Mark Watches ‘Veronica Mars’: S01E05 – You Think You Know Somebody

In the fifth episode of the first season of Veronica Mars, WOW, THIS ONE IS GRIM. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Veronica Mars.

Okay, y’all were right. This show really was made for me.

  • Oh gosh, the obligatory trip to Tijuana. Somehow, I’ve never done that, which is weird, given that I lived in Southern California for nineteen years, every single circle of friends I had went there at one point, and it’s almost a right of passage for people where I grew up. It always felt kind of SUPER RACIST to me anyway, to treat a place like that as this bizarre excursion, so yeah. It never happened. Actually, I’m Mexican myself and still have only been to the mother land once, and I barely think that it counts, since I was seven and we walked across the border near Yuma. I think it was actually in the city of San Luis? Something like that! We were visiting an aunt who lived in Yuma, and we went to Mexico and my mom was hella racist most of the time, but I do remember being utterly shocked to see so many people with the same skin color as me. At the time, I was living in Boise, Idaho, so yeah, IT WAS VERY WHITE THERE.
  • Anyway, this isn’t that important, but I like telling stories. Oh gosh, “You Think You Know Somebody” is yet another fantastic entry into the Veronica Mars canon, and it’s FULL OF REALLY INTENSE EMOTIONS.
  • Which includes me freaking out at the thought of border patrol. LOOK, Y’ALL. I don’t often fare well when it comes to security figures, like the TSA or Border Patrol. I am brown, I’ve got a beard, and I am often mistaken for someone who is Muslim or Arabic or Middle Eastern or whatever misinformed stereotype they want to share with me. True story: I kept track of how many times I was “randomly” chosen for an extra screening by TSA on my tour earlier this year. Out of nearly thirty flights, I was pulled aside for 24 screenings. CLEARLY RANDOM AND NOT AT ALL BASED ON RACIALLY INSENSITIVE PREJUDICES. CLEARLY.
  • One time, when I was crossing into Canada, I had to sit there while the border agent spewed forth all this horrible classism/racism about Oakland and it’s like… I NEED TO GET INTO YOUR COUNTRY. I can’t pick a fight over oppressive language at the fucking border. So I had to sit there and listen to some asshole tell me how my state should just carpet bomb Oakland. Thanks for that.
  • One more story. Coming into the United States on that same trip via Vermont, I was eagerly waved through to my country after the border agent discovered I wrote about Harry Potter. He asked who my favorite character was out of the trio, and when I said HERMIONE without even hesitating, he replied, “Good choice,” while nodding his head sagely and then letting me into the U.S. So it’s not all bad.
  • Anyway, let’s talk about “You Think You Know Somebody,” which covers how these characters trust one another in various situations. It’s pertinent for Keith and Veronica because their job often entails that they must dig the skeletons out of people’s closets. Is it possible for them not to do this in their personal lives, too?
  • This pops up through Veronica’s interactions with Rebecca, Troy, and, indirectly, her own mother.
  • I remember how bizarre it was to learn that my mother was dating after my father passed away. I think it was nearly four years later before it happened, but I didn’t have the reaction Veronica did here. I don’t know, I wasn’t as protective over the memory of my father, first of all. I didn’t feel like there was some legacy that needed to be respected on my mom’s part. But there also wasn’t any hope of him coming back, you know? That’s the challenge that Veronica faces here. Her mom is definitely still alive, and as she learns more and more about Lianne, it’s clear that what happened the year before is a lot more complicated than she initially thought.
  • I believe that Veronica really did give Rebecca a chance, at least initially. It wasn’t until she found her mother’s safety deposit box and began to question the story that she then started questioning Rebecca, too. Sure, it was hard to deal with Keith dating again, and it didn’t help that Rebecca was her counselor, but it wasn’t a dealbreaker either.
  • But this episode is about questioning appearances. In a matter of a few hours, she finds out that Luke was smuggling steroids into the country and that someone was threatening to kill Veronica, which heavily implies that Lianne may have left town to protect Veronica, not to abandon her.
  • I also just realized how much this episode tries to clue us in to the fact that Troy is a huge liar. Oh my god, in that scene where Veronica is trying to find out if anything weird happened, Troy is acting like an asshole BECAUSE HE’S LYING. It’s not because he didn’t notice anything! Good lord. It also explains why he was so carefree about his car being stolen and about being shipped off to boarding school. The answer was right there the whole time.
