Veronica Mars: Years, Continents, Bloodshed

“She always picks herself back up.”

I’ve thought long and hard about this episode and I think I’ve finally reached one major conclusion; it was necessary. Necessary and also extremely powerful. It’s an hour that gave this fantastic series a fighting chance of continuing past the show it used to be, and on to something closer to the series those behind it want it to become. Am I brokenhearted? Yes, but I’m also not deluded. What transpired here made narrative sense. It had to happen. And it also set the stage for an extension of the dark, mature and complex story that started during this eight-episode run.

Before this season dropped, Rob Thomas promised that the mystery would be the driving force of the narrative, and he absolutely delivered on that promise. Despite pacing missteps early on thanks to some exposition heavy sequences, the series picked up steam quickly. And by the time we reach ‘Years, Continents, Bloodshed,’ all of the set-up has mostly paid off.

There were so many little details that were remembered throughout the season, like the nails Veronica caught in the previous episode, and the cash she stole from Juan guiding her towards the truth. All of the breadcrumbs seemed to come together in ‘Gods of War,’ so the main focus of 'Years, Continents, Bloodshed' was tying up loose ends, with some bonus action thrown in.

For Alfonso, the only remaining loose end was Big Dick. Thanks to Clyde’s recording, he knew the name and address of the man he came to kill. While Matty snooped around Big Dick’s home, I was really worried she might end up caught by the man of the house or worse still, caught in the middle of an Alfonso/Dick face-off. Instead, she used that sleuthing prowess she learned from her mentor and managed to evade capture. She even got a front row seat to Big Dick’s execution via samurai sword. Looking back on the character Dig Dick was back during season two, I laughed out loud at how fitting it was that a man so obsessed with wealth would be killed by one of his own toys. Also... Headless Dick. That’s a phrase that will stick with you.

Matty might have seen the humor in Big Dick’s end too, because she barely flinched while Alfonso posed for a photo with Dick’s head. I think she might feel like justice has been served. She’s also taking full advantage of the scraps that her shitty situation has given her. Turns out, she’s the ring thief the Maloofs and Carrs were so desperate to find. I love that she was the one with it the whole time. It instantly made me think of Mac in ‘Like a Virgin’ making off with horny ‘09'ers allowances and buying herself a new set of wheels. I’m sad that Mac wasn’t a part of this revival, but I’m glad that Matty turned out to be such a wonderful addition.

I also appreciated JK Simmon’s Clyde. He fit right into the narrative of Neptune being caught between two opposing sides. He also played off Keith really well. There’s still so much to learn about their friendship. I think Clyde really does respect Keith, but he also lied to him. Keith knows that, but he still benefited from his doctor visits paid out of the Casablancas estate. Turns out his memory loss is just a case of mismatched medications. I’m delighted that Keith is okay, because I don’t want to think of a world where Keith is losing his sense of self. And if this show continues on, the Keith/Clyde dynamic absolutely has to be a part of it.

And so we get to the person who is no longer a part of Veronica Mars: Logan Echolls. He’s the casualty of Veronica’s part in the bombing case. Is his death Veronica’s fault? No, and I hope she doesn’t see it that way.

As it turns out, Penn really was the person behind all the post Sea Sprite bombings. Burned by past treatment at the hands of college kids, he uses his skills he acquired as a Murder Head to execute a pretty complex plan to get revenge on the spring-breakers than invade Neptune every year. Veronica and Keith manage to figure him out just in time, and stop the supposed final bomb from going off at the opening at Kane High.

I have to appreciate the hilarity of both Principal Clemmons and Jake Kane witnessing Veronica and Keith saving the lives of everyone at that opening. I also loved Veronica wrestling the mic out of Jake’s cold, soulless hands. Even though Jake and Clemmons had small roles to play, it was a really cute way to bring the old back into the fold one last time, before we move on to the new. And now Clemmons is calling Veronica a hero, so she’s really made up for all those times she broke into his office.

Keith is also a hero. I watched with bated breath as he had a war of nerves with Penn to get the bomb's location out of him. He was willing to die to save everyone, and he was also willing to bring Penn with him. Penn is a weasel, though, so he coughed up the goods in the end. But as easy as it is to laugh at him, he was still smart enough to keep Veronica and Keith in the dark for a good while. He even got one last hit in after he's locked up, a hit that destroys Veronica’s life forever.

