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Last night was the premiere of Veronica Mars and there is really a lot of pressure on the show. Although the critics love it and the fans are willing to go to great lengths in order to convince other people just how much they love it, enthusiasm for a show does not always translate into ratings. While it was on UPN, the quirky adventures of our favorite cute as a button private investigator could afford to languish in the ratings. Now on a new network, Veronica Mars is going to have to hold it’s own in the ratings wars, and the network has not yet committed to a full season. All of this means little to the people who have come to love Veronica Mars and half a season is better than none, no? There were a lot of questions left over from last season, and we got a lot of answers, but in true Veronica Mars form, they introduced just a few more twists to get us thinking again.Veronica Mars the show is off to a fresh start on a new network, but Veronica Mars the girl, or young lady rather, is about to get a fresh start at a new school. Her first goal? Trying not to piss anybody off. Yeah, good luck with that Veronica. Veronica has many qualities, but patience for idiots is not one of them. One of the reasons I think Veronica hated high school so much was that she was never challenged academically, and if her first class, Criminology 101 natch, is any indication, things aren’t going to get any more difficult. Her professor even encourages them to skip class, just not his. But not that he has to worry. With his laid-back style and neatly shorn goatee, all of the ladies in the class are swooning.
Veronica’s first assignment was an interesting one. Instead of shocking everybody with a “lecture” Professor Landry decides to have the class play a murder mystery. I shit you not. It wasn’t like he got out a couple of boxes of Clue, but it was close. “Murder on the Riverboat Queen” is a murder mystery. The TA of the class Timothy Foyle, also known as Lucky to his friends. OK, he might not be known as Lucky to his friends, but they literally had the same guy who played Lucky, the batshit crazy, gun wielding janitor last year, play Foyle, and thought that some longer hair, a patchy beard, and some glasses would throw us off.
Mr. Foyle handed out cards to the students in the class. Some people were passengers, some were murderers, and the people who didn’t get a card were Pinkerton’s, who were like Magnum PI before Ferraris and Tom Selleck were an item. Everybody is hard at work except for Veronica. The TA sees that she is not working, and believes that her lack of participation signifies that the class is too hard. When Veronica tells him that she already knew the answer, the TA is amazed, and calls the teacher. Now, the record for solving the crime was sixteen minutes, and Foyle held that record, and now Veronica solved the puzzle without getting out of her chair!
She guessed that it was the (not really) blind fiddle player Rutherford Styles, and she was correct, but how did she get the answer? Google of course! She looked up “Murder on the Riverboat Queen”, found out it was a murder in a box game developed in the late eighties, looked at the fan message boards, and found the answers. Were the writers giving a shout out to message boards that post spoilers? Perhaps, but it wasn’t very flattering. Veronica said that she ignored the spoiler warnings and called it “kind of douchebaggy”. Hey, I kind of agree.
Oh, you’re a rascal Veronica Mars!
So, the first segment of the show was pretty good, a great way to get people to know Veronica’s personality as well as her acerbic wit. The whole “What did you do for the extra ten minutes?” line after she beat Foyle’s record was CLASSIC. And then I saw the opening credits. Listen, I never really liked that opening song. To me, it was annoying and a little too high-pitched, but it was catchy! I hated it, but would always have it in my head. I was able to sing along, even when I was playing it at 4X speed in the DVD player. The song is the same, but it’s like they gave the band some heroin, and then some cocaine, and told them to play the song. And what’s with the editing at the beginning? Just because your post production company tells you they got a new version of Avid or an upgrade to FinalCut Pro doesn’t mean you are forced to change the titles! It was probably the work of some stupid network focus group and the only thing I can say to that is I hope they get impaled by a tree while on the street luge or something.
After the intro, we get our first Logan Echolls sighting of the year! I thought that using an exclamation point might actually make me excited! I am obligated to say that I don’t see what she sees in him, but then again, if smart women had good taste in guys, I would get less play than G-Unit in a dentist’s waiting room. So thank you ladies for dating schmucks and someday we’ll call you back. No, really! For real this time!
I guess Logan isn’t so bad for Veronica when she is the only thing on his mind. Now that he is out of high school and his abusive father was dead, it seemed like Logan was willing to commit himself to his relationship with her instead of worrying about what other people would say. Besides, the only one of Logan’s friends that is attending Hearst is Dick Casablancas, and Dick blames Logan for his brother’s suicide. It’s quite fair of Dick, and you can tell it affects Logan, but Dick is scum of the earth, so why would you care for his opinion unless you were trying to figure what brand of paint thinner is best to huff or the best way to clean bong water out of your Playstation?
