In the fourth episode of the first season of Veronica Mars, Veronica helps Wallace’s friend (and love interest) Georgia with a scam she was a victim of while dealing with painful memories of Lilly from the previous year’s Homecoming dance. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Veronica Mars.
Oh god, WALLACE AND VERONICA ARE JUST SO PERFECT I CAN’T DEAL WITH IT. This was another fantastic episode of this show that demonstrates how easy it is for the writers to keep the show serialized while also having cases each week that are contained within the episode. Let’s talk about these two storylines!
This really is an action-heavy episode, and Wallace, Keith, and Veronica all demonstrate just how good they are at pulling off an investigation and a con at the same time. Well, okay, this is Wallace’s first real chance to assist Veronica directly while undercover, and I’d say he does a pretty good job! Hoping to impress Georgia, Wallace brings Veronica a new case: Help Georgia get her money back from a Nigerian-style scam. Veronica is quick to trace the scam back to Karl, the man who conned Georgia, and then, everything gets super weird.
Just in terms of the plotting, this is a damn fun episode, especially since our own expectations are twisted early on. “Karl” isn’t really Karl; he’s an actor, yet another part of the scam set up Grant and Liam. In this instance, they’re tricking actors into providing them free work for the con, which also adds yet another line of protection between themselves and their victims. But it also establishes them as geniusesâ€¦ well, sort of. For every instance that Grant and Liam are portrayed as supersmart con men, the writers deliberate deconstruct them before our eyes. And that’s done to show us how Veronica is the REAL genius here. My absolute favorite aspect of “The Wrath of Con” is how Veronica uses these men’s sexist stereotypes against them. IT’S INCREDIBLE.
Seriously, think about it. She pretends to not understand video games so that Grant will identify himself to her. Then she’s a clueless prospective student with nerdy friend Wallace at her side. (UGH HE IS SO HANDSOME IN THOSE GLASSES, UNFAIR.) Then she’s a drunk co-ed who just wanders about looking for a drink, who just happened to get into Grant and Liam’s dorm. Every step of the way, she uses her social disadvantage as a weapon to DESTROY THESE ASSHOLES. Oh my god, it’s so satisfying.
I also love that she uses her father and Wallace for assistance, and I think that demonstrates her strength as a P.I. There are certain things she can’t do, so she asks for help, such as when she gets her father to pose as a DEA agent in order to plant a listening device in the nerds’ room. And Wallace really does help by providing Veronica a cover! I JUST LOVE IT SO MUCH. I was a little worried that Veronica was returning the backup hard drives, though, because that meant that they’d still get away with their scam. However, I think it’s smart that she tipped off the F.B.I. instead. This allows her to get Georgia’s money back, and then she doesn’t have to be the one to destroy evidence, either. GOOD. LET THEIR LIVES BE RUINED.
This episode feels very fitting after “Meet John Smith” because it continues to examine the role Lilly Kane played in Veronica’s life. Her relationship with Troy is moving along, but when he asks her to Homecoming, she’s reluctant to agree. Through the use of flashbacks triggered by specific moments in this episode, Veronica remembers what the previous year was like when she, Lilly, Duncan, and Logan all went to Homecoming together. Again, it’s difficult to watch because everything is so bittersweet. Lilly was a vibrant, young woman, and her energy was so infectious during all those flashbacks. I couldn’t help but smile! It’s not just that Troy’s proposal brought up these memories, though; it’s that Veronica doesn’t know how to move past them. It was such a good night, and by seeing those flashbacks, we begin to understand why that night was so important to her.
In a lot of ways, I felt like this was both an exploration of grief and a study in the magic that these sort of events hold over us in hindsight. I know a lot of people who truly think their best years were in high school. That’s weird to me because oh my god it was so awful. Granted, I had a much different experience than most people, so I tend to shy away from glorifying those years in my own life. Truthfully, I didn’t really have memorable Homecomings, and I went to prom with a woman who ended up being a gross homophobe, so even that memory, which wasn’t awful, is tainted in hindsight. But I realize that this doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the youthful freedom and excitement in Veronica’s flashbacks. I have to remember what this time in Veronica’s life meant to her, you know? She was popular; she had a stunning and caring best friend; her boyfriend was her best friend’s brother! And on that night, these four teens threw caution to the wind and simply enjoyed themselves and each other. Why wouldn’t Veronica venerate that memory?
Except that doesn’t mean she has to stop herself from making new memories. And I like that those memories are with Troy, Georgia, and Wallace. Troy is pleasant, exceedingly so, and he always seems like he’s game for Veronica’s weirdness. I mean, the man goes up against Keith Mars, is summarily destroyed by awkwardness, and then continues to pursue Veronica anyway. Bravo, bravo, bravo! But he also doesn’t pressure Veronica either, and I like that about him. I think he understands that she’s been through a lot, and so his patience becomes a virtue in this sense. The specter of Lilly Kane hangs over this whole town, the Mars, the Kanes, and Logan particularly so, and I enjoy that Troy doesn’t push further than he needs to.
There are some sweet moments at the end of this, too. Logan’s memorial video is great because it’s a celebration of how lively Lilly was instead of being dire and sad. (Though Weevil would clearly argue that it was quite sad. BLESS.) And it’s fitting that after a reminder of what Lilly was like, Veronica decides it’s time for her to live a little bit, too. Now, logistically, I think that if you consider Veronica skinny dipping prior to homecoming, you’re going to start scratching your head. Did her friends just see her get naked? How is she going to dry off before getting back into the limo? Well, I don’t care. Emotionally, I adore what this represents for Veronica, so I’m not going to question it at all.
Yeah, this show is GREAT so far, y’all.
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