Through the trademark Veronica voiceovers, we’ve heard several allusions to how this case was going to have a detrimental effect on Veronica. Now we know exactly what that effect is, and it’s devastating. Penn’s limerick alluding to Fiji time turns out to be a hint of his final surprise; a bomb hidden in Veronica’s car. He probably meant it for her, but as we learned a few episodes back, it’s Logan who moves her car on street cleaning days. It’s almost funny how something so small and trivial became a part of something this huge, but I think that it’s a testament to how well planned this whole season was. Everything tied into the story in some way.

Before Veronica figures out Penn’s riddle seconds too late, she finally ties the knot with Logan in a small, beautiful and perfect ceremony. With just Keith and Wallace by her side, Veronica finally commits to the man she’s spent most of her adult life with, or thinking about (let’s forget about those lost Piz years). It’s such a reward to see this moment finally happen, especially for those who have been fans of this pairing since the show started. Is it overkill to have this happen so soon before Logan’s death? Yes, a little. But I’m just glad that it finally happened, even if their happiness is short lived.

There were a couple of moments where I thought Veronica might be stood up at the courthouse. Logan, on his way to get the marriage licence, runs into Parker (one last returning face). She's been burned by marriage, and for a few short minutes I thought Logan might have let her lamenting get to him. The writers even milk it for all its worth with a Siri-dictated text gone wrong making Veronica think Logan might have bailed. But he shows up just in time to make their appointment.

In general, I think Logan's transformation from "obligatory, psychotic jack-ass" to this committed, mature US Naval Officer signifies a full-circle journey. As a wholly imperfect person still, Veronica has a long way to go. She's still someone worth exploring in future iterations of this series, and as a result, there isn't really a case for a person like Logan to stick around, as much as we all want him to. As we flash-forward to a year after this episode's events, we see that Veronica is taking the steps she needs to achieve "well-being" by visiting Jane. I hope that the voicemail Logan left Jane on the day he died will be enough to get Veronica to continue her road to recovery. Watching the writers explore that is already a huge reason for Logan's death in and of itself.

As someone who believes that there is more than enough fuel left in Veronica Mars to sustain a few more short-running mysteries, I want the show to have a fighting chance of continuing to deliver the level of quality that this season did. This twist, as hard as it is accept, was a necessary step towards making that happen. I mentioned in my review of 'Spring Break Forever' that Rob and Kristen had described this season as not exactly one that we want, but one that we need, and I think that what they said very much applies, here.

With Big Dick's plan for the Neptune boardwalk coming to fruition in the wake of his death, the world that Veronica exists in is also ripe for future conflict. You've got to appreciate the irony of Dick's plan coming to fruition after his role in it gets him killed. It's likely that the divide between the classes is even worse now that the territory belonging to the wealthy has substantially increased, and the once thriving spring-break market is now completely dried up. It would be interesting to see what Neptune looks like in the wake of such a huge change, and I hope the series gets to explore it in the future. Though, one might question where the next season would be set, since this episode ended with Veronica driving out of Neptune to take cases elsewhere – a scenario that's also worthy of future material.

Plus

The episode title is a cute allusion to Logan's speech at alterna-prom in season two.

The reward money from the Sea Sprite case allowed Veronica and Keith to keep Mars Investigations running, as did their increased profile after their flashy rescue at Kane High.

Keith has a girlfriend now, who should be able to keep him company while Veronica takes cases outside of Neptune.

Daniel Maloof is now running for Senator. Looks like he took his mother's advice to take advantage of his victimization at the hands of the Carrs.

Those shots of Veronica driving out of Neptune were beautifully shot.

For anyone that cares:

1. Season One (One of the best seasons of anything, ever)
2. Season Four
3. Season Two (Very strong, but a tad bit convoluted at times)
4. Season Three (Had some great moments – see 'Spit & Eggs' – but it really suffered the effects of network meddling)

I've mentioned the novels The Thousand Dollar Tan Line and Mr. Kiss and Tell a few times in my reviews, and having completed the season I can say that they definitely provide a worthwhile insight into the time between the events in the movie, and what transpires here.