To this point, the episode was pretty straightforward, but then we are introduced to Keith Mars, Veronica’s father and star PI of Neptune, CA. Keith is cleaning his gun when he is interrupted by one Vinny Van Lowe, the sleazier, but just as busy second PI in Neptune. Vinny asks Keith if he wants to help him with a case, but Keith looks really busy, says “No thank you” and heads back to his apartment where he meets Veronica.
One of the strange things that happened at the end of last season was watching Veronica waiting for her father at the airport. We knew that Kendall Casablancas, played by the delectable Charisma Carpenter, met him with a bag full of money. Veronica just received some missing flash memory form her camera that she lost at the hotel in New York, and we learn that she took three days worth of self-portraits before her dad started showing up in the picture?
What did Keith do that required three days? At this point, I’m not sure, but we are told that he is going on another trip, and he’s put their dog Backup in charge. Why not Veronica? Well, Keith still doesn’t like that Echolls boy anymore, and even though Veronica says her dad should think about the bitch Backup’s been seeing, Keith doesn’t budge.
I am sure that some of you folks are wondering what happened to the rest of Veronica’s Scooby gang. For example, what about Wallace? He was going to pledge his undying love for Jackie, but when he found out she had a kid, it looks like he didn’t want the drama if it wasn’t his baby mamma. Wallace is going to Hearst, and his roommate is just moving in. I know this sounds strange to some people, but if classes have already started, why is it taking this guy so long to move in?
Wallace’s roommate is Stosh, but everybody just calls him Piz. You can tell by his dialogue that he is already Scooby Gang adjacent. What do I mean by that? Well, if you notice, anybody who is going to be in Veronica’s circle regularly has to have a certain style of delivery, be able to handle plenty of obscure literary references, and come up with pop culture witticisms on the fly. Piz seems to have all of these traits, and he just so happens to be the person to get Veronica started on her first post-high school mystery.
Basically, everything Piz owns was stolen. Well, almost everything. The thieves weren’t able to take his car and he still has the clothes that were on his back. Piz, who hails from Oregon, was kind of a dumbass as he actually left his car unlocked, but he says that he has an excuse. A girl from the Hearst Welcome Wagon offered to watch his stuff. She was a little heavy set, but not having any leftover pizza in the car, he decided it was safe. Luckily for Piz, he knows Wallace, and if you are a friend of Wallace, you are usually a friend of Veronica Mars. Veronica agrees to take on the case, although she didn’t give him any kind of friends and family discount. $500? I guess she has to make up some of the money somehow.
The first thing Veronica does is talk to their RA in order to get an idea where she can find this Hearst Welcome Wagon and the first thing she learns is the meaning of frack. No, really, the RA was a huge BSG geek and said “frack” and Veronica had no clue what he was talking about. I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised. While Veronica is surely the love of many Internet geeks, I don’t know if I would call her a geek myself. She’s smart, and resourceful, and knows how to place a bug just about anywhere, but what are her obsessions? I guess you cold say photography, but isn’t the lens more of an instrument for her investigation and not really a labor of love? Angst isn’t a substitute for personality, is it?
Well, all of those things can be discussed another time. For now, why don’t we catch up with another one of our favorite characters, Mac. It was so sad to see her relationship go from so good to so bad so quickly. Before, she was the cutest couple with Cassidy, but then we find out that he was multiple murderer. Mac was already shy about sex and needless to say finding out her boyfriend blew up people for fun did not do anything to help the libido.
Veronica sees Mac and they both take in a student rally. Last year, a number of girls were raped and had their heads shaved. It looks like the person has not been caught because there are a few more girls with shaved heads. Now, there can be no college protests without some form of counter protest. This particular counter protest featured a guy in a union jack Speedo and ski mask running on stage and humping a blow up doll in a French maid outfit to the tune of “Can’t Touch This”, but before you could say “Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt Him” the rabble rouser was knocked off the stage, given a knee to the testicles, and revealed to the world who he really was. Actually, the song was “Rump Shaker” by Wreckx-N-Effect, but I have wanted to use that MC Hammer joke for a while, so let’s all pretend shall we?
