Mark Watches ‘Veronica Mars’: S01E02 – Credit Where Credit’s Due

In the second episode of the first season of Veronica Mars, Veronica uses her talents to help out Weevil and his grandmother when she is suspiciously accused of credit card fraud. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Veronica Mars.

Good gods, this is already great, y’all.

  • THERE ARE JUST SO MANY THINGS TO ADMIRE HERE. How did I not get into this show??? Like, this is one of those things that y’all get me to watch/read and I spend half the time going WAS THIS SPECIFICALLY TAILORED FOR MY TASTES? Witty and slightly cynical main character? Lots of characters of color? Acknowledgment of issues of race and class without them feeling patronizing or stereotypical? AN ENTIRE PLOT THAT HINGES ON VERONICA TELLING A LATINA MOTHER THAT HER NEPHEW IS FUCKING THEIR LIFE OVER BECAUSE OF A WHITE WOMAN? OH MY GOD, THAT ALONE WAS THE FUNNIEST AND MOST TRUE-TO-LIFE THING I HAVE EVER SEEN. I am surprised that Leticia didn’t take off her chancla and go beat up Chardo herself, my god.
  • Obviously, I’m jumping all over the place, so let me calm down and actually address this episode. Like Buffy before it, there’s a neat way that Rob Thomas address a largely universal American experience through the storytelling here. What’s so fascinating is that Veronica is not the outsider by design; no, she once used to be popular, so the dynamic at hand feels a lot more refreshing than it might have if she and her father were always unpopular. Then, through Wallace, we learn why being an 09er is so coveted and why Veronica has no desire to return to that life.
  • And I also love how clearly these social groups divide along racial and class lines in a way that isn’t insulting. I do want to see more depth out of all these characters – Weevil, Duncan, and Logan included – rather than the limited portrayals we get here. I don’t consider that a flaw in “Credit Where Credit’s Due,” though. The show is still establishing its voice and characters, and I like what I see. It just feels so real to me, given that I lived in Southern California for nearly twenty years of my life, and this really is how a lot of social groups form.
  • I still hate Don Lamb. I don’t even believe this is an irrational hate at all, and despite that I’m writing these a week in advance, I’m certain at this point that the comments for “Pilot” will be full of people who also hate Don Lamb. OH MY GOD, HE IS SO AWFUL.
  • And even if he is a one-note antagonist who is as flat as a piece of paper, I don’t care. I have met enough entitled, vindictive cops in my life that I’ll just project them all over this character instead, and that is cathartic enough for me.
  • So, continuity! This show is already navigating a very fascinating line for me, because it’s somewhere between constant serialization and villain-of-the-week, except it’s not, and then it is? Categorizing it is difficult, so instead, I’d rather discuss the nuances that Rob Thomas writes into the text. By focusing the second episode on Weevil, Thomas establishes a few vital things about Veronica and Keith: They’ll take practically any case, even if the possible suspect isn’t exactly a star citizen without a record. They’ll pursue a case with the same voracity and intelligence, regardless of the financial impact at the end of it. And in terms of the writing, it shows a deliberate attempt to deconstruct the very nature of someone like Weevil. The world he lives in was so ready to accept that a tattooed Latino man with a record committed a crime on a rich white family, and yet, Veronica refused to let that stand, even before she found evidence that showed that it was impossible for Weevil to commit the crimes he confessed to. And I think that’s one of the reasons that Weevil is suspicious of Veronica’s interest in his case. He’s still convinced that she would come to these conclusions about him because she came from the 09ers. It’s a neat moment because there’s this subtext about trust that’s totally related to coming from an undesirable group. In Weevil’s case, he’s Latino and ostensibly poor and in a gang. Why should he trust someone like Veronica in the end? Just because she did one thing for him doesn’t demonstrate that she’ll always do the right thing.
  • Of course, there’s a direct parallel to what Keith went through, too. He still believes that there is more to the Lilly Kane, despite that someone has already confessed to the crime.
  • Casual reminder that I hate Don Lamb, and the scene in that restaurant made me hate him even more than I knew was humanly possible. Look, I am clearly biased against asshole cop characters because I’ve had really, really negative experiences with law enforcement, and I also had an uncle in the LAPD who is literally an example of everything a cop should not be, so Don hits every single one of my buttons in regards to utter character hate. It’s going to take a lot for me to even be able to tolerate his face, I swear.
  • Troy Vandegraff! I spent this entire episode worried that this would turn into a Carrie-esque narrative where he revealed that he was only friends with Veronica so that the 09ers could hurt her further. So yeah, I’m really pleased that he seems to genuinely want to be Veronica’s friend??? Despite that he’s friends with the 09ers, he’s able to recognize how awesome Veronica is and put aside the expectations his friends have for him. Bravo.