I love being able to binge my TV shows, but I think I'd appreciate getting future episodes of Veronica Mars weekly, if only to make my job reviewing it a lot easier.

He Said, She Said

Logan: “I'm here now. There's no place I'd rather be.”

Logan: “Maybe later you can tell me why Principal Clemmons was on the radio describing you as a hero.”

Jane: “What do you think Logan would think about you coming to see me?”
Veronica: “I think he'd be pissed it took me this long.”
Jane: “I think he'd be impressed. Reaching out shows me that you are on your way.”
Veronica: “To what?”
Jane: “To well-being.”

Logan: “Is it weird to want to marry someone because you respect her? Because you want to be like her? Because you want children who will inherit her qualities? I want to marry Veronica 'cause she's the toughest human being I've ever met. Blows that would destroy most people she always picks herself back up.”
This broke me.

Some fans are pissed off, and I honestly do get their frustration. But to boycott the show when it's just completed such a strong season would be a mistake on so many levels. It's hard to say goodbye to Logan, but this has been a fun, wild and incredible ride. In a market that's full of revivals and reboots, it's such a relief to see one of my favorite series completely justify its return. At the time of writing a fifth season has yet to be confirmed, but whether it does or doesn't happen, this season has been a really strong one and a renewal won't change that either way. I'm so glad it exists, especially since it's wiped the stale taste the last arc of season three left in my mouth.

9 out of 10 cars riding off into the sunset.

25 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Panda, thank you so much for reviewing this fourth season of Veronica Mars. I've read every review and you did a terrific job.

And I honestly do understand the basis of your point about how this twist with Logan was a necessary step for the series to move on. I also respect other fans that feel that way. I just can't, though.

I started watching season four when it dropped. After only one episode, I got spoiled that Logan died at the end of the season. I was so stunned that I burst into tears, and I hadn't even watched it happen. I'm actually crying right now as I type this. I couldn't make myself watch the second episode, much less the rest of the season. I'm angry, and I'm heartbroken. I was too emotionally invested in Logan Echolls, and I can't logic myself out of feeling that way.

So if Veronica Mars gets a fifth season, it will do it without me. I'm done.

Differing opinions welcome. I'm not trying to direct the conversation. I just wanted to be honest about how strongly I feel about this.

Panda said...

Thanks Billie!

I get why you’d not want to continue, but I do think Logan’s story was complete. It’s not that he was just killed to service a potential future for the series. I really think he had been taken as far as he could go. I would urge you to finish, just to see his arc out. They made much better use of him this season than the third, where he tended to float along when he wasn’t pining after Veronica.

But Logan was never as important to the show as he was to some others. The heart for me is Veronica and Keith’s relationship, and Veronica’s personal journey. And it looks like both of those will be vital parts of the show if it’s set to continue.

Panda said...

**important to me

Valerie said...

I am a long time Marshmellow and donated to fund the movie. I could write a whole story of what this show means to me and how Veronica is my hero, but I will keep it short.

I was rudely spoiled about the ending as soon as the show dropped unexpectedly early. I was devastated and took two weeks before I could bring myself to watch. I thought about it constantly and finally came to terms with it. I also fancy myself a writer and I know that sometimes killing a character is what needs to be done and it is never a decision a writer takes lightly. If it was done well this is what could propel the show forward and it was nicely circular given his connection to Lily Kane.

Upon watching those last ten minutes, this show lost me. We didn't get to mourn Logan with these characters we just skipped ahead a year. With that ending and what Rob Thomas has said, it sounds like he envisions the future of the show to be Veronica on the road.

Veronica Mars can survive without Logan, as much as I LoVe him, but it can't survive without Neptune.

I feel Betrayed.

Smiles P said...

