Veronica Mars: Welcome Wagon

Mac: "It's like we never left Neptune High."
Veronica: "It's exactly like we never left Neptune High."

Very, very busy episode. But it wasn't overwhelmingly dense, like "Normal is the Watchword." I suspect it was intended to be more new-viewer friendly, and it probably succeeded.

The discomfort and paranoia level at Hearst was much like Neptune High. (What a surprise.) Veronica solved her first mystery: the "Welcome Wagon" ripping off Wallace's new roommate, Piz. And she also solved Professor Landry's silly Murder on the Riverboat Queen in record time, making her rep pretty much instantaneously.

They've also brought back the unsolved rapes and head-shavings from last season's "The Rapes of Graff." There were two victims last season, a third at the rally, and Mac's exceptionally weird and uninhibited roommate Parker was the fourth. I was particularly amused (okay, disgusted) by Dick, masked and nearly naked, with a sex doll at the Take Back the Night rally. It's business as usual in Neptune.

Did Veronica see the rapist when she slipped into Mac and Parker's room for the tickets?

Keith was already in trouble, and possible mortal danger. (That was fast.) It appeared that Kendall paid Keith a lot of money to get her out of town, get new IDs, and pick up Cormac from prison. Cormac Fitzpatrick was mentioned last season as the man that Kendall did time for. Did he really kill her? (And with Keith's gun, no less?) We didn't see her body, which made me wonder.

Veronica and Logan are now sleeping together. That was new, and pretty cool. The Veronica Mars Powers That Be will undoubtedly break them up sometime soon, though, and I even suspect how they'll do it, since the seeds were in this episode.

Possible problem one. Logan gave Veronica his Neptune Grand room key, and a promise to be faithful. Good move, considering what happened with Kendall after the Alterna-Prom, and I think Logan is capable of being faithful to Veronica. But he's blowing off classes already, and school just started. He can't do that and still be Veronica's honey, because she's too serious about scholarship.

Possible problem two. Dick has just moved into Logan's suite, probably permanently. I knew Dick might melt down; I expected him to be seriously traumatized by Cassidy's death. Veronica can't stand Dick, but Logan feels a commitment to Dick as a friend, and won't be able to let him go. Conflict time.

Possible problem three. I wonder if Logan is going to emotionally implode at some point soon. Logan has endured even more trauma than Dick has, after all. And if Logan starts acting out, that could certainly be bad for their relationship.

Bits and pieces:

— Major casting changes. Jason Dohring moved up to well-deserved second billing. No more Duncan, and yay. No more Jackie, and no more Cassidy, what with him being dead and all. They added Tina Majorino (Mac) and Michael Muhney (Sheriff Lamb), Julie Gonzalo (was she Parker?) and Chris Lowell (Piz).

— I'm not sure how I feel about those new credits. They're too slick. They're too... orange. I miss the bouncier music and the pencil drawings, because it was fun trying to figure out what the drawings were, and what they meant.

— Veronica, Logan, Wallace, Mac, and Dick are all going to Hearst. Veronica is still living at home, so there will be much Keith. (Yay!) They didn't tell us, but I assume Veronica ended up at Hearst because she indeed lost the Kane scholarship. And because the show has to be set in Neptune, of course.

— Piz was actually rather cool and quippy, like the rest of the cast. (Except Dick.) Piz is in love with Veronica already.

— There were a couple of references to Veronica and Keith's graduation trip to New York, for which he was three days late. There was Sutcliffe Hotel, Spam-a-lot, Magnolia Bakery, the Empire State Building vs. the Chrysler Building. What did it mean? Probably nothing.

— Vinnie Van Lowe was back, on the wrong side this time (working for Liam Fitzpatrick). Darn that Vinnie.

— The ringleader of the Welcome Wagon scam and the junior league criminals was named Donald Fagin. (Check your cliff notes for Oliver Twist if you don't get the Fagin reference.) Fagin was also in one of Professor Landry's profiling classes.

— Mac was seeing a shrink about her post-Cassidy issues.

— Deputy Sachs was Veronica's arrest beard. She has someone in the Sheriff's office now, sort of.

