his kind, even though he might take it in the behind.
Logan’s worries about ending up a prison bitch notwithstanding, he is looking at the narrow picture. Veronica, however, knows that something bigger is happening. The real question is not why Dr. Griffith has come forward as a witness against Logan. The question should be why would a person who does favors for the Fitzpatricks come to the aid of a rival gang. Veronica sees Weevil and demands some answers of her own. If the Fitzpatricks are helping out Weevil’s gang, then they must be doing something to help out the Fitzpatricks, right?
It’s no secret that Weevil doesn’t like Logan and the feeling is entirely mutual, but the problem with having the Fitzpatricks helping out Weevil is that he truly doesn’t know what is going on. In fact, he seems to be losing control of at least part of his gang. Earlier in the day, some random kid he didn’t know asked Weevil for some 8-ball, apparently thinking his name was Michael Douglas and he was starring in a psychological thriller in the 80s. 8-ball is a synonym for cocaine that your parents read in an anti-drug pamphlet, not anything that any self respecting kid would call it in 2005, except perhaps for the ironic effect when describing what happened when you bumped into Paris Hilton in the bathroom of Bask. Weevil knows this, and immediately believes the kid is a rat, and tears open his shirt looking for a wire. He doesn’t find any, but the fact that the kid heard he get his coke from a Mexican biker worries Weevil, because as far as he knows, his gang doesn’t sell the stuff.
Weevil decides that he needs to get his people together for a little bit of a meeting of the minds, and starts asking some questions, like when did people decide it was OK to contact the Fitzpatricks and sell coke without his permission. Nobody was admitting to doing anything, but as the board meeting was letting out, one of the gang members came forward and stated that he doesn’t remember who called the cops the night Felix got killed. Weevil was hurt, so people went to take him home. Felix was calling the shots, but with his last bit of strength, Logan stabbed Felix and with uncanny accuracy considering that one wound killed him. Weevil is surprised because the gang member in question testified to the police that he saw the whole thing, although he swears he was simply repeating what the real eyewitnesses had said.
That night, Veronica and Mac do a little bit of triangulation in order to get a fix on where the Ahoy Mateys broadcast signal is coming from. When they reach their destination, it turns out to be Vice Principal Clemmons house, which means that his son, Butters, must be broadcasting the radio show. In order to make it seem absolutely natural that they are there, Veronica sort of gives the signal that Mac has the hots for Butters (maybe she actually does), and he takes them to the garage. When Vice Principal Clemmons knocks on the door, we hear Butters scream that it is “private basement time”, which means he probably got caught jerking off in the shower. Or maybe he got caught doing a pirate radio show in the shower, take your pick.
That blanket hides either a guerilla radio station, or one big game of Operation
Once inside, Veronica and Mac confirm that Butters is Imitation Crab, but he doesn’t have any idea who would have taken the voice recordings. Veronica speculated that his dad caught him broadcasting, and forced Butters to help him harass the Oliveres family in order to continue with the show. If you are buying the conspiracy side of the story, this might make sense, but that was not the case and Veronica decided to move on to the other part of the mystery surrounding Marcos, which is why did he stop doing the show. Butters seemed upset when they asked the question, and would only say that Marcos went away to summer camp, but when he came back, he was changed and didn’t want to do the show any more.
Since Butters was no help with the Oliveres case, it looks like Keith was going to have to have to make like Emilio Estevez and go on a stakeout while everybody was gone for bowling night or something (note, it might not have been bowling night, but the reason why they were gone doesn’t matter, so don’t bug me about it). He had explained to the Oliveres family that because of the radio show, Marcos might have a lot of enemies, but they still believed that it was the school district that was intimidating them, and they wanted Mars Investigations to get the proof. On his stakeout. Keith thinks that he finally got his man when a guy comes in, enters the security code to the house, and makes his way through the kitchen. The guy claims that he is a neighbor and that he keeps his beer in the Oliveres fridge so his wife doesn’t complain. Although the neighbor admitted that he wanted to expand his house, and made offers on the Oliveres property, Mr. Oliveres confirms that the neighbor does hide his beer at their house (maybe his neighbor needs some private basement time of his own to hide a kegerator a some beer nuts).
Just moments later, Keith finds that there is another toy school bus in the fish tank, and a note with the alarm code on the back of some Simon and Stern letterhead, the law firm that is handling the settlement case for the Neptune school district. You would think that this would make Keith Mars happy, but it does just the opposite. The matter is to be settled in court the next day, and when Keith arrives there, he says that Mr. Oliveres doesn’t want him to testify. The evidence from the night of Keith’s stakeout seemed a little too slam dunk to be true, and that was the case. Keith noticed when hi pulled the school bus from the fish tank, there was fish food inside. Either the person harassing the Oliveres had a thing for aquariums, or it was somebody inside the Oliveres house who planted that bus. It turns out Mr. Oliveres wanted his money so bad, that he was willing to fabricate evidence, but Keith wasn’t going to testify in defense of the Oliveres allegations knowing what he knows now.
Now just because Mr. Oliveres planted that last bit of evidence doesn’t mean he was responsible for all of the harassment. Planting that last bit of evidence was probably his response to the news that his son’s radio show might have put some reasonable doubt into his explanation of the events. As happens so often with the show, the actual reason is related to an entirely different set of circumstances. Veronica discovered that the camp Marcos went to in the summer that changed his attitudes and made him quit the show was a type of re-educational camp called SelfQuest (as Veronica said, not to be confused with the elf finding camp of a similar name) for parents who think there kids may be gay. The theory of places like these is that being gay is a choice and if you are given lots of stimulus and education about of the hetero lifestyle, you’ll stop your hedonistic sinning ways and have a happy normal life and your parents won’t be embarrassed or have to kick you out and tell their friends you’re an artist.