I wasn’t spoiled at all, and god how I wish I had been. Binged the entire 8 episodes when it was released and when that death happened in the last 10 minutes, I was inconsolable! Sitting alone in my lounge room at 2.30am desolate and crushed. It destroyed me (and I watch so many shows with hard deaths, supernatural, any joss Whedon show, greys anatomy, walking dead, game of thrones) But never have I even been hit this hard, I was depressed in bed the whole next day after getting zero sleep. And I think after I read the interviews with rob Thomas and Kristen bell, I felt worse. To know logan was killed off because the writer couldn’t think of an interesting way to write a badass married woman in her 30s coming home to a loving partner or that rob said noir detective stories often involve sex and romance which would be hard to do if our heroine has a boyfriend at home. Those statements disgust me. They have taken a show I love and turned it into something completely different. If they do get another season, I won’t be on board. I’m not down for a sexually available Veronica being a travelling PI without the rest of the ensemble cast. Sometimes beloved shows should just stay gone. This has soured the entire series for me, and also has put me off KristenBell. 😩

Billie Doux said...

I have to admit that it's ruined the entire series for me, too.

Nick said...

I'm not sure why this has put you off Kristen Bell. It's not like she forced Rob Thomas to kill Logan.

Smiles P said...

Nick it was more her comments afterwards, I felt that a lot of what she said in interviews was very condescending and she was joking about the death saying it was cutting off a limb to save the body (with Jason Dohring sitting right there) also Jason mentioned nobody showed up on his last day of filming (he played this character on and off over the course of 15 years, and neither Kristen or Rob felt they should farewell him at all) only my opinion but for me it will take awhile to watch her stuff.

Lynda said...

I have very mixed feelings about season 4 and genuine anger at Rob Thomas may just be the strongest one.

I was midway through a series 1-3 + movie rewatch in preparation for Season 4, when I saw a Facebook post that it was dropping early. I immediately started to panic about how I would avoid spoilers because I’m in Australia and we don’t have Hulu, when thankfully Stan (the streaming service for Veronica Mars here) sent an email to say that they would release it at the same time. Watched first 2 episodes, went to bed happy around 2am, woke up the next morning and binged the rest before checking going online and was shell shocked at the end and for the rest of the weekend.

As soon as I saw the episode title, my heart sank, somehow I just knew that meant Logan was going to die.

I understand why Rob wanted a reason to have Veronica leave Neptune, but I think he could have accomplished it in a myriad of other ways. Another original Neptune character could have been accidently killed as a result of Veronica’s actions and generated enough guilt (misplaced or otherwise) to give Veronica the need to escape Neptune for the foreseeable future. Weevil or Cliff or Leo would have all worked.

To me the ending was lazy writing in this episode.

Are we really expected to believe that the Neptune Sherriff’s Office (as incompetent as they are), FBI and more importantly Veronica herself all failed to search Veronica’s car after the arrest? It was evidence.

Eliminating Logan permanently rather than finding a way to have him challenge Veronica as her husband is unbelievably lazy. I was quite insulted that Rob’s comments insinuated that to allow Veronica a little happiness/stability would prevent the show from growing up, make it soap opera not film noir.

I’m sure no marshmallow really expected their married life to be perfection. Navigating challenges of complex relationships is a very adult problem. Veronica and Logan (despite his incredible character growth) are still damaged and only they can fully understand their shared history, so deserved more. We fans deserved more.

Their marriage needn’t have been a prime focus going forward, as Logan’s naval career already gave Rob a convenient excuse to have him absent for long periods. The bulk of (maybe even a whole) future season could focus on Veronica in her own right, see her operate without her safety net of Keith, Wallace, Logan – because Logan was on a tour of duty.

Besides Logan wasn’t what was keeping Veronica tied to Neptune, Keith was. There are Naval bases all over the world, Logan has no family in Neptune, he would have moved for her I’m certain. And Keith’s health has improved, and he has Matty to help out.

Jumping forward a year, rather than dealing with the fallout directly was again lazy writing.

BTW Rob could fix this quite easily, Veronica never saw the bomb go off just heard it, what if the Navy faked Logan’s death to protect him due to something mission related and needed everyone to believe he was dead (there wouldn’t have been enough intact body parts to identify on site). He could come back when that mission is done, so much to navigate then re whether he knew it was going to happen, how you get over very real mourning etc.

I will watch Season 5 should there be one but it wont be the same. And I worry it wont work the way Rob is intending.