  • MALLORY DENT! YES. YES. I think it’s fantastic that “Credit Where Credit’s Due” introduces two new characters (Mallory Dent and Troy) who both are uninterested in the drama and rumors surrounding Veronica. Instead, they’re eager to become a part of her life in varying ways. In Ms. Dent’s case, she’s here to support Veronica’s photography after recognizing that Veronica has a talent for capturing shots. More Ms. Dent? Yes, please.
  • Perhaps less horrifically awkward assigments. My god, the pain is palpable in every scene where Duncan and Veronica are near each other. But what the fuck are these two supposed to say to one another? Their lives will always be messy and tangled after what happened between their fathers. Shit, I just realized that for each of them, they could view each other’s father as the person responsible for ruining their relationship. oh my god.
  • I love when I find shit like this, y’all, even if it’s unintentional. IT’S SO FUN.
  • I found it pretty cool that through the casting and the writing in this episode, we’re led to suspect that either Logan or Caitlin is responsible for the credit card fraud. It’s hard not to, especially when they both start making such horrible comments about housekeepers that hint at both racism and classism. On top of that, I imagine that the casting director knew people would be biased against Paris Hilton because it’s Paris Hilton. I didn’t think Logan was responsible for very long, but you better believe I transferred my suspicions to Caitlin. How could I not?
  • I also completely fell for the little detail about Lilly’s outstanding ticket from October 3rd. I picked up on that being the date of her murder, but I assumed this was written into the script as a way to get Keith Mars and Jake Kane into the same scene. Hahah NOPE. SO MUCH NOPE.
  • So, I made a comment on Twitter that I just want to squish Keith and Veronica’s faces together. Allow me to present the reason why: the scene in the Neptune Grand. THEY’RE JUST SO WONDERFUL TOGETHER. I love the decision to make these two so close to one another. Yes, they have their differences, and Veronica is clearly upset that her father lied to her, but repeatedly, we see just how willing Veronica is to be on her father’s side. She gave up her social standing when she could have kept it. If there’s one thing I feel certain about Veronica’s character, it’s that she is loyal until the end.
  • I did not see the end of this episode coming. Look, that in and of itself is exciting because I love a good mystery, and if this show gives me one every episode, I’m already a happy camper. Chardo ends up being behind the fraud, which is unexpected because he’s allegedly so close to Weevil! And while we don’t get much time with him, I kind of liked the idea that he’s nothing more than a fool in love. His love is misguided, entitled, and dangerous, but it’s still there. He genuinely believed that Caitlin was going to come along with him! And that he could just mail a confession to the police to free his cousin. He’s just one giant fool from beginning to end.
  • This isn’t necessarily the most astounding ending I’ve ever seen. Chardo is beat up by Weevil’s gang after Logan agrees to hand him over, Caitlin is routinely ignored by Logan and his friends, and everything is very neatly wrapped up and closed. It’s satisfactory by itself. It’s the absolutely UN-FUCKING-REAL twist that gives this power: LILLY WAS ALIVE TWO HOURS AFTER HER TIME OF DEATH. THAT TICKET WASN’T A RED HERRING OR A MISDIRECT. OH SHIT. That means all of the alibis are nonsense, Veronica’s dad might be right, and everything is a goddamn mess. But Veronica knew that already. Her life is a mess in some ways because of that murder, and this only makes things more complicated. But in terms of the story, it’s a brilliant way to keep the serialized plot present within these mystery-of-the-week episodes, you know?

The video commission for “Credit Where Credit’s Due” can be downloaded right here for just $0.99.

A note about scheduling! Veronica Mars is considered a “Double Feature” here on Mark Watches. The West Wing and Supernatural are the main shows I’ve committed to reviewing. While I am not touring, I’ve decided to do Double Features to cover other shows. However, whenever my schedule requires it, I take time off from Double Features. The next Veronica Mars review will go up on November 25th. I write my reviews a week in advance to give myself a much-needed cushion of free time, so earlier this week, I was in Michigan for an event. I couldn’t do Double Features.

I will always schedule breaks in the Master Schedule so that you know when posts are going up. I will most likely take writing breaks during the week of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years so that I have time to visit family and friends. Otherwise, posts will continue to go up at 8am Pacific Time! Thanks!

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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