So, Marcos parents thought he was gay, but why did they have this thought? They asked Butters, but he was of no help. He kept on saying that Marcos was definitely not a “fairy” and more of a “playboy loving bootie hound”. Striking out with Butters, Veronica goes back to an e-mail that she received about Marcos during her first search. Only one person had replied about Marcos, saying he was very kind and a great person, but she didn’t want to go on because she had a jealous boyfriend. Veronica tracks the e-mail message down to a girl named Roxie, but she has no idea what Veronica is talking about. Then Roxie’s brother Ryan comes home, sees Veronica, and Veronica can tell by the look on his face (plus the blue-paisley accented vintage cowboy shirt) that it must have been him who had sent the e-mail.
Ryan finally lays everything out on the table. He listened to Captain Crunk, fell in love with him, became friends, and was trying to get him to take some batting practice for the other team. Marcos’ parents caught them while Ryan was giving him a back massage, and Marcos was shipped away. They weren’t sure if the camp de-gayed him enough (SelfQuest is no True Dedications, after all), so they made him do lots of macho manly stuff, including field trips to local sports teams, because making their son think about sweaty men in tight pants is surely going to set him straight! That’s right, Marcos would have never been on that bus if his parents were a little bit more open minded. It was Ryan who had been harassing the Oliveres family, and he was happy to hear from Veronica that his tactics had bothered them so much, because that is exactly the sort of feeling he was going for.
Perhaps I missed it, but I still couldn’t figure out what the school purchased MP3 player had to do with anything. Perhaps Roxie and Ryan’s mom or dad was on the school board? Before I start theorizing for three or four paragraphs how the mp3 player was important, there was the little matter of Logan, Weevil, and the Fitzpatricks. As I said before, Weevil was upset about the idea that there might be some other person calling the shots. He promised to find out what was going on with that witness and what happened on that bridge, and the first person he is going to ask is Logan. OK, he doesn’t so much ask Logan as he has a couple of his lackeys knock him out, tie him up in some warehouse, and play Russian roulette with his hands and his penis (not the one resting on his shoulders).
Lots of people criticize me for calling Logan an asshole, etc., and say that I don’t understand him. Well, I think Logan is an asshole, and I think that is exactly what the producers want Jason Dohring to play. Any time the character requires true emotion, Mr. Dohring pulls it off very well, whether it be the hurt Logan feels at the loss of his mother, or the fear Logan feels as he anticipates a bullet going right through his hand. Two masked men were asking Logan about what happened on the bridge, and although Logan told Veronica he lied to the police when he said he didn’t remember anything, Logan had nothing to give up to his abductors, even when they loaded the revolver, gave the chamber a spin, and fired it into his hand twice. By the time, they were aiming it at his crotch; it looked like Logan was going to piss himself.
I said talk to the hand, not shoot it off.
This wasn’t quite like a Russian roulette scene from 24, but like I said, you could feel the fear Logan had as he was lying there helpless. There would be nobody to come to his aid and threaten to call 911 if they didn’t stop like he had done for Veronica earlier. Logan’s captors didn’t kill him, but they dump him out on a remote beach. Although one of them said that it looked like Logan wet himself, he wasn’t so scared that he was paralyzed, and had the presence of mind to grab the cell phone from the floor of the van as they threw him out. It only took one little *69 (or look at the recent calls, natch) to figure out who was at the other end. When he was captured, the people who were torturing him were making phone calls, checking in with somebody on what they should do. We all suspected that it was Weevil, and after his assailants had sped away, Logan’s call does, in fact reach Weevil. Logan promises to get Weevil back, saying that he doesn’t even know what he just started.
The escalation between Weevil and Logan is expected, but what of the soap opera that started it all? At the beginning, Duncan dreamed as if he was given a choice between Veronica and Meg. At the end, it looked like he made his choice. He was in bed with a blonde, and it looked like he and Veronica were back to their happy selves after their long week, although to be honest, it was Veronica who had enough of a week to last them both, but they were back in each others arms, and that was the important part, right? Well, it would have been except that Duncan was dreaming again, and in his dream, the choice he made was Meg. She was sleeping with Duncan, and is once again saying that he is the only one that can save her. Duncan is no stranger to hallucinations, although the worst cases were when he was taking anti-depressants after Lilly’s death and then tried to go cold turkey off of them. The dream is enough to convince him to take another look at that letter from that person in Seattle. He opens it, reads what’s inside, is very shocked, and then we fade out, forcing us to speculate for another week what is going to happen.
Overall, I thought this episode was great, mainly because it introduced us to several new little conspiracy twists involving the bus. Even though the school board district blackmail thing didn’t come through, the Fitzpatrick involvement is big news. When Veronica was first looking at to who might have wanted to have the bus crashed, before she knew the connection between Curly Moran and Aaron Echolls, Weevil sort of exonerated the Fitzpatricks involvement in anything by saying that they would have been more direct if the bus crash was meant as retribution for something. Could it be possible that Weevil knows that the Fitzpatricks were involved, but he didn’t say anything if they promised to get Logan in jail? Stranger things have happened on this show. As for Duncan’s dreams, I am not sure what to make of them. I just watched Season 1, but couldn’t think of any time Chris Talley was mentioned, although I don’t believe that Duncan’s dreaming of Meg just after he found out her parents lock up their daughters (or at least the youngest daughter) for being bad is a coincidence.
What did you think of the episode? Is Weevil working with the Fitzpatricks? What was in that letter to Meg?