  • That’s sort of how I feel about Lianne, though. We get a few surprising flashbacks in this episode, and it’s clear that something else was going on. Why was Lianne so disturbed by the knowledge that Veronica was dating Duncan Kane? What the fuck does she know? And why did she dramatically take Veronica out of school so they could go to Palm Springs? The answer is sitting right there in front of me, but I can’t figure it out.
  • More Weevil! I’d love to see him play a bigger part in the show beyond just being the agent of brown people. Okay, I’m being a bit facetious, but he does show up to take Veronica to groups of Latino men and women twice in the same episode. He’s like the gatekeeper of diversity!
  • Wallace isn’t this episode much, either. It is thereby less perfect. (But it’s still really, really good, for the record.)
  • CAN WE JUST APPRECIATE THE IDEA OF THE MODERN MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE. No, Veronica, you are simultaneously so incredible and heartbreaking. Don’t do this to me.
  • This whole episode is seriously rude on the feelings front. How about that scene where Keith agrees to help Veronica and Troy, but only if Veronica is nice to Rebecca? Keith, you are too adorable.
  • But Veronica is obviously upset by this, and I think that’s why she rudely lashes out at Ashley during class. Her father is dating again, she can’t seem to find out where the steroids are, and then, Ms. Dent’s advice about the lies people tell themselves hits a chord within Veronica. I was fascinated with where the writers took this episode at this point because it was a neat way of acknowledging how Keith and Veronica’s lives were affected by their job. If they both have constant access to anyone’s background check, if information about anyone is just a few keystrokes away, can they resist the temptation to check up on everyone in their lives?
  • That’s why Veronica is so insistent that it was perfectly okay for her to check up on Rebecca. She was just doing it to protect her father, but is that the actual truth? It’s not like there’s anything in there that Keith didn’t know, and it’s not like she discovered that Rebecca was a serial killer. I think Veronica was making it clear that she felt like Rebecca was moving into their lives far too quickly. Unfortunately, that ended up being pretty spot-on.
  • Can I not watch a scene where Veronica and Keith yell at one another again? It hurt way too much.
  • It just made Keith’s break up with Rebecca that much sadder. Apparently, Lianne did something that made him not want to seek her out, and now that he’s found some happiness in Rebecca, he’s got to break things off with her because his daughter needs more time to adjust. And for what it’s worth, Rebecca is remarkably understanding, which somehow made this EVEN MORE DEPRESSING.
  • And then we’ve got Troy Vandegraff. Keith gives Veronica a copy of Troy’s record, but instead of being presumptuous and throwing it in her face, he gives her the chance to read it. So when Veronica finally confronted Troy about what it said, I really thought the writers were trying to show us that Veronica was being invasive and unfair towards the people in her life. Now, I don’t think that’s necessarily incorrect. Even though Rebecca is now out of the picture, I didn’t get the sense that we were supposed to believe that she had done the right thing.
  • However, the background check on Troy ends up being the key that unlocks the entire mess with the steroids and Luke. Y’all, I SO FELL FOR THIS. I mean, I said this in the video for this episode, but y’all must have been CACKLING yesterday when I was talking about how great Troy was. Meanwhile, that little shit was planning on betraying his friends, possibly getting them arrested or severely hurt, and he used this as a way to try and get closer to Veronica, possibly so that he could have sex with her and then LEAVE THE STATE TO GO BACK TO HIS OLD GIRLFRIEND WITH THE DRUGS HE STOLE FROM LUKE
  • But Veronica – brilliant, genius Veronica – finds a way to give both Hank and Troy their comeuppance. And I adore this idea that Veronica refuses to let people get away with shirking responsibility for their actions, you know? Troy must deal with betraying all of his friends, and Hank is ostensibly arrested at the border for smuggling steroids.
  • AND THEN THERE’S THAT PHONE CALL FROM LIANNE, WHICH IS SO UNFAIR THAT I – I actually can’t do anything. UGH. STOP TEASING ME, VERONICA MARS. Everything will make sense when the time is right? I don’t get it! It makes no sense at all! What happened?
  • At least I got that painfully adorable scene where Keith and Veronica celebrate his birthday with the lopsided cake. I swear, y’all, this is probably the best father-daughter relationship I’ve seen on TV. AND IT’S ONLY BEEN FIVE EPISODES.
  • Bless this show.

The video commission for “You Think You Know Somebody” can be downloaded right here for just $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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