Veronica Mars: Meet John Smith

Lianne's friend: "You're all she cares about."
Veronica: "Mark me down as skeptical."

Tonight's theme was parents, and how they communicate (or not) with their children.

The Kanes are sucky parents. The key scenes about the Kanes showed Jake and Celeste on either side of a long table, with Duncan literally stuck alone in the middle. They talked about him as if he wasn't there, and showed zero affection toward him. Duncan talked pointedly about how they heartlessly gotten rid of his dog Molly because she peed on the flower beds. Duncan, emotionally overwrought and medicated for it, identified with Molly. He has no confidence that his parents will continue to love him now that he's peeing on the flowers, so to speak.

Contrast this with Keith Mars as well as Justin's trans father. Justin's father, completely closed off from her son, went way out of her way, over and over, just to spend a minute or two with him. Right after one of the Kane dinner scenes, we saw Keith and Veronica eating companionably together at a much smaller table than the Kanes, communicating and sharing an obviously strong bond. We also saw them renting movies together, with Veronica comfortably making fun of Keith's choices. Keith even started to shine up to the school counselor, although that might not be just for Veronica's sake.

Duncan's hallucination about Lilly, complete with her fatal head wound, was probably the most interesting scene in this episode. Lilly told Duncan that the explanation for her murder didn't make sense, that this was why Duncan was so upset and conflicted, and that the truth would come out. Did this imply that Duncan wasn't the one who killed her?

What did this episode tell us about Veronica? She comes off as ultra adult, but in fact, she is still a troubled girl; her guidance counselor told Keith that Veronica was having problems in school. And Veronica is incredibly determined. She threw herself into the project of finding someone named John Smith, and she actually succeeded. No small feat.


I like Veronica tremendously as a character, but I don't like her romantic choices. Veronica said several suggestive things to Troy, and then froze up when he made a move. Which I assumed meant that she was more upset about the rape than she realized... or that the one she really wanted was Duncan. Veronica and Duncan were having sexy dreams about each other. He threw himself off the bleachers because he saw her kissing Troy. She dropped everything to rush Duncan to the hospital. Ergo, they are still hung up on each other. I don't know what she sees in him, though. Ditto Troy.

Bits and pieces:

— The coda about Veronica's mother implied that Lianne was more like the Kanes as far as parenting was concerned.

— Keith was pursuing Ms. James, the guidance counselor. I like Ms. James, the guidance counselor. "Sheriff Mars, you always had my vote."

— Veronica: "Ninety miles." Justin: "What's ninety miles?" Veronica: "It's the distance your dad travels every week to see you for a few seconds." Which of course drove home the point, pun intended, that Lianne Mars has done nothing to stay in touch with Veronica.

— Mileage-wise, Neptune must be south of Los Angeles.

Quotes:

Guy: "What was that, a triple klutz?"

Veronica: "Remember, I'm the one in charge, and you'll do what I say."
Wallace: "You should have seen her before charm school."

Duncan: "Let it be, Logan."
Logan: "Okay, nowhere man. You be the fool on the hill."
Someone on the writing staff must be a Beatles fan.

Logan (as Veronica is dragging Justin into the girls' room): "That girl is seriously wack."

Veronica: "Hey, would you do me a favor?"
Wallace: "Why did all the hair on the back of my neck just stick up?"
He protests a lot, but Wallace enjoys being Veronica's confidant and accomplice, I can tell.

Veronica: "I'd invite you over, but it's a school night and my dad owns a handgun."

Very good. Three out of four stars,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Kanes just seem cold and distant. They really don´t care about Duncan at all. And Duncan obviously still loves Veronica.
Another great episode.

sunbunny said...

Bones did something similar with the transgender parent thing (although probably after this). I think that would be just about the hardest thing in the world for a child. I have a friend who's in transition, but I hadn't known her that long before I had to switch pronouns. A parent, someone you've known all your life making that decision must just be crazy difficult. Good for Justin on reaching out.

drnanamom said...

Thanks for the review! Why did it take me so long to watch this show? I am thoroughly enjoying it and your reviews make it so much for fun, Billie. I can see what Veronica saw in Duncan before Lily's murder. She was a bit vapid and he was a very rich, cool kid and her best friend's brother. I'm with you now though. Veronica is kick-ass and he is just a tortured soul. Some girls go for that crap though. I'm glad she isn't with him anymore. I think Troy offered her a replay of the past where she thought she was happy. High school is a bitch. I guess you get through it any way you can.

Billie Doux said...

Doc is a Veronica Mars convert! Woo hoo!

We're doing a rewatch right now in preparation for the movie in March.

drnanamom said...

Everyone's excitement about the movie was partly why I started to watch. I wasn't clued into the rewatch but am having a blast watching as many episodes as I can fit in over the Christmas break while I make some prezzies.

ChrisB said...

I thought the Justin storyline was fantastic. Would Veronica have been so keen, spent so much money, to help a nebbishy kid if her mom were still around? Maybe, but I think she relates to Justin and his loss. Is it a coincidence that she decides to drive to Arizona just at Justin finds out the truth?

Interestingly, both Veronica's and Justin's parents who have stayed are lying to their kids. My guess is that each is trying to protect his or her child; yet, inevitably, the truth emerges. Would Justin's shock and pain been so extreme if he had known all along? Again, maybe.

Which, of course, leads us to the mystery that is Mrs. Mars. Will the truth have the same effect on Veronica? My guess is that it will.

The writing in this series is among the best I have seen in a long time. The stories are tightly woven, with themes that resonate along all class and gender lines. Great job and all kudos to the writing room.