PS Just found this wonderful site in the last couple of weeks, when I rediscovered FarScape and delighted that so many shows I love you love too. Though I’m very late to the conversation, Id like to contribute my thoughts.

Panda said...

I hear y’all and your frustrations, but I don’t agree with this Kristen bashing at all. She just made it clear that she feels this is for the best. She knows this character in and out and if she feels that way, you have to respect that. Just because she disagrees with your own sentiments doesn’t mean you can describe her a certain way. It’s 2019, let’s have better respect for people than that.

Panda said...

Very good points raised about how the show could have moved forward with Logan, but I just think his story felt complete. The rest of the main cast have more to give. And I don’t like the idea of Veronica and Logan being broken up...again. It’s been done, and their story ending with their marriage worked for me, even if his subsequent death was a bit too soon.

One thing I hope season five doesn’t do is force Veronica to get with someone else right away. She needs time to grieve.

I don’t think skipping the year was lazy at all, though. The fact that she’s still grieving is testament to how much is left to explore. I heard people complaining about Veronica being over him in the flash-forward, but that’s just not the case at all. There’s still so much she has to do to move on, and I’m really excited to see how Veronica will deal with it.

Billie Doux said...

I've been wrong before, but I don't think there will be a season five. I think Rob Thomas didn't "read the room," that too many fans will find it impossible to move on from here.

Billie Doux said...

Lynda wrote: PS Just found this wonderful site in the last couple of weeks, when I rediscovered FarScape and delighted that so many shows I love you love too. Though I’m very late to the conversation, Id like to contribute my thoughts.

Lynda, thank you so much, and you're very welcome to post comments! It's never too late. :)

Panda said...

A huge shame if that’s the case, because there are a lot of fans that would love to see it continue, myself included obviously.

Lynda said...

Lpgan's personal growth was epic, but I do not feel he was done, there would always be challenges with Veronica in his life. If any character was shown to be done in season 4 it was probably Wallace - he got the girl, stable job, nice house with the prized 09 zip code, cute kid etc.

If they have Veronica rush to hook up with new man or run back to Leo in season 5 that would cheapen LoVe's relationship further, so hopefully Rob wont take the show there.

I think Kristen is very talented, there is no Veronica Mars without her, I love her dedication to the show/character over the years. But I share Billie's concern that Rob's decisions wrt Logan might mean Hulu choose not to invest further with so many fans disengaging.

Its a real shame, cause it was otherwise a great season.

Time will tell.

Katie Hart - Pinterest Manager said...

I waited until now to comment as my best friend and I watched the entire season in 24 hours, so the episodes blur a little in my head. Also, it would have been very hard to say things about Logan, knowing how this ended.

I wasn't exactly spoiled, but I did see something about a huge character death at the end. So I knew immediately it would be either Keith or Logan. Since I couldn't imagine the show with either of them gone, I watched the whole season with dread, waiting for the shoe to drop.

Like was mentioned earlier in the comments, there is no way Penn's backpack would have been overlooked in Veronica's car. Also, why was Logan even moving the car if they planned to leave as soon as they packed? It definitely sounded like a road trip based on their calculations, and it was established earlier in the season that Logan didn't have a car.

Will I keep watching the show? Yes, but it has moved from "must-see TV" (aka the reason I watched this season in 24 hours) to "eh, I'll get around to it". I do hope they have a 5th season, if only for this to not be the ending we are left with. But I wouldn't be surprised if they cut off the arm of the show only to bleed to death from all the fans giving up on it. It won't be the same show we've loved - we'll be watching Veronica Echolls, Widow. I wonder how dark Rob Thomas plans to go. And if Veronica's not in Neptune, it will be even worse.

I did get the sense, however, that Logan's story had come full circle. He didn't even have all that much to do in this season. Does Thomas not know how to write interesting healthy characters? (Note to self: if any other non-title characters attend therapy in Rob Thomas shows, he plans to off them.) Did he just decide to make Logan extra well-adjusted to create conflict with Veronica? Did he just kill Logan off because he was bored and tired of the LoVe shippers?

