Mark Watches ‘Veronica Mars’: S01E07 – The Girl Next Door

In the seventh episode of the first season of Veronica Mars, what. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Veronica Mars.

Okay, not the most stellar episode ever, but a solid story, though I admit I am really confused. Sort of. Trigger Warning: Obviously, we must talk about rape to address Sarah’s storyline, so heads up.

  • Aside from Sarah’s plot, I feel like “The Girl Next Door” is set up for something else. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but instead, there isn’t anything to give me closure or a clue as to what the hell is going on with Veronica or Weevil. There are hints to something else, but I feel like a giant inside joke just flew over my head. I’m aware of the fact that this is probably intentional, so take any of my criticism or analysis with a grain of salt. I COULD BE 100% WRONG AND PROBABLY AM.
  • Anyway, I love a challenging in media res story, and this one is a doozy, especially since you don’t know who is in the stretcher until Keith pulls the trigger. BRAVO. This is wonderfully executed.
  • Everything else? Sort of? The thing is, I don’t know if these are unresolved storylines or foreshadowing. I am utterly perplexed by Logan and Weevil’s bizarre “bonding” throughout this episode because they are so mean to Mr. Daniels the entire episode. Granted, I thought there was a point here in terms of how Weevil is treated based on the fact that he’s a tattooed Latino man, especially when you compare that with the treatment Logan gets because he’s a rich white male. That’s a good point! And the show has dealt with these themes before, even in “Return of the Kane,” so it’s not like this would have felt out of place in Veronica Mars.
  • But this isn’t really addressed beyond Weevil poking fun at it occasionally. Instead, they’re rude, it isn’t funny, and I think I’m supposed to feel like they’re totally sticking it to The Man? But… okay, I concede that the flagpole prank is really good. I have no problem admitting that. Otherwise, though, it’s such an awkward plot to watch because it honestly feels like it only exists to stick these two in the same space so that Logan will see Weevil’s tattoo.
  • Now that interests me. That’s the second time we’ve gotten a clue that Weevil had a relationship of some sort with Lilly Kane, though I noticed that he reacted extremely defensively each time. MORE ON THIS. MORE PLEASE.
  • I did like the chance to learn more about these two, but even that seemed inconsistent. Early on in this episode, we learned that Weevil is staying in school because he doesn’t want to break a promise he made to his grandmother, but when he’s expelled, he doesn’t seem at all upset that he’s going to break his promise to her.
  • Anyway, I also reserve the right to watch the next episode and make fun of myself for completely not getting what I just watched. I don’t mind admitting that this is a possibility! Doing Mark Does Stuff has made me shed my ego in terms of having to be right about fiction because… oh god, I’m so wrong all the time.
  • Thankfully, the Weevil/Logan plot doesn’t take up the majority of this episode and –
  • WAIT.
  • I just realized something!
  • Veronica’s suspicion towards André begins on the night when she hears a scream and a thump upstairs. Do we ever find out what made that sound? Okay, I’m writing this review a few hours after I finished watching “The Girl Next Door,” so fair warning. I may have just forgotten the answer to this.
  • Anyway, I suppose that’s not necessarily important in the grand scheme of things! Veronica spends most of this episode refusing to believe that Sarah’s disappearance is anything simple or innocuous. And it calls directly back to her reaction to Duncan breaking up with her. She refuses to accept that Duncan just one day decided not to like Veronica.
  • What’s so fascinating about this is that the writers use this story to address another aspect of Veronica’s life that’s different from most people because she is so good at being a private investigator. For her, suspicion is a life force. Her instinct and her sense for hunches is what keeps her alive, it’s what keeps her father in business, and it’s something she is proud of.
  • But what happens if her suspicion gets in the way of the truth? We’ve seen a version of that in the previous episode, “Return of the Kane,” but it’s presented here a bit more obviously. Of course, Veronica’s life is complicated even more by the fact that she discovers that Jake Kane was once her mother’s sweetheart, adding yet another bizarre twist to the drama between these two families.
  • So where does Veronica end up in this? Clearly, she’s been lied to in her personal life, so it’s natural for her to suspect foul play when it comes to André and Sarah. It doesn’t help that we get some severely not okay vibes from André, most of which ultimately end up as red herrings. Sort of.
  • CAN WE TALK ABOUT HOW NERVE-WRACKING THAT SCENE WAS IN ANDRÉ’S APARTMENT. Oh my god, I was convinced there was no way out for her, but I kind of love the idea that she’s so direct with André about breaking into his apartment.
  • Still, I was convinced that André was behind this! Admittedly, every clue provided by the writers pointed in that direction. And then everything gets REALLY CONFUSING. The information provided by Sarah’s parents paints her as a rebellious teenager who one day “changed” quite suddenly and disappeared to California. Plus, then there’s the results of the DNA test that Sarah took, which prove that the child she is carrying is not André’s at all.
  • WHAT
  • See, I’m a bit torn on where this episode goes at this point. First of all, I seriously thought Nathan was gay. I DID. Like, every one of my queer indicator lights went off in his first scene! So, that was my own problem with Veronica’s interrogation because I was SO CONFUSED THAT HE WAS PROBABLY STRAIGHT. ANYWAY, that’s like… not a valid criticism at all, FOR THE RECORD. But I was bothered by the very casual mention of rape, as if Nathan was telling Veronica that Sarah once got stung by a bee. Look, I don’t really need the shows I watch to be perfectly socially responsible all the time forever about all things. I just thought it was strange that not only would Nathan causally reveal this, but that Veronica, who was a victim of rape, wouldn’t tell him how inappropriate it was to share this with a stranger!!! You don’t do that!
  • (Quick shout-out to one of my favorite moments in this episode, though: Weevil and Veronica’s little fist bump while she sits on the hood of her car. I JUST LOVE IT SO MUCH.)
  • Anyway, what I did like about this episode was the portrayal of Sarah’s difficulty in dealing with her rape because the writers purposely do this in a way that’s sympathetic. I didn’t feel like they were demonizing her, and once we find out who her rapist was, everything is put into context. She ran away from home to escape her rapist, and her trust issues with André are totally based in her fear of this happening again. And yet, despite how difficult this is, ultimately, André seems willing to accept Sarah and her child with open arms, and that is awesome. So was this what Veronica’s little space out was about? Did she realize right in that moment who Sarah’s rapist was? I wasn’t entirely sure about that (hence me saying in the opening sentence that this was confusing). It was a bit unclear. Regardless, I STILL DIDN’T KNOW WHO WAS IN THE STRETCHER AT THE VERY END.
  • Unfortunately, this whole affair causes Veronica to question whether she should have gotten involved in the first place. Obviously, this is a metaphor for her pursuit of Lilly Kane’s killer. What if the truth she unearths is too painful to bear? Why can’t she just be a “normal” teenage? I suspect, though, that Veronica would be bored by most things considered “normal” to most people. Her suspicions are clearly leading her to something huge, and I don’t think she’s going to be discouraged by recent events.
  • All in all, I do feel like I missed a few things, that they went over my head. Which is fine! That doesn’t necessarily mean this is bad writing at all. This could be designed to confuse me. Still, I wanted to be honest about how I felt about this episode, at least with the knowledge of what I’ve seen.

The video commission for “The Girl Next Door” can be downloaded right here for just $0.99.

Please note that since this week was Thanksgiving, I took a week off from writing next week’s Double Features. The next set of Veronica Mars reviews starts on December 9th! Thanks, y’all.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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