So the jerk was…drum roll please…..Dick Casablancas! Oy. I can’t stand Dick Casablancas. I guess his character serves a purpose, but isn’t Hearst supposed to be an elite school? How did dumbass Dick get in? Well, his mom works for the Governator, so being admitted was no problem. However, this still raises a few questions. For starters, his dad is off in the Cayman’s enjoying the money he bilked in his real-estate company. Is there any reason for him to leave that life of drunkenness and spring break to go to college? And even if something kicked into him and he really appreciated higher learning, wouldn’t you imagine that he would go for the easy tail and free porn at UCSD? I know that Dick is a popular character, and as assholes go, he is a great one, but now that everybody is in college, isn’t this a perfect time to introduce new assholes? He’s not even friends with Logan anymore, so what is his purpose?
As much as I want to rail on Dick, it appears that the women of Hearst aren’t falling for his shtick, so I’m not going to let it bother me. It’s time to talk about Keith. The whole thing about his disappearance was shrouded in mystery, but pieces started to fill in. Keith had to leave because he needed to pick up Cormac Fitzpatrick. For those of you new to the series, the Fitzpatricks are the evil Irish crime family that controls a lot of the organized crime in Neptune. Why would Keith help the Fitzpatricks? Well, he wasn’t helping the Fitzpatricks; he was helping Kendall Casablancas.
For a more detailed account, check my recap from last year, but here is the gist of what is went down. Kendall’s real name is Priscilla Banks, and as Priscilla Banks, she and Cormac Fitzpatrick, who is the older brother of the family crime boss Liam, worked long con operations. At some point, Priscilla did time for Cormac because California’s three strikes law would have kept him in jail for life. This made her a friend of the family, and like Pedro, they offered her protection.
Also remember last year that Beaver started that bogus real estate company that hedged on incorporation and made millions, he needed somebody who was over eighteen and needed money. With Beaver’s death, Kendall got all of those millions. Her only problem was that Liam and some of the other Fitzpatricks thought that they were entitled to a cut. Keith disappeared for three days because all of that money in Kendall’s suitcase was an incentive to help her get the hell out of Dodge. Then came the hard part: getting Cormac out of Dodge was well. Seems like a great plan, and if these two were in love, what’s so bad about them getting together? Well, for one, Liam Fitzpatrick might find out and torture you for information on where to find the lovebirds.
Oh, and while I’m on the subject of lovebirds, let’s not forget Logan and Veronica. I always wondered what girls saw in him other than the money and that sexy phallic tete of his. And even if you are a huge Logan fan, you have to admit it takes people a while to warm up to him. Anyway, Logan has never had a problem warming up the ladies, and after a little tussle in the sack with Veronica, she even mentions that he should go pro at that thing they do. Perhaps she was talking about a back rub, but I have a feeling that it was something a little bit more.
After sex, Veronica went to get a glass of water, and it confused me a little bit. Did that mean that Veronica…swallowed? I mean, don’t you usually go for a toothbrush or some Scope if it bothers you that much? Does that means she is on the pill or something? But don’t most women take it in the morning? Is she still taking antibiotics for the Chlamydia? I thought she said her course of treatment was over. Maybe I’m just reading into it too much.
Logan gets a call on his phone and goes to answer, and it’s Keith on the other end. Veronica had her calls forwarded from her house to Logan’s hotel so she could sleep at Logan’s without him knowing. I’m not sure why she didn’t just forward it to her cell phone, but whatever. As much as Veronica tries to hide things from her dad, he usually finds out in due time.
As dangerous as the job is for Keith, Kendall paid him well and he was able to use the money to by Veronica a new car. Bad news? It’s not a convertible. Good news? It’s not a Le Baron. And what kind of car would a girl named mars get? A Saturn of course! Piz loves the irony. A Saturn for a girl named Mars, living in the town of Neptune! See, he is totally Scooby Gang, and yet, he is still not as quick as Veronica, who says “Move your anus, Mercury’s Rising.”
Veronica had taken Piz to the sheriff’s office because it turns out that Piz was not the only victim of Hearst Welcome Wagon shenanigans. After convincing deputy Sachs to give her the names of the others, she goes about on some interviews. Long story short? No new leads, but she did happen upon a flyer for a performance by the band “The Unwashed”. The logo for the band had been drawn on the dirty windows of Piz’s car. What everybody had assumed to be some post modern graffiti was actually just an advertisement for the band, but if somebody promoting that band had recognized a slightly portly blonde woman unloading things from said dirty car, maybe he or she could be of some help.