I also did feel cheated that they skipped ahead a year (and who knows if they'll skip more time before season 5?). And that nothing was shown of Dick's reaction to his father's (and then his best friend's) death. Mattie was an interesting but unnecessary addition (way to much "this is mini-Veronica" and not establishing a character of her own). Penn was super annoying the whole season (and that was extra annoying to me since I like the actor).

Ranking the seasons, I'd probably put this season slightly above or below season 3. So season 1, 2, movie, and then 3/4.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is going to be a tough crowd, but... I never really liked Logan. Ever. I wish he had died before. Never understood why a smart teen/woman like Veronica would fall for him. And finally this season they make him WAY more likable, and of course they had to kill him. I'm not sad or anything (well, I am for Veronica), but I don't think it's a bad decision, especially if more Veronica is produced (please!).

Nothing against Aaron Echolls, though. He did a great job with what he was given, this last season in particular, and if true that after 15 years they didn't even give him a proper goodbye, then my opinion of Kristen Bell goes down a notch.

I really liked the season, it was well written, the mystery was nice, it was funny, Matty was a great new character, we saw A LOT of the old ones... the only thing, as some have said, is that there have to be a bit of stupidity between our main characters to "allow" Logan to die. And coincidence. He HAD to move the car just at the precise exact time that the bomb was going off. And that never is good.

In any case: S4 good. Logan better, but glad he's out (he didn't really have to die, but that way there is no coming back). Echolls good. S5, please.

Nick said...

I do wonder how large is the disenfranchised base is. I've been reading a lot of people saying they're done with the show, and I kinda hope it's just a really small, but vocal minority. No disrespect to how people feel, of course, but I largely enjoyed the season even though I hated Logan dying and would really enjoy Season 5.

And hey, 1 less character might mean more screen time for some others. *cough* *cough* Mac *cough* *cough

Lynda said...

Yes would be great if Mac could come back in a major storyline if indeed there is a season 5. I heard that Tina declined to be in season 4 as it would have been a small appearance like Wallace's.

With her talents it makes sense that Mac would be successful outside of Neptune, and the type of friend Veronica would need post Season 4 events.

Am I the only one who really wants Mac to put Madison Sinclair in her place at some stage and let her in on the secret that it was only by sheer accident she has led a privileged life - thought that might have happened in the movie.

As to how big a portion of the fans are disenfranchised only time will tell and only if there is a season 5. But I suspect many of those who are angry now, wont be able to resist tuning in to what happens next, irrespective of what they say atm.

Its like I love the original star wars trilogy (Empire Strikes Back will always be my favorite). I found the prequels painful/awful but I still watched everyone of them, just like I will watch the next one, Im not super engaged anymore (although quite liked Rogue One and Solo) but I need to see how the Skywalker saga ends.

And I need to watch any future Veronica Mars.

Panda said...

Just wanted to leave a comment to say thanks to everyone for reading and leaving comments. I definitely don’t agree with some of your own views - especially dropping such a fantastic show because of one character! - but I respect that you guys feel strongly about it. It’s nice to have somewhere to engage with people on shows that are able to speak their minds so well.

Smiles P said...

On a completely different note! I was able to meet Jason Dohring at Oz Comic Con yesterday and OMG he is he sweetest, nicest, loveliest person I have ever met! He greeted everyone in he photo ops with a handshake, looked right into your eyes and introduced himself. He stopped to talk to everyone. Seriously most loveliest person ever!

Billie Doux said...

Smiles P, that is wonderful. And it reminds me that it's been way too long since I've been to a con.

Lynda said...

Smikes P that is great to hear, always impressed when actors give back to their fans.

I was contemplating going to OzComicCon today but as Jason was only guest of interest i opted out.Havent been since the one with Nathan Fillion.

Smiles P said...

Lynda, I literally only went for Jason. I wrote him a letter (cause I didn’t think I’d be able to form words in front of him) and my son saw me writing and wanted to help so I told him Jason grows apple trees, rescues bees and has chickens so my 5year old drew a picture for me to give to Jason and Jason wrote a little thank you note to My son thanking him. Literally the most down to earth, nicest guy ever.

Panda said...

I love hearing about how nice tv cast members are in real life! I was secretly hoping he might be mean just since it’s unfair for him to be that good looking and also an amazing person LOL