— I kept thinking this episode was very long, until I realized it was the first VM I'd seen with actual commercials. That's what I get for discovering the show on DVD.

— In this season's hair report, Veronica went mildly wavy and season five Buffy. She also wore black fingernail polish, for that touch of Spike. Logan's hair was little longer, too. Looked good on him.

— Hair report addendum: teaching assistant Timothy Foyle appeared to be wearing a wig. (He also patronized Veronica twice, and acted like an incredible sexist. Obvious rape suspect red herring?) I thought Piz might be wearing a wig, too, although Dan thought Piz just had bad hair. I thought I'd mention it in light of the whole head-shaving plotline, in case the hair is a Clue.

— Addendum: I'm told that Timothy Foyle is being played by the same actor who played the unlucky Lucky the janitor, hence the wig.

Quotes:

Logan: "I really shouldn't have pushed for the Clint Eastwood marathon. Now I've ruined you. I didn't think it was possible to make you more butch. Stupid, stupid Logan."


Veronica: "College campus. All of your possessions. Where are you from, Brigadoon?"

Veronica: "Qu'est-ce que c'est, frak?"
Moe: "No Battlestar Galactica fans in the mix, I see?"
Me, me, me! My other favorite show.

Mac: (about Parker) "If college is a boy buffet, she's got two full plates and a purse full of boys wrapped in napkins."

Piz: "A Saturn for a Mars."
Veronica: "In Neptune. Yeah, the planets really aligned for this one. Now, move Uranus. Mercury's rising."
Okay, but I miss the LeBaron.

Mac: "Parker's out somewhere with The Unwashed. I'll tell her that the Needs Hosed Down dropped by."

Three out of four stars,

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

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very good but the more I think about it, this episode and the rest of season 3 is all about making mistakes, first bad impressions and errors in judgement.

Lamounier said...

It’s been a while (two years or so) since I finished watching the second season of Veronica Mars, and I can’t put my finger on the reason why, but I would never begin season three. Now that the movie is coming, I finally sat down and started watching it.

I really liked this premiere. I hated the teaser, though. I guess the writers wanted Veronica to look cool and smart, while making envious enemies right off the bat, but she wasn’t smart at all. She totally cheated the professor’s challenge, even if she didn’t break any explicit rules, and she ruined the fun for the entire class. Lame, lame act from Veronica’s part.

Moving on, the complications of last season’s conclusion were well addressed, mostly through Mac and Dick, which makes sense. And the new mystery is interesting for two reasons: (1) it’s not a murder, so yay on the change of pace and (2) it’s smaller than a bus crash, so we probably won’t get a hundred red herrings. Going into this episode, I knew Parker would be a victim, but I thought she’d be Veronica’s roomie, not Mac’s. Very interesting and risky to establish Parker as something of a slut and then have her raped. I’ll wait to see where it goes to comment on it. I trust the writers to send the right message there.

On the new characters, Parker was nice and I hope she recovers from her trauma. I liked Piz, although not at first (his introductory scene, when he appears to be racist at first, was so obviously written to make him very, very cool that it didn’t work for me), but as the episode went on he seemed cute and nice going, and, the LoVe shippers forgive me, I kind of liked him as a love interest for Veronica. In fact I kept asking myself why Veronica and Logan were supposed to be this amazing couple. Then they shared a nice moment at the diner (or restaurant, or whatever that place was), and I was instantly reminded. Also, points for the writers for already showing them on bed, with a very happy post-sex Veronica. I’m glad they skipped the whole “when and how will their first time be” and went right to the “they have great sex together”. In fact, the whole thing made me remember of the time Logan taunted Veronica saying that if the best part was the cuddling, Duncan hadn’t made it right.

And what’s up with Keith? I can’t remember much from the Fitzpatrick’s storyline, so I was pretty lost through most of it. I do think Kendall died, even if it was off-screen, which is kind of a bummer because Charisma was so much fun to watch on this show.

I know this is the least popular season of the series and I’m aware of the weird structure it has, but I have faith on the show for making justice to the college experience. If this episode was any indication, they will do just fine.

Scott Riggan said...

Another Donald Fagen the writers may have been referencing is one half of Steely Dan...?

And while on the subject of music, the remixed theme music sucks.