Since Veronica doesn’t want to go to this concert alone, she decides to recruit Mac, but she isn’t in her dorm room. Instead, we meet Mac’s roommate, Parker, who is so free of sexual inhibitions she is probably on Al Goldstein’s speed dial. Mac is ambivalent towards Parker, but Parker LOVES Mac. It would be almost enough to impress Veronica if she wasn’t so distracted by Parker taking off her clothes in front of her. Mac comes back, Veronica invites her to the concert, and Parker (after changing clothes again) invites herself along.
Once at the concert, the girls meet up with Wallace and Piz. Although the music really doesn’t do much for any of them, Veronica gets in between sets and asks if people heard about the robbery to come find her group. Once again, Veronica Mars comes through. Three kids, who looked about twelve years old, said that they saw something. They had been on campus to see if any girls were going to sunbathe topless in the quad, but noticed the blonde girl, except they said that she was wearing a fat suit and actually had a slamming body. Very good information, but was anybody else distracted by the wicked Boston accent the one guy had?
Our second Dick Casablancas sighting actually made him look like an even bigger asshole, if you can imagine that. He went knocking on Parker’s door, hoping to hook up, but only Mac was home. Dick was surprised to see her, but instead of just letting things go, he told Mac that his brother never cared about her. Mac was just as surprised to see him, but had no response to what he had to say. Luckily the RA woke up and Dick was chased out of the dorm, but the damage was done. Maybe I am getting soft, but can’t poor Mac find a little bit of happiness? I know I love this show because they never take the easy way out, but now that I have invested in these characters, I can’t help but get worked up.
Of all the things that Piz lost, the most prized of all those possessions was a vintage guitar. When that guitar popped up on craigslist, he joined Veronica at the house of the person selling it. When Piz arrived, he was wearing a new shirt. Veronica had given him a bunch of clothes that belonged to a person she knew that wouldn’t be needing them anymore. Immediately, I thought that person was Duncan Kane, but once I saw that the t-shirt was sleeveless, I knew it had to be a Logan Echolls special. But why wouldn’t he need those clothes anymore? I really shouldn’t be bothered by these details, but you know they will come up at a later date, so you have to take note. Can I sue the creators of Veronica Mars for making me manic? Can somebody look into that?
The guy who put the guitar on craigslist was not the thief, because he bought the item at a flea market, but he agreed to give the guitar back if they could get the $500 he spent on it back. Veronica’s first guess was to talk to one of the people who had been ripped off. She was a junior, which is strange because wouldn’t she know there wasn’t a Hearst Welcome Wagon, and she just so happened to be a blonde with a good body. Veronica got a picture of her to show to Piz, but he didn’t think it was her, and neither did the other people who had been ripped off.
Veronica didn’t get any farther on the case, but she did get another idea. One of the people she was talking to studied Criminology and talked about how great the mentoring program was. Using Mac to create a distraction, she got into the TA’s office to look at the mentoring records. She got a funny vibe from those three kids that came up to them at the concert, so if she got a look at their files, maybe it would point her into the right direction.
Later that night, Veronica is eating dinner with Logan, and she begins to ask him why he never shows up to class. Here I thought Logan was just going to sit on his dad’s money, and he is actually going to try and better himself? Good for him! He may actually have to start going to class, but that’s another story. Did anybody else get a sense that Veronica sort of wants her boyfriend to do something with his life? She already came to the realization that she was the type of girl who goes to college and still dates the guy from her hometown. Still, it could be worse. She could be dating Dick Casablancas.
The third Dick sighting was in the good court. He was hitting on this girl, and by Dick’s standards, she wasn’t all that. Dede was not too impressed with Dick and besides, she already had a boyfriend, and that boyfriend proceeded to return to his seat, find Dick there hitting on his girl, and beat the shit out of Dick. Logan came to his rescue using Veronica’s stun gun, and Dick was not very appreciative. He left the scene, probably to get himself reacquainted with some hand lotion and the Victoria’s Secret catalog.
Piz arrives on the scene, and this time he is wearing an argyle sweater. I told you it was Logan’s stuff! Even Logan recognized the shirt and complimented Piz for wearing it. He also noticed that Piz was not so subtly flirting with his girlfriend, which prompted Logan to not so subtly kiss Veronica as he left, just in case Piz said he needed a study partner.
Actually, Veronica called Piz because she solved the crime. Remember the guy who talked about his criminology mentoring and how great it was? Veronica noticed that he had a picture with a chubby chick. When she showed Piz the picture, he immediately recognized her as the Welcome Wagon girl. As for those three kids that came up to Veronica at the concert? That same guy mentored them all. Sure enough, Veronica shows up at his house with Deputy Sachs and all of the stuff is in the garage.
Good job Veronica Mars!
Veronica was happy with how things went down, but Piz was getting a little too close. It’s obvious that he likes her, but he made her a little uncomfortable at times, especially when he started asking whether Logan was her boyfriend. But while Veronica may be questioning her true love, we know one couple that is going to be happy together: Kendall and Cormac. Or, at least that’s what I thought.
Remember when Cormac said Kendall was a good judge of character? Well, he lied, or at least he made a liar out of her. After depositing Cormac to an undisclosed location to meet Kendall, Keith went outside to his car because he forgot something. Charisma Carpenter, by the way, was looking a little preggers to me, not that it takes away any of her appeal, but it might explain what happened next. As Keith was looking for his stuff in the car, he looked in the glove compartment and noticed his gun was missing. Then he noticed a Vincent Van Lowe Investigations pen, exactly the sort of pen that he uses when he is tracking somebody.
Did Vinny tip Liam off to Kendall’s location? Keith runs back to the motel, realizing something is wrong, but he is too late. He sees Cormac shooting Kendall twice, and gets away before Cormac can shoot him. He trips outside, but is able to find shelter behind a rock. It’s only a matter of time before Cormac comes out to chase after Keith, right? Actually, no. Cormac was in Desert Storm and trained in the desert of West Texas, so he knows all about the desert climate. It’s a cold night, and Keith won’t be able to survive. Since they had broken down earlier and had to be towed, it was not like Keith could just drive away. Now I assume Kendall drove there and he could hotwire her car, but I think there is going to be an intervention needed, I just don’t know who is going to come to the rescue.
I have no idea why they killed off Kendall, but if Charisma Carpenter is pregnant, maybe that’s why they wrote her off. As you may remember, she took time off from Angel for her first child. It’s really too bad, because she was a great character and did so well in the role. Or maybe she faked her death or something. I don’t know, I’m just so pissed off about it, I can barely write.
As confusing as that was, the next scene was even more so. Dick Casablancas came to Logan’s apartment. He looked like a mess, we already knew he had been kicked out of his housing, and he didn’t have any place to go. I will say that I appreciate Dick for realizing he has fucked up and I think he probably never dealt with the death of his brother very well. However, I can’t find any sympathy for him at all. He made so many people’s lives miserable, I was sort of glad to see life kicking his ass. Besides, he’s the type that will become an ungrateful asshole five minutes after he is back on his feet. And really, how am I supposed to have sympathy for Dick when Keith is out dying in the fucking desert?
But wait! There’s more! Veronica went out with Mac, and when she came back, she was really drunk. Veronica usually stays away from the booze because of that whole incident with the roofies and the rape, but Mac was there to take care of her, so it was OK. She would crash on Mac’s couch and all would be right once more, or at least that is what we thought.
When Veronica had picked up Mac, Parker was having sex with a companion. Veronica braved the noises because there were movie tickets inside, and everybody seemed happy. I bet Veronica wishes that she had a closer look at whoever was pouring the pork to Parker, because when they returned, they heard a scream. Parker’s head was shaved!
Wow, so there was a LOT in that episode. As a regular, I really liked it, but I think the whole Keith/Kendall/Cormac story line was way too dense. It confused me and almost every other die-hard fan of Veronica Mars that I know. If they are trying to get people to buy the second season on DVD, I think they’re doing great, but if they are trying to get a lot more viewers, I think they shouldn’t try and blow their mystery and plot twist wad too soon. I know The CW only ordered 13 episodes, but really show some restraint. Other than too much Dick Casablancas, I like the feel of this new season, and from the early ratings returns, it looks like the new network is helping a bit. Hopefully that means a full season of Veronica Mars.
What did you think of the episode? Is Dick ever going to change? Is Piz cool, or just a putz? Is this the end for Keith Mars?